A Life&Style Writer shares their experience with psychosis, outlining the symptoms, effects and consequences of the condition in their life
Content Warning: This article discusses the effects and consequences of psychosis
According to Mind, by definition, psychosis is a mental health condition in which you perceive or interpret reality in a very different way to other people. You could be told that you are ‘losing touch’ with reality. There is a large stigma surrounding what it means to experience psychosis; we are deemed as ‘dangerous’ people and the media portrays us as such. I will talk about the journey I have had with my condition and will talk you through the basics of it. I want more people to learn more about this condition and the effects it can cause upon yourself as well as other people.
There are three kinds of psychosis: hallucinations, delusions and disorganised thinking and speech. Hallucinations can include seeing things other people do not, seeing things that seem distorted, experiencing sensations which do not have an apparent cause and hearing voices that other people do not. Delusions are usually beliefs that none else shares and which other perceptions show cannot be true, one example of these are paranoid delusions. Paranoid delusions are when these delusions can be frightening or make you feel threatened and unsafe.
The last of these is disorganised thinking and speech (otherwise known as ‘formal thought disorder’). Mental health professionals describe the symptoms as racing thoughts that may feel out of control, flight of ideas where you may see links between certain ideas and thoughts and seeing meanings where other people may not. When experiencing these symptoms, you may speak very quickly and stumble over your words so other people may not understand.
My experience with psychosis began during June last year. I experienced numerous psychotic episodes before I was diagnosed and given help from Forward Thinking Birmingham.
My first psychotic episode took place just a month after my 18th birthday. After I had gone out with a friend and my mom, I began to experience weird feelings and emotions and did not know where to place them. I was also very confused with what exactly I was feeling because it did not exactly feel normal. I was also very scared at the prospect of something being wrong with me mentally since I was about to venture into my university life after results day and these new experiences would set me back from everyone else.
After this, things got stranger and I felt equally insane about what I was going through before I received the relevant help. I began to experience hallucinations, I felt as if people were talking about me wherever I went and that whatever was happening to me and the people around me had some sort of meaning towards it. I also felt delusional, I felt that I wasn’t really present in the moment anymore.
I also recognised that many of the feelings and thoughts that I experienced had something to do with my spirituality. Before experiencing these symptoms, I was very in touch with my religion as a Muslim and would practice this daily, whether that was through praying or reading my Holy Book. After experiencing psychosis, I felt out of touch with my religion and I am still experiencing these feelings. I feel sensitive towards my spiritual side because I have lost touch with who I used to be and in turn this has affected me spiritually. With Ramadan now taking place, I am slowly but surely training myself to learn that it is okay if I am not a perfect Muslim.
Thankfully I received the relevant help that I needed from Forward Thinking Birmingham. Without them, I would not be where I am today. They helped me out of my psychosis through many coping mechanisms, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as well as medication. I am working with my carers to create a ‘crisis plan’, in which my family and friends can notice the small triggers that may eventually lead me to experiencing psychosis once again. Once I have this toolbox I will be able to lead a normal life.
I hope this article has enabled you to understand the complexities of the condition of psychosis. There are still numerous things to be done in order for people like me to be accepted in society today.
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