People with schizophrenia, like De Jure J.D. Bancroft (my mother), are generally unable to filter sensory stimuli and often have enhanced perceptions of sounds (hearing voices) colors, and hallucinations. She could see things that others did not see and perhaps her photographs give us a glimpse of what she saw or how she saw the world.
Most schizophrenics, if untreated, gradually withdraw from interactions with other people and retreat into a different “reality” which often results in the lose their ability to take care of personal needs.
My mother lived in the “acute” phase of this illness for decades. The acute phase is when someone has obviously lost contact with reality and has become psychotic.
The subtype of schizophrenia she lived with is called paranoid schizophrenia which usually includes a combination of delusions and auditory hallucinations. These delusions often involve thoughts of being persecuted or under attack and they can also believe they have magical powers or are famous people. The delusions are typically organized into a coherent story and my mother’s delusions included the full spectrum of delusions which lead to the creation of her out-of-the-ordinary reality.
My mother also had anosognosia (meaning lack of insight or “no knowledge”) which occurs in about 50 percent of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Trying to get a person with anosognosia to see that they have a mental disorder may be a lost cause because they simply cannot believe there is anything unusual about their behavior or thought processes therefore they refuse to take medications or undergo psychiatric treatment. This is actually quite logical because why would you take medication for an illness you don’t know you have?