Mental Health

Not Indestructible. John.

It expresses perfectly for me why I find ‘things’ so difficult – because I’m continually having to react to right myself, responding to internal change the whole time to keep myself upright and stable, dealing with placing my feet on a constantly shifting surface, and coping with the sickening feeling that the small challenge up ahead may just be beyond me. (Elle. What’s it Really Like)

Elle’s post yesterday on finding the correct language to describe what living with these conditions is like, has got me thinking on how others perceive what’s going on with people like us. The analogy she used about the elderly lady having to take a walk on perilous icey grounds describes perfectly what I went through for two years prior to responding well to a treatment.

I can’t hit the years exactly but I reckon around 2007 to 2009 I experienced my worst problems with psychosis ever. I was falling into delusional and crippling paranoia on a very regular basis. I remember at the end of the first year saying to myself…Well, there’s no way next year can be any way as bad as this one…But it was. In fact it was worse. I was lucky (and very resilient) to somehow function in everyday life during this periods. I think the fact that I’m self employed and could afford proper downtime every week is all that saved me. There’s no way I would have been able to hold down a regular job with routine hours.

Going back to how we communicate these things reminds me of a chat I had recently with a friend. We were talking about Bipolar and I asked them, “What do you think an attack of psychosis is?” They replied that they thought I got filled with notions of being indestructible and I could take on the world. I think people perceive that a lot about me because I’m a comedian, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.  Yes that kind of describes elements of a manic high, but I’ve only ever had one of them properly. For me psychosis is the worst terror you’ve ever experienced multiplied by ten. It is extremely debilitating and the worst attacks can last for hours. I won’t go into how mines manifests here, that’s for a later blog.

But again on the subject of communication, do you know how I used to describe these crippling attacks to my psychiatrist and those close to me? A blip. That used to make my psychiatrist laugh. Elle picked up on me using the word when I first met her and she laughed to. I think me describing such a debilitating part of my life in such a reductive  way was just my way of coping and contextualising something that has scared me so much. I imagine people with physical ailments probably do the same thing. Anyhoo ‘blips’ are much more rare these days and for that I’m very grateful.

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