Some of you may have seen my post on psychosis yesterday. It’s one that I had considered writing for a while, but wasn’t sure how to present it. It is an impossible subject to explain effectively, hence why no amount of research I had done had prepared me for the reality of it.
The latest Blogging 101 assignment, asking me to write in a different style, had me explaining psychosis through my own first hand experience of it. I have been fortunate – those experiences were only dipping a toe in the ocean of psychosis. I was not swept away, drowned in tumultuous waves of sheer terror and confusion, like too many others.
The first section was a conversation between me and a good friend at the time. It was near midnight, shortly before getting diagnosed. I saw the bad man again. For the first time I was able to fight through my terror and message my friend. The second section saw me at university, when I was experiencing “disassociation”. What a neat little word for such a disconcerting experience. In the third section I described a normal day for me when anxiety changed into intense paranoia, while the last was my best attempt at describing the frustration of psychomotor agitation.
I could describe so much more.
I could explain when I was 15 and saw a man on the chair in my room. He always sat there, watching me. I couldn’t get dressed or shower for months because he would watch me.
I could explain how when I was 13 I lost my friends through paranoia that had me believing they had sexually assaulted me. I thought it was true. I couldn’t understand it. And I hurt them.
And though the comedic genius of Jim Carrey playing a mentally ill person will have you laughing at the idea of someone abusing themselves, when I found myself at a busy train station, unable to stop myself from pulling at my hair until I cried, I was not laughing.
Jim Carrey is a fantastic actor…
And I’m not a politically correct person. I’ll watch the totally inaccurate representation of Split Personality Disorder in Me, Myself and Irene over and over again and not stop laughing.
But what other representation is there? Insanity has been glamorised to a point. I know people who deliberately seek out drugs that will cause delusions. I know others who smoke weed regularly, even with schizophrenia in the family, “because how bad can it be?” Being crazy is something that is laughed at, admired even.
But even when it is treated as something bad, it’s separated. We make it into an issue that we do not even try to understand. Like insanity is part of a whole other world separate to us. If mental illness is taboo, psychosis is the epitome of that.
I don’t understand this. You can say that people don’t want to face that losing control is so real, but I still don’t understand why that’s a reason to make those suffering it so separate.
Insanity is the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced. I cannot listen to people talk about drugs, I cannot watch movies which show insanity, I have lived in the aftermath, not knowing whether what I was thinking or seeing was real.
And I have not been able to talk about it.
I can tell people when I am scared, when I am sad, when I am suicidal. And they will listen, and care. But insanity is shut down. People don’t want to believe that someone so seemingly normal could have gone to such uncontrollable places.
And once again, I have only dipped my toe in insanity. What about all those lost to it? Further victimised because they are told to bear it alone?
It doesn’t matter how hard I try, I will never be able to describe the experience of insanity. I cannot make clear statements about an unclear mind.
Just trust me when I say it is not happy or silly, it is horrific. It is worse than your nightmares. And the last thing you want to do is leave someone to face it alone.