Recently I went through a truly hellish episode of psychosis that lasted 8 months (and in some ways 3 years). Delusions were forming and growing, on and off, for those years; but the 8 month period when it peaked was truly the most horrific, debilitating, life stealing, petrifying, confusing, lonely, hideous, exhausting, depressing, soul shattering suicidal experience of my life. I could write for 10 hours and be unable to offer even an outline of the description of my delusions…
As per usual, the mental health team were about as useful as a chocolate fire guard, I sincerely have no idea what these people do all day; but tending to the mental health of their patients seems to be an alien concept to them. 7 years on from my diagnosis and I still struggle to get any positive suggestion from them. Bloody morons! After several admissions to hospital I was forced to re-engage with them (I’ve discharged myself from their care (clears throat) umpteenth times, as they do fuck all except stress me out). So; I asked time and time again for some skills to deal with my reality, some practical advice, some help, some words of encouragement… something, anything, just one little tool. In the end, they decided a leaflet on volunteering and a referral to the therapy group I’ve already been to, would suffice. Again, bloody morons. The group is great for a drop of depression or intolerance, but neeeee way does it even touch upon the unique experience of a psychotic break… so I thought I would share my tips, on how I began to escape the 24 pit stop from hell…
1. I believed (and still do believe) that some strange things were happening to me in actual reality, and these happenings were evil and of a ‘out to get me nature’. So the first thing I realised I needed to do was surrender to the tide. I was petrified, so I made a mental list of the very worst things that a human can endure, and I accepted they may be on route for me.
2. I purposefully thought about these things ’til I was blue in the face, and reduced the fear by realising that even if I ended up in prison for a pile of crimes I didn’t commit, I would still have a clear conscience, 4 walls, and a bed. And I figured my mum could bring me paper, and I could write to pass the time
3. I went onto a few forums to see if I could glean some tips, and although I was triggered by almost every entry, I found this gem of a sentence
‘If your story starts to have holes in it, take note. This is your thinking mind pulling the rug out from under your delusions’…
Though my story had no actual holes (cos every single word, sentence, song, movie, social gathering etc…fitted into the puzzle perfectly), I began to think about all the sentences that my friends and family uttered during this period, and I discovered that it was also possible they were nothing to do with my story
4. I accepted the possibility that everyone I knew ‘was in on it’ and then I explored MY reasons for having them in my life. I held onto the fact that I loved them, that I treasured my memories with them, and wanted them in my life still. So; I was comforted by my love for them, even though their love for me was questionable to say the least. I had found reason NOT to eject them all from my life
a) My life was hell on a stick and the whole world hated me, always had and always would. They enjoyed torturing me and my thoughts were being broadcast to the entire population of, not only the globe, but the whole universe
b) I had finally gone completely bonkers, on an unimaginable level. I was officially, and fully insane
Both of these ideas were kinda heart breaking, but I allowed myself to stop trying to defend myself and my thoughts, I just let myself be broken and open, and I watched lots of sad DVD’s, and I thought about everything I had lost over the 3 years and in particular, the 8 months. I needed to cry and grieve, in order to do this, I needed to face up to the utter crap-ness of my situation
6. I decided to fight the voices. I was convinced that I had been hypnotised into developing multiple personalities, and certain phrases were indicative of a particular personality coming through, so when I uttered the trigger phrases (for example – Bloody Nora) I addressed each controlling voice accordingly…Sometimes I asked them nicely to leave me alone, the nasty and most frightening ones that possessed me, were aggressively asked to Fuck Off, and as this began to WORK!!!! I decided to re-morph the whole thing into a fairytale unfolding (as opposed to a nightmare) and I befriended the amusing voices
7. After a few days of this, I had all the voices down to one voice…for some reason they were all called Trevor! And every time I felt a broadcast coming on, I said ‘Whatever Trevor’… it seriously reduced the malicious connotations
8. During this period, I found God..Sounds rather dramatic, but I had several spiritual experiences that left me with no doubt about his existence, so I decided to begin a dialogue with God. And as I found him through the simplicity of the ‘Conversations with God’ trilogy, it wasn’t difficult to know what he might say back to me. The guy is made from love and love only, so when I said…’Morning God, How are you?’ The voice that came back was always OK, always funny, kind, loving, compassionate, forgiving and light-hearted
9. I stopped writing about it, I gave up on the perceived responsibilities that came with my multiple identities, I stopped writing about how I felt and what had happened, I stopped searching for patterns which was so hard but necessary, and I stopped listening to music – as every song related to some part of the storyline(ssssssssssss). Knowing and avoiding triggers was a huge help.
10. I allowed myself to fold up. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t eat and I was totally broken. I was a stinky, crazy, immobilized fruit bat; and I just stopped trying to be anything else. I cried and cried and watched all the films that make me cry, so I could cry a bit more. And somehow, all this worked and I am now once again, reasonably sane. As with most people who suffer psychosis, I still believe some of it was real; but all that means when you strip it down to bare blocks, is that my life is not totally rosy. I can deal with that, because for all the ‘not rosy stuff’ that I can count, I can count just as many rosy occurrences and blessings to counteract it!
For weeks now, I have been up and out of bed at 8am, I’ve been on walks, I’ve been to the supermarket nearly every day, I’ve stocked up on my fruit and veg intake, I’m back to laughing and loving with my friends and family and it feels great 🙂
Even when your perception of reality has morphed into something completely unrecognisable, you can still fight it. I thought I was gone forever, and without love, I think I would have been. Hang onto the love in your life would be my most important tip in all this. Love really does Heal…