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

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