Living with schizophrenia is ‘not like the movies,’ student says


Emily Hansen gazes up to the sky as she sites outside the Humanities Building. Samantha Quinonez/Union

The walls start to move and the floor starts to rumble. She looks around the classroom. No one is moving, no one is screaming, no one is saying anything.

Emily Hansen, 20, child development major, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia a year ago, loses feeling of her fingers and her arms.

She looks back to her professor who is still writing on the board, ignoring the fact that the wall is practically moving away from her. It was in that moment, she realized it wasn’t real.

Her breath evens out and her mind starts to clear.

As her mind starts to wonder, she feels someone touch her head. She opens her eyes and sees nothing but darkness, she closes her eyes again and clears her mind, trying to sleep once more.

She feels the touch again, but this time on her back. She opens her eyes again, but again she was consumed by darkness.

With her adopted brothers being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), her adopted parents assumed she fell under the same category.

Hansen knew it had to be more than ADD. Before going to see the psychiatrist, she said she did little research beforehand to get an idea of what it could be.

“I knew something was wrong,” Hansen said. “Obviously something was wrong.”

Emily Hansen, 20, child development major reads over her notes in the Humanities Building as she waits for her English 1C to begin. Samantha Quinonez/Union

Hansen said her nightmares have always been out of the ordinary and have always been too vivid. Most nights when her nightmares are too much to bare, she would wake up without the feeling of her hands and fingers.

“Meditation doesn’t work because if the head is too quiet the voices will talk,” Hansen said. “It is very easy to get sidetracked.”

The voices usually speak to her at night and most of the time they aren’t very nice, Hansen said.

They usually come in the voices of her family, friends and sometimes actors.

“Now that there is a label, my family has been wary, they can never be too careful now,” Hansen said.

The media has blown examples of people with schizophrenia out of proportion she said. Like the movie “Split” having 23 personalities is too much she added.

“It is an issue that is over looked and it is something people generalize as someone being crazy,” Angel Mercado, a 19-year-old psychology major said.

People need to realize that not everyone who is diagnosed with this mental illness is crazy or off; sometimes someone very unexpected has it, Mercado said.

“Even though I just told you I have schizophrenia, I am no different than the person I was before,” Hansen said.