The Scribblings of Psychosis
Psychosis holds a lot of stigma. It also holds a lot of shame for those who experience it.
I’ve written about my experiences in my book, “In Bloom Not Broken,” and spoke about it in my last Vlog here, but I have never shared my scribblings and thoughts in this way. No one has ever seen these besides my psychiatrist. Ever.
There are pages and pages I could share, but I have picked out just a few to try and highlight what happens in the mind of someone with psychosis. I was ashamed about these experiences for a long time. I am in no way religious, but my experiences have always had a religious spin, and I found that very hard to get my head around.
I was embarrassed about my last episode, which these scribblings are from. After it was over and I was recovering from the depression that ensues after the manic episode, I would have flashbacks from this time that would stop me in my tracks and leave me bursting into tears. It was so powerful, so all-encompassing, that when it’s gone and you’re left with the depression that follows mania, it’s a confusing place. I found myself questioning who I was.
I remember when it started. After feeling a bit on edge and like there was something going on that I could’t put my finger on, I was sitting on the sofa and a white van pulled up outside. I remember eyeing this van thinking, “I wonder what they want. They are watching the house. They are trying to rig the house. You need to keep an eye out for these white vans.”
And there it began.
I couldn’t switch it off. I had this paranoia burning away at the back of my brain while feeling like everything was very bright, very HD like. Things sounded louder and I felt like I was being sent a message from God. I felt like I was meant to do something and I just had to figure out what that was. I was going to bed and could hear a voice as clear as day right outside my ear saying my name or random words that had no meaning.
This feeling built. I was making “Beauty and Beast” style rose jars at this point and had started doing some “Snow White” themed ones with apples. I felt this had something to do with it all. I was making so many of them and was so busy fulfilling orders that I was fueling the mania, but I was unaware of this so I continued with this feeling of adrenaline and paranoia running through my veins. Nothing felt enough, nothing was fast enough, it was all too slow. I felt like I could’t get the house clean no matter what I tried and starting to feel increasingly agitated. I felt like everything was too loud, like there was no quiet — it felt like everything around me was just buzzing.
The religious connotations then started to take over and I felt like everyone was plotting against me. I thought my partner was going to take my daughter away from me and that everyone was planning to bring me down. But if I completed this mission in some way, if I protected myself and the house, it would all be OK.
I became focused on red being the color of the devil and white being that of purity. I placed colored-related items in each of the rooms and towels of these colors over the doors of rooms. To me this was “biding time” until I could figure out what I was supposed to do.
I soon linked the roses and the apples to the Garden Of Eden, and I really thought at this point it was all coming together — that it was all starting to make sense and that I would know what I was supposed to do really soon. I remember feeling like I had a revelation as to what was happening and that it was being revealed to me piece by piece.
It got to the point where I was so agitated, it felt like I had ants crawling in my brain. I would sit and write the alphabet out over and over again, hoping that something would jump out at me and make some kind of sense.
This is just a really condensed snippet of what I experienced and how I felt. You can read more about it and my story in my book, but I just wanted to share a few of these pages. I want others to know they are not alone if they’ve had an experience like this.
I felt like I was the only one to have these sorts of thoughts and beliefs and I found it extremely traumatizing and shameful. It was difficult to accept that my brain had acted in this way! I was embarrassed and even thought my psychiatrist would think I was “crazy” to the point I gave her all these scribblings in my hospital admission. I cannot tell you what a big step that was and how nervous I felt. I thought she was going to tell me I was a freak. She handed them back and just said it was quite normal and it wasn’t anything she hadn’t seen before. I could have kissed her. I was so sure I was only one.
I decided to share these to try and give others the bit of relief I felt when she said that to me. A little bit of realization that you are not a freak and that you are not alone. You are not alone in experiencing these things.
I do think there needs to be more support for psychosis after it has happened, as I found it’s not just the episode itself that needs treating. It’s very difficult to come to terms with and I think there does need to be more to support for the feelings that come after this kind of episode. Just because the psychosis is treated and gone doesn’t mean it feels instantly better. There are a lot of thoughts and feelings in the aftermath. If you are struggling, please reach out for help. You are not alone and it’s OK not to be OK.
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