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The Year 2017

by Anntonette Jackson about a month ago in recovery

Sane, to feeling insane.

The Year 2017
Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash

It was a calm winter’s night, not a single misfortune in sight. My dad and I were sitting in the living room together, watching TV when suddenly I felt shortness of breath. “Dad, I can’t breathe,” I said. I thought in my head that it may be an asthma attack I was having. My dad knew it could be the same because I grew up with asthma, so he immediately called 911. The room felt smaller all of a sudden, and the darkness took over presence, making light absent. I could hear the wailing as the ambulance arrived and all I remember was sitting in the back of the cold ambulance panicking, hearing the paramedics telling me that this was no asthma attack, but an anxiety attack.

It all started out with my anxiety; where my sleeplessness took over the night, meaning I didn’t sleep for days. You might ask how this was triggered, one word: Stress. I began to isolate myself from my family, even though they were trying to help. I never isolated myself from friends, because I didn’t have any. I wasn’t taking care of myself, to the point where I didn’t eat much or take showers. I just locked myself in my room within the basement, until one night I started to hear a voice; turned into many murmurs inside my head.

Those murmurs that I was hearing in my head, were my parents’ voices. My parents were not present in my room, they were sound asleep upstairs in the house. My anxiety began to get worse: One other night I saw a shadow; possibly formed into a silhouetted figure beside where I laid. I told my parents and so my mom decided to take me to the local hospital nearby. My dad said to me, ‘You’re going to be waiting for a while, it is best to book an appointment with the doctor.” I did not want to wait because my symptoms were worsening, so I decided to do a walk-in instead. Prior to the walk-in, everything was a blur and I was very jumpy/jittery. When my doctor saw me, right away he knew and said I possibly had what my mother had: Psychosis.

It wasn’t my doctor who diagnosed me with Psychosis, he only prescribed me with temporary anxiety pills to ease my anxiety, which did not help after taking them a couple of times. The next few nights at home, I felt like I was getting electric shocks through my body. I couldn’t’ sleep and the voices got louder. I was admitted to St. Boniface Psychiatry one of those nights, the first time around. When they assigned me my empty room for the night; they gave me one pill to take, which I never knew what it was for. As they left me in the dark room, I began to have hallucinations of my family smiling and waving at me from the window. I began seeing strangers in shadows I have not met before. I began to cry, but I wasn’t sad, more like scared.

My first psychotic episode made me feel locked out, locked out of my own sanity. I was in one place, but I felt like I was in another. I smelt acid, even though nothing that could smell like that was present in front of me. I felt pain in the lower side of my back; which I immediately thought it had something to do with my kidney, but it was just my thoughts and anxiety playing tricks on me, making me think negative about this whole situation. The psychiatrist thought that he should prescribe the same brand anti-psychotic pills as my mom. He thought it would be easy for something like this to be resolved, because of my mother’s history of Psychosis and genetics. They released me from the psychiatry. Days later at home; I realized the medication wasn’t working, because I began getting strange messages on the TV, which lead up to my second psychotic episode.

I couldn’t remember what the messages on the television were telling me, but I knew the TV was talking directly at me. I felt like people were out to get me; the strangers in shadows and the government. I thought that my own family was poisoning me, by putting something in my food because I gagged once I ate. The days went on; some longer than others, as my parents tried to once again admit me to St. Boniface Psychiatry. They managed to squeeze me in, it wasn’t long since they released me the first time after all. Once I got settled in, I met this lady about in her 60s that loved to play cards. She wanted me to play with her, so I did. Her name was Darlene. We had a good conversation with one another, and at that point I realized that I had made a friend.

Darlene helped me take my mind off of things that caused stress, by playing a game of Crazy 8’s. I noticed that I was recovering quickly, while the psychiatrist put me on new medication. The voices, the smell of acid, the pain in my lower back and the shadows I’ve been seeing, all started to fade away. I felt like I was in one place, like a normal human being should be. I felt lost, but now I finally been found. My stay wasn’t that long as the first time and I knew this time would be my last. Darlene was crying because I was leaving her behind. But I knew she would be released soon, and we would cross paths again; both illness free.


Anntonette Jackson

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