Sharing the experience

I am going to try to explain what have been for me a series of very tough and significant experiences in my life. I do it with the aim of being able to help those who could go through similar circumstances and make them be more bearable when they happen.

There is a peculiarity in my life, and that is that I have gone through the harsh experience of having a psychotic break on numerous occasions and coming out of it after a short period of time, sometimes just a few hours. Luckily, I have always been accompanied by my family or friends who have taken me to the doctor and I have been properly treated.

The reason for a psychotic outbreak can be due to various causes, but in my case, it has always been due to a Bipolar Disorder, during an episode of mania or hyperthymia.

Features of a psychotic break

When everything starts, in my case, there is a certain pattern: I stop sleeping, sometimes it has been up to 8 days with no sleep (imagine the physical and especially mental exhaustion for me), I find myself excessively active, very creative, doing many things at the same time and getting a lot of work done. I lose my appetite and eat much less, I lose weight suddenly and I am very happy and talkative, in such a way that I “mislead” others around me because it seems that rather than entering a crisis, what I am going through is a period of splendour and lots of creative and positive activity.

Well, it is not about this part of the manic episode that I am going to talk to you; in such episode, one usually feels quite happy and time passes very quickly most of the times.

I want to focus on what comes next. In the “LANDING”, that is, what happens when family, friends and doctors detect how you are and the need for much stronger medication or admission to a Psychiatric Unit in a hospital.

In my first crises, it always used to coincide with a trip, one of those very intense training courses that require many hours of work and that make you establish a relationship with many people… in summary, very stimulating situations. Also the fact of starting a relationship with a man, feeling what we call “falling in love”, have sometimes triggered a bipolar crisis for me.

Finally, I have also suffered a crisis after having a long period of mental effort to prepare a public examination while working and taking care of my daughter, my sick mother, etc…

Now imagine for a moment, that you are living in an unreality… it can be positive or negative, understanding by this, that the sensations that this fact produces in you can be an exultant happiness because, for example, you “believe” that you are going to achieve something very longed for, or it can be the opposite, a terrible belief that makes you live in a real hell.

Well, in both cases, the experience is very hard, because if you stop having what you wanted and what you thought you had achieved, the disappointment is impressive.

And on the other hand, if what you have experienced is a belief that something terrible was happening to you or your family (that is what my delusions consisted of), on the one hand you feel relief, but on the other, almost every time, you have entered in an Acute Psychiatric Unit, and you know that you have to face days there, with what it entails of being out of your environment, subject to the rules and regulations of the center, barely being able to communicate with family and friends, taking a lot of medication that gives you many side effects, and a long etcetera.

"On the one hand you feel relief, but on the other you have been admitted to a psychiatric unit of the hospital and you know that you will have to face days there"

My experience with psychosis

I am going to share just one example of so many I have lived.

The second time I was hospitalized in Psychiatry, I had a delusion that consisted of something telling me that one of my brothers was going to die. If I turned my head to the right, one would die and the other will if I turned it to the left. When I got to the hospital, the doctor couldn’t even talk to me, I kept moving my head from right to left very quickly, not wanting what I believed to be true to happen, not wanting to choose between my siblings, not knowing what to do …I also did not understand what the assistants, the nurses or the doctor who treated me could do for me. I only suffered and in what way!

They gave me an injection. The following morning, I heard the singing of some birds and felt tremendous peace. I opened my eyes and saw the trees through the bedroom window. I thought “everything has happened”, “everything is fine”, “it has been a nightmar”… Suddenly a hospital worker that I knew because I was his son’s teacher entered the room. Seeing a familiar face made me cry due to the feeling of being taken care of. Then I had a visit from my parents, and there were some hard days in the psychiatric unit. I won’t deny it, but it was bearable. I spent the days there with other patients who were going through something similar to my problem, from whom I learned many things.

On this occasion the Landing was a relief, but on other occasions, I refused to accept that I had to be hospitalized or that it was as bad as it seemed.

This delusion I have described here is not known to my family or any psychiatrist or psychologist that I had met later on. My mind often erases the “breakdown” moments or perhaps it is that I find it too hard to share them with others.

Undoubtedly the “Landing” is the hardest part of having a bipolar crisis with a psychotic break. However, it all ends in a short time with the help of medication because sleep heals you, at least that is what happens to me. On that occasion, I only spent a week in the hospital and three days later I traveled abroad for work. I was able to perform, sleep well and I resume my daily activities as normal. It seems unbelievable, right? But it’s true.

Anna. Teacher.

The authorship of this article belongs entirely to the patient who wrote it, having transferred it to SAMON for its publication. Some personal data may have been modified for the privacy of the author.


© Todos los derechos reservados. Samon Psiquiatría.

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