Drudawgthedrood" is a schizophrenic who experienced a panic attack after a prolonged series of pranks by his friends.
They decided to convince their "eccentric" friend that he was having a psychotic break, but their prank backfired.
The Original Poster (OP) suffered from intense anxiety and was "so scared" that he checked himself into a hospital to prevent hurting himself.
The OP was furious after discovering he was the victim of a long-running joke and asked "Am I The A**hole" (AITA) for not sharing his medical history prior to being pranked.
"Heyo, I'm a schizophrenic. Started when I was 22, and will last till I die."
"I'm active in schizophrenic communities, go to groups, the works but I am fairly private about it to most people to include friends."
The OP admitted it was common for people to think he was eccentric as it "comes with the turf" and described some of his habits characterizing this.
"Those habits include not going to parties or other places with lots of people, suddenly deciding not to do something (I have to be protective not to do or go to certain things if I think a delusion might be coming on), saying the occasional odd quip, normal schizophrenic stuff."
His friends took a cue from the OP's impulsiveness to hatch a prank that would continue for three weeks.
"Some friends thought it would be funny to make it seem like I might be going crazy as a group."
"They would individually wear something silly like a wizard hat or dinosaur costume (TRex blow up costume) to a group event or say something totally out of the ordinary and pretend like it was normal (Police like to track people like you, [the pandemic virus] is just a way to microchip you, etc)."
The OP admitted to being terrified enough to check himself into a hospital in order to prevent potential harm to himself.
"These are very real scary thoughts to me. I would ask members of the group if they had heard concerns about these conspiracies or weird garb from the other members, but they all acted like they had hung out with that particular member that day and I hadn't been involved."
"I was really, really scared that this could have been a massive delusion morphing into a full psychosis so I preemptively checked myself into a hospital to stop myself from potentially hurting myself or diving further into the rabbit hole(common in schizophrenic community)."
"I was so scared my medications stopped working."
After a few days of absence, the OP confided in a friend.
When he discovered their prank, the OP became furious and had no desire to continue with the friendships.
"No one heard from me for a few days while I was in the hospital, and when I checked out I confided in one of them about what had happened."
"I got a really long apology explaining what had happened and I blew up at them."
"I have ignored attempts from the others trying to apologize and have no desire to talk with them again."
"AITA for not previously stating that I am schizophrenic?"
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked if and where guilt belonged by declaring:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH - No A**holes Here
Redditors redefined "prank" as it related to this scenario.
"NTA - Even if you didn't disclose your medical history, they knew enough that saying those things would f'k with you."
"If a 'prank' doesn't leave both parties laughing, it isn't a prank, it's bullying." – Boliele
"A prank is leaving plastic flamingoes on a friends' lawn or something harmless like that. That wasn't a prank.
"When it comes to pranks: Confuse, don't abuse." – Starchild2534
"My rules are that the pranked party has to laugh, no extreme food pranks that might make someone throw up, easy clean up, absolutely no phobias ever."
"You can adapt to the person if you know their boundaries."
"I'm so frustrated when I see full on harassment framed as a 'prank.' It ruins it for everyone!" – DoctorWhich
"It's a bizarre form of group gas lighting, tbh, which is most definitely on the 'cool people don't do this' list no matter what."
"OPs diagnosis makes it worse, sure, but it was never funny to drag it on no matter the mental health of the person involved."
"For an hour or so once at a party, maybe it would be funny and well intentioned and prankish, but over and over again and over an extended periods it's either the height of maliciousness or stupidity... and either way, not funny."
"NTA OP. You deserve kinder friends." – CopperPegasus
These are true examples of pranks.
"A prank is when I hid the coffee pot in the oven the night before April Fools Day, knowing my aunt is quite groggy in the morning before the first cup of coffee."
"A prank is making fake cupcakes by putting crumpled paper towels in cupcake liners and frosting the tops."
"Deliberately setting out to make someone question their sanity is not a prank." – tourmaline82
This person with arachnophobia recalled a traumatizing incident in college.
"I hate pranks centered round phobias. I have horrendous arachnophobia to the point I will have a panic attack if I see one and I've injured myself in the past when trying to quickly get away from one."
"My college friends decided it was a good idea to prank me by leaving one of their pet tarantulas on my desk for when I came to class."
"I completely flipped the desk over and ran out of class, luckily the tarantula was okay (as much as I'm afraid, I still hate the thought of killing them) but this guy almost got his pet injured/killed because of that." – chlo_inthedark
These people thought the people who pranked him didn't deserve to be called friends.
"My first thought when reading this was, 'how the heck does anyone think those are pranks?' That's just bizarre and cruel."
"I would absolutely cut them off if I were in OP's position. I'd already feel very isolated from them, since it sounds like everyone was in on it."
"Even without health issues, making a fully mentally healthy person think they're going crazy is still an absolutely horrible prank to try and pull."
"Purposely trying to f'k with someone's mental health isn't a prank, it's just straight up abuse." – SnakesInYerPants
"They might not have known OP had a mental illness but they definitely knew OP was a bit reserved and prone to strange decisions, probably identified them as 'odd.'"
"Playing a trick like that is not funny. It's not funny to make anyone think they're going mad." – Thatstealthygal
"NTA. Schizophrenia or not, this wasn't a harmless prank - this was disrespectful and manipulative bullsh*t that good friends don't pull on each other." – NUTmeSHELL
This protective Redditor offered compassion and mentioned that avoiding these AH (a**holes) would not be a huge loss.
"Oh honey, this breaks my heart. My partner is schizophrenic and it's hard enough on it's own without some group of AH's DECIDING IT WOULD BE FUN TO COLLECTIVELY GASLIGHT YOU. Please go with your gut and never talk to these AH's again."
"As far as whether not telling them ahead of time makes you an AH, maybe in some alternate reality where schizophrenia-stigma didn't exist."
"Also, I have never even heard of a group of 'friends' doing this particular 'prank' en masse, so I don't know how you could have anticipated this happening--because for the most part, this doesn't happen."
"I'm proud of you for going to the hospital when you felt you needed to, that's a hard thing to do. A lot of people look back at the friends they had at your age and can't believe they ever put up with such an immature pack of AH's."
"You'll meet better people, and hopefully some of your ex-friends will learn a lesson and become better friends in their futures." – BaddestPatsy
If there is one takeaway, it's that harmless pranks are not always as harmless as people think. Friends should think about the possible repercussions and how well they know a person before they decide to pull any prank on a friend.
*If you enjoyed this article, you can read more like it by clicking on the AITA link below.*