Today’s medication: 25mg Sertraline
More writing has been accomplished today and I’m starting to feel like I’m on the home stretch of my story. I’m at the part where I meet Jodie and experience another psychotic break, in the form of a schizophrenic episode.
What feels really strange is how I simply ignored it. Rather than admit that something might be seriously wrong and seek professional help, I carried on, pretending as if NOTHiNG was happening to me and then forgot all about it once it’s over. To be honest, it’s only this reflective writing process that’s reminded me that I had this episode.
I’m at work when it happens, presenting to two guys who are potential customers. I’m with Rich, who works with me at Blu-Bench and Michelle, who is a salesperson at Ultima Business Solutions. I know Ultima well, as I spent 18 months working there before leaving to run Blu-Bench. We’re their SharePoint partner. It’s a Monday morning and I’ve hardly slept all weekend. I’ve been on my first date with Jodie. We went camping of all things in the New Forest. This wasn’t because I’m a particularly keen camper, far from it. In fact most campsites were closed, so we ended up spending the first night camping illegally, but that’s not important. What’s important is that I wanted to guarantee that we spent the night together, and camping seemed like a sure fire way of making that happen. We didn’t have sex, but that’s a whole other story for another time.
On this particular morning, as a result of my ongoing stress, anxiety and depression, drinking too much caffeine , smoking one too many cigarettes and getting very little sleep, my MiND decides to explode.
I would like to point out that I’ve heard voices my entire LiFE. We all hear voices, right? The voice of doubt, of that nagging parent or scared inner child… On this particular occasion, the voices are different. There is a singular, overwhelmingly loud and very aggressive voice in my head and it’s telling me to do things, like kill people. It’s screaming inside my head and I’m finding it almost impossible to concentrate.
I’m very self-conscious throughout the presentation, but somehow I manage to keep it all together. I can only conclude that my past experiences with mental health issues, such as my psychosis and depression have somehow created a mental toughness that allows me to cope with what’s going on. When I say “cope”, what I mean is, pretend that everything is OK. I’ve spent my entire LiFE hiding my inner turmoil from the outside world, so it feel normal to do the same in this instance.
When the pre-sales ends and Rich and I leave Ultima, I ask him if he noticed if anything was wrong with me today. He says that I appeared to be completely normal, which is a relief. My mastery of coping has worked, but this somehow reinforced the idea that what just happened was OK. I don’t need help. I coped and got through it. All I need is some downtime to myself and everything will be OK. I can see now that this is reinforcing my isolationist mentality. That I need to hide away from the world when I’m not feeling well, rather than reach out to people and ask for help.
Hmm… what’s just come back to me is a previous episode that I had also forgotten all about. This one was with my friend Maq. I had a single, small toke of the joint he was smoking and about 20 minutes later it triggered another psychosis. I can’t remember if this is before or after I met Jodie? Before, I think, but the experience was very similar to the one above. I experienced the usual psychosis type side effects of smoking cannabis, but this time I remember there being so much noise inside my head I actually thought I was going to go insane or worse, had gone insane. It took all my mental discipline to keep it together. Fortunately it was towards the end of the evening, so I only had to endure the train ride home before I could crawl into bed and sleep it off. The difference with this episode was that there were many voices and they were all screaming. It was defining.
Again, the shame of this being a self inflicted, drug induced episode has meant that I’ve never shared the experience with anyone until now. My fear of being labelled as insane has obviously scared me more than the fact that I suffered from all these terrifying, psychotic episodes. This can only boil down to my perception of how we treat people who suffer with mental health issues. Thankfully this is beginning to change.
What I’ve learnt over the past 5 years in recovery, is that these things are all pointing towards an answer. For me the voices, the noise and the shouting inside my head were trying to tell me something, but I wasn’t willing to listen, so they just kept getting louder.
The voices inside my head are all mine, they have to be, it’s my head. There is no such thing as demonic possession, only EGO and CONSCiOUSNESS. Once I started to understand these two concepts, I begin to dissect the EGO and make sense of what was going on inside my head.
As CONSCiOUSNESS, i witness EVERYTHiNG. CONSCiOUSNESS is the authentic or original self. It is universal, singular and shared amongst all things, whereas EGO is unique and based on the sole perception and interpretation of the observer. This is a paradox and one that must be overcome in order to attain ENLiGHTENMENT.
I won’t say that my ENLiGHTENMENT cured me per se, as I still struggle with depression and anxiety, but the voices are gone and I haven’t had a psychotic break since.