How Psychosis Changed My Safe Places


I have been so very blessed to have lived in dorms this year. I’m two weeks from wrapping up my first year at college. I would never have thought I’d be in this position. For so long I didn’t see college, let alone the dorms, as realistic to me because of my mental illnesses.

I’m so grateful though that I chose to move into the dorms. It was literally the best decision I could have made for myself this past year. I grew so much and really became more reliant on myself. I learned how to take care of myself when no one was around to make sure I ate or took my pills.

Most important of all, my dorm became my safe haven. Over the years, between the problems I have with certain neighbors and my mental health challenges, my home no longer felt safe to me. A big part of this stems from when I was psychotic.

When I’m in my living room, I remember the time I had a hallucination in front of my best friend. I screamed and started panicking. She got scared and ran to get my mom. That’s how she found out I had been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.

In my bedroom, I remember the delusion I had of two men following me and sleeping outside my window on the roof. I remember pacing the floor in circles because of the voices.

In my bathroom, I remember “waking up” from a hallucination, realizing I had given in to the voices and harmed myself.

In my parents’ room, I remember the nights I slept on their floor because I was too scared and too paranoid to sleep alone.

The memories of my house aren’t all bad and I can be there when I need to be, but moving into the dorms allowed me to start fresh. I had this new place that was all mine. I could make it how I wanted and start over. My dorm is my safe haven. It’s one place I have always felt safe. I can’t say that about many places.

But school is almost over. In a matter of days, I will be leaving my dorm, probably forever. I’m moving back into my house where my room is now in boxes and my walls are repainted white. I love my parents and this has nothing to do with them. It has to do with places I feel safe.

If I’m being honest, I looked for other options besides moving home for the summer. But I only have three months before I move back on campus and I have no job with means no rent money. So I’ll move back home and I’ll do what I always do: keep moving forward.

We’re all placed in difficult situations in our lives that sometimes we can’t get out of. What will determine the success of that situation is how we approach it. I’m trying to approach this summer with a positive attitude.

I’m making plans to keep myself safe, healthy and moving forward in life. For the time being, I will enjoy the little time I have left in my dorm. It’s not over yet.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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Thinkstock photo via mactrunk

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