An album with hidden messages simulates life with schizophrenia

Who: British Columbia Schizophrenia Society and Rethink.

What: Songs of Schizophrenia, a 10-track playlist of songs that demonstrates what it’s like to live with schizophrenia.

When & Where: The playlist is available on Apple Music and Spotify now.

How: Seemingly normal songs are broken up by messages from an incongruous voice, simulating the “auditory hallucinations” experienced by those living with schizophrenia. The Watchmen’s “Absolutely Anytime” plays for a few seconds before the music distorts slightly and the voice comes in: “You deserve the absolute power you will attain.” In Cassandra Vasik’s “Sadly Mistaken” the music fades down and the voice says: “They are coming dammit. They are coming to get you and me.” The music resumes as normal for a moment before the voice interjects again: “I am urging you not to trust anyone.”

Why: Schizophrenia affects more than 360,000 Canadians and about 1% of people worldwide. The album is meant to give people a better understanding of their experience.

Quote: “Schizophrenia is a disease that faces a lot of stigma and is very misunderstood. Songs of Schizophrenia gives people who are unfamiliar with the disease an opportunity to actually experience what it can be like for people who live with schizophrenia,” —Andrew Stewart, of British Columbia Schizophrenia Society.


David Brown