Tuesday, September 30, 2008

the place of the disordered senses

I have come back to the place of the disordered senses.
-Anne Sexton, "Flee on Your Donkey"

Psychotic symptoms for me are a bit like fireworks going off in my brain. Sometimes you get the whole, giant shebang, and other times there are the little hand-held sparklers that get hot in a few minutes, drop to the ground, and are forgotten.

For the past three years, since I've been steadily taking antipsychotic meds that usually work pretty well, I mostly only have had he sparkler variety of psychosis. This involves things like hearing random voices (auditory hallucinations), having delusional thoughts (most frequently about the same themes that have been "stuck" in my mind for years), or visual hallucinations. Whenever these symptoms come up, I get extremely frustrated at their presence. I fret over whether I'll have to go through yet another medication change, and the accompanying period of psychosis that comes during the interim before the new medication works.

I'm having one of the psychosis periods right now. Just a little question of reality here and there. Just a little hearing messages from this person and that person. Just some ridiculous thoughts about horrible things that are supposedly going to happen to me or other people. The hall of mirrors. Smoke and mirrors. What is real, and what is not? These are the questions I ask myself at such times.

Parallel universes are hard to describe accurately to people who have not visited them. I found myself at a total loss for words at my therapist's office today. I could not even look her in the eye because of the delusional thoughts and extreme anxiety I was having. She noticed that I looked "a bit off", or something like that.
I'm trying to keep up with school, although not completely successfully. I'm trying to be friendly and upbeat at work. I'm trying to not concentrate on the suicidal thoughts that have come back as they always come back. I'm starving myself to lose weight, because I am so desperate to be a normal weight again. I'm trying. But things don't seem to be clicking right now.

The thought occurred to me today that medications which can't completely rid me of symptoms are only valuable up to a certain point, and then one has to compare their value with the costs of taking them. When one gains as much weight as I have (and particularly after years of anorexia), it seems a bit unwise to keep taking them as if they are worthwhile. The weight, after all, is the main reason I want to die right now. Not the psychosis. The damn weight.

My mind is fluttering like a butterfly, here and there. I have the physical sensation in my wrists, like an itch, which I get from time to time when the thought of cutting myself returns. Cutting used to provide me some stress relief many years back, and for some reason, recently I have thought about it every day. Cutting or hanging myself or shooting myself in the head or crashing my car, or any other number of violent methods of self-harm. All these seem attractive now. I know I will not follow through with them, but the thoughts are there because I'm "a bit off".

I hope this post made sense to whoever reads it. Thanks again for all of your kind comments and for coming by to read my words.


  1. Jen, you will always be a beautiful mind to me. Beauty is what lies in the soul, not in the mirror.

  2. Hi Jen! and thanks for emailing me. I will email you back tomorrow.

    Please don't starve yourself. I understand about the weight issue. I've got it too, but deprivation only eggs on psychosis. It's more important to be lovingkind towards yourself and stable. The only way you and I will successfully lose weight is through moderate eating in conjunction with exercise. A lifestyle change. And I know it's not easy.

    I joined a fitness center. The first week I was fine. The second week I was too busy and the third week I only went once. What holds me back? I feel self conscious (the fitness center is part of the local university here and a lot of the people who work out are young and fit). I have to give myself a pep talk whenever I go which goes something like: I have every right to be here, in fact, this center was made for someone like me... Once I'm there, I can walk or bike for an hour or more, it's just getting me there that I have trouble with and am working on. But I'm not giving up. Don't you either.

    What you've got going for you is your intelligence, your sensitivity and your self-honesty. You are attractive, but maybe you need some kind of confirmation. I don't know much about it yet, but I'm thinking about checking it out--there's a personals service for people with mental illness called No Longer Lonely. It helps you to find out just who is nearby who might be going through what you're going through. You might consider it.

    More on this tomorrow...


  3. It's important to remember that all those young, "fit" people you see working out at the fitness center weren't always thus, only the work helps them get and stay in that kind of shape. The real irony is that they are thinking the same kinds of things you are, seeing the same kinds of flaws in the mirror that you do. Other people don't care how you look, they care how THEY look. So do something for YOURSELF and get in there and have fun!
    If I didn't work out nearly every day, I would need to be on prozac, zyprexa, or something equally evil 24/7. I gained over 40 pounds this way. I realize there are varying degrees of mental illness, and some people MUST be on medications, but I was able to replace mine with exercise. Now I can run an 8 minute mile, do 5 pullups in a row, and bench 185 pounds. I have 3 As and one B in my college courses, and balance is the key to EVERYTHING. You are not fat, or dumb, or lazy. You are beautiful and very talented at expressing yourself. Don't ever give up!


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