Surviving Psychosis

Psychotic man smiling and wearing gray polo shirt with tattoo on left arm

Living With Voices In Your Head

Some people are born into poverty, some are born with a mental disability, some become depressed and some develop psychosis. Some acquire the coronavirus and others remain healthy. Everyone goes through something; the world is always throwing something at you. But can you imagine living every single day with voices in your head telling you that the ambulance heading down the street is going to hit you? Surviving psychosis is a great challenge for many all over the world.

Many psychiatric patients who have been battling psychosis their entire lives, will tell you that their lives have been all about managing their symptoms and staying preoccupied as much as they can. Psychotic patients who were born into poverty have it even worse: they don’t achieve an education past a GED (if that), rely on an SSI/SSD check and unfortunately, may become involved with drugs.

But can you imagine a life where you don’t have an education, money and are suffering from auditory hallucinations on a consistent basis? Wouldn’t you be tempted to turn to drugs to get out of that reality? Some psychotic patients will tell you that marijuana, heroin and crack calms their internal voices. This is not an excuse to use, but we need to be empathetic of their struggles.

It’s scary enough to deal with sociopaths in society who kill for fun, but imagine having many sociopaths in your mind in the form of auditory hallucinations whispering 24/7, “I fucking hate you! I want you dead”; “Go push that person in front of the subway. She deserves it”; “You’re such a piece of shit! You should throw yourself off the bridge!

Even when psychotic patients take antipsychotics such as Zyprexa or Clozapine, the medications do not always work effectively. Another factor is that psychotic patients are not always compliant with their medications; they may become distracted from their symptoms, get involved with drugs or experience difficult life circumstances. In addition, with less education, patients are more prone to not comply with a psychiatrist’s recommendations.

Don’t be so quick to judge the next time that you see a psychotic patient in public. Think about how difficult it has been for them to survive psychosis. When you have psychosis, it’s like you’re trying to survive two lives: your regular one from birth and your second one which comprises of auditory hallucinations. Some people can’t even deal with their regular lives; imagine dealing with an intense mental illness on top of that!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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