Cosmo Graham

@theelephantman98 | contributor
I have been struggling with mental illness since I was 17 when first diagnosed as a schizophrenic and have been in a psychiatric hospital three times with four years being the longest I've managed to stay out, I have had many horrible life changing experiences due to my illness and it helps to hear from others who have had similar experiences. I have always loved writing and writing about my mental health really helps me, I feel it gives me space and helps with reflection.
Community Voices

Visual hallucinations

During the ritual of sleeping, my eyes closed or half closed I see images, sometimes an animation other times something cruder than that. It can be quite threatening. Shocking, personal imagery spread before your vision while you struggle for sleep. Flashy pictures with brief continuation, my eyes at times twitch with the indentation. At times they will lead up to a scare, something calm unravelling into a grotesque image or movement and I thank myself for being so used to being hammered with the venom of a schizophrenic mind. Despite this, because this happens night after night and I am so used to the experience I even find it calming and encourage my neigghbours to soothe me with interesting and picturesque animation, although they often rebel with things I don't like. During my last hospital admission when I was in a dark unhinged pool of mental illness, I would encourage the voices and characters I encounter to show me hallucinations. I wanted very heavy visions, thinking they would take me to new places and would be enlightening and spiritually uplifting. I felt very badly put upon that they were keeping them from me. Alas, it seems to have cause a thing to happen to my vision where I see faces in everyday viewing, sometimes smiling sometimes with other expressions. I detest these personalities being forced on me when I am in no mood for it. When this happens I need to lie down as it feels like sensory overload, it is very hard to make other people understand. Through resilience I can pull myself through though, I believe.

7 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Visual hallucinations

During the ritual of sleeping, my eyes closed or half closed I see images, sometimes an animation other times something cruder than that. It can be quite threatening. Shocking, personal imagery spread before your vision while you struggle for sleep. Flashy pictures with brief continuation, my eyes at times twitch with the indentation. At times they will lead up to a scare, something calm unravelling into a grotesque image or movement and I thank myself for being so used to being hammered with the venom of a schizophrenic mind. Despite this, because this happens night after night and I am so used to the experience I even find it calming and encourage my neigghbours to soothe me with interesting and picturesque animation, although they often rebel with things I don't like. During my last hospital admission when I was in a dark unhinged pool of mental illness, I would encourage the voices and characters I encounter to show me hallucinations. I wanted very heavy visions, thinking they would take me to new places and would be enlightening and spiritually uplifting. I felt very badly put upon that they were keeping them from me. Alas, it seems to have cause a thing to happen to my vision where I see faces in everyday viewing, sometimes smiling sometimes with other expressions. I detest these personalities being forced on me when I am in no mood for it. When this happens I need to lie down as it feels like sensory overload, it is very hard to make other people understand. Through resilience I can pull myself through though, I believe.

7 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Scared of what you could do

I have been hospitalized on three occasions, for schizophrenia induced psychosis. The first time was a nightmare, it was very fresh and traumatic, the second time wasn't much better and I gained a lot of weight, I curiously thought that my eating was hurting others, and it was like a game with me. They wheeled out white bread toast and butter and biscuits and decaff coffee with sugar and I found a little solace in that despite the unbearable situation.
It is not much to say that my mind was in a very strange, chaotic place. One thing I know that I like doing when I've had a relapse and am psychotic is singing and making up rhymes, it started the second time I was sectioned. Apart from screaming mad tangents of gibberish I liked to sing, and the third time I was hospitalized it really took full form. At times I thought I was quite talented at singing and rhyming and this was reinforced by other patients saying I should write down what I was singing/saying but prior to my admission the third time, I would sing in the garden and the house at my grandparent's where I stayed then.
I was so worked up during my screeching one time that the neighbours all went outside to hear the commotion, this was a total embarrassment to my grandad who said, " Only sing in the house." I found it very hard to keep to that, it was an outlet of some kind for me.
When I would have a conversation with someone, I would be hearing too many loud voices to concentrate on what they were saying, and would ask them to repeat themselves constantly, untill they questioned what I was experiencing to have so little concentration.
The voices and delusional experiences were very intense, at times I couldn't bear it, for a release, I started harming myself in my third admission, although i found the hospital I was in then, based in the scottish highlands, much more satisfactory than the previous ones which were in Glasgow, the city.
In the highland one there were carpeted floors, good grub and nice staff. In the Glasgow ones it was so clinical and plastic, the food was cheap as dirt mush with hardly any vegan/vegetarian options and the staff were alien and cold.
But despite the better setting, I would constantly break mugs, sometimes from frustration and sometimes for a sharp object to cut myself with, I don't know exactly how many I broke, but they briefly tried me on a plastic mug. I would also snap cds for something to pierce myself with, the worst cut was just above my collarbone, a scar I still have today, and a burn on my cheek from a cigarette that still shows. I was so depraved that one evening I stubbed cigarettes out on my nipples and watched them melt.
It all came to a head when out on a walk I purchased sharp knives, with which I wished to kill myself with. Luckily the police searched me on my way back, and I was placed on a C.T.O and had to go through some sort of suicide form.
At this moment, as I am relatively well, I can't even fathom hurting myself. #self harming

16 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Scared of what you could do

I have been hospitalized on three occasions, for schizophrenia induced psychosis. The first time was a nightmare, it was very fresh and traumatic, the second time wasn't much better and I gained a lot of weight, I curiously thought that my eating was hurting others, and it was like a game with me. They wheeled out white bread toast and butter and biscuits and decaff coffee with sugar and I found a little solace in that despite the unbearable situation.
It is not much to say that my mind was in a very strange, chaotic place. One thing I know that I like doing when I've had a relapse and am psychotic is singing and making up rhymes, it started the second time I was sectioned. Apart from screaming mad tangents of gibberish I liked to sing, and the third time I was hospitalized it really took full form. At times I thought I was quite talented at singing and rhyming and this was reinforced by other patients saying I should write down what I was singing/saying but prior to my admission the third time, I would sing in the garden and the house at my grandparent's where I stayed then.
I was so worked up during my screeching one time that the neighbours all went outside to hear the commotion, this was a total embarrassment to my grandad who said, " Only sing in the house." I found it very hard to keep to that, it was an outlet of some kind for me.
When I would have a conversation with someone, I would be hearing too many loud voices to concentrate on what they were saying, and would ask them to repeat themselves constantly, untill they questioned what I was experiencing to have so little concentration.
The voices and delusional experiences were very intense, at times I couldn't bear it, for a release, I started harming myself in my third admission, although i found the hospital I was in then, based in the scottish highlands, much more satisfactory than the previous ones which were in Glasgow, the city.
In the highland one there were carpeted floors, good grub and nice staff. In the Glasgow ones it was so clinical and plastic, the food was cheap as dirt mush with hardly any vegan/vegetarian options and the staff were alien and cold.
But despite the better setting, I would constantly break mugs, sometimes from frustration and sometimes for a sharp object to cut myself with, I don't know exactly how many I broke, but they briefly tried me on a plastic mug. I would also snap cds for something to pierce myself with, the worst cut was just above my collarbone, a scar I still have today, and a burn on my cheek from a cigarette that still shows. I was so depraved that one evening I stubbed cigarettes out on my nipples and watched them melt.
It all came to a head when out on a walk I purchased sharp knives, with which I wished to kill myself with. Luckily the police searched me on my way back, and I was placed on a C.T.O and had to go through some sort of suicide form.
At this moment, as I am relatively well, I can't even fathom hurting myself. #self harming

16 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Scared of what you could do

I have been hospitalized on three occasions, for schizophrenia induced psychosis. The first time was a nightmare, it was very fresh and traumatic, the second time wasn't much better and I gained a lot of weight, I curiously thought that my eating was hurting others, and it was like a game with me. They wheeled out white bread toast and butter and biscuits and decaff coffee with sugar and I found a little solace in that despite the unbearable situation.
It is not much to say that my mind was in a very strange, chaotic place. One thing I know that I like doing when I've had a relapse and am psychotic is singing and making up rhymes, it started the second time I was sectioned. Apart from screaming mad tangents of gibberish I liked to sing, and the third time I was hospitalized it really took full form. At times I thought I was quite talented at singing and rhyming and this was reinforced by other patients saying I should write down what I was singing/saying but prior to my admission the third time, I would sing in the garden and the house at my grandparent's where I stayed then.
I was so worked up during my screeching one time that the neighbours all went outside to hear the commotion, this was a total embarrassment to my grandad who said, " Only sing in the house." I found it very hard to keep to that, it was an outlet of some kind for me.
When I would have a conversation with someone, I would be hearing too many loud voices to concentrate on what they were saying, and would ask them to repeat themselves constantly, untill they questioned what I was experiencing to have so little concentration.
The voices and delusional experiences were very intense, at times I couldn't bear it, for a release, I started harming myself in my third admission, although i found the hospital I was in then, based in the scottish highlands, much more satisfactory than the previous ones which were in Glasgow, the city.
In the highland one there were carpeted floors, good grub and nice staff. In the Glasgow ones it was so clinical and plastic, the food was cheap as dirt mush with hardly any vegan/vegetarian options and the staff were alien and cold.
But despite the better setting, I would constantly break mugs, sometimes from frustration and sometimes for a sharp object to cut myself with, I don't know exactly how many I broke, but they briefly tried me on a plastic mug. I would also snap cds for something to pierce myself with, the worst cut was just above my collarbone, a scar I still have today, and a burn on my cheek from a cigarette that still shows. I was so depraved that one evening I stubbed cigarettes out on my nipples and watched them melt.
It all came to a head when out on a walk I purchased sharp knives, with which I wished to kill myself with. Luckily the police searched me on my way back, and I was placed on a C.T.O and had to go through some sort of suicide form.
At this moment, as I am relatively well, I can't even fathom hurting myself. #self harming

16 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Scared of what you could do

I have been hospitalized on three occasions, for schizophrenia induced psychosis. The first time was a nightmare, it was very fresh and traumatic, the second time wasn't much better and I gained a lot of weight, I curiously thought that my eating was hurting others, and it was like a game with me. They wheeled out white bread toast and butter and biscuits and decaff coffee with sugar and I found a little solace in that despite the unbearable situation.
It is not much to say that my mind was in a very strange, chaotic place. One thing I know that I like doing when I've had a relapse and am psychotic is singing and making up rhymes, it started the second time I was sectioned. Apart from screaming mad tangents of gibberish I liked to sing, and the third time I was hospitalized it really took full form. At times I thought I was quite talented at singing and rhyming and this was reinforced by other patients saying I should write down what I was singing/saying but prior to my admission the third time, I would sing in the garden and the house at my grandparent's where I stayed then.
I was so worked up during my screeching one time that the neighbours all went outside to hear the commotion, this was a total embarrassment to my grandad who said, " Only sing in the house." I found it very hard to keep to that, it was an outlet of some kind for me.
When I would have a conversation with someone, I would be hearing too many loud voices to concentrate on what they were saying, and would ask them to repeat themselves constantly, untill they questioned what I was experiencing to have so little concentration.
The voices and delusional experiences were very intense, at times I couldn't bear it, for a release, I started harming myself in my third admission, although i found the hospital I was in then, based in the scottish highlands, much more satisfactory than the previous ones which were in Glasgow, the city.
In the highland one there were carpeted floors, good grub and nice staff. In the Glasgow ones it was so clinical and plastic, the food was cheap as dirt mush with hardly any vegan/vegetarian options and the staff were alien and cold.
But despite the better setting, I would constantly break mugs, sometimes from frustration and sometimes for a sharp object to cut myself with, I don't know exactly how many I broke, but they briefly tried me on a plastic mug. I would also snap cds for something to pierce myself with, the worst cut was just above my collarbone, a scar I still have today, and a burn on my cheek from a cigarette that still shows. I was so depraved that one evening I stubbed cigarettes out on my nipples and watched them melt.
It all came to a head when out on a walk I purchased sharp knives, with which I wished to kill myself with. Luckily the police searched me on my way back, and I was placed on a C.T.O and had to go through some sort of suicide form.
At this moment, as I am relatively well, I can't even fathom hurting myself. #self harming

16 people are talking about this
Community Voices

How do you take your coffee/tea?

<p>How do you take your coffee/tea?</p>
241 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Mental Health Isolation

Sometimes I feel my life is such a mess. I often lie in bed, and memories seem to just unravel one after the other, I feel heavy shame about how I've acted when unwell with schizophrenia , just going over in my head all the crazy stuff I've said to people and what I've done and how much I've embarrased myself and just been such a head wreck. Here are a couple of examples. I got thrown out a space of grass and trees, an old pitch in Glasgow called the Meadow one time when these young people were having a party for scaring a pregnant woman. It wasn't intentionally but I recall being quite obnoxious and I was heavily unwell and saying really strange things. I remember being dragged out by my arms and I was so offended, I screamed abuse at them and felt like such a freak, such an outsider. I used to just wander the streets and would find myself in strange places and strange situations, the voices I heard and my thoughts would take me on different leads, my thinking would find meaning in a route. I'd talk to people and remembering my speech now is very cringeworthy, it suspends disbelief the things I would say. Once I got thrown out of a party that I had just walked into by following some people in, on a psychotic wander through the streets. When I was in I drank a shot I was meant to pay for and the guy was raging at me so I showed him a handful of change and he knocked it out my hand then flipped the table and all the drinks over and attacked me and I was screaming and shouting and it got broke up. Then I was dancing with my top off upstairs trying to find booze to steal and noising people up with my madness so two guys grabbed me and pulled me out and I was wandering the streets, shouting at the top of my voice in disgust and loathing at the party goers, again I felt like an outsider and a freak. I bumped into this young man and got talking and I was coming up with all this madness about being a viking etc. ,at the time I thought I had a very diverse heritage, including past lives where I was very successful, and other mental stuff. I said we should storm the party and take out everyone room by room I believed no harm would come to us. He  probably couldn't believe what was coming out of my mouth but he was a really nice boy and bought me a snickers and an energy drink and gave me a couple of quid then turned around and gave me his hoodie! I couldnt believe it. So then I was walking back and bumped into people from the party and they were nice and suģgested I walk back to it with them. All the time I was coming out with gibberish and being a mental state and ended up staying all night at the party putting more people off with my strange and unusual behaviour. At that point in my life all I seemed to be doing was putting people off day to day with any interaction I had, I was so alienated. I find it hard to sleep with these memories, they filter in and I just want to hide from society.
#MightyTogether

4 people are talking about this
Jason Jepson

My Stages of Recovery With Schizophrenia

When I first was diagnosed with schizophrenia, my first response was, “No, not me.” The response was probably due to what I thought mental illness was. I was scared I would be put in a straight jacket. I thought I would be closed off to the world. I finally came to the conclusion a person with schizophrenia must find help, or possibly wind up on the local news. My First Day My sunglasses were still on as I entered the small room. My platoon Sergeant was behind me, and I noticed that the man waiting for us wore a nametag calling him a “Doctor.” I was wearing sunglasses because without them, my disease would spread. That meant, through the channels of extra sensory perception, my reality would take hold, and an individual would be able to speak with another individual without them being present. Suddenly, as the naval doctor was asking me questions, my platoon sergeant yelled. “Take your sunglasses off!” The very thing I couldn’t do. Because I was used to following orders, I slowly took off my sunglasses. So it begins … the doctor will now be able to hear everyone I had made eye contact with for the last couple of months. The doctor sighed. I was confident that the voices had made contact with him. I was given pajamas to wear, sent to a room in the psych ward that I would share with three other people. This was a psych ward. Never in a million years would I have thought I might end up in a place like this. I was scared, but resigned to whatever might happen. My platoon Sergeant had driven me from Fort Irwin, California in the Mojave Desert to Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego. During the long drive to the hospital, I felt a sense of relief. At my Army base I always had to keep my guard up. I didn’t trust anyone around me there. I had made eye contact with all of my fellow soldiers, and so the voices were influencing them too. Several things I had experienced in the military may have conspired to enable me to have the powers that I had now. I was stationed in Fort Knox during my basic and advance training. One night, we were training on the Calvary scout main weapon the M3A3 Bradley fighting vehicle. There were three of us in one track. I like to think I drove it to the best of my ability. This of course was before my special powers took hold of me. Everything was fine until I was in the back of this vehicle and my seat had a broken seat belt, so I tied the two ends that I did have around me. The driver who was in front seemed to be maniac behind the wheel. He hit a bump and I hit my head on a bar over head. I was knocked out for a second. When I woke up, the trip was over. But the person sitting next to me was crying. I guess he thought I was dead. When I moved, he stopped crying. The second instance was at Fort Irwin. I was in the field during a rotation, and the soldiers in my team were parked in a line. It was getting dark and someone called me over. I went, and the next thing I knew five guys were trying to wrap my body in duct tape. I fought them off by pushing and kicking away anyone trying to tape me up. It took a different soldier (from a different platoon) who was bigger than me and stronger than me to bring me down. Imagine fighting for your life and losing. This was initiation. I was the new guy. They also taped someone else I came in with but not as bad. They didn’t put tape over his mouth like they did me. This experience split my psyche into two realities. There was an everyday reality and a reality that was all mental. The reality I explained. The reality that inspired me to go to mental health so I could figure out what this really was. A part of me thought it was a new step of evolution. I was later Honorably Discharged. At home my behavior was very erratic, so much so that my parents had to call the police. They took me away in handcuffs. It was a hard thing to go through, but now, I am thankful for that experience because I got the treatment I deserve. I finally was on medication. Antipsychotic Tangents It came to this … Voices surrounding me like bumblebees in spring. Women kissing … the love buzz Beating in my chest. Feast your eyes on the loner, And hear the voice of God. Whispers and tantrums, Like bacon sizzling in your brain; Finding rhythm in hallucinations Depicting voices that acting like a searchlight Ceased and dissolved in a single green pill, Creating a lonely apartment. This is my poem about schizophrenia. “It came to this” is bringing the reader up to speed. Voices sometimes seem like bumblebees. Each sting is a voice. When I had made eye contact with a woman, I would often feel a burning in my chest which I thought was the woman falling in love with. The warm sensation was called the love buzz. For those who made eye contact with me, they could see me the “Loner” in their head just like I can see them in my head. I also thought I could hear the voice of God. It was calming and relaxing. The voices were sometime at a whisper, and sometimes they seemed mad. The voices, sharing my brain, can be compared to bacon, always sizzling in the background. Hallucinations in my mind move quickly with rhythm-like boom, boom, boom. Some of the voices can act like a searchlight helping me weigh through my delusions. Stopping or maybe dissolving in a green pill, an antipsychotic. When medication starts to take hold, and the voices and delusions subside, I think the person living with schizophrenia feels lonely. They have depended on them for so long, and chances are the voices make them feel important. Hopefully, they won’t stop taking their medication. How Can I Help My Family and Others Understand My Schizophrenia I am not a mental health professional. I respect that profession so much. I’ve recently skimmed an article about psychiatry. The very first sentence states how hard it is for a person to accept that a loved one has a psychotic disorder. I’ve never spent a long time thinking about my family. How do they carry this weight? I am sure whether or not the mental health consumer has a roof over their head or is taking their medication enters into it. I am sure my parents would want me to be able to communicate how I am feeling, and if I am taking my medication. Also they would want to know that when it gets hectic I need to be left alone just like I need to know that it is alright to want to have a few minutes to myself. My parents would also want to know I am taking care of myself. Your job as a mental health consumer is being able to tell your doctor that you are OK or telling them your symptoms. You also need to stay on your medication. That sentence in the article I read can help with others too. For someone who doesn’t understand what it is like knowing someone with a mental illness, ask the question, “What if your dad, mom, brother, sister, husband or wife had been diagnosed with schizophrenia?” Their world as they knew it would be over. They may not know who to talk to because so many people don’t understand schizophrenia. My mom looked online and tried to find everything she could on the subject. There are different groups a loved one can go to get help or even empathy. If you don’t understand schizophrenia, just do your best to try to understand the family and friends. What are they going through? It is important to know the simple fact that it isn’t anybody’s fault. If I were asked to describe my schizophrenia, I would describe it as this: Schizophrenia, it is fighting off impulses that are wrong. They just pop into your head. You constantly have to fight the unreal. I sometimes go to Arby’s. I go through the drive-thru. Monday there is roast beef, Tuesday there is turkey, Wednesday there is roasted chicken and Thursday there is meat loaf. You also get four sides and muffins. I tell them what I want on any given day, and immediately I think they are spitting on it or doing whatever to my dinner. At the window, I look around to see if I can catch them in the act. Nothing. I pay, get my food and say thank you. Schizophrenia is receiving a delusion, or just a thought, and not reacting because you don’t know if it is true or not. Add stress and that is why I can’t work. That is why I can’t live a “normal” life. What is a “normal” life? You have a rough definition when you have a mental illness. Me, Myself, and I Last night, people were going up and down the stairs of my apartment building, trying to be quiet. I thought they were talking about me. “Jason lives there.” When I go through something like this, it is very hard to think rationally. I get swept up. When I hear voices speaking negatively about me, first I take a deep breath. Then, I catch myself in the moment. Are people really talking about me? If you do this, chances are you will find out things are quiet in and outside your head. Another way to cope is what my therapist told me, check the evidence. My front door has a peep hole. I look through it when I think something is going on. I look through it and you know what, there is no one out there. Just think of this, now if someone was talking about me outside my door wouldn’t they whisper so I couldn’t hear them. When you think strangers are talking about you, you need coping skills. When you have schizophrenia or any type of mental illness, you have to be in tune with yourself. You can be your own therapist or doctor without a psychiatry degree or PhD in psychology. To catch yourself in the moment is to be self-aware. Use your senses, listen, look through the peep hole or window. If you have been taking your medication, then chances are you won’t hear or see anything. For the most part, you have to know this, people mind their own business. They have their own worries and obligations. Chances are they have nothing to do with you. My Stages of Recovery The Stages of Recovery can be seen as a checklist or a way to see how far you have come. A patient and doctor or mental health professional can benefit from using this. I believe most patients go through these stages of recovery. With this tool, it can be seen where recovery began. These stages are subject to change. They don’t have to be in order, but in my opinion, this is just a tool to help after a patient has gone through the work himself or herself. Self-Aware I realized something was off in the Army. I referred myself to mental health. Because I didn’t stay on my medication, I came home with terrible symptoms, voices and delusions. I didn’t understand what was going on. Getting Help My parents called the authorities on me. It is better to come to your own conclusion on your own. I was taken to the hospital, where I decided if I was going to get help, it was going to be here. Staying Stable I found the right medication at the hospital. I decided I wasn’t going to go off my medication. Acceptance During this stage, I accepted myself at a bar. I didn’t feel like being quiet, but I talked to other people. I told other people at the bar that I was disabled veteran and why. I didn’t know why I should be ashamed about my diagnosis. This stage I realized some people may not accept me. I realized I had to test the waters in any public or social situation. I ask myself should I tell this person, if not, they are other things to talk about. Maintaining In this stage, I tried doing everything I was supposed to do. I quit drinking and smoking. I took my medication. I was taking antypsychotic injections. After telling my therapist and doctor about my symptoms, my doctor advised me to take a different 2-week injection instead. I also take an antipsychotic orally. Sometimes we do everything we are supposed to do, yet we have symptoms. We have to maintain. We can’t give up. We have to be aware of our symptoms, and if it doesn’t belong, tell your doctor. Accepting your mental illness or who you are can also be a part of being self-aware. All this while maintaining and doing what you are suppose to do. Published by Schizophrenia Bulletin March 1, 2014

Community Voices

Voices!!

I hear voices! Voices of thoughts that shouldn't be mine, voices of unknown individuals in a familiar sphere "my head" these voices tell me things that I ordinarily don't think of…. They tell me things I should do that I ought not to do. Why do I feel so trapped?! These voices are beginning to seem to be the only friends I know…. But I shouldn't listen to them…. Why? Cause they are not mine!! #Schizophrenia #Tinnitus

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