Schizophrenia : Auditory and Visual Hallucinations

“I’m going to die tonight.” Have you ever had someone tell you that before? Its a pretty strange thing to hear…Kinda scary and extremely sad. This next patient is also extremely dear to my heart. We connected almost instantly and I had a deep love for her and am very sad knowing I will never see her again. The first time I saw her she was standing in the hall with another psych tech. The tech was calming her down, telling her to try to “touch” the hallucination she was seeing. When she realized that she couldn’t feel it she would realize that what she is seeing is not real. You see some people  with schizophrenia are aware that they see and hear things but there are some who do not, they truly do live in a different reality than us. This patient was aware but that didn’t make it any easier to deal with. In my 2 years of working there I had never seen a patient have as many and as bad visual and auditory hallucinations as her. She spent every day, all day suffering from these. The voices would tell her that if she ate something, drank something, took her medications that someone in her family was going to die. And when I did finally convince her to eat something the voices would tell her she could only take 9 bites. It was 9 of everything. She would have to count to 9 and then she would feel better. If she didn’t listen to the voices they would only increase. The voices would tell her to hurt herself and to kill herself. They would tell her to bang her head and eye against something sharp so she would walk around touching corners of walls to see if it was sharp enough. I could never leave her alone. I would constantly run to go check on her, many times coming into the room and find her banging her head against the wall. When I get in between her and the wall and hold her back she would fight me, yelling, ” No, I have to! Please let me, I have to!” One of the many times an idea came to my mind. With my pointer finger I began tapping on her forhead lightly. Her body suddenly became calm and her eyes closed and gently sat down on the bed. It worked! I told her, you can do that for yourself whenever you need to. She left and came back exactly 1 year later still in the same condition, still suffering but she told me that she always remembered and would tap herself on her forehead sometimes. Most of the time the voices are so strong that she cant remember to do it.  Her body twists and turn, thrashing about as if someone is physically hurting her, screaming and moaning. I talk loudly, so that my voice will be louder than the voices. I say, ” listen to my voice” and it would work sometimes. She would tell me, ” Im going to die tonight. I cant live like this anymore.” I would just say, ” Im not going to let you.” She would grab me and hold me. I could feel her pain and misery. I would also sing her to sleep. Music was also helpful in getting her mind off the voices. Sometimes I would turn on Pandora on my phone. The goal of every shift was to get her to sleep. Once she was asleep I knew she had peace. Sleeping for most of these patients is the only time they are freed from their suffering. I found her on her bathroom floor twice with a pillowcase around her neck, her face turning blue. Both times I had a feeling and ran to her room unexpectedly. She lives in hell. She just tries to survive from day to day. The saddest part about it Is that she is the sweetest kindest, most loving person I have ever met. When she left she gave me a note and a mood necklace. I will always cherish it and I think about her and the strength she has to continue living and it gives me strength whenever I feel weighed down by life.

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