My First Psychosis

I have been debating in my head whether I should write about my Psychosis since I mentioned I would try and put into words what happened to me during the two I experienced.

Although I was hospitalised three times, I only had two Psychosis, for the first hospitalisation I had, I myself contacted the Police because I knew something wasn’t right with me and I reached out any way I could to get help. 

I don’t know why I have decided to write about it now, perhaps it’s my upcoming trip to Zanzibar, perhaps it is just time to get it out of my head. 

After my first Psychosis, my husband was concerned that I wanted to go to Zanzibar, he said “imagine what would have happened if you had had it there, with the health service they have”. And I must say the thought has been on my mind…what if I have another one there? Well, I have decided that the worst that can happen is I get an extended holiday, I can deal with that. Their health system might not be to the same standard of the civilized world but it doesn’t mean to say it’s no good – plenty of people go through it and come out the other end so why fear it, just because it is different to ours. And more to the point, they have a very different approach to spirituality. I feel I would be in good hands.

Still, I would rather never have a Psychosis again, because, as I mentioned before, I get overtaken by something that is definitely not “good”.

My first one made me abandon my dog, although there was still a part of me that was lucid enough to leave him attached to a picnic table opposite a chap who seemed to be camping there with a camper van, very similar to the one my husband and I had bought the day we split. I had hoped the chap would realise something was wrong when I walked off and didn’t come back and would contact the number on my dog’s tag – which was my husband’s mobile – and so my dog would be reunited with my husband where he would be safe. Unfortunately, I found out later that this didn’t happen and my dog stayed attached to the bench for many hours until he was rescued by staff of the local resorts who heard his barking. My husband told me after that my dog was never the same since. It pains me still. But at the time, I was in no state to look after him and I was needing him to be safe away from me.

My first Psychosis happened after a long period of awakening, when I started to truly connect with life and nature around me. During that time I started to develop an incredible bond with animals, but particularly dogs and birds. Otherwise aggressive dogs would let me pet them, even to the point I helped Bylaw rescue two whose owners ran a drug’s den.

I also started to see people very clearly. I could clearly see evil in people, as well as good. In fact this is what made me call the cops the first time as I had got embroiled with a man I had met dog walking.

One morning, as I was sitting on a bench watching life start, he walked past with his dog, and I noticed she was wearing one of those horrible collars with spikes that dig into your neck if you pull on the lead. It pained me and I felt this urge to free her from his owner – there were a few other behaviors this man had towards his dog I had witnessed in the past week that had told me there was a problem . She came to me as I was sitting on the bench and I calmly unhooked the lead. He went crazy, of course, and grabbed hold of me and dragged me on the ground for some distance whilst I was on my knees. He eventually let me go, got his dog back and went off.

Later that day, the Police came knocking on my door and told me there had been a complaint made against me. I looked at the Police officer confused whether he was for real and started to touch his uniform to check whether he was, he didn’t like that and told me to keep away. I explained what had happened and how I saw how badly this man was treating his dog, showed him my knees which showed the scratches I got from him dragging me over the gravel and he explained if I have a problem with people, I needed to call the Police rather than deal with it myself. I said, ok, well I have a problem with this man then and I am making an official complaint. He said he would look into it.

His words resonated in my head though, if I had a problem I should follow the proper channels and contact them.

Well I had a ton of problems, I was absolutely loosing touch with reality and a lot of weird things started to happen to me, some good but some definitely out of character and possibly dangerous for me and I started to get freaked out.

So I called them saying I feared my husband had been kidnapped and kept in one of my friends’ basement to be used as a sex slave – by then, he had left the house, apparently scared of what I might do – I have since found out that the Police had advised him to leave and that soon enough I would do something that would warrant their intervention.

Sure enough, not long after the call, two Police Officers appeared back at my house, with my husband in tow and I was taken to the local hospital for observation, where more weird stuff happened to me and my behaviour was weird and they decided I should be taken into hospital. So off I went.

There, again was a wonderful place for me to be and processed what had happened to me and how my world got turned upside down by my husband and my best friend. When my sections got lifted some two weeks later, I had wanted to stay there on a voluntary basis, I was learning a lot about myself and the world there and I wanted to continue my journey there a while longer.

Unfortunately the stupid psychiatrist who had been seeing me, more about that idiot some other time, decided I shouldn’t be treating the place like a hotel and he decided I should leave. By then, I had nowhere to go, there was no way I would go back to Drumheller, where I lived, as too much weird stuff had happened and I had bad vibes about the place now, I felt there was a lot of evil there and never wanted to go back – I still don’t.

So my husband came to the hospital, dumped all the stuff I would take back to the UK with me, including my dog, and washed his hand off me. I had decided to do a roadtrip to see the bits I had meant to before feeling good enough to fly back to the UK. 

My road trip was wonderful to start with, I reconnected with people and nature and felt in a good place. Things started to go bad though after a few days. I hadn’t been taking the medication I had been prescribed for several reasons, the main two were that I didn’t believe it was the answer to my problems and also I hadn’t been given any when I was discharged, only enough for 24 hours.

First I went to a lovely B and B run by a couple of german descendant and had a lovely time there. Then I decided to go to Canmore, one of my favourite places in Alberta, and say good bye to some friends who lived there. It was as I left Canmore that things started to go wrong for me again.

I had decided to go to the South to a place called Waterton – my husband and I had said we had wanted to go there and I wanted to see it before I left Canada. So I started the long drive there.

It took me a whole day to get there, and all the while in the car, I was talking, processing where I was in life. It was a very slow drive down…very eery….

I had booked a hotel there but when I got there I found the hotel was shut and that confused me. I sat in my car not knowing what to do. My dog was asleep on the passenger’s seat and I decided I would spend the night in the car.

That night, the dark side of the Psychosis started to come out. I didn’t sleep much for my mind was invaded by horrible stuff….I was sending my family to hell and watching them suffer for their sins. And rejoicing. With my eyes closed, I could see lights too, flashing constantly. I couldn’t be bothered to check what it was and just layed there unable to “wake up” from the horrible stuff that was taking over my mind. I remember my sat nav beeped at me too, and I looked at it and the screen just showed “Go Home” – I laughed, saying I don’t have a home stupid, put it back and ignored its deeping until it stops. In fact everything stopped at one point, the beeping and the flashing. I realised in the morning that the battery had died.

After that I must have dozed off and when I woke up I was faced by a magical scene. The hotel was placed on the most beautiful spot of Waterton – on a hill and from there you can see the mountains and the lake – absolutely beautiful.

As I opened my eyes, it was the start of a beautiful day, with a sheet of fog lingering, and I watched the scenery in absolute awe as three deers walked past.

I decided to take my dog for a walk and we went down to the river at the bottom of the hill where the hotel was. We had a wonderful time there, playing fetch with sticks in the river and just generally being kids together.

Eventually I got back to the car and decided I needed to try and deal with my car’s battery being flat. Except I wasn’t able to. I tried asking a couple who pulled out by me if they had some jumpleads, they were really nice and unfortunately didn’t have any. I then got it in my head that I couldn’t ask for help, that help would need to come to me instead, and so when they suggested I asked another chap who had just parked up and was walking away towards the hotel, I didn’t. They didn’t really understand why and went about their exploring.

I sat in my car a while wondering what to do next and a group of ladies stood talking in front of the bonnet. I heard them talk about food, saying one should always have something with them when trekking, just in case, like cheese or something. It made me realise I hadn’t eaten for a long while, neither had my dog. I had some mini babybel in my car too, and dog food, so I fed us both in the car. Then I decided to go explore and see if there was a way I could get my car sorted. Except I didn’t find a way – what I did find though was that there was a whole town the other side of the hotel and realised that I had gone to the wrong hotel the previous night.

Frodo and I spent some more time playing by the river and things started to go wrong again for me. I had realised by then I hadn’t slept for a couple of days as well and tried to get a nap lying on the rocks by the side of the river. But I couldn’t. So I went for another walk along the beautiful river with Frodo. Eventually, darkness came over me again and I started to loose the plot and did lots of weird things again. I felt I was taken over by my mum’s evil spirit. My mum and I had major issues in the weeks that preceded my Psychosis, and a few times we spoke over the phone, I had seen evil in her. She had been very aggressive with me, even shouting at me at times. I was bringing out the worst in her.

My darkness brought me to eat some stones from the bottom of the river. It had started when I realised I hadn’t drunk any water for a long while, so I started to drink water from the river. It felt so so good. Eventually though, something took over me and decided I should eat stones from the river to “clear myself from my mum’s bad spirit”, I became very agitated at that stage, arguing with myself/my mum, calling her all sorts and telling her I wanted her out of my body/mind. And apparently the only way to do that was to eat stones. So I went to the river’s edge and frantically started to eat stones. However, and this is what I have noticed throughout my psychosis experiences, something deep down inside of me also helps me ensure I don’t hurt myself, I started to dig really deep inside the river so instead of eating normal sized stones, I ate only little ones. 

It was only when I was back in hospital again that I realised how clever that had been. I probably could have seriously damaged myself or even inadvertantly killed myself if I had eaten normal sized stones….

After the incident of the stones, I decided I needed someone else to look after my dog and so I attached him to that bench hoping he would get rescued soon.

After that, I booked myself into a hotel – the one I had actually reserved, and went for dinner.

During the night, I had weird (but good) experiences and had a little sleep. When I woke up at 2 am, I decided to go for a walk, and this is when I got picked up by the Police. To this day I don’t know why I was picked up – I was only walking and looking at shop windows, dressed appropriately and my behaviour was normal.

He did “whisper” to me when I got in his car that “I hadn’t looked when I crossed the street”. That had me pretty puzzled, so? At 2 am in the morning there was hardly going to be any traffic!

Still that was the best thing that happened and I was taken into the local hospital where my husband would join me, as he had been notified. Weird stuff happened there again, the weirdest was that the doctor left my husband and I alone in my room to “talk things over”. I am not sure what he was hoping we would achieve but obviously nothing was achieved. My husband by then had had enough of my behaviour and really wanted me out of his life for good so he could pick his up and be happy ever after with our friends and my best friend.

During that chat I found out what had happened to Frodo, my husband made sure I realised how bad what I did was too, by reminding me where Waterton was and the wild life around and that Frodo could have been attacked by a bear or a cougar as he was tied up – thanks Husband, really what I needed to hear in the state I was in. I was just glad to hear he was safely back with him.

I then got carted off to another mental health hospital, that ambulance ride was another strange experience, but for another time, and there I decided to listen to what they said and took the meds they wanted me to. I didn’t want to be who I had become anymore. I remember my husband didn’t visit me once either – I think the staff were quite shocked by that. He did come the following day and I heard him behind the curtain that separated my room into two, deciding what items of clothing I should keep during my stay. I remember hearing all I had asked for was my toothbrush. Anyway, after he dealt with that, he set off.

Two weeks later, they discharged me, and by then I was ready to face the UK and arranged to have my stuff dropped off at a hotel in Calgary, saw my dog for the last time there and took a flight to Paris the following day to meet my dad for a few days before facing what was waiting for me in the UK: a broken life, a house I would have to wait for before moving back as my tenant had been refusing to leave unless she was evicted so she could get herself a council house. And nothing else.

I had hoped to talk about my second Psychosis this morning, however it seems the first one came out.

I am conscious I haven’t written it in details either, there are 100s of strange experiences I had that I haven’t covered but I’d be here all day if I were to cover them all.

Funnily enough recently, I came across a chap who wrote a book about his experience with psychosis, Peter somebody or other, a scientific kind of guy if I remember well, when I was looking for links between psychosis and spirituality and discovered his book, which is available via a pdf for a cost, was some 400 pages. Yep, that figures. (I never bothered getting his book, I don’t like reading books via electronic format plus it was quite pricey if I remember well)

Thing is, at the moment, I prefer keeping those weird experiences to myself on the whole (I have spoken about some of them to some people whom I have felt safe to, one of them being my psychiatrist). It really is nobody’s business what I went through but my own. And I have learned recently some people like to use it against you too – like the American Guy threw in my face I was bipolar after I split up from him.

The majority of people wouldn’t get it and think I am crazy. I know I am not. And that really is all that matters.

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My Take on Mental Health

I mentioned in an earlier post that I recently had a Psychosis and that my stay in a mental health ward was a real eye opener.

When I lived in Canada, I suffered a couple of Psychosis too and stayed in one of the top hospitals there, The Centennial Centre, and another smaller ward too south of Alberta.

After my stays in Canada, I had a lot of thoughts about mental health but I didn’t want to talk about it until I was sure of my thinking, this latest stay has confirmed a lot for me: most professionals have no clue how to deal with mental health issues.

All they seem to do is give you medications to control whatever mental health issue you have experienced, wait til the meds work (this can take weeks, and months even) and send you on your way. To see you again next time you loose the plot, and so the cycle starts again, different meds, different dosage and off you go.

Am I really the only person who sees the problem here?

Every single patient I have come to know has one big issue: inability to deal with something they have experienced in their past.

Usually it’s abuse related, but it could be anything their brain and heart haven’t been able to come to terms with. There lies the disconnection, you can rationalise your thinking as much as you want, if your heart doesn’t follow suit, it ain’t going to happen, And so they go through life feeling more and more tortured, mostly trying to repress this ache they feel, self medicating with alcohol and/or drugs until eventually, the brain can’t take it no more and something snaps.

This, to me, is what mental illness is about.

I have so far only heard of a handful of people who genuinely can’t find any reasons why they are depressed, I guess that’s called clinical depression.

So my rocket science answer? Talk, get it out, process what has happened that makes you feel so messed up, find a way to deal with it. STOP TRYING TO REPRESS IT, it won’t work. It cannot work. You need to get rid of the shame, guilt, fear and anger that tie you down. Trust me. Meds are good to calm you down a bit, enough so you can start processing safely but they are not the answer.

During my stays, the only good counselling I had was talking to other patients about their experiences that got them there. Slowly but surely I started to realise that is the best councelling in the world, talking with people who have experienced similar situations, found how they coped, or didn’t as the case maybe. Realising you are not alone is the first positive feeling coming from this, and then giving each other a different perspective on the problem another. A problem shared is a problem halved, the more you share the smaller it becomes.

I get so angry with the medical profession because they just don’t seem to understand the basic.

When I left the hospital last Friday, I had a chat with my primary care nurse, a great woman who gave me all the support I asked for. I told her I found it amazing that in my two weeks there not one professional talked to me about my psychosis itself. She said it was because they didn’t really understand it. I got very confused what they were doing working in a Mental Health ward without knowing exactly everything there was to know about mental illness.

And then I thought back to my stay in Ponoka, same thing. No-one there talked to me about Psychosis, even worse there, after an hour of chatting with me the day after I was admitted, the Psychiatrist doctor decided I had Bipolar. AN HOUR would you believe?? And straight after I had been admitted and pumped up with medication. How many diplomas do you need to fuck it up do you reckon?

Misdiagnosis is king in Mental Health. People finally relieved there is really “something wrong” with them go home “happily” thinking “well there you go, now I know what’s wrong with me, I shall just take those meds and everything should be alright”. No they won’t, they will never be alright until you process what has got you there in the first place.

My first Psychosis happened shortly after I stopped self medicating with dope and alcohol. Once my brain became alive again, I got floaded by thoughts and emotions I had repressed for over 20 years.

I’ll tell you what was wrong with me. I had a negative experience sexually when I was young and I let the shame, guilt, anger build inside of me, as it was, had to be, a secret.

For many years this repression affected my relationships. I could never ever find happiness with anyone and I thought it was because of this. Sometimes I would tell my partners and it kinda gave me Carte Blanche to not get intimate with them. I would only get intimate after drinking, when my barriers fell down and I could relax enough to have sex. And eventually that died down because sex, as fun as it may be, doesn’t give you the emotional connection needed to make love. And so relationships messed up eventually.

During my first psychosis, I actually opened up about that negative experience. Directly to the person concerned. And do you know what? He felt as shit as I did about it. And I was then able to forget about it and put it down to experience. Sometimes you make mistakes in life and you need to learn from them. No Regrets now. Such a liberating feeling.

The “Psychosis”, which looking back, lasted a few weeks, enabled me to open up without a care in the world to all sorts of people about stuff that had been bothering me most of my adult life.

My mother’s adoration for her (dead) brother, who I knew had abused his daughters, she got to hear how I felt about this man. Since then, not one word about him. Phew!

My dad “abandoning” us when my mum and dad split up. Him and I are so close now.

I still have two major issues I need to deal with, one concerns my mum and the other, God. God incidently was the subject of my last psychosis.

I got angry with him.  How dare he give up on us so easily. How dare he punish Adam and Eve so dramatically that we are now left with such a shit world that nature and animals are starting to suffer, how dare he let people abuse people, even more so defenseless beings and nature?

I have found my connection to God and I won’t bother trying to explain it to anyone. If anyone is curious, I will just say, “Can you explain love? but you know it exists right? well the connection to God is just like that, you can’t explain it, yet you know it exists”. I have also decided that there is no point looking for God, just as there isn’t looking for love, he’ll find you. or not as the case may be. Funnily enough, you have heard it say many a time that God is love.

I also get angry about this Jeebus story, but that’ll be a post for another time.

Oh and I like to call him God because it reads Dog in reverse, and I love Dogs, without a shadow of a doubt, yet I can’t explain why.

This was what my Psychosis was about: on the morning I woke up, I was angry at God and I wanted to prove to him that he made a mistake, people are worth caring about, people are worth saving. Apart from abusers. They can go to hell. I don’t care what excuses they have to be taking out their frustrations on other beings in such ways. We all know the difference between right and wrong. Whatever your beliefs are.

freedom

Psychosis

I have been a bit quiet of late. The reason for this is I had a psychosis two weeks ago and was taken into care. I am now back home safe and sound, and still happy I am on the right path to living a full and happy life.

I am in fact grateful this happened as this is exactly what I suffered from last time I had stopped drinking completely, back in Canada two years ago, these episodes were what got me interested in Mental Illness.

I will probably talk a bit more about my psychosis and Mental Illness in general, now I have had two weeks living among peers who suffered from various mental health issues.

I have learned so much during that time, my head could be spinning if I hadn’t learnt to keep my thoughts under control, helped by an anti-psychotic medication, Olanzapine, albeit I am taking a really low dosage to help me sleep and slow down my thoughts.

I will post here the entry I wrote on Facebook to explain what had happened. Various people knew I was in hospital but not many knew why. I wanted to explain, from the safety of Facebook, exactly what happened to me, especially to work colleagues so they know before I return to work, probably in about two weeks time.

Writing this entry was a leap of faith for me, due to the Stigma attached to mental illness, however, I believe openness and honesty are the only way to break the barriers down. The responses I received proved me right:

I guess I’d better explain what happened to me a couple of weeks ago, as most of you will know I have been in hospital but not the reason why.

In short, I suffered from what people might call a Psychosis. For 48 hours, I wasn’t myself, at all.

Two weeks ago, on a Tuesday, as I woke up, something didn’t feel quite right and I had a weird experience…erm..blushing smiley… I thought I had a deep connection with “God” all of the sudden (I had been agnostic verging on the atheist all my life) and that I could stop time.

Luckily, for me anyway, I was at a neighbour’s house soon after and someone called for help.

During this psychosis, a lot of emotions surfaced, such as corruption within the Police force (long story, going back to something that happened in Canada) and also (organised) religion, which I am all in all fervently against.

It took a few Police officers to restrain me and secure me so I could be taken to a hospital in Bury, where I spend 24 hours in confinement.

I remember everything that happened, however I had no control over my actions/words. I remember feeling extremely angry too, poor cops received a mouthful!! I also remember having a strength I had never known before, it took a few of them to restrain and secure me, and I even managed to loosen a handcuff by the cheer force of my wrist (I was pretty surprised my wrist weren’t that bruised the following days!).

After the 24 hours in confinement, I felt back to my old self and I am now trying to figure out how this happened so it doesn’t happen again. I do know lack of sleep plays an important part of Psychosis, as well as repressed emotions.

I can see several reasons that brought me to that point:

– inability to deal with the betrayal I felt I suffered when my husband left me two years ago and started seeing my best friend, although I am now absolutely fine with both of them
– the loss of my dog Frodo, which I feel responsible for
– loss of friends due to my newly found need to be honest these days
– a course I attended at work which gave me hope that my company might actually have got the right message these days that people matter more than processes, making me feel really excited that things can change for the better there.

My life had been going good too since I became sober and I started a few too many projects with my newly found enthusiasm for life.

Work had also been quite busy too for the past month and so I was in constant state of “excitement” and began to sleep less and less.

I had experienced something very similar in Canada after my husband left me, except there, I had no-one looking after me. Luckily though I called the cops myself that time.

So, I am now feeling completely back to “normal” – I still am very different to what I used to be like when using alcohol and repressing my emotions – and looking at ways to channel my newly found energy, learning to take it easier (not quite there yet judging by the amount of stuff I have accomplished this weekend!) and also learning to live with being honest, as I used to be a people pleaser and honesty sometimes loses you friends.

I’m not ashamed of what happened to me as, believe me, under the “right” circumstances, this could happen to anyone.

I am also extremely grateful to have discovered really good friends through all this, people who have really been there for me, by talking to me about it or carrying on their business as usual which is also a great help!

My family has been great too, by being there when I have needed them and not freaking out.

My boss at work has been really understanding too, I feel lucky to have had that pressure off whilst concentrating on this new me.

I have also learnt a lot about mental illness during my stay at the hospital, and people. I will invest more time in my findings sometime in the future because I would love for my experience/thoughts to help this “Time To Change” campaign that is running at the moment.

I hope this won’t change the way you see me or how you behave towards me. As, apart from me seeing life from a different angle now (and really appreciating it), and this need to be honest, I haven’t changed at all, some might say I am just a little bit wiser these days  and I personally can say I am much happier:-)

If you have any questions or want to know more about what happened, please let me know as I’m more than happy to talk about it. I’d much rather you ask me direct rather than speak about it behind my back, but hey, whatever works for you 😉

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http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/