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Psychosis Isn't a Bad Word

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Before I developed psychosis, I had no idea what it was! Like many of you, I thought psychosis was weird and that people who experienced it should be avoided like the plague. They must be dangerous, right? Wrong. Having psychosis does not mean you’re a “psychopath.”

Psychosis does not usually occur on its own. It can be a symptom of a serious mental health conditions, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and in my case, severe depression. So what exactly is it? It presents differently in every individual.

For me, it came across quickly because my depression was not under control. The first signs were when I felt something was completely wrong. “I am going insane,” I would cry to my mum.

 The symptoms are hard to explain. I am not going into too much detail because it is so upsetting. You start to say and do things that are completely out of character. Your thinking becomes muddled up, and trying to get your words out is nearly impossible. I get intrusive thoughts and hear a voice. Yes, it’s terrifying. The voice isn’t nice, and it wants me to hurt myself and ruin my life. I become delusional and believe things others don’t. When this happens, I have lack of insight so I think I’m fine. I lie to healthcare professionals and family because I’m so terrified. I also self-harm.

Next is the paranoia. I can’t bear to be left alone because I think something bad will happen. “Is this a game? If it’s a game why won’t it stop?” I used to plead with doctors. I become flat, emotionless and have a blank stare on my face. Eating and sleeping are out the picture so before you know it clothes are hanging off your waist! I become a completely different person — guarded and terrified.

Psychosis is terrifying, but I’ve found it can be treated with the right medication.

I’ve been free from psychosis symptoms for months now, so don’t be scared of me — I am recovering and just like you. It’s not contagious. Don’t be scared, help people.

Colleen x

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Thinkstock photo via JenniferEileenRich

Originally published: July 3, 2017
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