I started ‘seeing things’ during the spring of 2014, a few months after I started hearing voices. When I told my therapist I had seen some things no one else could see, she told me I was having visual hallucinations and that she wasn’t surprised its something I’d experienced. Unfortunately these hallucinations got scarier and I got more ill. I had no knowledge of the disturbing things I was seeing not being real and my reactions changed from ignoring them to removing myself from the room to panic attacks to dissociation. Then the episodes started.
It was September 2014, the start of year ten, one week into school when I first dissociated, going completely blank and unresponsive, a state that was described as something that happens before someone has a fit. Then it would escalate into something that was named an episode. They happened mostly at school and cadets and I’ve asked some friends what an episode looked like to them…
“You kind of stare into space and then you might start shaking or scratching your face or shaking your head.”
“One of us would run down to matron or we’d try to get you to notice what was happening and if you were scratching your face or pulling your hair we’d hold your hands so you wouldn’t hurt yourself.”
“On the whole you go quiet mostly and there are some repetitive movements (drumming fingers, shaking head, trying you hit your forehead with your inner wrist.)”
“To try and bring you home sometimes just shaking worked, although often we needed familiar actions like tapping or blowing on your nose… Sometimes I sang which I think you liked because it didn’t take too much effort to understand the meaning.”
“I was always worried when you had an episode that for some reason maybe you wouldn’t come out… I wished there was someway that you could just stop having them or even that I could take the strain.”
What I remember of the episodes is limited, I know most things because of what friends have told me. The only thing I remember is the actual psychosis itself and the extreme fear and anxiety I felt when it happened. Having these episodes several times a day I grew to have a huge fear of leaving the house, and for a long time from the moment I woke up I’d experience huge amounts of panic non stop all day.
Eventually I had to stop going to school and the episodes stopped. Completely.
The episodes were me displaying my distress as I couldn’t express it in any other way. So all the hurting myself I was doing was me showing I was hurting inside, and me not responding meant I didn’t understand what was going on. At least that’s how I think of it and it helps me make sense of what happened.
Sadly that wasn’t my worst point but it was the end of a very bad symptom that I don’t think will ever return as I have learnt skills and ways to cope and express those emotions.
I’d love to hear any tips you have or if you’d like to tell me about your experiences I’m happy to listen.
Till next time,