Psychosis: Terrifying but Treatable

Does anyone know where the kids are? Oh, they’re being watched while I see my family friend and doctor, as I always do when I’m having issues. Because my home is in escrow, I had to clear out for their final physical inspection. The contract is on the card table. The house is supposed to close in three days. My realtors are cheating me. I want to rip up the papers. They pretend like they are my best friends but they could care less. They just want this house to sell. 

Where do I go from here? I have no one, no direction. My husband left. Didn’t want to stay married to a bipolar wife. So we’ve been showing the house. A lot. I’m no maid, and not for lack of trying. My diagnosis is bipolar I with psychotic features and ADHD.  Details like cat hairballs  on the rug escape me. Leaving my only refuge at a moment’s notice for real estate showings has been hell. To avoid making a mess, I never eat here. That means I never eat. I make coffee. I’m dropping weight like crazy but that is a good thing, I think. I often see grey shadows out of the corner of my eyes, as if I’m being followed. Logically, I know that’s not true. I see them just the same. 

Oh that’s right, Sharon, a movie star’s daughter, is watching Daryl and Sawtelle. Their Dad, Brian, is doing time up in Boise and we’re legally separated. Sharon lives next door. When she projectile vomits her entire life story, I think my problems are manageable, comparitively. I know it’s not nice to compare, but life is…well,  I’m trying to assess things. 

Last week, my doctor friend and I had lunch. He suggested long term inpatient treatment. Since I’ve had that before, I wonder if it could even help me again. I mean, I’m seeing things. My meds stopped working three years ago. Been self medicating ever since. I’m beyond help. 

He referred me to a cutting-edge psychiatrist. I went. So distant, clinical and cold. She gave me samples of a brand new antipsychotic and told me to try them and see if I felt better. No instructions when and how much to take. Now, I fall asleep a lot, even during the day, at the smallest dose. I wake up around 4pm and recall scary, vivid dreams. I’m in situations I can’t escape. I try and try but I can’t get away and I can’t tell if I’m asleep or awake. I do things I wouldn’t even imagine in real life. Shameful things. No way. But am I sure?

Driving home I wonderered what ‘normal’ people do in life as I stared at a strip mall with a restaurant, & dry cleaner. Is this all there is to life? Why am I so scared and empty?  I drive on. Honk Honk. I look up.  I am way below speed limit. I’m in the middle of nowhere, miles past my house. What caused me to get lost?  I refocus. I turn up the radio to drown out the voices I hear, mean male voices full of judgement. So I turn up the Smiths on KROQ. “How Soon is Now?” They know pain and I feel less alone.     

Searching for my kids, I go to Sharon’s. No one is home. Sounds like my life. I went down to the store and bought fish, vegetables and rice and made it for them. I ripped up the escrow papers. The realtors  are ripping me off, I’m sure of it. 

The phone rang. 

“Hi Allison, it’s Dad. How are you?”

“I’m cooking.”

“Yes, but how are you feeling? Everything all right?”

“I’m cooking for the kids. They’ll be home soon.” 

He laughed nervously. “Allison. You don’t have kids. You know that, right?”

BOOM, REALITY.  I’m ashamed and scared.

 “Dad, I tore up the escrow papers.”

 “You did WHAT?”

“ I felt I was being….”

“Allison, stay there. Don’t drink or anything. I’m going to fly your sister, Jo, to come and get you checked in somewhere. Call the realtors and make them redo the contract. It’s not such a big deal. What is a big deal is saving your life.” 

Thank God for family. Jo arrived the next day to help me pack and vacate my home. Mom and I had actually been researching places for me over the phone before all this happened. A bed was reserved, guaranteed for me. 

I spent 60 days in a women’s eating disorder and psychiatric facility. My clinically seasoned female psychiatrist was good about patient education. She explained how bipolar disorder can progress and worsen in the absence of treatment. I was stabilized on an antiseizure medication and an older, unique antidepressant. Then I went to a holistically focused ¾ way house to continue my individualized path to healing. 

Read the rest of Allison’s posts for IBPF here. Allison has also written for NAMI Not Alone and has personal blogs at and

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