People downplaying our symptoms

I get really irritated when people downplay my symptoms. Especially when they try to compare it to something they experience. Like if I tell them about the music I hear, I invariably get “oh yeah, I get songs stuck in my head too” when I hear constant, pervasive music, as clearly as if I were wearing headphones, all day, every day, and it never stops, and it can be the same song a thousand times in a row, start to finish, or sometimes just a piece of a song, the same phrase, non-stop for 16 hours. Yes, there are SIMILARITIES, but for ■■■■’s sake, don’t try to compare it to your little earworm.

Another big one I get is when people claim to see things. They mention getting little glimpses in the corners of their eye every now and then, meanwhile I’m watching the walls ripple and trying to ignore the bugs I can see crawling on my skin.

Paranoia is one I get sometimes, too. Apparently being suspicious about something is the same as a full-on paranoid delusion. They say stuff like. “I totally think the government could be watching us” as if the NSA is comparable to thinking, KNOWING there are cameras hidden in bathrooms, and people going through my garbage.

And don’t get me started with negative symptoms! (too late) I say I’m disorganized, they cite their messy rooms. I mention the flattened affect and they say they didn’t even cry at Bambi. (I did, btw, so ha). Memory problems get turned into absent-mindedness. It’s maddening how people will try to make it sound like I’m making a big deal over nothing when my every day is a minefield of potential triggers and confusion and I have to meter my social interactions so I don’t get overwhelmed, lest the voices come back and whisper poison into my ear, telling me my friends are out to get me.

All I want is for someone to hear about my symptoms, maybe ask a few questions, and acknowledge that it’s something that is beyond their scope of experience without trying to insinuate themselves into the ■■■■ I have to live with. Is that so much to ask?


“YakDip, c’mon, don’t be so down, get out of bed and feel better, it’s easy, let’s go for a jog, stop being this way and just live!”"

Our problems are not like normal people problems. Only my doctors understand how bad my problems are. Well, and you guys too of course. I don’t even bother trying to explain it too anyone else.

Yeah, people don’t seem to understand that the difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’ is qualitative and not quantitative.

I work at downplaying my symptoms/side effects. The fewer symptoms I have the better.

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I see this a lot. People always say they’re paranoid but they have no idea what it really means. Paranoia is an unreasonable suspicion. It’s not thinking someone is talking about you behind your back or that the NSA might have a file on you. It’s thinking your mom might be poisoning your food or that a massive global conspiracy is targeting you specifically or that you’re being constantly watched and stalked everywhere you go, etc.

It’s pretty annoying when someone without a clue says they’re paranoid and compares it to the real deal.

Maybe instead of looking at it as downplaying, although I do understand why it would feel like that, look at it as someone is trying to have empathy based on their own experiences. In my writings I have made such comparisons. Not to downplay but to give a minimum understanding if I can. I don’t experience constant paranoia or hallucinations so I can’t know what that is like however I can try to empathize with what I have experienced knowing that for those with sz and other conditions that these experiences are a lot more then what I have experienced. But it’s a start to recognizing similarities instead of differences.

I’m sorry that the people in your life are making you feel like this. I do my best to allow my son to tell me his experiences and when I can’t relate then I tell him that I can’t.


It took me a long time to realize that, yes, it actually is possible for people to be so stupid that they respond in the ways that you have mentioned here.

I really really really really did not think that such a huge magnitude of stupidity was a possible thing at all, and so I tried and tried and tried again to put some sense into their heads, but of course there was no luck in such endless attempts at all.

If people insist upon being defective, well then simply respect their choice, and move on to better things, and better people, elsewhere.

I’ve been pondering this… I’ve had a lot of different experiences on this issue.

Yes, there have been some idiots who have to make it all about them. I get very irritated with them and just shake my head and go way.

There are also some who are doing this to try and be empathetic, it falls short and doesn’t work. I still get irritated and walk away.

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Depression may be the closest mentall illness poeple can relate to. Depression is naturally expected in some of life but phsycosis, voices, delusions are not expected as any part of life.

Yeah people downplay my anxiety all the time, therapists, doctors, everyone. They say “yeah but that’s just normal” No…if that were normal no one would get anything done in this world! My anxiety is not normal, it’s hell.

But it’s a start to recognizing similarities instead of differences…

This is SO needed-for everyone! It would certaintly help with stigma and fear. Maybe anyone with a MI coild feel a little more confident about certain issues-and be able to be themselves and not be afraid to seek help etc…
I see the point being made here-and it is very frustrating to say the least----but I also thought the same way you did Barbie…none of it is easy

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We were told back in the 90s not to throw away important personal papers like bank statements with the account # on it, credit card bills, or anything with your SSN on it…not because of the govt but for garbage picking thieves who would use info to get into peoples bank accounts or steal their identity… It’s a very real phenomenon so that wouldn’t be paranoid.
Even the banks tell you

“Ways that identity theft is perpetrated:
Dumpster Diving/Shoulder Surfing. Fraudsters rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with personal information on it. Fraudsters also look over someone’s shoulder while on the computer or completing documents with personal information.”

I can relate. People try to downplay my symptoms from time to time including medical staff. Guess it is human nature though.

Can I ask a question without pissing anyone off? And I really do want to know so that I can help and perhaps respond accordingly.

I only have personal experience with my son and my contact on this forum to go by. I have been accused by my son of not caring about his sz or symptoms because I don’t ask. I have been told not to talk about his sz when I do ask. When I try to empathize I sometimes get ‘you can’t understand and I can’t make you understand.’ If I don’t try then I’m accused of not listening or talking or responding… I don’t know if anyone realized what a no-win situation that is.

So my question is: How are we supposed to respond when being talked to about things that we obviously can not understand?


That sounds more like a typical kid than anything specific to schizophrenia. They want their parents to show an interest but when the parent does they always push them away.

It seems like a no win situation but I think that your showing an interest is noticed and does help. Even if you “can’t understand” he’s going to realize that you are trying to understand, and that’s a good thing.

I think the best way is to just reassure them that you’re there to listen to anything they have to say and help any way you can.

Personally, I think a care giver can understand pretty well what it’s like, same with psychiatrists. I know that to many people it seems like a unique, unexplainable, experience but really much of it is similar to what others go through and can indeed be understood by someone who isn’t suffering.


Wow… that sounds like me in my anger phase… “No one can understand what’s going on in my head right now.” Then when my parents would back off … “Oh sure, just walk away, what do you care?”

There was a time when my parents were in that no win situation. I guess what helped was when my Mom would sort of give up and shake her head and say, “Well, I can’t force it out of you… I’m here to listen if you ever need to talk.” But it took a lot back then for me open up to my parents. I was afraid they would slap me in hospital.

I hate to say it… and I know that not everyone has the luxury of a younger sibling… but I would unload my entire brain on my kid sis. I would tell her everything. Most likely because I knew she had no power to do anything about it. Plus she and all her imaginary friends were very calm and understanding.

She couldn’t slap me in the hospital, she couldn’t force me to take my meds, she couldn’t kick me out or hold my money… But I do realize now how unfair that was. I now really lay it all out on my Therapist’s desk and not lay all down on my sis.


That’s another thing I was trying to look into yesterday. How anger works. A different set of neurotransmitters. Sometimes I feel in over my head :blush:

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It’s a very odd thing… My anger management class couldn’t even put a finger on exactly what would trigger anger… It has SO many motivators.

Some people it’s due to panic and fear response… for others it could be due to overstimulation… for some it’s even to depression and constant disappointment. It contains a lot of adrenaline and energy.

It blows me away how strong it is… as negative symptoms was eating away at my head to where I could hardly feel anything… I could still feel anger. So there were times when feeling angry actually felt good because it was Something… and something to me was better then nothing.

Now I hate it. I hate the taste of it… it’s acidic and overly alkaline at the same time… it’s like bitter orange peels and bad vinegar.


They down play cause they don’t want the torture you go through to sound like a big deal.