Anyone Have SZ Long Before You Realized It?

Out of curiosity, has anyone been in the SZ family longer than they realized it? Through journaling, introsoect and therapy discussions, I’m coming to the conclusion that I was diagnosed at 32 with paranoid schizophrenia later changed to schizoaffective, but I’m pretty sure I may have been SZ since middle school age or even younger. I think what has happened is my ability to function simply deteriorated over periods of time.

This probably explains why my life was a series of high functioning periods followed by low functioning periods back to high functioning and now finally I’ve been in about a 6 year long period of marginal functionality.

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Oh YES. I was mentally ill way back when I was 5 or so but I was diagnosed with everything under the sun long before it was SZ. The voices, the paranoia, the racing thoughts, it was all there when I was very young. But 17 was the big swan song that landed me in hospital and then I got my shiny new SZ label. That’s when the head circus finally had a name.

I’m glad I finally knew what was really wrong with me. Then it all made sense, in an odd way.

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Yes, looking back, I was having a lot of problems as a teenager. It started out as social anxiety. Then I became very paranoid that people in my school were trying to hurt me. I had to drop out of high school and get my GED.

Somehow (I still count it as a miracle), I made it through college, and graduated second in my class. It seems like my symptoms weren’t as bad then.

But after I graduated, and started working, the paranoia returned with a vengeance. I was totally convinced that the other nurses were conspiring against me to get me fired. I started missing work and feeling very depressed and disoriented.

Finally, I went through a very painful and stressful breakup. And that’s when I snapped. I went into full-on psychosis with terrible hallucinations.

Thankfully, one of my nurse friends got me into seeing a psychiatrist. He diagnosed me as having schizophrenia that originated in adolescence. Looking back, he was right. I was ill for years without knowing what was going on.


It’s definitely quite interesting. I had issues going back to 5 as well, but not too problematic. I’d say I was just strange. I was very much a daydreamer as long as I can recall too.

It’s possible I could have had more a more fitting diagnosis long ago, but I’m a pretty reserved person in hospital settings and often second guess my own opinions, so don’t mention them. Think I saw my first psychiatrist when I was in 8th grade. I’m always curious about how long people know and why it takes so long to get the diagnosis. For me, I always strived to be as “normal” as possible, so I pulled off quite a few things before it got to where it was undeniable I suppose.

I think it’s very hard for people to come to terms about having schizophrenia. It’s such a scary-sounding condition. And I think people never expect it really. Statistically, it’s still a pretty rare condition. So people expect that they have something more common, like anxiety or a depressive disorder.

Personally, I never thought what I was going through was schizophrenia. I thought for a long time that I was bipolar, and that the manic phase was triggering psychosis. And even after being diagnosed, it was hard for me to believe.

Thankfully, I finally came to terms with it. And committed to taking my medications every day. I’m much better off now, living in the reality of my illness.

Great topic, by the way!



I agree with Radmedtech about why it takes so long to diagnose. Who wants to admit to this right off?

I also know that for a long time kids were not diagnosed as SZ because puberty and hormones change the game.

My 11th and 12 year on this earth was just one long manic hallucinating psychosis.

i noticed something was off with me early becuase i didnt get along with anyone. i mean i was bullied and i saw i didnt fit it in but i didnt know what was wrong with me. i had psychosis since between 9-12. but it didnt truly manifest til 17. i guess i followed the normal path of sz.

yes being sexually and mentally abused i think triggered my sz gene very young , but there is a hell for my parents and they have their passport ready to be stamped !
take care

I wasn’t diagnosed with sz until my early 30’s but had symptoms as early as 7 or 8 yrs old. everybody knew I was “weird” and they all jus thought that was what it was…I was just “different”. I never told anyone about my symptoms bc I thought I was possessed with demons and if that were true then I would be bad on top of being weird and I didn’t want that. After diagnosis it has been nice tolook over my childhood and know tht I had an illness instead of just being a “weird” or “different” kid.

I wasn’t Dx’d until my early 30’s, but as everyone else said, yeah, I knew I was different, and so did the other kids…but I still got along with all my classmates, I just chose to isolate myself when not in school.

I saw spiders on my wall as a kid, my posters talked to me so I had to put tape on their mouths. Sometimes they watched me so I poked their eyes out. My mom pulled the posters down and put new ones up instead. When I was 15 I started hearing a voice commanding me to do stuff and telling me I’m an idiot and a bad person. It yelled at me all the time in school and at home. I used to sit by my computer with earphones on and play FPS on high volume.

Nobody cared about me and I didn’t trust anyone, the voices were gone after about 3 years and heavy drinking (I was drunk in school). Then it came back when I was 32.

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thats interesting. i put tape over the eyes of posters. andpeople with eyes

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When I was young, I made pinhole cameras and took photos of the eyes in different posters. Don’t know why I did it. It’s odd you say that. :slight_smile: Wish I still had the photos.

Uhm…I still do, and over teddy bears eyes too.


My dad said I started withdrawing from other people when I was in 7th grade, he told me this when I was in my twenties.My mom told me she noticed something was wrong with me when I was 15 or 16 but she didn’t know what it was .She told me this when I was in my twenties. I was messed up when I was 18 and 19. I didn’t think it was a medical conditin. But i was extremely anxious and had agoraphobia. It was really bad at all the jobs I had. I guess that was a symptom too. From age 17 to 19 I had about 15 different jobs. I never lasted more than three months at any of them. Got fired from half of them. Some of them I did while stoned. I was finally diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at age 19.

Indeed. Looking back it makes more sense. From a relatively early age I was diagnosed with various things, had lots of tests, saw lots of doctors, etc. I was terribly preoccupied with death often experienced extreme unwarranted feelings of paranoia, and was under the belief that if certain things weren’t done then terrible things would happen to me and the people around me. It felt like everything was on my shoulders. I also had periods where I’d have striking visual hallucinations but never mentioned them to anyone.

I have been diagnosed for about eight years now and I realized that I had it long before after taking a class on it and finally realizing what schizophrenia really was. The doctors told me I had it but never explained to me what it was or even what to expect. Then I went to prison because of my SZ and they gave classes for the mentally ill inmates. That’s where I learned what SZ really was all about. Sad really if you think about it. By the time I knew what was wrong with me till after it was too late.

Certainly! I began symptomsm at only 7 or 8 yrs old. but was not diagnosed until my early 30’s with psz…now changed to sza. everyone knew I was “weird” or “different” but nobody knew why.

even me…my delusions, hallucinations, voices and paranoia was just something that I had lived with for so long that it was my normal and I never questioned it or wondered about it. I had absolutely no awareness of my illness.

I know that the full blown psychosis happened in September, 1992. I have no idea when the illness really started however. It could be argued that I was born with it as there was always something wrong with me in my mother’s eyes. I had a normal twin brother to compare too throughout my childhood, and I always appeared less developed mentally and physically. I had racing thoughts in Junior High School. I thought everybody was watching me in high school. I noticed people saying weird things for years before the break with reality. There is proof that my mother was exposed to my father’s flu virus on Christmas 4 months before we were born. I guess I have to conclude I was affected and my twin was not. So although I was 23, or 24 when I was officially diagnosed it can be argued I always had it. There were a number of things that could have helped lead to it including my parents divorce, and a rape attempt by another boy when I was about 11, or 12.

My ex-husband was diagnosised in 2010 and now looking back at all the signs and symptoms, he had it for years before he was diagnosised. Probably 20 years prior but I am not sure what finally sent it over the edge that he couldnt handle it himself but when it did finally come out it was seriously bad. Nothing I have ever experienced or even drempt about before. I couldnt fully grasp what he was saying or thinking and that went on for over a month before I called in help and then it got worse from there.