My mental illness symptoms as a child

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My motivation for writing this is so that people can better understand mental illness in children.

When I turned 4 something major happened to me.
I started acting really strange.
When I would stare at the walls or ceilings I would see them breath.
When I would stare at objects, say furniture for example, I would see these objects move by either sliding or jerking in a certain direction.
Every now and then I would see strange white lights appear and disappear.
I started rolling my head at night.
I became very emotional, and anything could make me upset.
I had strange emotions as a child, but I don't know how to explain them.
I became completely incapable of of separating fantasy from reality.
I became very socially withdrawn. There were a few children that I liked to play with though.
I felt very different from the other children and socially awkward.
I would ramble a lot.
I liked to organize things in my mind over and over again.
My mom was over indulgent, but my dad was harsh and punitive, and was always punishing me for my strange behavior.
When I was in the second grade I was diagnosed with dyslexia. The doctors felt that I would never really be able to read. I probably had dyscalculia too, but it was never diagnosed.
When I turned about seven I started having severe depression.
Being different, getting picked on or excluded, feeling isolated, having a hard time in school, being mistreated by my father, and having depression caused me to have really low self esteem as a child.
Also during this time I would sometimes see big balls of light, hear voices, believe that satellites were watching me, and feel people touching me at night time.
After I turned seven I had weird body sensations too. For example, at night time while I would lay in bed it felt like my body was shrinking.
My favorite thing to do as a child was just go into the woods and hang out by myself.

Forestman
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Evo
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Were you ever diagnosed as schizophrenic? I believe you said you were on medication, so you are under a doctor's care right now?
 
  • #3
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I am currently diagnosed as schizotypal (which is like a mild form of schizophrenia), and I do have a doctor. I see him every week. You probably would not know that I was schizotypal if you met me though because my medicines do a really good job. But if you talked to me for a little while you would realize that there is something different about me. Plus now in my life I look a little odd. The really strange thing is, is that my mental problems went away once I got into the 6th grade, but during my junior year I started having depression really bad, and by my senior year all my problems had come back with a vengeance.

I made a lot of progress in high school academically and socially though. I become an A, B student, I went to summer ventures in science and math one summer, and I was voted vice president of the student body, and the most friendless my junior year. I ran cross country and track as well. After I started to change though people stopped having anything to do with me.
 
  • #4
Evo
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That's sad, but at least you are getting proper treatment. Can I ask which meds you are on, you mentioned your head getting larger.
 
  • #5
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Sure...These are the meds that I take currently:

Abilify
Lithium
Tregretol
Paxil
Xanx

I take another med too, I can't remember what it is called, but it is for the tremors in my hands. It starts with a P, and is also used as a heart medicine.
 
  • #6
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Also when I first started having mental problems in adolescence it severally affected my IQ for at least 4 or 5 years, but I also have sleep apnea, which was not being treated at the time, so the sleep deprivation could have been part of it as well.

Plus when I graduated from high school I weighed only 200 pounds. But after starting meds I ended up gaining 100 pounds within a years time.
 
  • #7
Evo
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You poor thing, you've had quite a battle, glad that you are staying positive.
 
  • #9
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I am mentally ill, too. I am on paxil 10mg and risperdal 1mg.
however, my diagnosis were somewhat controversal.
by the help of meds, my illness doesnt impair my functioning.
people observe me as a healthy person.
 
  • #10
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Wow, that really sucks for you. I think it's sad that many people don't want to deal with mental illnesses. I can get really angry for that. If somebody has cancer, then everybody will try really hard for that person. But somebody with problems like you, people will avoid like the plague. It's very unfair... I, myself, have been diagnozed with some anxiety disorders, and people tend to find such things wierd.

I'm actually quite interested in your situation. Do you mind if I ask you some questiions?
You said that it began when you were 4 years old. Was there some kind of trigger that started it?
Do you feel any progress with your medication?
Also, do you suffer from mood disorders? Because lithium is often given against mania's (but I could be wrong about this).

Sorry if these questions are too intrusive, but I've always been very interested in mental illnesses, since many people in family (including me) has them and suffer from things like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression,...
 
  • #11
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I don't mean to hijack this thread, but maybe this is the place to describe my mental symptoms. I simply hope that somebody who goes through the same things, will be able to relate and find help.

My childhood has always been ok. However, I did have some strange (but normal) quirks. I would always order everything such that it is correct, that is: I never could stand imperfection. I've also been quite slow with learning things, it took a long time before I could really add and multiply properly. I could never have imagined that I would end up doing mathematics later...
But the trouble really begun when I was about 16. I became quite depressed and suicidal. I also tended to be afraid of other people. I would avoid them as much as possible. I've never been a person with a lot of social contacts, I always fear that those contacts would end up hurting me. Also, I started to have other strange symptoms. When somebody talked about something negative, like a disease, I would start fearing that I would get that disease. That fear would only go away when I did something "special", like switching the lights on and off 8 times. Or something similar. I've always known that this was stupid and irrational, but I simply had to do it to relieve myself... Those things would get worse over time...

Later I found out that I had OCD, and stages of depression. I also have I strong feeling that I might have an avoidant personality, but I'm not yet diagnozed with it...

As for medication, I take efexor (against depression), fluanxol (against OCD) and kemadrin (against restless legs which occur when the fluanxol puts to much dopamin in my brains).
I've been to a psychologist a few times, but I've stopped because I started to be afraid of her...

But I still feel quite happy at the moment :smile:
 
  • #12
lisab
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I'm so glad there are meds to help people now! I can't imagine the suffering people went through before they were available :frown:.
 
  • #13
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Hey micromass, I do have a mood disorder. I am diagnosed with bipolar, OCD, and schizotypal.

The only tiger that I can thank of is that my dad started becoming emotionally, and at times physically abusive, but then again, he might have just been reacting to the changes in me.

When I went to a community college I was very open about my illness and everyone avoided me there. They even tried to get rid of me, even though I had showed no signs of aggression. But several professors who I became friends with protected me. I am still best friends with one of them. It took me about 7 years to get my two year degree though because the first 4 or 5 years my intelligence had become very impaired. But to be honest I am glad that I have been through the things that I have because these problems have given me a lot empathy. I think that if I had never had any problems then I would probably be an arrogant ***.

Micromass thank you for sharing your story. I can relate with a lot of it. I used to have a lot of problems in math as well, but got through high school with the help of tutoring, but one day about 3 years ago I decided that I wanted to learn higher math so that I could fully understand physics. So for the most part I have been studying math for about 3 or 4 hours every day. I started all over at the very beginning with basic math. I am now on calculus. My goal is to one day within the next three or four years to understand the mathematics of GR and QM.

Thank you for your support lisab.
And thank you for sharing revnakuma
 
  • #14
Pythagorean
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Forestman,

I appreciate the opportunity you present us with in your candidness. Thank you.

Do you have a dominant eye, hand, leg?
 
  • #15
cobalt124
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Might as well throw my hat in the ring. Diagnosis of mild OCD and depression over most of my life. Tried several meds currently on Paroxetine 30 mg which seems to be the best one (kicked the beta blockers). Therapist advised i) I join an online forum, hence I took the plunge and joined PF, and ii) I do some meditation exercises. Both are doing me the power of good, and for the first time in a long time, I'm feeling optimistic about things.

EDIT: Apologies, no hijack intended, just wanted to share.
 
  • #16
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Hey Pythagorean, my right eye is perfect, but my left eye is not that great. I can see out of my left eye okay, but I can't read from it. However when I have both eyes open I see fine. I guess my brain just pays attention to the info coming in from my right eye. I have never felt any strain or anything like that on my right eye. I am right handed. My hand writing is not that great though. I can write neatly if I try, but if I write naturally it looks like a child's. Even though I have bad hand writing it does not seem to effect my ability to draw. I don't know if I have a dominate leg or not. But if I had to guess I would say my right, because I do feel that they do walk a little differently because the pressure on them feels different. But not much. My brother on the other hand is left handed. He had to have laser surgery on both of his eyes because they were in bad shape. He didn't inherit any mental or learning problems.

There is something that I just thought about that is related to what someone else asked me, so I am going to put it here. Even though I don't remember anything triggering happening when I was 4. When I was about 7, which is when things got worse, I was sledding by myself and I ended up hitting a tree head first. It did not knock me unconsciousness though, and I don't remember that the pain lasted long.

I am glad you shared colbalt124.
 
  • #17
Pythagorean
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Interesting; My right eye is the same way (it used to be wandering, but I had surgery to fix it, but since I didn't really use it, it never developed excellent neural connections). So I can't read with my right eye alone. Well... I can.. but it's so painfully frustrating and slow that I don't: all the words appear jumbled.

I'm left-handed, myself, and I hear about these studies about lefthandedness and schizophrenia, lefthandedness and homosexuality, lefthandedness and (insert eccentric stuff here). Don't know how much of it is crap.

Is your brother a twin by chance?
 
  • #18
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But to be honest I am glad that I have been through the things that I have because these problems have given me a lot empathy. I think that if I had never had any problems then I would probably be an arrogant ***.

Haha, now it's like I'm hearing myself speak :smile: Mental illness is not fun, but going through the experience will learn you quite a few things...

I'm really happy you made this topic forestman. And thanks to everybody who shared their story, I appreciate it. Others are also welcomed to do so :smile:
 
  • #19
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Hey Pythagorean,

My brother is four years younger than me. I brought him up because I was not sure if there would be any connection with your question. I thought that maybe if I turned out the way I did in terms of right to left dominance that there would have been a certain chance that a sibling would have turned out another way that would revel something.
 
  • #20
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I've posted this before, and I don't mean it as any link to violence, simply an accurate re-phrasing of an earlier point by micromass:

"This is a psychiatric failure, it's not a political failure; it's a failure of our ability to provide basic care for people who have 'brain diseases- that are serious mentally. If these people had kidney diseases we wouldn't stand for it, but they don't understand the brain well enough and we have completely failed them." (Dr. E Fuller Torrey on CNN regarding the Loughner incident, in an hour dedicated to Schizophrenia.)

There really are no other frankly symptomatic illnesses which would receive so little public support, sympathy, and systematic treatment. We generally jail or consign the severely mentally ill to the streets or other marginalized lives, all in the name of saving money, disbelief, or a hypocrite's 'morality'.
 
  • #21
cobalt124
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There really are no other frankly symptomatic illnesses which would receive so little public support, sympathy, and systematic treatment. We generally jail or consign the severely mentally ill to the streets or other marginalized lives, all in the name of saving money, disbelief, or a hypocrite's 'morality'.

And this is why this is such a great thread. Mental illness thrives on silence and ignorance.
 
  • #22
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And this is why this is such a great thread. Mental illness thrives on silence and ignorance.

I couldn't agree more, I think Forestman, and then others have been extremely brave in being so open about this. Some will judge them, or pity them... for me it's just an added level of understanding.

In that vein, I have well diagnosed ADD with comorbid GAD and mild depression bordering on dysphoria. I can't say that I'd be happier without this, but it's hardly crippling either in an age of CBT psychotheraphy and psychiatry. Much of mental illness, whatever the type or severity, is learning the terrain... can't start that process without actually talking about it.
 
  • #23
wolram
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I do not want bore you with my mental state, i just want to say that this thread makes me happy and sad, i wish you all well.:smile:
 
  • #24
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I do not want bore you with my mental state, i just want to say that this thread makes me happy and sad, i wish you all well.:smile:

As the french would say:

*Lights a Gauloise... drag...* "Ahhh... life." :wink:
 
  • #25
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I used to know somebody who told me he had schizophrenia as a child. I don't remember what his symptoms were.
I asked him what his parents were like, and he said dismissively that they were "nonentities".
I was abused horribly as a child, and I thought that was strange and alienating that someone would think of their parents as meaningless - because my parents were a horrible reality to me!
Then 25 years later or so, I heard from him again. He had come out of denial somewhat - he described to me what his parents actually were like. Not nonentities any more. The hell that he had grown up in. He had been abused, too.
So I wonder when I hear about "mentally ill" children, whether they're being abused and don't want to think about it that way. Because it's too painful. It takes decades sometimes for people to realize just how bad the environment was when they were growing up.
Laura
 

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