Last night while eating potato and ham soup out of a bread bowl with my parents it happened again for the second time. I stopped chewing, swallowed and closed my eyes. My parents looked at me, curious. My mom asked what was wrong and I said “nothing,” still with a look of disgust on my face. As dinner ended, my mom got up and slammed some shit around in the kitchen and my dad asked again what wat was wrong.
“I feel like I am eating human fingers and it is intensely gross.”
My dad apologized – for what I don’t know, and my mom responded with “Then just quit eating meat. If it bothers you so much just quit eating it.” Great and compassionate answer, mom. I will simply become a vegetarian again. Not that I would mind being a vegetarian again, but that doesn’t solve the problem of hallucinating to the point that I believe I am eating human flesh.
Sometimes I tell people things that I experience and I believe that they try to understand. Cockroaches crawling all over my face and I can’t scratch them off because that would damage my face so I rub and I wipe and I try to get them off. But for you, that is pure imagination. You don’t understand that for me – it is real. Those cockroaches live on my face and feed on my skin. I must simply survive it. For you it is merely a thought.
No one else sees the ants on my shower walls. I see hundreds. As I take a shower and lather up my hair, close my hazel eyes, and rinse, the shower walls becomes infested with ants like dirt on a forest path. It is disgusting – bathing with a shit ton of bugs. But, somewhere in that crazy mind of mine, there is still a piece holding on to reality. I know that in that hidden place, I am still sane. I know that the fingers aren’t really fingers, that the cockroaches aren’t on my face, and ants do not, in fact, live in my shower.
It’s kind of like this. Once upon a time a man walked on the moon. Imagine! Walked on the moon!!! Now, you and I can imagine what that must have felt like – to be the first man on the moon, bouncing around on moon rocks and dust, but we don’t really KNOW what that feels like, do we? I mean, we look at the moon in the sky like an unobtainable gem, something we will just never “get.”
Well, you and I are like the man on the moon and the stargazer. I am in this crazy place few people will visit and you are just looking at me from far away trying to understand.
Here’s the thing: I don’t expect you to understand. How could you? You have your own quirks I don’t “get.” But I expect compassion from you. I expect you to listen without judgement. Don’t raise your voice and tell me to be a vegetarian. That isn’t helpful. Instead help me focus on something else by changing the subject. When psychosis comes a hnocking, all reason goes out the window (except for that teeny, tiny part that hangs on). Be kind because more than likely, I am afraid. And if there is one thing I hate, it is being frightened. I won’t even watch a scary movie! Living a life where the kind of crap I wrote above happens often is like living a scary movie, but there is no start, pause, or stop button. It just plays when it wants and for however long it wishes.
I take atypical antisychcotics for these symptoms. they help. They don’t cure. Don’t get confused. I don’t have schizophrenia. I have Bipolar 1 with psychosis. Two different things. Kind of similar but different. One less diagnosis to tag on my name.
I’ve seen, heard, and now tasted theses delusions, but I am not completely crazy because, like I said, there is a little part of me that knows, that holds on, to reality. It says “Silly, girl. You are imagining this. Hang in there and it will get better.”
It does. It always does.