A Day in the Life: What It Feels Like to Be Psychotic
I wake up. I’m still sleepy but it’s 9 a.m., and I promised my husband I would get up at 9 a.m. every day. I can do that at least. I look to the end of my bed. He’s standing there already. His name is John. He looks like he’s in his mid 40s, stubble on his chin, dark clothing, medium build. He never says much. He just kind of stands there really. He’s not particularly scary looking, but he still kind of creeps my out. I mean if someone stood at the end of your bed you would be creeped out too, right? But he doesn’t stay there, he follows me around sometimes. But he just kind of stands about. Sometimes I get scared and I lock myself in my room while he’s out in the hall. But I know he won’t hurt me.
I get up and get ready to go out. I have to see my doctor today which requires a bus ride to a neighboring town. I like the bus ride, it’s calming. I leave my apartment and make my way to the coffee shop, I always get coffee on the way. But I always get it to go. It’s a busy coffee shop and the noise is too much for me. I get to the coffee shop and order and as soon as I’m waiting the noise starts…
Meghan! Meghan! You worthless piece of shit! You’re worthless! Meghan! I know you can hear me! Meghan! You’re pathetic! You’re horrible! I know what you’ve done! You’re horrible! I know what you did! Meghan! Meghan! Meghan! Meghan! Meghan! Meghan! You worthless, crappy, pathetic, useless piece of shit! Meghan!
My coffee is ready. I say thank you and run out of the store. I do this every week. They must think I’m nuts. I am nuts.
I get on the bus and I’m on my way to my appointment. There’s only one other person on the bus, so it’s quiet. No voices. When the bus gets in I go straight to the doctor’s, I explain to the receptionist that it’s been a really stressful day and if I can get in any earlier. Luckily there was a cancellation and she’s got me an earlier appointment.
I sit down in my doctor’s office, clearly frazzled. A mess would probably be a better word. I’m shaking, legs shaking, hands shaking, jaw clenched. He asks me what’s wrong, I explain to him that I’ve been seeing John again and that when I went to get my coffee this morning everyone was yelling at me. They even all knew my name and they said horrible, horrible things to me. I also mentioned that I was worried that my pharmacist was trying to poison me.
My doctor is a very patient man. He sat with me and explained to me that John and the voices weren’t really real and that I need not be afraid of them. He even managed to tackle the pharmacy problem which wasn’t a first. I left his office with a prescription for an increase in one of my antipsychotics.
I still struggle with psychotic symptoms but working with my doctor they are much, much better than what they were.
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Thinkstock photo via Litetokig