The kitchen sink-o-meter reached red alert hazardous scary danger level, indicating that if I had a mind, it’d be floundering. I sacrificed some goats to the gods of
war manic depression and did a pain dance to summon hypomania. Eventually it worked and then I Washed The Dishes. All hail Lamictalia, patron saint of acid reflux, dizziness and slight tremors. Naturally it wasn’t really the goat cadavers and chanting that did the trick; it was the fucked up sleep patterns, a few early morning walks by an exhilarating and wild sea, the anxiety and so on ad fucking nauseam, ad infinitum. I just had time to reset the sink-o-meter before I fell crash landed to sleep.
I’m not doing well. Psychosis decided to kick my ass three fucking times last week.
The Causes of Psychosis: In most cases, it is difficult to know what has caused the first episode of psychosis. Current research indicates that a combination of biological factors, including genetic factors, create a situation where a person is vulnerable to, or at a greater risk of, developing psychotic symptoms. A number of brain chemicals, including dopamine and serotonin, may play a role in how psychosis develops. A stressful event may trigger psychotic symptoms in a person who is vulnerable.
I’ve been keeping a list of the ones I remember on and off on my blog:
1996: gecko tattoo attracting skinks
2000: being stuck in video games, fully immersive auditory and visual hallucinations
2007: the sea speaking to me (in a benevolent and reassuring way)
2010: 7ft chrome praying mantis standing behind me ready to snip my spinal cord (painlessly, mercifully) with his pincers
2014: hearing music quietly and nonstop for weeks at a time, occasionally hearing footsteps upstairs (only there isn’t an upstairs), lights and music coming from an emerald green wave
2015: the sea speaking to me and pushing me away from it, visual hallucination of something strange in the waves
I haven’t included the manic delusions because that’d take a month.
Those are the ones I can remember and I’m lucky in that I have what they call insight, that I know the delusions and hallucinations aren’t real. I’m finding it harder and harder to shrug off the anthropomorphic sea though, and it’s become emotionally destructive. It’s a lonely place to be. You know those people who think that psychosis is a spiritual/shamanic thing (shaMANIC)? They can suck every single one of my psychotic episodes. Either that or declare me a seer and pay me a fucking fortune, either option is fine.
Bipolar illness: With this type of illness the symptoms of psychosis relate more to mood disturbance than to thought disturbance. A person will experience mood elevations (mania) and sometimes depression, which may persist or fluctuate in intensity. When psychotic symptoms arise, they often reflect the person’s mood. For example, people who are depressed may hear voices that put them down. People who are experiencing an elevated mood may believe they are special and are capable of doing amazing things.
(That last belief used to give me courage, before I knew it was a delusion. I thought it balanced out the darkest depression, no matter how brief the bright times were. Fuck you long time, medical science.)
Mine frequently have no connection to my mood at all. For the past few days, I’ve found myself muttering ‘don’t talk to the sea, don’t talk to the sea,’ while walking the dogs. And my mind does its own thing and talks to the sea anyway and I wonder to myself if I’ll end up as one of those wild haired and eyed old women who walk along, muttering and grumbling, lonely as fuck and fending off humanity regardless. Children will dare each other to approach me, then scream and run away. Note to self: procure walking stick to shake angrily at merry children.
So there’s that kicking my ass from time to time and the ever present looming rain cloud of depression. I’m pretty skilled at being depressed, but I’m heading into the abyss. I can feel it, but I can’t stop it. Psychosis uses up my brain for the day and I end up sleeping too much, there’s no way of fighting sleep then and believe me I have tried. I haul myself out of the abyss enough to walk the dogs most days and some days that’s all I manage. I feel so fucking desolate, it’s like an incredibly heavy weight pushing me down. Everything proactive I do helps, but none of it helps enough. I don’t dwell on the putative causes, because this isn’t situational, it’s good old fashioned bipolar melancholic depression. I’m not a suicide risk at all; I don’t want to live, but this is not the time to die. Distraction works, when I can get my head around it and that’s a sure sign that I haven’t hit rock bottom. Despair though, why the fuck is there always so much of it?
I’m not doing well.