I want to share a little story with you about my three encounters with psychosis. Now I may scream ‘I’m not psychotic’ from the rooftops for fear of the stigma attached to it, but I am really not psychotic. I have bipolar disorder and a number of other reasons for experiencing psychosis. I know correlation isn’t causation so this post will be more of a guessing game as to what caused my psychotic episodes.
Firstly I want to go back to my first ever manic episode. I did not experience psychosis at first as my sleeping pattern was not too bad, although the elation itself was. During my manic incline I became obsessed with the creative side of myself. I was creating everything and anything with clay and crafts. I was speaking at a million miles per minute and I was on top of the world. All was well in my head as I had never felt better.
As the months went by I began to need less and less sleep. I was being treat as an inpatient at the time and would stay up all night with a fellow bipolar patient talking about life. As the sleep deprivation set in, I began to believe things that I may not have necessarily believed otherwise. I thought for a while that I was being haunted as the shadows would move around me in an unusual way. I became obsessed with the Ouija board and it was determined through that, that I was being haunted by a ghost called Ben.
As sleep deprivation became more of an issue for me, I began to hear Ben and he would often shout negative and positive things at me, encouraging me to act on certain impulses. I don’t remember these things as I have memory lapses when I experience mania, but I do remember writing my first book during my manic episode, which is where my memories of Ben are now left.
That was my first experience with psychosis, which I do not for the life of me remember clearly. My second I remember clearly, and it was very brief. I was again an inpatient at the time. Before going into hospital I smoked a copious of weed from morning until night. Wake an bakes were something I lived by. I did not realise it at the time, but this may have contributed to my first, second, and hopefully last, experience with psychosis.
So during my second stay in hospital I was laying in bed extremely sleep deprived and possibly with messed up brain chemicals from all the weed I had been smoking. I lay there for a while staring up at the ceiling and I remember it quite clearly, the voices coming at me from the ceiling. No, I do not remember what they were saying, but it was a huge wake up call for me. At the time I knew it must have been something to do with sleep deprivation (although with my first episode I did not know this). I knew that I needed to sleep in order to stop this from escalating.
My final episode with psychosis was the worst yet. I do not remember it fully. It is as though my brain has shut out the memory in order to protect me from the trauma of it. The only thing I know is that I was seeing my recently dead best friend who had committed suicide.
Now I have to ask myself, was it the weed, the mania, the sleep deprivation, or a mixture of all three? Maybe I had just given myself a cocktail of things that contributed to such an experience without being able to pinpoint the exact reason for what I experienced.
What bothers and puzzles me more is my inability to remember my experiences with psychosis and mania in general. To this day I have no idea if it is something that just happens, or if there is a bigger reason behind my memory losses.