Monday, January 30, 2012

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

Trey Smith

From what I gather, one of the chief differences between Schizophrenia and Schizotypal Personality Disorder (SPD) has to do with a differentiation in the experience of hallucinations. The schizophrenic individual sees or hears things that aren't real and, no matter what evidence is presented to the contrary, they persist in holding onto the belief that the hallucination is, in fact, part of everyday reality.

For people like me with SPD, we often are able to understand that our hallucinations are not real and that no one else can see or hear them. While I suppose there is a definite benefit from being able to sort out the real from the unreal, this benefit often is lost on me, particularly during an hallucinogenic episode.

Two or three evenings ago (I don't remember which it was) I decided to drive down to the local mini mart to visit my friend, Paul. Along the way, at different points in the approximately 4 minute trip, I saw an individual standing on the side of the road. Each time I "saw" the individual it was the same one I had seen several blocks earlier.

That's not possible. The person I saw at the bottom of my hill could not be the same person I saw one block from the mini mart. No human I know of could move that fast. Of course, no one was standing next to the road at the bottom of my hill. The person was there one moment and then not there in the blink of an eye.

In other words, the individual I kept seeing along my route wasn't real. It was a repeated hallucination. When I was a younger man, these "sightings" used to trouble me greatly. What's wrong with me?, I'd ask myself. Am I going mad?

Having lived with this condition the entirety of my adult life (and much of my late childhood too), I don't get all freaked out like I used to. I rather methodically try to ascertain if what I see before me is real or not and, if I'm satisfied it's the latter, I just shake my head and keep moving.

What good does it do to get all freaked out? It is what it is and, like everything else in life, I simply have to accept it and deal with it as best I can.


  1. "particularly during an hallucinogenic episode"

    I think you mean hallucinatory; otherwise I suggest you give up the mushrooms!

  2. You're right, hallucinatory would probably have been the better adjective. That said, one of the definitions of hallucinogenic (as an adjective) is "having qualities suggestive of hallucination or hallucinogens." So, I contend that it still works as intended in the sentence.


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