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What is Schizophrenia Like

Updated on July 19, 2014

Having Schizophrenia or Living With a Schizophrenic is Never Easy

Schizophrenia is a hard illness for loved ones to deal with.

The thing that you need to remember: It's darn near unbearable for the person afflicted by it.

I know this because my sister was diagnosed as a Schizophrenic years ago. There are more days that she doesn't want to live than there are days that she thinks that she can struggle through.

Imagine waking up to a nightmare after a sleep filled with total terror. This is what daily life is like for the Schizophrenic. Their good days aren't even close to what unafflicted people would consider good. They don't know what's real and what's not real, but it is not their fault. They struggle daily just to do the most mundane things. Walking to the curb for mail will seem impossible.

They feel like they have failed everyone around them, and they are overcome by guilt and shame on top of everything else.

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What is the Definition of Schizophrenia?

Per Merriam-Webster the definition of schizophrenia:

A psychotic disorder characterized by loss of contact with the environment, by noticeable deterioration in the level of functioning in everyday life, and by disintegration of personality expressed as disorder of feeling, thought (as delusions), perception (as hallucinations), and behavior -called also dementia praecox.

My Sister, Kay Kay - What is Schizophrenia Like


You may think that I'm stretching the truth, but I'm not. Until you lived with it, there really is no way to understand it. My sister is doing well at the moment; however, she has been misdiagnosed, shoveled pills, and in and out of mental institutions for years. She will flat out tell you that if she didn't believe in Hell, she would take her life. We were raised Catholic, you see.

Probably the best book that I ever read about Schizophrenia

Divided Minds: Twin Sisters and Their Journey Through Schizophrenia
Divided Minds: Twin Sisters and Their Journey Through Schizophrenia

This was a very well written story about twin sisters, one that suffered from schizophrenia. The story is told by the different sisters at different times. This approach offered a rare, if not totally unique look at that illness.


Types of Schizophrenia






Catatonic Type Schizophrenia

What is Schizophrenia Like

This is rare today. It was usually reflected in advance stages of schizophrenia before current treatment methods. Patients may show odd or extreme behavior and possibly catatonia. Posture may be affected; some may imitate sounds or movements. Patients may also explode into an agitated state marked by meaningless repetitive movements.

Disorganized Type Schizophrenia

What is Schizophrenia Like

Distinguishes itself by the patients disorganized behavior and speech. Their actions or reactions me be flat or out of place.

Typically these patients show a mixture of unconventional uniqueness such as strange clothing or irregular gestures. This type involves a disorder in behavior, verbal communication, and thought process.

Paranoid Type Schizophrenia

What is Schizophrenia Like

Hearing voices, hallucinations, delusions are all typical in patients with this form of schizophrenia. Both cognitively and emotionally, they tend to function fairly well. The delusions tend to be extremely complex thoughts of maltreatment or personal magnificence, a megalomaniac.

These patients may appear fairly normal until they become involved in arguments or become suspicious.

Residual Type Schizophrenia

What is Schizophrenia Like

In the residual type of schizophrenia, the patient has had at least one episode of schizophrenia. If delusions or hallucinations are present, they are not prominent, and are not accompanied by strong affect.

This is when a patient was once diagnosed with schizophrenia -had at least one episode of schizophrenia- but no longer has the prominent psychotic symptoms. Some symptoms may remain such as:

  • Peculiar behavior
  • Emotionally dull
  • Irrational thinking
  • Social extraction

Undifferentiated Type Schizophrenia

What is Schizophrenia Like

This is sort of the umbrella term. It means the patient clearly suffers from schizophrenia; however, they fail to meet the criteria for the other subtypes in this illness. They may suffer from psychotic symptoms from multiple different subtype categories.

Source and Photo Credits for

Schizophrenia and Your Loved Ones

Psych Central.

The rights were purchased to use all all photos showing no credit from

Canvas - A Great Movie Regarding Schizophrenia

As soon as I read the synopsis I was in for the ride. I really love Marcia Gay Harden, and the main theme, schizophrenia, is always of interest to me.


The paranoia that accompanies schizophrenia was very well portrayed. It also delves into the effects that schizophrenia has on the families. They really are victims too. You have the deep financial stress due to medical bills and prescriptions. The prescriptions alone for a single patient can easily run into the thousands every month after insurance has paid their part. I couldn't imagine being a child in such a situation. It breaks my heart to even think about it. Can you imagine the inner turmoil it would cause a child?

Marcia Gay Harden plays Mary, the mother and wife with schizophrenia. Her performance gave me chills. The choices are not great for schizophrenia. You are either dulled to the point that you hardly feel alive or you're hearing voices that aren't there.

This may not be everyone's ideal movie, but it really struck a chord with me. Someone very close to me suffers from schizophrenia. She has often said that almost every day she wakes she wishes that she could just end it. She has spent a lot of time in hospitals. The worst part of schizophrenia is that when someone is having a bad episode they trust nobody. That makes it really hard because they don't even trust those who are genuinely trying to help.


Canvas Trailer

Do You Have Experience with Schizophrenia?

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i have a good friend who has schizophrenia she is always asking for thing from me making new words and tell ur past alot

    • shauna1934 profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm schitzoaffective, and have been in and out of hospitals, on meds, etc for the last six years. Currently, managing fairly well - living a low stress life.

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 

      6 years ago from California

      Yes, and you are so right about how hard it is for everyone. You never know when the good days will turn bad. I think you did a really good job explaining Schizophrenia here.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I've Schizoaffective Disorder since eight -- nine years.

    • JakTraks profile image

      Jacqueline Marshall 

      7 years ago from Chicago area

      I've worked the past 12 years with people diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Nicely done lens - am lensrolling it to my Uniquely Wired lens.

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image


      8 years ago

      Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

    • luvmyludwig lm profile image

      luvmyludwig lm 

      8 years ago

      My father-n-law has schizophrenia. I knew him before he had any symptoms, but I wasn't around during the rough patch before he was diagnosed and treated. My husband doesn't like to talk about it. He was the only one there to take care of his dad during that time, and it took quite a while for anyone to believe my husband when he said something was terribly wrong (he was fresh out of high school). We are lucky that he stays on his meds and they work wonders for him. There are side effects to contend with, but my father-n-law lives a normal life. Like I said we are lucky and he is lucky. I am sorry that your sister and family are dealing with so much. It's not easy to deal with the effects of a mental illness. Something you wrote really struck a chord with me. "They feel like they have failed everyone around them, and they are overcome by guilt and shame on top of everything else." that statement is so true. I do not have schizophrenia, I have bipolar disorder, but the guilt is something that is present in most people with a mental health disorder, and it, for me, is the hardest thing to get past when trying get better. Your sister is lucky to have someone in her life that realizes the pain she's in. I wish your sister the best and pray she sees more good days than bad.


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