What Was Your First Year Like?

I’m wondering what it was like, for you, in the first year? Were you diagnosed upon your first episode? Did the psychosis fade away and come back or was it persistent? How old were you? Just curious!


I was about 9 when I figured out things weren’t OK with me. My parents have said I was having problems back when I was 5. At 9 there were just odd little things like some how hurting my hand during a physical fight with an imaginary friend and cutting my finger open to give him blood and make him stop being mad at me. I was 11 when my amazing kid sister was born. I was a mess. I had all sorts of delusions. I was convinced that god gave her to me as sort of a pet to raise and keep safe. She’s 17 now and lives with me. We’re still close. I just got worse every year until my hospitalization at 17. I also had a large drug and alcohol problem by then too.

I was first diagnosed bipolar then ADHD, then due to a house fire at 14, PTSD, then something else. 17 was the incident that got me in hospital and then I got my undifferentiated SZ label. It only really faded these past few years that I’ve been clean and sober.

It started for me when I was 16. I had some bizarre delusions (I thought I was a vampire for a while), occasional auditory hallucinations, and a few OCD-like tendencies. But I was always a weird kid, so nobody thought anything was wrong with me. Then around 21, my symptoms took a jump. The hallucinations became constant (and haven’t stopped yet, I always at least hear music no matter what), I had more delusions and paranoia, and I started getting confused and distracted, sometimes staring off unresponsive for up to an hour at a time. But still, nobody noticed anything, and I wasn’t acknowledging it at all. I would hide my symptoms, make excuses to leave social settings, and act like nothing was wrong.

Psychosis came and went, I’d be okay (but still hallucinating) for a few months, then back in it for a few months, until last summer, when it went almost completely away. My only symptom was music. At the time, of course, I was still denying my symptoms, so I didn’t really think anything of it, just noted that I was thinking a bit more clearly. This lasted until this past spring. Psychosis came back hard, hitting in “episodes” filled with intense hallucinations, cognitive deficiencies, and terror, that would last for a few hours at a time, whenever I would get too stressed. Between episodes, I’d still be psychotic, but more capable of dealing with the symptoms and functioning in society. This is when someone finally noticed.

My friend, who works in the mental health field, noticed my behavior and suggested I pick a night every week for us to talk. So we talked for a while, I explained to her what I’d noticed, and remembered in retrospect, and she recommended therapy. So I went, got referred almost immediately to a psychiatrist when I explained my situation to the therapist, and that’s where I am now.

I’m still psychotic, in fact worse than I’ve been since spring, and the short episodes have increased in frequency from maybe once a week to an average of twice per day. I can function, just barely, and am still (obviously) capable of intelligent communication, but my ability to cope with daily stresses and interact with people has diminished significantly, and my psychiatrist is still looking for a medication that will work for me.

I was diagnosed in 1980. In 1984 my mom told me she had thought something was wrong with me in high school but she didn’t know what it was. I moved out of my parents home in 1979 at age18. Looking back now I see the start of my problems and how they progressed but for me at the time I just lived my life doing things that weren’t me and didn’t think anything serious was wrong. I was very anxious most of the time. I was almost panicked at most of my jobs. I had gotten my first job as a dishwasher at age 17 and in the following two years I had about 15 or 16 jobs. None lasted more than three months and I got fired from half of them. The running joke in my family was that I was great at GETTING jobs but terrible at HOLDING them. Anyway, I’m jumping around on the timeline but basically when I was living on my own I was smoking pot and taking acid. When I was 19 I took too much LSD one day.It triggered my schizophrenia and I’ve never been the same since. I had to move back in with my parents but I was still working. My parents arranged for me to see a therapist. After about 6 months of seeing this therapist I was doing badly so they put me in my first psyche ward. My therapist was this really cute, really nice young women. I remember she cried when the head of the clinic told her that I needed to be hospitalized. I was sad that I made her cry. Anyway, that was the start of my thirty+ years career as a practicing schizophrenic. My first year was horrible when I got out of the hospital. I was constantly intensely, psychotic with no relief for even a minute.