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Why I Wouldn't Call It a 'Psychotic Break'

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I’d always heard the phrase “psychotic break” and thought it was some disastrously blown up meltdown that happened when life got too hard for a person to deal with. I think I pictured something akin to Jim Carrey’s Riddler with a flapping straight jacket in a cell. No matter what I thought, I figured it had nothing to do with me.

I had my first delusion around age 11, I suppose. I remember writing in a journal I knew I was special because my head was really big as a kid. I believed children who were half-human, half-angel had really big heads. I could only assume I was one of those beings and therefore had a special destiny. It wasn’t something I used logic to decide, I just knew it was true. It was a couple years later when I had my first episode of psychotic depression. I thought I was having conversations with my future daughter.

I never had a “break.” It’s more like a slow slide into a reality that isn’t quite real. There isn’t a switch to flip turning reality into a lie. For me, having delusions and hallucinations are like eating an ice cream cone. At first, you really like it and you don’t ever want the experience to end. Then you get a little chilly, but you still like it. And then you get a brain freeze and everything comes to a screeching halt. There are little signs all along the way you’re headed to somewhere painful, but you keep going anyway because it’s kind of fun. You don’t notice until it’s way too late to fix it, so you have to wait until it’s over and be more cautious next time.

It’s hard picking out real reality from my fictional reality sometimes. It’s hard, but it’s doable. I change the way I do things to make everything easier for me and make compromises when I need to. But the one thing I never compromise on is perseverance. I won’t give up living this life, because I know I’m special. And that’s not my psychosis talking, it’s the truth.

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Originally published: January 25, 2017
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