Schizophrenia Symptoms: Grandiosity

Michael Hedrick
July 01, 2016  | Last Updated: July 01, 2016


The feeling of being very important, aka delusions of grandiosity, are pretty common for people just getting to know their new illness. 

Schizophrenia has a number of symptoms that can be quite disconcerting for people with the illness, and grandiosity is right up there with psychosis in terms of severity. 


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Grandiosity is defined as thinking you’re greater and much more important than you really are, and for a young twenty something kid with no real prospects this can be both exhilarating and terrifying. 

When I had my first major episode I was under the delusion that I was a prophet; this was the result of seeing and hearing messages on TV and the radio that I thought were specifically for me. The funny part is I was making songs and commercials and documentaries into a weird amalgam of coherent messages myself, so the delusion that people were putting these things together for me and me alone to hear was null and void. 

That may sound confusing so let me walk you through it. 

Take for instance a song on the radio; it has lyrics, and some of the lyrics speak to you in your specific point in life. What happens when you have schizophrenia, though, is that those lyrics become a message, and then taking it further, the next song has lyrics and that message combines with the first message into a sort of mish mash. 

The message of these songs may have no parallel to your life in reality, but when you have schizophrenia and psychosis you tend to try to connect these in order to find a deeper meaning. 

Pretty soon all these songs start to seem like they’re referring to you specifically, and all the occurrences in your life that have any parallel to the lyrics in these songs. Some of the parallels are secrets you keep to yourself that you’ve never told anybody, but somehow these songs and the string in which they are played hints at these secrets and the only conclusion you can come up with is that, if they know that much about your life, they must have been following you and watching you for a very long time. 


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Why would they do that, though? 

The only possible reason is that you must be extremely important for all these DJ’s and government officials to follow you so closely. 

Let’s pause right here. 

Normally people wouldn’t even think about this stuff, and I can imagine that it doesn’t make one iota of sense to the layperson, but this is the thought process that occurs which leads to grandiosity. 

I can remember a moment in a train station late at night while I was on my cross country journey to the U.N. where I symbolically broke bread (in this case a peanut butter sandwich) with my fellow travelers. I was a prophet after all, and I wanted to be godly. It’s even worse when your name literally means “one like god” but I digress. 

The point of all this is to show just how insidious and confusing the thought process is that leads to grandiosity, and it’s a strange set of affairs to arrive at that conclusion yourself because you don’t know what the hell is happening in your head. 

Breaking that cycle with meds and a hospital visit can be completely disheartening to boot because what you thought was your divine purpose on earth turns out to just be a major chemical imbalance in your head. 

Suffice it to say that grandiosity can be a scary thing to encounter. You feel compelled to carry out whatever ordained mission you believe you have, but at the same time you don’t want the responsibility. 

It’s weird and not something I recommend, but if you’re experiencing something along these lines, here’s your proof that it’s not real. 

I’ve been through it and above all else, you should know that millions of other people have, too. 

Grandiosity is a symptom, just like paranoia. Your thoughts will tell you that you’re important, but that’s the illness speaking. Prophets and kings and presidents don’t come from small towns in Colorado or Wisconsin, ordained by God. That’s not the way things work. 

Chances are you know that the things that are happening in your head don’t entirely make sense. 

If you need help with that it’s perfectly ok to talk to someone. You’re not alone. 


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