My Delusions Are Not Conspiracy Theories

April 19, 2023 Rebecca Chamaa

Until recently, I thought conspiracy theories and delusions were the same. That made me wonder why people who believe in conspiracy theories don't receive a diagnosis of mental illness. After reading numerous articles on the differences between conspiracy theories and delusions, I now better understand the difference between the two.

Delusions Aren't Conspiracy Theories Because Only I Believe Them

When I experienced my first episode of psychosis at 27 or 28, I believed that the music I heard in grocery stores, in my car, and in places I visited was music picked for me specifically. I also thought it contained hidden messages to uncover and act upon. I felt I was being followed and targeted by whoever sent the messages. I believed that whatever was happening was more significant than me, many people were behind it, and I was the center of something (although I didn't know what that was). This experience of being sent messages and the target of some big plot was a delusion. What makes this different from a conspiracy theory may be evident to everyone else, but it was never apparent to me. 

One of the critical differences between my delusion and a conspiracy theory is that, in my example, it is a belief that only I hold, and it is a belief that only impacts me. I was receiving messages through the music directed solely at me; not everyone listening to the music was receiving messages. Also, I was the sole target of this persecution or plot. A conspiracy theory, in contrast, has many people who believe it and many who are impacted by the action or event that makes up the theory.  

There Is No Evidence or Support for Delusions

Another critical difference with my delusions is that there are no situations or events that the belief centers around. With conspiracy theories, there is generally an event or situation that is being explained by the authorities in one way. People believe there is an effort to hide the truth, silence people, or a variety of other conclusions. Also, with conspiracy theories, people can almost always find support for their beliefs online, in books, or on podcasts. There was no supporting evidence that I was being sent messages from some mysterious force through music. 

While I have provided a straightforward and incomplete explanation of why conspiracy theories and my delusions differ, it is essential to note that conspiracy theories are common. As someone with schizophrenia who has difficulty trusting her mind, I want to get information from trusted sources. In the following video, I talk about that. 

Learn more about delusions:

APA Reference
Chamaa, R. (2023, April 19). My Delusions Are Not Conspiracy Theories, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 29 from

Author: Rebecca Chamaa

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