A psychotic episode is often misunderstood as someone “being psycho”. But that is not the case. It is a mental health problem that causes people to perceive things differently and experience this like hallucinations or delusions.
These can be mild and cause the sufferer to question their thoughts and surroundings. More extreme presentation of symptoms can be things like paranoia, voices and violence towards those close to you.
I have the pleasure of having a guest writer for this post – James Lindsay, who does some amazing work with Mind. He has been brave enough to share his own experience with psychosis. Please read on and I’ll leave you with his compelling story.
Hopefully it is something that you will never experience, but trust me when I say that I would not wish it on my worst enemy; I am talking about Psychosis (or a Psychotic Episode).
Unfortunately this very thing happened to me back in 2016, as a result I was sectioned for four weeks under the Mental Health Act. This first episode was caused by copious amounts of stress and an alarming lack of sleep.
In terms of how I actually felt and what it was like to be in a state of psychosis, there are so many emotions involved and a great deal of feelings, plus a lot of delusions. Sometimes I was elated and manic with positivity and enthusiasm, other times I was extremely anxious and distressed.
Danger Of A Psychotic Episode
The danger is you don’t stop and think “oh, I might be a little bit psychotic right now” and you are more likely to think that nothing is wrong with you. At the time I did not think I was unwell, I was making plenty of snap decisions that I would normally stop and consider, such as spending a lot of money online and buying things I didn’t need, for example I cringe when I think back to ordering a giant pillow that barely got used and eventually thrown away.
I was also paranoid a lot of the time. I thought people or companies were tracking me online, I thought that I was receiving messages through the TV and radio that only I could understand, I thought I could read people’s minds, I thought that the weather outside was speaking to me at one point.
For the people around me, I was not making much sense and I would talk very rapidly, jumping from one subject to another at random. I went in to work one day and I remember trying to tell my manager something, but she kept repeating “sorry James, I don’t understand what you are trying to say to me”.
Then fast forward to December 2019, after making some great strides in my recovery, sadly I suffered with a relapse and had another bout with psychosis. On this occasion I wasn’t sectioned again, but it took me longer to become stable once more.
There were plenty of repeat symptoms, but what was different this time was my anger. I am hardly ever an angry person when I am well, so it was all very out of character. I would jump to conclusions and get annoyed at every little thing, I hardly had any patience. An example of this was me telling everyone off at my weekly football session, which is meant to be a laid back type of environment. I became a bit more aggressive and got really annoyed when I felt like my team was not trying hard enough.
Thankfully after a few months, my mental health improved and that was the last time I had to deal with psychosis. I also had my diagnosis updated in early 2020, which became schizoaffective disorder. I am still taking the same medication as I was prescribed back then, an anti-psychotic called Quetiapine. This stuff is like gold dust to me now, as it helps me sleep well every night and stops me having racing thoughts.
I hope you have learned about something new and if you are experiencing or have had psychosis (or know anyone), I really hope the above has helped you in some way. If your loved one is going through something like this, please don’t take it personally, if they take it out on you in any way. Remember that with the right help, things will get better. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and recovery is always possible.
Please check out more content from James Lindsay, his social profiles listed below.
- Twitter – @JamesLindsay23
- Insta – jameslindsay_23
- Tiktok – jameslindsay23
- LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/mwlite/in/james-lindsay-414b6630