Schizophrenia.com

Do you appear normal?


#1

Do you, as a schizophrenic, appear normal when someone is talking to you?

I do not want to offend anyone in here, but here’s the thing: my psychiatrist denied me clozapine last week because, in essence, I appear too normal - at least in the way I present when in the doctor’s room. I talk about having voices that bug me 24/7, but apparently I appear to talk about it with great insight and normality.

So, he concluded I wasn’t a treatment resistant schizophrenic. I’m in New Zealand here by the way.

He told me schizophrenics he interviews typically appear disjointed in their speech, some slightly incoherent…but definitely appearing outside the norm of a person you typically speak with. They also may be severely distracted by voices, etc. He said they’ll lack the ability to talk about their symptoms with any real insight, etc.

My question is – for the schizophrenics in here, do you appear relatively normal? When my psychiatrist denied me clozapine my mind thought of the schizophrenia.com forums and I believe that most people in here seem quite normal in their presentation of information. Very little is actually disjointed and people in here display good insight into their condition.

I’ve seen plenty of American schizophrenics and they appear quite normal, in fact above average many times, when seeing them on YouTube. Either there is a massive misdiagnosis of schizophrenia in America or New Zealand schizophrenics are different.

What are your views on this?


#2

I appear normal. My doctor is letting me try Clozapine. I don’t really agree with your doctor he should allow you to take it. People don’t know I have sz.


#3

I definitely agree with you. I don’t believe that NOT appearing normal is a requirement for being schizophrenic. I believe you can still appear normal AND be schizophrenic. He’s weird, because he insisted I was an “enigma” so he hasn’t really seen anyone like me before in his career. It could be a New Zealand thing, but seriously, American schizophrenics seem quite bright, insightful and normal for the most part.


#4

He knows you hear voices 24 7. He should let you take it. It’s almost not rational for him to think that because you are already taking similar medicines.


#5

True. He knows I hear voices, AND there is a delusion that I have that he is aware of. He is aware I’ve tried 6 antipsychotics and none have worked…and he STILL does not want to prescribe me Clozapine. I’m getting a 2nd opinion next Tuesday with a professor of psychiatry.


#6

Good point about taking similar medications. The irony is he recommended Haldol, which I’m actually now taking. But I have a feeling Haldol aint going to work, so I’m wanting a try at Clozapine.


#7

Imagine if you stopped hearing voices. You could get a job, almost do anything.


#8

Stopping hearing voices would be transforming. It would be the BEST thing that ever happened to me.


#9

Heres the thing, too many psychiatrists, therapists have a distorted view on what schizophrenia looks like. They can also stigmatize. My therapist tells me that I do not behave in a very schizophrenic manner. I admit I am more stable on the meds cocktail at present, but many doctors have limited experience with schizophrenics. They may work in a hospital setting and get used to seeing very sick patients or very low functioning schizophrenics.
Many doctors follow the DSM 5 religiously and know schizophrenia in a very limited manner - through text books mainly. Schizophrenia is a very fluctuating type illness. One day you are coping the next you are falling a part.
In public with the general population, my schizophrenic symptoms flare up more. When I am with familiar people, especially on a one to one basis I can pass as being somewhat “normal”. It really all depends.
Clozaril is a great medication, but reserved for those patients who are treatment resistent - if you have tried all of the other meds but have not improved then you are a likely a candidate. Clozaril has a lot of serious side effects but when it works its like magic.


#10

Seriously though, hearing voices 24/7 is pure evil. It’s mind control of the highest order. I am made to think about whatever it’s talking about at any time of the day.


#11

yeah, i always rev it up before i go in to ask for meds;
quit eating and sleeping for a few days, and put together some really psychotic material.
i go in, do a 45 minute monologue, extremely manic and slightly disorganized, and extremely phantasmagoric; on two recent times at the end i got up and took a bow,
and received applause and a smile from the pdoc.
the last one said they recommend i enter a long term in patient facility,
but that’s the thing, do it like that and the diagnoses they give out are more extreme than they should be.

yeah, i can do normal too, job interviews, anywhere you are trying to get access to resources.

if i am feeling pretty psycho - no food no sleep - and wanna appear normal,

i get some sleep, maybe some seroquel to do that, and then eat some pizza.

act and seem totally in control.

i always said, the us has no defense against me, but if only they had the resources to have a pdoc follow me around 24 hours a day for a few days, they’d catch me. but of course they never do


#12

the dreamer must control the dream,
not the dream the dreamer,
cause this can be a nightmare,
or a very beautiful dream.


#13

LOL, yeah, that was hilarious.

I have an appointment next week with a Professor of Psychiatry.

I was thinking of just putting on an act, and throwing in some BS delusions along the way. But I’ll just be me and see how it goes.


#14

I think I appear normal. In my interview for Bryn Mawr College, the interviewer never suspected anything. I hope your new psychiatrist is more willing to work with you.


#15

I’ve been told I appear normal - even though I believe in some insane delusions.

One psychiatrist actually told me I’m too high-functioning to be schizophrenic. She was convinced I had bipolar disorder with psychotic features. But a couple other doctors did diagnose me with schizophrenia. It varied.

Good luck with your new appointment.


#16

Yes. After my initial break, in which I talked about delusions and hallucinations, I learned to keep to myself and speak only when spoken to. The guy who evaluated me thought I was in trouble and was trying to fake a diagnosis at first…after asking me some questions, he quickly changed his mind. He told me this when the evaluation was finished. My psychiatrist could tell I was nuts though. Today he listed off my status as of a year ago to show me how much I had improved with medication…I was very symptomatic and behaved oddly, apparently. My whole memory of being psychotic is not that clear for some reason…I must have given off a sick vibe. I think it’s the little things that can give clues to mental status…like how you greet someone and enter a room and how often you make eye contact or just stare out the window…that sort of stuff.

Family and friends who have known about me remark on how normal and well I seem. I guess I gave off a mentally ill vibe for a while. I sure felt ill…I just didn’t always strike people as crazy…could have been the way I look…I have always been athletic or built, doing some sort of exercise regularly. Psychosis made me want to exercise more for some reason, and I was lean and muscular, now I’m a little bulkier, I only lift weights now, I used to practice boxing and run too.

But today I seem normal because I am in remission, I am symptom free, at least 99% symptom free. Hallucinations and delusions are pretty rare but they sometimes still happen…I just know they’re not real now and don’t really care or react much at all. For some reason I had some hallucinations at a NAMI meeting…could have been time for my meds, I think it was actually…the meeting was rather late, when I usually take my meds.


#17

I hope schizoaffective qualifies my answer: Unless i’m in a very stressful situation or having a serious episode I present very well. My current doctor/therapist were confused by the difference between my demeanor and my MMPI scores which indicated psychosis. I’ve always been very aware of the things i experience which are not physically real, the only things i am unaware of are delusions, and I often keep those to myself because I learned quite young that freely discussing my raw ideas got me branded as ‘weird’ in short order. I was considered bipolar for a decade until it was determined that i was experiencing psychotic symptoms in between affective episodes. In a stressful work environment I can appear to much less intelligent than i am due to spacing out daydreaming while recieving instruction, and the more acute cognitive impairment. on my last full time job i was actually asked by a co-worker if i was “slow” as a serious question instead of an insult, the guy was trying to look out for me as he was deaf and wondered if i was being given too hard of a job to do for a percieved disability. in reality i was hearing voices, having visual daydreams while the boss was instructing me, and seeing my hands get smashed while trying to use a break press which was all very confusing and distracting. I felt very insulted at first. It seems that when i’m not having a mood episode, the psychotic symptoms i experience are pretty light and unthreatening so there’s no need for me to ask for help. Friendly voices, free music, ESP and seeing UFOs or things like that are usually more interesting to me than frightening. The paranoid delusions and violent or disturbing visions, and angry voices are -usually- present when i’m depressed or mixed. Grandeur comes with mania. After the fact, I recognize them usually for what they are, and during the fact -USUALLY- i can’t be arsed to take my medications or visit my shrinks due to avolition or some bizarre reasoning. Thus I often stay under the radar except for the disastrous effects all this has on my ‘official’ life such as finances, marriage, and social relationships, which when coming from a well spoken individual seem more like a personality problem or something of that nature.

I am new to discussing SZ/SZA with doctors, but in my experience there are always doctors who are unfamiliar with certain areas simply due to their exposure. My last therapist was good at interpersonal relationship problems, substance abuse, and basic talk therapy but was not very experienced with bipolar disorder or psychosis. he had a focus area that he treated and it had been years since he was in the hospital scene. I’ve had one MD who was really good with mental health issues, was friends and had a good working relationship with my psychiatrist, but i’ve had another MD who admittedly knew absolutely jack about mental health. Doctors are just like mechanics: your milage may vary.

That’s my experience with it.


#18

No. I’ve tried hard in the past + still do try. It’s better on some days than others. Having my hair clean + looking good helps.


#19

i appear very normal i think to everyone in the outside world ( not here of course ! ).
i would just change shrink.
take care


#20

I pretty much have always appeared pretty normal. Some stuff is going on right now that I’m driving myself crazy over but I can pretty much go about my daily business with no one the wiser. And even at my worst I can talk normally,except sometimes I clam up around certain people. I’ve had a few therapists tell me that If they didn’t know from my hospital chart that I had schizophrenia they would never be able to tell.