A peek into psychosis

I’m only really writing this to try and batter my extremely confused mind into a semblance of coherency – writing helps me focus. I wondered whether I needed to publish it, but it occurred to me it might give you, dear reader, an understanding of why my posting is erratic in timing and often erratic in content. If you just read Elitistreview for lewd yet interesting tasting notes you might want to come back another time.

Twitter and Facebook followers will know I’ve been ill for about a week. I don’t deal with illness particularly well and it has aggravated my psychotic mental illness. Since moving to Winchester and solving my insomnia problem this happens less regularly. However, I am scared, confused and devastatingly unhappy too often to manage anything like the pulsingly successful career I expected when I was an academic before I lost my marbles.

Historically my diagnosis has been paranoid schizophrenia, but my current psychiatrist, probably the best one I’ve seen in nearly 14 years of being ill, described me as having a ‘psychotic illness triggered by childhood trauma’. There is a lot of paranoia in that illness, though.

I just stubbed my toe on my bed frame and shrank into a ball on the floor, not due to physical pain but because of the crushing understanding that everything in the universe, even the bed I need to sleep in, wants to hurt me and cause me harm.

I’ve got a couple of emails from lovely friends in my inbox that I’ve been too scared to even read because I know they will be deviously worded attempts to get me to disclose information that can be used to damage me. I love my friends and so having these thoughts about messages from them, which I will no doubt find to be warmly friendly when I feel better and read them in a few days, creases me up with unhappiness.

Some of the delusions my knackered mind subjects me to are deeply uncharitable toward people I care about (and me, come to think of it). Something that can spook me for days is when I wake up in the middle of the night and see one of my best friends screaming abusive obscenities at me from the end of my bed. Last time this happened someone I know who would drop everything to help me at a moment’s notice was apparently waving a knife at me and threatening to kill me for being such a disgusting waste of a human life. Oh dear.

WP_20121004 2I haven’t felt terribly suicidal since my unfortunate Christmas Day experience in 2010, my medication keeps things under control most of the time and getting out of horrible, horrible Woolwich has undoubtedly lowered my stress levels – this is all good. Yet on days like today it’s more than I can manage to get out of my pyjamas and stop hiding under the bedclothes (note: this is the most recent picture I’ve taken and all I could manage to think of illustrating this not particularly photo-friendly post with). The bad times are not particularly easy.

I like to think I can write in a reasonably compelling style, and Elitistreview seems to support that (I’ve had nearly 90,000 unique visitors in the past year), but sadly that doesn’t make me a vastly competent and successful person… Well… I suppose I could view it as successful that I even manage the little I do with the problems I have. And that seems a good note to end this on, I’m losing coherency again and want to hide. Thank you for reading.


10 Comments

  • Tom Blach wrote:

    Thank you for the illuminating insight, David. It strikes me that your perceptions are not so far away from those I might sometimes have, particularly when stubbing my toe, but just a sort of slightly expanded version-which please don’t for a second think is to dismiss your illness, quite the opposite. Is there a chemical basis for paranoia?
    I hope you feel better soon. It is hard sometimes to counteract the gloom of our inevitable descent into winter at this time of year.

  • Todd Hamina on Facebook wrote:

    Although we only know one another through the vastness of the internet. I feel compelled to tell you (though I have no proof) that many people care about you and wish you well. It’s not particularly possible to do more, but please remind yourself that there are friendly people out in this world and the vast majority (again, no proof) wish well upon people rather than the reverse. I, most assuredly, wish you well.

  • Amy Sennesh Vastola on Facebook wrote:

    Howz about we get up a posse and beat the crap out of your abuser? Love to you David, we are thinking about you and talking about you, wanting the terror to leave you

  • Kim Caldwell on Facebook wrote:

    Thinking about you and wishing you serenity. :)

  • David Strange on Facebook wrote:

    Thank you for your kind comments! I’m feeling a little better today; that’ll make going to the dentist this afternoon a touch easier! Being ill is not easy, but people saying lovely things does help:)

  • David Strange wrote:

    The anti-psychotics I take usually vastly reduce my paranoia, so it would seem there is some biochemical nature to it. Exactly what that biochemical nature is is a cause of much debate, but I’m happy to keep taking the pills.

    I thought I was feeling better this morning, then when I was in the shower I saw a man standing outside it watching me. I knew he wanted to hurt me. I ran out of the shower and I probably won’t have another one today.

    As well as adding coherency to my posts Editor Dani’s duties include cuddling and soothing my dodgy mind. I will be making much use of those services today.

  • Jeremy wrote:

     Very glad to hear that you are seeing a competent psychiatrist. A few years back, faced with this sort of crisis, you might very well have ended up in the emergency room and psychiatric ward. You should be proud of yourself, well done!

    Get well and lots of love.

  • David Strange wrote:

    Thanks Jeremy, I appreciate you posting. You are right, it’s damned good to have kept out of the loony bin.

    I’m sure I’ll feel more together tomorrow.

  • David Strange wrote:

    It seems this episode has been caused by me having my antipsychotic dose lowered about seven weeks ago. Editor Dani tells me I’ve been getting quieter and more withdrawn over the past few weeks. At the moment I’m psychotic, paranoid, confused and very unhappy. I’ll ring my doctor this morning and get my dose put back up. I don’t know exactly how long it’ll take but I should be on form again soon.

  • David O'Brien wrote:

     I fight for control over my mind. I have a mental illness that most people do not understand. I say things I don’t mean, and it causes behavior and moods that are troubling. Much of the time, I am terrified of everything around me. This illness also disturbs my sleep cycle, memory, ability to recognize faces and names, and I hear voices and see things as well.  I go through cycles and stress and lack of sleep make them worse. It has been many years since I have felt ‘normal’. There is no known cure for this and the only medications that help make me feel disconnected and numb, however some relief is better than none. There are also times that nothing works, and even the familiar makes me so scared that I lash out.