On Psychosis

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.

Illusion v. Reality
Illusion v. Reality

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.

6 thoughts on “On Psychosis

  1. YES, YES, YES! I have one psychotic episode in my blog, but it’s password protected because I truly don’t want anyone else knowing what it looks like. AND IT’S TOTALLY NORMAL FOR ME. That is a disturbing/interesting/enlightening thought. People who don’t live like this can’t possibly understand how real it is, and how hard it is to fight an enemy that you can’t get to, but who has total access to your fears. Amazing post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I made an experience similar to this. Having a Borderline-Mother I have all my life been looked at as crazy or silly or maybe even seeking attention because no one will believe that a mother is capable of doing things my mother did and still does. Even today it’s easier for people to see me as someone crazy than actually look the truth in the eye. I felt like it would kill me because no one would actually be there for me beyond a certain point. I found out, however, that it’s very natural. The people who would rather believe me delusional than my mother cruel need to believe in a good mother. We all do, because the mother is the person we are all depending on. Our lives depend on her, as children we simply cannot afford to believe our mothers capable of bad behaviour towards her children. Even if we ourselves are the ones suffering from it. The mother is untouchable – because she has at one point been the person our whole life depended on.

    I believe that it’s similar to what you’re describing. People are, as you said, afraid of losing controll and being close to someone ‘crazy’ shatters their illusion of being in control. For some people due to very early experience, losing control equals losing their lives. So they shut themselves aways from it. Like the father driving a van for his family cannot look at the neighbours sportscar because it reminds him of his dreams and that hurts tooo much. Also people simply cannot understand what you’re going through. They have never experienced it and the unknown is frightening. For me personally it was and still is important to walk a mile in those people’s shoes because it used to eat me up. The not being understood and helped part. Ever since I realized that they simply couldn’t do it, I feel a lot better because I don’t have all this anger any more…

    Ups, that almost enough for another post. Sorry 😉 Whenever I see your posts I respond but never comment because it would be another post. Maybe I should reblogg them….?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Melanie! I loved (is that an appropriate word for the situation?) reading your experience. People sharing their stories is really important and I encourage you to comment them, but definitely feel free to reblog and add your own take on them. I would love to read them. 🙂


  3. Another great post! Wow, youre really on a roll. Sleep is the most important commodity for me, and if I lose my sleeping pattern or the times I take my meds, wham.
    Im really lucky cuz i have two other BP friends, and we support each other, from different continents, but skype is a wonderful thing.
    I hope you have a good friend and can sleep well.
    Thanks for the blog.

    Liked by 1 person


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