People who suffer from schizophrenia and other forms of psychosis have a lot to deal with in their daily lives. They are often required to take medication to make them almost feel like a functioning member of society, but their minds can turn things around if they miss even a single dose.
When they forget or refuse to take their medication or go undiagnosed altogether, they run the chance of experiencing hyper-realistic and terrifying hallucinations.
(Content has been edited for clarity.)
“And He Saw A Pitch Black Hallway”
“My friend in college was schizophrenic. We were hanging out in his dorm room one night and he got up to go to the bathroom. He opened the door and stopped, staring at the empty hallway. He asked me to come to the door and tell him if something seemed weird.
I walked up to the door and saw nothing strange in the hall and told him so. He asked me if I could hear something and I said no. He said he heard muffled crying or arguing or something coming from down the hall. And he saw a pitch black hallway when it was actually fully lit. He said the hall was BLACK, not just dark or dimly lit. At this point, he was shaking and I was terrified because I didn’t know he was sick at that point. I’m not even sure he knew he was sick at the time.
I ended up walking him to the bathroom and then spent the night in his room because he could still hear someone crying in the hall. I thought for the longest time he was pulling my leg, but he ended up going to therapy and getting put on medication shortly after that night, so it was a terrifying and real moment for him as well.”
Dying On The Inside
“I’m prone to occasional psychotic episodes, but no formal diagnosis has been made to include this. I have previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but it’s not common to have episodes of psychosis with BPD, so I’m waiting to be re-evaluated.
I was admitted to the crisis ward in November because I was 100% convinced my whole body was rotting from the inside out. I was decomposing from within and it was spreading outward to my extremities. I stopped eating and showering because nothing mattered if I was dying, I was also convinced it was a practical joke and the doctors knew I was rotting but they were in on the joke and refused to tell me.
This was terrifying for me, not because I was afraid of dying, but because no one believed me that I was decomposing, no one saw it as an issue. And realizing that my reality was not real was so traumatic and isolating.
I’m not looking forward to the next inevitable episode.”
The Faceless Man Wouldn’t Stop Following Him
“I can tell you I have actually peed myself in fear from some of my hallucinations, but my scariest hallucination will always be my first.
I was in the 10th grade and I had been hearing voices for a while, to the point that I was almost getting used to the fact that I could hear things others didn’t. I remember getting up from my desk to use the toilet and when I got out of the room, I saw this man with no face, just standing there facing me. At first, I just thought my eyes were messing with me, so I blinked a couple times, shook my head a little bit, and looked back. He was gone. There was no way he could have moved in those empty, silent hallways without me hearing it, but he was gone. So I went to the restroom, thinking it was weird, but not thinking too much about it. I even joked with myself that ‘now I’m seeing things too.’
When I got to the bathroom, he was there again, standing in the doorway. I stopped and just kind of stare for a second, more curious than anything. Then I thought, ‘Well, maybe he’s wearing a mask or something,’ and I asked if he could move over and let me in the bathroom, but then this other kid came out and asked who I was talking to, right as he walked through the faceless guy.
I just stood there, speechless. The kid looked at me like I was weird, but then just walked away. The guy with no face moved over to let me by, and I gave him as wide a berth as I could while I went in, never taking my eyes off him. He followed me into the bathroom, and a few seconds later, this girl walked in, and I began telling her that she was in the wrong bathroom (I’m a guy), when I noticed that she didn’t have a face either. They both began walking towards me, and at that point, I was scared, so I went and hid in one of the stalls and bawled my eyes out because, at that point, I realized that I was crazy. I didn’t come out until the staff came and talked me into it.
The two of them show up every now and again, but they never do anything, so I don’t know what to make of it, but that first time scared the living crap out of me.”
“The Invisible, Impending Doom”
“My great-grandmother died because of her hallucinations. I was not alive then, but she apparently was not given the appropriate care and ended up living on her own. She locked herself in her house and was found dead weeks later. She thought people were out to kill her, so she armed herself, and was so scared she didn’t move until she died. She was found with her legs pickled from the number of times she wet and soiled herself. She had also downed quite a few bottles of moonshine.
When her house was cleaned and sorted through, they also found dozens of stolen purses with nothing taken from them.
To me, that is the most terrifying way to die. So convinced that people are coming to kill you that you starve yourself to death.
My cousin, who is my age, also has schizophrenia. She believes that she is more than human and has to go back to the hospital frequently because of psychotic episodes. From what I can tell, she hears, and occasionally, sees spirits. She has had so many suicide attempts, it breaks my heart. It’s hard to get close to her because, again, she sometimes thinks she is beyond human. I’m glad we have more of a solution for her. I don’t want her to end up like our great-grandmother.
I fear that I may have symptoms of the disease, but not to that extent. I’ve never seen anything other than motion from the corners of my eyes, and I just hear inaudible whispers. But when it happens, it comes with a massive overwhelming fear of impending doom, which is the scary part. Hearing whispers is ok. Hearing whispers and being confident that you are about to die, that adds a layer of terror.
It’s terrifying to think that the demon is possibly in my genetics.”
What Was Actually Two Days Felt Like Six Months Of Torture
“A demon appeared on a door on my balcony and said, ‘You can’t help me, no one can help me’. When I went inside, it moved up the wall onto the ceiling and said that it was coming back in two minutes to take me down below. I started feeling a pulse move up my left arm, which led me to think I was going to have a heart attack.
It came back and I was so scared that I ran out of my apartment. What followed was a situation that lasted only about two days in real life, but six months in my hallucination. At some point during the night, the cops tazed me about 10 miles from the house, and my heart stopped. In the delusion, the demon had captured me and taken me to Hades where I was chained and being forced to smash my head into a glass wall.
In real life, I was in someone’s backyard trying to bash my head through their sliding glass door. Apparently, the owner of the house tried to shoot me but missed. At some point, I was too tired in the delusion and fell to the ground. The demon continually told me that this was only going to get worse if I didn’t continue. I had no energy, so I gave up. Two dogs came and ate my entire body from the neck down until I was nothing but bone. I watched my muscles and skin slowly grow back until I was whole and was told to continue smashing the window with my head.
The window broke and I fell into the bottom pane, which cut me in half. I was immediately transported to a room that was unbearably hot. Each breath I took was a gasp, and I couldn’t get any air. There was someone in front of me holding a glass of water with condensation on it, but I only had enough strength to crawl towards it. Every time I got close enough to touch the glass, the person took a step back. There was a clock on the wall, and I watched six months go by. The only thought I had for this entire delusion was, ‘I am never getting out of here.’
No thoughts of my family or the past, just endless despair about never getting out. Eventually, I got close enough, and when my fingers touched the glass, I was transported to another place. It was a void where there stood a massive black dragon with bright green eyes. The undersides of his wings were the same bright green. He moved his head towards me, which was about three times the size of my entire body, and whispered: ‘It is only going to get worse from here.’ Then he spewed a black smoke from his nostrils that entered my ear.
The next thing I experienced can only be described like this: imagine having 5,000 copies of yourself that are all having the most intense mind-splitting migraine that you could never imagine, but all those minds are happening inside of your head. I lost all sense of existence in the pain. Then I was in space staring at the earth, and in my own voice, I heard the words, ‘You created all of this.’
Then I woke up and was strapped to a hospital bed in the ICU. I looked like someone had dragged me behind a car; just covered in gashes and wounds. I was traumatized for a long time, but those last words changed my life. I know now that my reality is created by my mind, and knowing that, I no longer fear anything.”
This Is Why She Probably Won’t Have Any More Children
“I went through postpartum psychosis for three months after having my son. It started out as audibly hallucinating: hearing my son cry when he wasn’t, staring at the baby monitor with no sound waves but I could hear him screaming. I knew what was happening wasn’t real, but it all still got to me.
It became visual after about four days. I would see people vandalizing the car I was sitting in, but there were no marks, even though I was certain the person kept hiding from me when I got out. Then I had weird hallucinations involving my mother and adult toys (that I still won’t talk about), and finally, it came down to me ‘hearing’ my brother tell his girlfriend things, and it caused me to tell my parents about intimate abuse in my past (unintentionally).
When I finally had enough, I went for a walk and was convinced my son’s father was stalking me in the neighborhood. I even asked a neighbor to call 911. That was my final straw and I asked to be taken to the emergency room, where I continually thought my son’s father was coming to get me. The last thing I remember is telling the nurse I took a narcotic (I had hallucinated I did, I had not in fact). I attacked the nurses and bit one and ripped out her earring. Just thinking about this brings back all the guilt I felt after being released from the facility.
It’s been two years, and I can say I am doing a million times better, but the doctors say it gets worse with every child, so I don’t think I’ll be having any more children.”
They’re Coming To Get You
“I have psychosis and it usually is worst when I’m alone or at night; doubly so if I’m alone at night. When I was housetraining my puppy, I had him outside at 3 a.m., and I saw what looked like the KKK and some witches having a seance. I then heard whispers mentioning killing and saw the group start walking up the street towards my house.
Thankfully, that’s the worst it’s ever been. I do still have minor fleeting hallucinations when I’m stressed, but it’s more like seeing a shadow out of the corner of my eye and is easier to ignore.”
Like Something Out Of A Horror Movie
“I have been suffering from constant delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations for the past two years. The scariest hallucination I’ve ever had took place in a Target.
I was in the canned food aisle when I saw a little girl grab a can. There was nothing particularly unusual about it. At first, I figured it was just a girl getting something off the shelf for her mom. But then, after awhile of standing with the can in her hands in silence, she turned around and stared at me with her empty eye sockets. She opened the can and started chasing me around the store with the can top, and I started running through the store to escape.
I ended up tripping, and the next thing I knew, she handed me the can top and was controlling my arms. I felt myself cut my neck and wrists open and started screaming. But then, I knocked myself out of it. When I came to, I was just standing there, staring at the cans with tears streaming down my face. It’s the most vivid hallucination I’ve ever had, and much scarier than the ones I have every day.”
It Came At Night
“Out of all the various recurring, excruciating delusions of pain, death, and extreme paranoia, few have come to scare me as much as this one.
I’m awoken, the night sky illuminated by a half moon. Outside my window, a face looks back at me. Bearded, helmeted, it looks like those biker zombies from ‘7 Days to Die.’ The face contorts and twists and turns and goes inside out, then back to normal. It looks like it’s laughing. It starts moving towards me through the window.
It’s now inside my bedroom, a few feet from my face, laughing. I scream silently, too afraid to make a sound, to even blink. The face hovers, menacingly staring deep into my soul and shredding it to pieces. In a rare moment of clarity, I start praying to every god I know, from Jesus to Odin to Krishna to Osiris and back, begging for mercy, please, anything but this!
The being then loses its face and becomes a skull; a mix of human and cow that is hard to describe with words. It has horns. It is horrifying. I think – I know – I am going to die. This laughing skull is going to kill me. In a final act of malice, it creeps towards me, staring deeper and deeper into my eyes, further shredding and searing my soul with its pure hatred. I close my eyes for the first time in ages, and when I open them, it is gone. Looking around, my alarm clock displays 3:04 a.m. The half moon, a sideways frown, reminding me that I am in danger. That the skull, the face, was sent here to hurt and kill me. I don’t sleep again for another two days, and even then, I almost collapse from exhaustion.
As painful as it is to relive, that memory is important because it reminds me why I take my meds: to never be afraid of things like that again.”
“I’ll Never Feel Like I’m Not Being Watched Or Followed Again”
“My fiancée and I have a projector that is connected to our computer so that we can watch stuff. One night after she went to bed, the channel changed, and two Asian women appeared on the screen, wearing white ID devices around their necks. They told me they were watching the smartest people and started chatting with me. One was wearing a blue shirt, the other a red shirt, and I lost my mind. That was the beginning of my first psychotic break. It lasted for weeks while I thought people were monitoring me. Things like the computer going to web pages on its own, the mouse moving on its own with nothing attached, highlighting words like ‘guide’ and ‘help’ and zooming in and out over and over again, until I progressively got worse. It happened in front of my fiancée and she asked what was wrong with my computer, and I ended up slamming my foot into it because I just couldn’t handle it.
It’s been over a year now, and it’s still like I’m being followed. I get messages in my music as though the song names are directed towards me when I put on different Spotify playlists. I’m now heavily medicated and it’s just mild, but I’ll never feel like I’m not being watched or followed again. It doesn’t help that my dad built spy software for the government. It was originally to hunt terrorists, but I’m sure it helped turn into what it is today stateside. Psychotic breaks are no joke, and you could polygraph me, and I would be telling the truth that all of that stuff happened.”
She Thought It Was Her Roommate
“My scary visions are usually in the early morning, but one time at around 2 p.m., I was standing in front of my vanity mirror applying makeup for the day.
I started to hear the running of feet. Figuring it was my roommate at the time, I thought nothing of it. It wasn’t. All of a sudden, a figure bust into my room.
It was about four-feet tall. It didn’t have any arms, just legs, and was covered head to toe in dark blood-stained skin. There were folds of skin where there should have been eyes. It ran around my room making barely audible grunts. If I had to think of a video game enemy that it looked like, I would say the Cowman from ‘The Forest.’
That was my first visual hallucination and afterward, I locked myself in the bathroom and cried until my husband came home from work.”
“I Was Going To Be A Body-Less Head”
“I was in the bathroom when I suddenly heard what sounded like a mob of people shouting and threatening to come get me and burn me alive. I had never experienced this before and it sounded like real people were outside my house. I almost had a heart attack. I went to the window and saw that everything was quiet. I waited because I thought maybe they were far away. I waited and waited, and then I went out looking for them. After a while, I realized that I was going crazy.
The second scariest was when the aliens were coming, and they would cut off my head. They would keep it alive using alien technology and after violating it and humiliating it, they would lock it in a dark basement with nothing around. I was going to be a body-less head mounted on a wall in a dark basement until the end of time.”
He Thought His House Was Under Attack
“One Friday evening, I was watching TV and happened to be playing with a flashlight that I’d left on the coffee table. The next thing I know, I was in a full-blown hallucination. I heard a special forces team outside my window as they were sneaking out of my backyard. I flashed the light around the room, and they got quiet, and they misunderstood my intent; they thought the light was mounted on a weapon.
The next thing I knew, they were calling me outside as part of a SWAT response, and I was on my hands and knees on my porch in the dead of night, asking them to not shoot me. I must have stayed out there about two hours, with my hands locked behind my head, as the snipers got more and more nervous about what I might do.
Eventually, they decided that there was no way to defuse the situation and they shot me. I spent about five minutes dying on my front porch, then crawled inside my house to die. I phoned my mom to let her know that I’d been shot and that special forces had killed me. Needless to say, she wasn’t buying it and talked me down to earth a little bit. But that wasn’t the end of it.
She had me go to the emergency room and stayed with me on the phone until I got there. I was still hallucinating, so while I was waiting in the ER, I heard the leader of the special forces unit chatting with the front desk nurse. He knew that I was there and was coming to get me. Luckily the doctor found me first and didn’t know what to do with me, so he gave me two milligrams of Ativan and discharged me.
So I drove home, still hallucinating and somewhat high from the Ativan, and I saw all types of crazy stuff on the way home. Once I got home, the Ativan mellowed the hallucinations into something enjoyable, and I spent the rest of the weekend with playful hallucinations.
I can’t describe the fear of having special forces snipers aiming at you for two hours straight.”