Life sometimes throws rough patches, I had thought I could weather them all.
In August 2015 at the age of 30 another rough patch came, the reasons varied. I never even questioned it when I started hearing voices. I couldn’t recognize reality from a dream. In a matter of days, everything turned upside down. I couldn’t function. I didn’t eat. I didn’t sleep. I heard so many voices and seen so many flashing lights and flashing scenes change before me I couldn’t tell the difference between real and false. I was home with my children but they would have been better off home alone as I wasn’t consciously there, overlapping hallucinations and reality.
My spouse came home from work each night thinking I was just stressed, becoming more worried and confused each hour of each passing day, I was in and out, with reality, against reality, he didn’t understand what was happening. By the third day, my mother came and together they decided I needed help. They tried to convince me to go for a drive with them eventually I agreed, halfway out of our driveway I jumped out of the truck because the voices told me to.
The apocalypse was happening within my mind and I was beyond rational reasoning. I could not see the problem they were seeing and they couldn’t hear the voices or see the visions I was seeing, leaving gaps in between my memories and their reality.
They were terrified but it was by their understanding of who I usually am that they were able to understand something was seriously wrong and seek the help that was needed. I could not reach out for help.
We all need to be more vigilant for each other if you see someone who needs help you need to speak out. When I was in that state of psychosis I could not realize what was happening. It was like sleepwalking through reality. Don’t worry if you think they might be upset or you might be overstepping boundaries, so what!! If you know this person enough to know they are not okay, then speak up. Connect the dots and get them help, the sooner they are able to get help the better the chance of early recovery.
I thought I was immune to mental illness, I thought I had no reasons to think about it, I learnt too late that I was not immune, no one is. I have a new empathy for mental illness and understand now all too clearly how someone suffering from an episode of psychosis can’t distinguish between the illusions in one’s mind and reality. Society needs to become better educated to understand the varying mental health issues with compassion.
Know the symptoms of psychosis and be willing to act as a compassionate witnesses and be brave to step forward and acknowledge that no someone isn’t okay, they don’t just need time alone to sort it out, it is more than stress, recognize and seek help for those who can’t necessarily do it on their own. Show moral support. I have had a hard time with the mental stigma and I have been blessed to have a supportive loving family and group of friends who have helped remind me of my strength, who have helped me see minds can break too and just like the body they need time to heal. I have been blessed with these yet I still understand the stigma because I have fought at the conditioning within my own mind overcoming it. Give yourself and others time to heal. Help hold each other accountable and be the light in someone’s dark shadowed world. Be brave, be compassionate and be accountable for what you are witness to.