You are here

Self-Actualization After Psychosis

I hate coincidences. Ever since I’ve recovered from my bipolar psychosis, I’ve had to be wary of coincidences. Psychosis is a very difficult thing to deal with and understand. I’m going to attempt to delve into this very taboo subject because I want people to know what it is like to live with psychosis. I also want to dispel the myth that once diagnosed with psychosis, that person will always have delusions. This is definitely a myth. Medication for bipolar disorder with psychosis has done wonders to get rid of my psychosis and I am able to breathe better living in the real world. I can’t say that it has completely disappeared because coincidences still make me paranoid, but, thankfully, my husband is there to help me talk it out.

Psychosis is different for everyone, but psychosis has certain commonalities. Some of these commonalities include persecutory delusions and grandiose delusions. In persecutory delusions, someone suffering from psychosis believes people are out to get them. In grandiose delusions, someone suffering from psychosis may believe they are more influential than they really are or have super powers.

The two times I have had to deal with psychosis (and let me tell you, once was enough), I didn’t really know what was happening in reality. It was skewed. Movies, TV shows, radio and music all blended together to create this alternate reality I was living in. Random conversations from people I didn’t know started to be a part of it too, and my brain twisted what people said to fit into my reality at the time. My reality at the beginning was very positive. I was on a reality TV show to bring others to Christ. Months went by of this reality TV show (much like the "Truman Show") without incident, but as my illness continued to go untreated, I became deeper and deeper involved in this alternate reality. Eventually it progressed into me believing that I was a very influential prophet with powers given to me by god. This is where my reality started to change.

My alternate reality grew from a harmless positive reality to a dangerous negative one. It was like a switch flipped in my brain and I no longer heard positive things, only negative things. This is when I started to fear for my life. I thought everyone was out to get me. I thought I had caused the stock market crash and caused wars. I thought that I had either committed every imaginable crime out there or people thought I had committed those crimes even though I hadn’t. I became very defensive and couldn’t leave my house. It wasn’t until I was medicated that those delusions finally disappeared. Even though those delusions are gone and I’m happy living my life, coincidences threaten my equilibrium. Stress and uncomfortable situations exacerbate my sensitivity to coincidences so I have to be careful what situations I put myself in when I’m in a fragile state. Recently, I forced myself to go out when I was stressed and knew it probably wasn’t a good idea. It took me a whole week and a long conversation with my husband before I could finally release all those coincidences I was worried about.  I’ve learned to practice a little more self-care and avoid potentially pushing myself over the edge by forcing myself to do things when my stress level is high. A hard lesson, but needed for anyone dealing with a tough illness such as bipolar.

To read more from Lynn, see the rest of her posts for IBPF here, or check out her personal blog

Comments

I was having a hard time figuring out what exactly was giving me anxiety post psychosis and you hit the nail on the head. My experience was very similar. I kept thinking I had to go into everything with the best of my ability and then I could meet Oprah. I had a very Truman Show-like vibe to my experience as well. I appreciate you sharing and helping me connect why "gut feelings" and "coincidences" are giving me anxiety.

I'm glad that I shared. It always helps when you know you're not alone.

It was great to read you article.After three full episodes and a partial fourth I feel it should be call The Truman-like Disease, It's just apt.One conclusion I've thought up is through those moments we are like vessels to be filled by all history. I've walked down the Main Street as both Sitting Bull and NApolean. It's as if our soul fainted for a moment and in came the wind of ages taking over, until the fainting disappears and we wake up shamed and sorry for fainting in the first place.

Thank you for sharing Frank. It's tough stuff but if we can get through this, we can get through anything.

When I had my psychotic break, I thought I had killed myself and everyone in the world had killed themselves too. I believed I had caused major flooding, it rained for nearly 30 days where I was living. I was inpatient for a month and had a young child and husband who came to visit me every day. I thought my husband was the devil and his money was evil. I thought my young son was by himself at my house because everyone else had died. These thoughts were very real. It was very bizarre. I still have nightmares about going insane. It was by far the most scared I have ever been in my life. I never want to experience those thoughts and feelings again. That was 30 years ago and I still have nightmares about losing my mind. People don't realize just how devastating it is to feel that you are losing your mind. I know what you mean about coincidences, but you need to know that a coincidence is just a coincidence. Things happen in life and we just have to accept them. I am now a nurse working in a psychiatric hospital with severely schizophrenic and psychotic patients. I feel I can help them because I truly feel their pain. Medications work. The most important thing people need to know is SLEEP!! When people don't or can't sleep, they can become psychotic. The one common thread among all patients coming into our hospital, they can't or don't sleep. I keep seroquel handy for my sleepless nights because I know if I don't get adequate sleep, I don't think straight. Benadryl is a good sleep aid for those who don't have prescriptions. #1 sleep to stay sane

Good to know. Thank you for sharing Candy! And thank you for helping others as a nurse as well!

Thank you so much for sharing this. I wish there was more accessible information on this as it's been so reassuring to see I'm not alone.

I find this very interesting. The first time I experienced psychosis, I was sixteen.
I was convinced for weeks that the devil was going to take over the world, and me and a friend had to defeat him.
I couldn't sleep at night. I stayed up counting down the days when I *knew* it was going to happen.
I ran plans through my mind.
I prepared to run away from home, travel from Florida to Arkansas to get my friend, and then we were going to save the world.
I honestly, wholeheartedly believed this.

I wasn't even religious.

Some people might wonder why my friend didn't help me snap out of it. Assuming that was possible.
Well, she didn't, because I had convinced her it was true. She WAS religious.

Finally, the date came and passed. June 6th, 2016.
Nothing happened.
For a little while I still thought it was going to happen. I ran dates through my head because I had been having *visions* and believed they were true and had to happen.
They never did.
Soon after, my first manic episode ended, along with that insane delusion.
Ever since, I've been embarrassed to talk or think about it. It threatened my friendship with several people. I was ashamed.
But I didn't know what was going on. At the time, I was told I had deppression. It didnt make sense to me though, because I went weeks being happy (albeit a bit hyper, and delusional) and then wluld have horrible deppression. I thought depression was all day, every day of your life.
Then I was told I probably had bipolar disorder.
I've yet to receive my official diagnosis, but just knowing this is enough to make it more bearable.

Thanks for putting your experience out there. I was diagnosed bipolar after i suffered a psychosis lasting a couple months. This was four years ago and when I look back it makes me really sad because of how stigmatized and shaming it is to have mental illness. I wish I could understand how my mind completely lost touch with reality. I became so deeply involved with this world of false beliefs and hallucinations and it was so consuming that it became real. I thought that the world was going to a different level of space and all the plants were coming together to form this new universe. I saw a vision of a pregnancy inside me and though that I was carrying baby Jesus. My grandiose delusions quickly turned on me because I was “so important” that all of a sudden everyone was out to get me and dark forces started following me trying to take me. It started out full of beauty and I thought I finally saw the colors for the first time and that god was with me everywhere I went. I mediated on the beach and transformed into a bird and was flying above the ocean for hours. Then all of a sudden people where trying to kiddnap me. Men where reaching for guns in there jackets to murder me. I saw inanimate objects moving and transforming and my body sensations.. went crazy, it felt like the sky was sending down waves of electricity into my body. I saw demon eyes in the trees. It’s safe to say I was hostpitalized shortly after things got as bad as I just described them. I can’t believe this happened to me. But I don’t think I would change it if I could.

So true all of this. And the bizarre delusions that get more and more involved then turn horrible and negative. And so embarrassing to think of what I said as a result, and what some people half believed. No liar as convincing as the one who thinks they tell the truth! Thankfully the delusions and hallucinations gone. The medication finished now too. But since then an awful struggle with motivation. And no energy. Even with only part time work 3 years on still sleeping 11 hours a day. I can think of things it would be good to do - but actually doing them, no. I bet all our delusion stories would make great films though. You've got to admit imagination is impressive.

The worst part about my psychosis is that it was the most alive I have ever felt in my life, despite that it was at times scary. I thought I finally glimpsed the Truth, God and knew what Love is, and that I'm going to bring this love to humanity (that's why I had delusions that people know my true identity and that they want to kill me for it). Part of me believes that it was God testing my faith (fear of God is apparently one of the fruits of the holy spirit...) and I have failed that test, despite obvious signs. Now I just feel dead, uninspired, and can't find anything enjoyable in this mundane world. The more I read and hear about people who had a similar experience, like religious witnesses (something I've never paid any attention to before) - I feel like I missed my vocation, and God just lost patience with me. If there is such thing as a soul, or holy spirit, it feels like it's gone. I'm really at a loss what I should do.

I can't believe how many of us are out there experiencing the same visions and feelings from episode to episode. WOW! It's extremely hard initially coming back to reality - and sometimes it takes a really long time. Feeling spiritual has always been something that gets more extreme with heightened sensory properties with an amazing surreal energy. I have always questioned who we are - why we are - how we are since I can remember. Looking around at all animals I feel that I am equal and have no right over any other God's creatures. It's tough experiencing sign after sign, high after high and then....crash.... hospitalization. Lack of sleep, nutrition and trying to figure out that fictional reality was but an episode. It's easier said than done because right now I am only a couple months outside of my 7th episode. This last one I had lost everything that was dear to me in life. Love, career, and friends to boot. It's pleasing in some respect to know that we are not alone but I honestly can say I miss the energy and can empathize with all who have commented. Time heals all.

Add new comment

PLEASE POST COMMENTS ONLY. If you are in need of an IBPF resource, please contact Aubrey @ agood@ibpf.org. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.