Schizophrenia and Anxiety vs. Personality and Experience

August 9, 2023 Rebecca Chamaa

Schizophrenia anxiety and anxiety can be intertwined with personality. When you have a severe mental illness, it is difficult to distinguish symptoms of that illness from your personality or life experiences (like upbringing, traumatic events, relationships, etc.). It can be hard to tell what is me and what is anxiety or schizophrenia. Some things are easy to pinpoint. For example, when I hear voices or become paranoid, it is clear that those are symptoms of schizophrenia. It is also easy to identify episodes of anxiety because that is so physically uncomfortable and obvious to me.

Is It Schizophrenia, Anxiety, or My Personality?

It's not so easy to tell if I sleep a lot due to medications, if it has something to do with my illness, or if it simply is that my body requires more sleep than eight hours a night. The same is true for issues like motivation and my cognitive functioning. I'm not sure if my inability to tackle as many tasks as I once did, like having a full-time job, socializing with friends, and being able to carry on many activities on the same day, is because of schizophrenia or something else. Is my inability to focus on more than one thing at a time, like being unable to read when there is any noise in the room, just me, or is it difficult because I have a mental illness and can easily get overstimulated? 

It also baffles me that I developed an anxiety disorder later in life when I lived without one for 50 years. Am I more prone to anxiety because of schizophrenia, or is it my personality? Is there something in my experiences that caused me to develop more anxiety than I had previously? What is the scope of my mental illness, and does it impact every part of me, making it impossible for me to know my core personality from my condition? 

Did My Schizophrenia Impact My Experience of the Pandemic and Create Anxiety?

One thing I know that has impacted me negatively most recently is the traumatic nature of living through a global pandemic. When I add lockdowns and precautions, and the fear of insufficient hospital space and lack of an adequate supply of ventilators, all of that compounded to make things over the last few years more difficult for me. I also had other concerns that were hard to deal with, like supply chain issues and not knowing if my medications would remain available. Was my heightened anxiety a natural response to an uncertain situation, or was I more fearful because of my schizophrenia?

I don't know the answers to these questions, but it is frustrating not to know where your schizophrenia ends and your personality begins. I wish I could always tell which were symptoms and which were part of who I am. Understanding the distinction would make me less hard on myself and possibly help me develop more compassion about how difficult life with a mental illness can be. 

APA Reference
Chamaa, R. (2023, August 9). Schizophrenia and Anxiety vs. Personality and Experience, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 13 from

Author: Rebecca Chamaa

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