My Journey Through Psychosis

by Crystal Ward 10 days ago in coping

An unexpected and frightening time

My Journey Through Psychosis

October 14, 2019 marked five years from when I slipped into psychosis, lost majority of my memory, and had to go back to one of the facilities I spent my teenage years in. So, for today’s blogging challenge I thought I’d share my experience along with some helpful advice to others who may have experienced this frightening event. As well help others find ways to help a loved one if they ever find themselves in this type of situation.

What is Psychosis ?

The online Merriam-Webster Dictionary states that psychosis is;

"A serious mental illness (such as schizophrenia) characterized by defective or lost contact with reality often with hallucinations or delusions. "

It is when a person loses touch with reality. It is scary for everyone involved. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Behavior that is not normal for the person
  • Speech that does not make sense
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Withdrawing and Isolating
  • Trouble understanding what is real and what is not

It is a very tough time for the individual experiencing this. Especially after. The confusion, embarrassment, and mental problems it can cause is very hard to understand.

What Can I Do If A Loved One Displays These Symptoms?

This can be a very scary time for everyone involved. Try to stay calm and get your loved one to a hospital.

If they refuse to go and you are concerned for their well being you can file a petition to get them the help they need.

Don’t make them feel bad for what is happening. They are confused and frighted too. They are not doing this for attention or trying to embarrass you. They cannot control it. Be, kind understanding and guiding.

Talk to doctors, research, and find ways to help them through his tough time. They need you more than anything right now. Don’t let uncertainty or fear cause you to withdraw from them.

Also finding a good support group can help you cope through this situation and can be very beneficial for you. You may not be the one actively going through psychosis, but it can talk a toll on your mental too. Don’t be afraid to seek advice.

I’ve Been Through Psychosis and I Don’t Know How to Cope. What Are Some Ways to Help?

Going through psychosis is scary and when coming out of it, it can feel like your whole world is upside down. I’ve been there. Here are some of the ways that helped me through psychosis. They may or may not work for you, as everyone is different.

I began to journal. I found out by writing down how I felt and why made me feel better. Keeping all the jumbled thoughts in your head can make it hard to think. Writing helped me uncluttered my mind.

I played memory boosting games to help me regain some of the memory I lost. I did not know if it would work, but I knew something was off. When I started working on my memory I began to remember things more and more. Though I do still have troubles with my short term memory.

I read about my condition and tried to learn from it. By understanding it, I was able to see I was not alone in this experience.

I started drawing more. Drawing helped me get my mind off of everything. If drawing isn’t your thing maybe something else creative can help.

I listened to music and cried. I let myself cry about the situation. I found that bottling the emotions only made me lash and hurt more. It’s okay to cry.

Don’t be afraid to seek professional help.

Just keep going and trying to heal the hurt, confusion, and mental fog. It’s not easy, but if you want to cope through it you have to find ways to. Hopefully some of these suggestions will help you.

My Personal Story Through Psychosis

October 14, 2014 was probably the worst, scariest, and eye-opening days I have ever gone through. For over six months I lost the majority of my memory. I could not remember my mom, brothers, roommates, or any of the nurses/staff members I had known for years. This is going to be very hard to explain but I’m going to try my best.

The baffling part is I remember everything about this time. It was as if the rational part of me was sitting in the back of my mind screaming THIS ISN’T RIGHT! You’re not acting like your normal self!! However, my body and words did not match up.

I was mixing the past and present. I thought my mom was a foster mom, I had very paranoid thinking, I thought I was in a video game half the time, and I remember being so open and loving to the point people thought I was plotting to kill myself due to my past attempts. No where in my mind did I want this; I was just overly loving and it scared people.

The psychosis started a few days beforehand when I was trying to literally find the source of everything. I have no idea why I wanted to find the source of everything, but I did. I became obsessive with letters, numbers, and thought I could hear messages in music and on the television.

I kept trying to rearrange the room and make it perfect. I also thought I was pregnant for some reason even though I was not. It was like I was trying to nest. It was absurd. This happened for about two to three days along with some other odd things.

My boyfriend at the time and my roommates noticed my strange behavior but didn’t say too much… not until they held an intervention in the living room to figure out what was going on.

I thought one of my roommates was the devil. I also thought was my current boyfriend’s ex was the devil’s girlfriend and they lied to me. Additionally, I was confusing my other roommates with people of my past.

Keep in mind, I was trying to snap out of it, but I was not in control of my actions.

My boyfriend called my mom who rushed from Florida to try and get me help. Before my mom got there my roommates called 911 to help. I remember I refused to talk to anyone who did not have brown eyes.

My childhood friend was an EMT at the time, so my boyfriend called her up. Her and her mom came over. I remember my friend trying to ask me questions, she wrote a yellow B with a line through it on her hand and had her mom (someone who I consider a second mom) come in and sit with me.

It took an hour to convince me to get in the car to go to the hospital. The people from the hospital were at a loss because I wouldn’t go with them. Lisa finally got me to get in her car. By this time my mom was almost there.

I got to the hospital and went in; my mom was with me at this time. They checked me out and I kept telling my mom I was not me. I thought her new boyfriend was my grandfather for some reason and kept giving him hugs.

The people at the hospital wanted to admit me but I refused, frightened. I ran out to the car and sat there. Mom finally drove me back to my boyfriend’s house. The next day she filed a petition to get me into a hospital for help.

I remember it was a Sunday when my brother came from church to see if he could somehow get through to me. I thought they were upset because I needed to get a job, so I had him take me to Taco Bell and I filled out an application and gave it to the manager. My brother just went along with it and sat by, watching me with sad eyes.

A few hours passed after we got back from giving the application to Taco bell and my brother asked if I was hungry, so we went to McDonald’s. I started freaking out because I kept seeing things in patterns like three white cars in a row, two blue ones and three more white cares and a blue. For some reason this freaked me out and I started having a panic attack.

My brother drove me back to my roommates and called my mom. She came and picked me up and drove around with me. I remember her trying to get me to remember the kids I grew up with to distract me. She drove back to the hospital and they tried to get me to go in again. I would not move from the car.

When I did get out of the car, I acted like I was a car and followed all of the road rules while walking around the parking lot. I thought they were upset because I had not learned how to drive a car yet. I was showing them I knew the rules, I just needed someone to help teach me. My actions were everywhere as I tried to make sense of what was going on. I kept coming up with random thoughts to fix the situation.

Frustrated my mom kept asking me what I wanted, and I kept saying I want my family back. I want my family back. I cried and cried because I was just as confused as everyone else. I guess being ripped away from my family at the age of 14 caused a longing to just have everyone back together under one roof. Being under psychosis brought it out in odd bursts.

Finally, she left the hospital and brought me back to the halfway home she was staying in. However, I refused to get out of the car. I was fearful. The girls that were there tried their hardest to get me to come inside. They were acting goofy and even blew up balloons and put them in their shirts being silly. I still wouldn’t get out of mom’s car.

Mom gave up and brought me a blanket out and told me to tap on the window if I wanted to go in. This is where the real craziness began.

I sat in the car for hours. Then I started hearing tapping noises. Confused and thinking someone was playing a Halloween trick on me I ignored it… at first. I remember having to pee, so I went and tried to go through the front door, and it was locked. I tapped on the window, but my mom was asleep. I tried the back door with no luck.

I sat on the back porch and tried to come up with an idea, so I didn’t have to pee in the open neighborhood. The tapping got louder. For some odd reason I though I was supposed to take off my shoes for it to stop. So, I did, but the tapping got louder. I took out my contact (I only had one in because the second had fallen out from crying at the hospital. I had no glasses and the contacts were my last pair).

The tapping did not stop so I followed it. Barefoot and blind as a bat. I used the streetlamps to navigate around the neighborhood while looking for a bathroom. Unfortunately, I was in a part of town where everything closed around 9 and didn’t open until 7 AM. It was two in the morning.

While I was walking, I kept noticing things that triggered my childhood memory. Like a camper trailer that was broken. When I was younger, I crashed my mom’s car into the old man’s camper behind our trailer. I thought I was getting rid of bad things I did throughout the years so I could be with my current boyfriend whole heartily.

I kept following the tapping noises. Luckily the tapping led me in a circle. Even though I cut through woods and did not follow a set path. It’s scary to think I could have ended up lost or snatched up off the road. I did almost get hit by two drag racers though.

When I made it back, I tried getting into the house again with no luck. So, I got the idea to try the neighbor’s house. Let’s be real who is going to let a stranger in their house at 3 AM to use a bathroom? However, I had to pee really bad by this time. I knocked on the neighbors door and sat on the chair beside the door trying to hold my bladder.

Unfortunately, I did not get an answer and I accidentally peed myself. Ashamed I used one of my shirts to clean it up. The taping noise came back and I followed it to the neighbor’s back yard. I noticed a trash bag on their back porch and grabbed it took it to their garbage can. I also cleaned their back yard out of embarrassment from peeing on their porch. I felt bad and tried to make it better.

While I was cleaning the back yard, a train went by and it triggered me for some reason. I panicked at the sound of the train.

They had a pool ladder by the porch so I grabbed it, put it on the porch, and sat under it thinking it would make the train whistle stop. It did not and by this time the neighborhood alarm system was going off.

Confused I tried climbing the ladder to get all the sounds to stop. The pool ladder almost fell so I placed it over the garbage can to steady it. I also grabbed their water hose and put it around the garbage can making a circle.

I climbed the pool ladder and sat there at the top, thinking the sirens would stop. When the sirens would not stop, I went back across the street and got back in moms’ car. Soaked from pee, cold, confused, and embarrassed. I wrapped up in the blanket and fell asleep.

I woke up to mom tapping on the window. I opened up the door and told her I peed myself. She got me inside and I took a shower. Though it was not an ordinary shower.

I tried rearranging all the shampoo bottles in certain colors and thought there was only one that was the “Right” shampoo. That all the other shampoos were the wrong ones. I also thought I was supposed to go to the school next door and deliver a speech. I stayed in the shower for hours practicing what I was supposed to say. Mom finally got me out.

She gave me some clothes, but they were way too big on me. I also did not have another bra at this time.

I kept going through her drawers thinking they were still playing a Halloween trick on me. I was looking for clues. I thought it was a trick that my boyfriend put together and was going to propose.

I remember my mom calling my grandmother, her mom, and crying. She kept saying she don’t know what to do. I just sat there unaware how scared I was making everyone. I grabbed an empty journal and began to write things in code.

I used peoples initials to try and figure out what was going on. I came to the assumption that my mother had another daughter that she kept hidden from me. (Surprisingly this was true, but it was a stepdaughter not an actual daughter daughter)

While I was writing, the police showed up to take me to the hospital. I didn’t understand what was going on, so I panicked and started having flashbacks. They were not kind when trying to get me in the car. My clothes were too big, and they took me trying to pull up my pants as me being defiant, so they handcuffed me.

I was scared, confused, lost, and not to mention barefooted, bra-less, and I could not see from taking out my contacts prior.

As they drove me to the hospital I thought if I closed my eyes and looked in the direction of the sun with my eyes crossed it would magically heal my eyesight. Boy was I wrong. I just became dizzy and crossed eyed for a few hours. The two cops were just as baffled by my actions as everyone else was.

When they turned into the hospital I spent two and a half years in as a teen, I freaked out. They got me inside and I sat at a round table on the adult floor. One of the nurses bought me a coke. On the inside of the cap it read TRU3 L0V3? Which caused me to think it was part of the trick and I had to get through this trail to be marry my boyfriend.

Something the doctors took advantage of to get me to corporate. If I was acting up they said they would not marry me because I wouldn’t act right.

They also used it to calm me down. I was told when I was sad to just look in a mirror and envision my boyfriend here with me. Something that later caused it hard to look in the mirror.

When I first arrived, I went to the day room bathroom and locked myself in and started singing to help ease my anxiety. I scared everyone there not meaning to. I was not in control of my actions.

I went to my room and scared my roommate by trying to make conversation. Though I was very mono toned and sounded creepy. I told her I have a sister too and she busted out crying and asked for a room change.

The girl had a sister who had passed. I did not know this. I was talking, but it wasn’t me talking. If that makes sense. I also knew the first names of the staff members without them telling me and it scared them. I just knew things. It was odd and many staff did not want to deal with me.

I also kept trying to speak to people by tapping with a cup. It was absurd and I have no idea why I kept trying to talk to people through a cup.

After scaring majority of my roommates they just let me stay in a room to myself.

My doctor said I had been through so much that my brain basically snapped causing me to go under deep psychosis.

Throughout my stay I refused to sign papers because I thought I was signing my life away.

I was forced to take my medication even though it made it worse. If I did not take my meds, they would make me take a PRN. Which is a shot that basically sedates patients.

Though from being there as a teen they had no effect on me. I had many nights I did not sleep so the night staff would let me stay up in the day room. I kept hearing names in small whispers, and I knew when codes were about to be called before they were called.

One time I randomly walked out of my room went to the front desk said phoenix unit (the adolescent unit for teenage boys who had been through sexual trauma) and just walked back to my room. Five minutes later a code was called. Let’s just say the staff did not like me too much.

I also had to have the day room bookshelf organized a certain way or I would get very upset. Some of the patients noticed and tried messing with me. They stopped when I had a complete melt down.

My doctor was also the doctor I had as a teen. He took his own money to buy me three shirts and three pair of pants. He didn’t know how to buy me a bra or underwear, so I went without for three weeks. A lot of the patients would moo at me, as I am bigger chested. Some of the women would accuse me of being slutty because I did not have anything to wear underneath and two of my pairs of pants were very thin. It was embarrassing.

My mom did not come up there for weeks. I had to wait for my glasses and more clothes because she was too busy with work. I spent most of my time in my room, refusing groups.

I also spent Thanksgiving alone. I thought my mom, or someone was going to visit me, but no one did. Hurt and angry, I took her off all my lists. When she did finally come to visit, she gave me men’s clothes and told me I couldn’t come live with her. Heartbroken I just smiled and said I understood and thanked her for the clothes.

Later on, I found out I could not stay with her because my stepsister was going to live with her and my new stepdad. It hurt but I knew my stepsister needed a place where they could keep an eye on her because she has a disease that makes her faint at any given moment. I don’t blame her. It just hurts that I didn’t really have anyone to turn to.

Also, a day after Thanksgiving, one of the night nurses found my old charts, which had a very sexual letter I had written to a girl when I was 14. The nurse read it out loud. I listened from my room horrified and trembling. I didn’t understand how someone could do such a thing. Thankfully she didn’t read the names at the bottom. The guy staff member rushed to the bathroom and puked everywhere. From then on he just watched me with sad eyes. She was wrong for reading that out loud and he knew it.

Let’s just say my stay was not pleasant. Two weeks before I was released my boyfriend on the outside started ignoring my calls and started talking to someone else. I found this out the day I was released when texting him.

I got a reply that he no longer wanted my crazy ass, and this was his new girl and to leave him alone. I cried everyday for almost a year. The whole time I was at the hospital I thought I was going through the psychosis so I could be with him with no karma or anything.

I know this was not the case, but that’s how I took it when it was happening. It was the only thing my brain could make sense of.

I lost my mind, my boyfriend, my friends, and my family had no idea how to be there for me.

My mom set me up in a hotel after I got out. She tried to give me a job with her but I was still under psychosis and we ended up in a huge fight.

I had to walk two miles to Walmart for food and for the bus stop. I was still under psychosis a little bit and luckily it creeped everyone out enough for them to stay away from me.

I snapped completely out of everything when I went to live at my dad’s. Though the trauma from the experience had just started and I was hard to handle for the past couple of years. I know that it was not me who was in control, I had snapped from all the things I had went through in life and my brain tried its best to process everything it had been through.

Still, I withdrew from everyone, became short tempered, and lashed out a lot. I didn’t want to get close to anyone and feel abandoned in a time of need ever again.

I wasn’t the one in control. I feel so bad for the trouble I caused while under psychosis. I wish I could apologize to everyone I scared or made feel uncomfortable.

I apologize if this post was everywhere or hard to follow along, my brain was trying to make sense of everything and this is what happened in the process.

My story is not to make anyone feel sorry for me, it is here as a way to let others know they are not alone. Yes this story is embarrassing, painful, confusing, and a bit crazy. However, I would not be where I am today without going through this experience.

I can now help others cope, heal, and understand they are not alone. I refuse to stay silent. Yes I have mental disorders, but they do not stop me from becoming who I want to be. It’s just a little harder to get to where I want to go sometimes.

If you struggle with a mental disorder please know I will walk with you through the fire and stand beside you. Don’t let anyone say you can’t do something just because you struggle in one area of your life. We are human too.

Take it from a girl who lost her memory through psychosis and who has various other mental health disorders. However, I also have a 4.0 in computer science and graphic design, I am a great mother, and I am trying to build my own business.

I was able to get scholarship recommendations from my 8 week class teacher who usually only gives them out to her 16-week students after fully engaging them. I scored higher than anyone in the class in my Astronomy class. I was selected to participate in a leadership course, and I was able to join American Honors.

I had no high school experience and I had memory problems. At the time I refused to acknowledge I had challenges with my memory and refused help from the school. This is doing the regular curriculum.

Yes I was scared to try to challenge myself, but when I did it I excelled at it. You can too. I let go of what everyone said I couldn’t do and showed myself I could.

Me letting you know my achievements are not to brag or boast. They are to show you that you can overcome any challenge thrown at you.

Do not let someone say you can’t. I assure you you can do anything you put your mind to, even if it is a little harder. Don’t let your mental health define you. You are so much more than your mental health. Yes your illness may be a small part of you, but there is so much more to you than just your illness. I promise you are. You just have to take a moment to believe in yourself and not listen to the lies society places around mental health.

If no one else will stand beside you, please know I will.

coping
Crystal Ward
Crystal Ward
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