Hearing voices and visions or delusions as some may refer to them as have become a part of daily life me over the years.
A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary. As a pathology, it is distinct from a belief based on false or incomplete information, confabulation, dogma, illusion, or other effects of perception.
Delusions typically occur in the context of neurological or mental illness, although they are not tied to any particular disease and have been found to occur in the context of many pathological states (both physical and mental).
Can you imagine my children’s surprise when they returned from school to find me darting around the living room, telling them to be careful that they didn’t stand on the hamster?
Not only did I see the hamster, it was running up and down the Christmas tree that was standing in the middle of our living room.
The children must have been completely confused, as it was July and we didn’t have the Christmas tree up at all, but I could see it, twinkle lights and all.
That bloody hamster had me fooled all day and night.
Delusional disorder, previously called paranoid disorder, is a type of serious mental illness called a “psychosis” in which a person cannot tell what is real from what is imagined. The main feature of this disorder is the presence of delusions, which are unshakable beliefs in something untrue.
People with delusional disorder experience non-bizarre delusions, which involve situations that could occur in real life, such as being followed, poisoned, deceived, conspired against, or loved from a distance.
These delusions usually involve the misinterpretation of perceptions or experiences.
In reality, however, the situations are either not true at all or highly exaggerated.
You can read about the time when I believed my psychiatrist was trying to poison me.
I often have the feeling that someone is following me, not an ever day feeling, I am panic-stricken and I become aggressive and somewhat dangerous as my senses are heightened and I go into a zone, that is very difficult to describe.
Convinced that someone wants to harm me, I tend not to go too far alone because of this.
The following types are assigned based on the predominant delusional theme:
Erotomanic Type: delusions that another person, usually of higher status, is in love with the individual
Grandiose Type: delusions of inflated worth, power, knowledge, identity, or special relationship to a deity or famous person
Jealous Type: delusions that the individual’s sexual partner is unfaithful
Persecutory Type: delusions that the person (or someone to whom the person is close) is being malevolently treated in some way
Somatic Type: delusions that the person has some physical defect or general medical condition
Mixed Type: delusions characteristic of more than one of the above types but no one theme predominates
People with delusional disorder can often continue to socialize and function normally and, apart from with the subject of their delusion, generally do not behave in an obviously odd or bizarre manner.
This is unlike people with other psychotic disorders, who also might have delusions as a symptom of their disorder.
In some cases, however, people with delusional disorder might become so preoccupied with their delusions that their lives are disrupted.
Living with voices and delusions isn’t easy; it’s emotionally draining and sometimes very frightening.