When Your Loved One Is Experiencing Psychosis

Psychosis is often something that no amount of preparation or knowledge can prepare you for. Speaking from experience, it’s very much a unique situation that can be anything from stressful to downright frightening for some people.

Just what is psychosis? According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), psychosis is described as “conditions that affect the mind, where there has been some loss of contact with reality.” So what does this mean in laymen’s terms? Basically when a person experiences psychosis their perception of reality, or what is going on around them, might become fluid and distorted. They may see, hear, smell, taste, feel or believe things that make little sense to an observer on the outside. The thing to remember about psychosis is that for the person experiencing it, the sights, sounds and other stimuli that we, being outside their mind, cant see or hear, are often very much real to them. On that note, being empathetic toward somebody who is in psychosis is a critical step in learning to deal with it.

Maybe you’re still in shock. The adrenaline is still in your system. Perhaps you are fretting over things that could have been handled better or that you think you’ve done wrong. I have some advice for that: Don’t. Don’t worry if something wasn’t dealt with perfectly. Take it from me, it’s quite a learning curve and it’s nearly impossible to get everything done right. I think the important thing is to get proper help. If you’ve gotten your loved one somewhere safe and they’re in good hands, you’ve already done a damn good job. When my loved one was experiencing psychosis, for every thing that I did right there were at least two things I did wrong or forgot. Progress is the watchword in this situation, not perfection.

Perhaps you’re looking to the future and concerned as to what it holds. A saying that I have come to hold dear is “one day at a time.” What it means in a nutshell is to try and focus on the day you are on. Because the past is already done and the future isn’t here yet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still smart to look down the road and prepare, but don’t try to solve tomorrow’s problems when you can work on solving the problems of today. And don’t forget, as I’ve always said to those around me when times are hard, “every storm breaks.”

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