In this episode of Schizophrenia and the City,Michelle Hammer discusses some of the early signs of schizophrenia that she experienced. When Michelle was younger, one of her first hallucinations was that, while in the car, she would see a man driving a motorcycle on power lines. Although, at the time, neither Michelle nor her family thought anything of it. Symptoms also started showing up during soccer games – she would start talking to people who weren’t there or get stuck in a hallucination and end up not playing at all. Her soccer coach noticed these symptoms, and, instead of offering help, made fun of her and insulted her for it. Michelle hated this coach for the way he treated her, especially as she was suffering through depression. During class, Michelle, who sat in the back, would experience hallucinations, talk to herself, and laugh. Her classmates heard her and repeatedly asked her about it, but Michelle never noticed it and dismissed it still. She once, during a conversation, looked at the wall, smiled, nodded, and returned to talking with her friends. This event was brought up multiple times by classmates, who thought it was funny. Michelle, on the other hand, thought that all these behaviors were completely normal. Despite all this, it had not yet occurred to anybody that Michelle had schizophrenia. They waved it away and assumed that Michelle just acted that way. The only voice that told her that something was wrong was her paranoia: the terrible, omnipresent, nagging voice that constantly told her that everything she did was awful, stupid, worthless, and fraudulent. This voice ruined her life – it came to her at night and tortured her endlessly. When Michelle started taking medication, she was finally freed of the voice, and was able to live in peace.
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