I am beautifully bipolar with psychosis. Don’t be confused. I don’t have schizoaffective disorder. I don’t have schizophrenia. I think the different is that I don’t hear voices in my head telling me what to do. I do, however, believe in things that are not really there.
Yesterday was a classic example. I was very on edge in the morning, even after I had taken my morning medications. I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth after breakfast and swore I saw a monster’s finger coming out of the drain. Yep. Swore. I called my dad in and asked him if he saw it, if there was, inn fact, a monster trying to reach out and get me. My dad told me told me no, that everything was okay. I wasn’t sure I believed him but I bit the bait anyway.
Then as I stood there, I felt tangling vines growing up my legs and trapping me to the floor. Sometimes it helps me to visually look at whatever it is that I am believing. Are there vines? Let’s look down and take a look. Nope. No vines. I must be okay. In theory that works. Something about challenging my beliefs, but mostly, it just makes me feel more crazy. How can I believe so strongly that something that isn’t there is?
Also, I went outside with my dad to fill the hummingbird feeders. There are a lot of hoses in the flower gardens. To me – they were snakes. I had to say to myself, under my breath, they are not really snakes, they are not really snakes, they are not really snakes. I did this over and over again and once again it just made me feel a little more crazy. Why was everything something different and scary.
I called my psychiatrist because I couldn’t get a hold of my therapist and he asked how I handled it. I told him and he agreed I had handled it well enough though it would have been better if I had the chance to talk to my therapist. I called all morning and only received a busy signal from her office. I just needed some professional guidance on how to deal with the fact that sometimes I lose touch with reality.
It is so scary because I don’t know what is real or not. Are cockroaches crawling up and down my legs or is that nothing (always nothing)? Are ants covering the shower walls when I close my eyes?
Psychosis stinks. Sometimes I wonder which part of my illness is worse – the roller coaster of moods or the confusion of psychosis? I don’t think I have an answer yet and am unsure when and if I will. If I had to pick in this moment, I would say the roller coaster. I get so tired of feeling jubilant then not waning to shower for days. It sucks some kind of emotion out of you. Is it mere energy? dealing rapid cycling bipolar takes special navigational skills that I have yet to master.
But during a psychotic episode, I would easily, 100%, say that psychosis is the worse. I am so scared and nothing can seem to make that better. I sleep a lot in general and it is during these episodes I escape the fear through sleep.
I guess I should end here by telling myself and you that it isn’t real. It’s a grown up boogie man – these shadows we see and the noises we hear, they aren’t really there. Try not to be so afraid. It is just a charade of the mind, one of our many.