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If you are suffering from emotional pain or relationship problems in any area of your life, we can help you. You may feel stuck and out of choices, but you don’t have to live with your pain for the rest of your life. We offer a safe, private and comfortable environment where a meaningful and effective therapeutic process can develop.

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Ask a Therapist

3 months 3 weeks ago
Author: Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From Canada: Hello, Last week, I thought I was smelling things that were not there – turns out there were mostly sources for the smells, though I did not smell anything like rotten fish, eggs or anything drastic. On Friday, I read on the internet that smelling things that are not there can be one of the early signs of developing Schizophrenia. From reading that, I got scared and started worrying I was developing Schizophrenia. I went to the doctor on Friday to talk about bloating and headaches, he did a neuro test, and he said that I was fine. However,  I smelled some stuff in my room, but I figured it was cause my room was being messy, but recalling back to the article, I was worried that it was Schizophrenia. I do not have the smell issues anymore.

Ever since that day, I have been very worried I have been developing Schizophrenia. I have been posting on the internet on different websites about my fears. I have not heard any voices or see any kind of hallucination. What has been concerning me is these intrusive thoughts I get when I am thinking about Schizophrenia. I find I become alert of my surroundings and I will look at an object, and I will get a thought like “Is that tree talking to me”, “That car is watching me”; and right after I will tell myself “No the car is not watching you, that is what a schizophrenic person will think”;. These thoughts are not constant and I do not get stuck on them.

Part of my fear stems from my Cannabis use that happened when it got legal in Canada. I did not smoke it in my teenage years. I mainly had CBD Cannabis with low amounts of THC (0.5-0.7% thc) or THC/CBD balanced cannabis. I mainly stopped using it frequently in December of last year, and I have been using it not as frequently since, though now I have stopped. I have ADHD and Aspergers, and I read that can increase the risk of Schizophrenia. No one in either side of my family has it, either through first or extended family but I am worried that my use of cannabis could trigger it or the stress I am going through.

Other than that, I have been able to go to work, class and talk with friends normally.

Thank you for writing. I doubt very much that you have schizophrenia. I do think you are over-thinking. It’s ironic: Sometimes trying very hard to not think about something makes us think about it all the more. For example: If I told you that under no circumstances should you think about white alligators, it would be very difficult for you not to think about white alligators. Similarly, you are so worried about having a mental illness that you are thinking about it much of the time.

As you probably know, symptoms of OCD are common in people who are on the autism spectrum. If that is true for you, that may be at the root of your over-thinking about this.

I don’t know enough about the long term effects of cannabis use. If this continues to bother you, I suggest you find a local substance abuse clinic and talk to someone there who has the knowledge and experience to reassure you.

I wish you well.

Dr. Marie