Saturday, February 26, 2011

Depression Returns, and: Psychic Abilities or Symptoms of Psychosis?

I'm going through some depression right now. It's gotten difficult. I think it's been there for months, but I haven't really been as scared before as I am now. I'm scared I won't be able to keep up with the ten zillion things I need to do, which I am currently not keeping up with very well. I'm scared I won't be able to move everything in my apartment into some types of containers for when I have to move, which is soon, though I do not know exactly when because the mental health agency that owns my apartment building has not bothered to tell me.

I don't have Section 8 housing; I pay regular rent, not discounted. And I don't go to this mental health agency for treatment; I go to a closer one that I like better which is near where I live. So nobody at the agency that owns my apartment bothers to communicate with me, since I have no case manager there, and they basically treat me like I don't exist, unless I call them. I haven't called them lately to ask about the moving dates, because when I called previously this woman in charge of housing was very rude to me and said she had no idea when I would be moving.

They're doing construction on the building I live in, and so, I'm going to be moving into a newly renovated apartment which might have new cabinets and new carpet - I'm not sure what all the new things will be. I'd just assume stay where I live now and not have to go through this hassle to move two doors down from where I already live. It is stupid and ultimately more trouble than it's worth.

I'm keeping up in my classes. I don't have trouble with grades. I have trouble concentrating, remembering, speaking in front of a class, and taking notes. But I have so far gotten good grades most of the time throughout college, except for a few math classes and the dozens of classes I had to drop years ago.

I'm not sure if this move is making me anxious and depressed. I feel overwhelmed by all the work for my classes, and all the cleaning that needs to be done here, and the looming move project. I feel really overwhelmed. I don't feel capable of handling these things at all right now. I am utterly exhausted, but can never fall asleep last night. I stayed home from work yesterday because I was going to be late and I just said "screw it, I won't go" and called in sick. I was just really too depressed to drag myself out of bed to get there in time. This doesn't happen to me often. I usually manage to make myself get to where I need to go.

Another strange thing happened to me tonight. I am a very skeptical person when it comes to spirituality and anything of the afterlife, etc., but I had many experiences when I was psychotic a few years ago that seemed to be supernatural. I thought I had psychic powers. In a couple instances, it would seem I really did. For example, one time I had these thoughts that I was Jesus and I was supposed to take this car that was there for me in this parking lot because I was Jesus and it was a Chrysler. I walked across this huge, supermarket parking lot and found the keys were in the ignition to this old car. And that was when the voices and thoughts led me to take the car.

Other times, I would think I was channeling dead people. I felt that I was actually dead myself and in the afterlife at one point in a hospital in New Jersey. I thought I was living through the second Holocaust to occur in history and I thought that I was Anne Frank. Once, I screamed something about Dachau, and I screamed it in German. Nobody knows what I said, but my dad and my brother both clearly heard me use German words. That has never been something I could find an explanation for, but I was interested at a NAMI conference a few months ago, when a woman said she knew numerous people with Schizophrenia who would speak different languages that they did not actually know how to speak, when they were psychotic. I would love to know the answer behind how that happens. There must be a scientific explanation.

But tonight, I had this experience, where I was watching this show, "Who Do You Think You Are?" about people looking up their ancestors. Kim Cattrell was the actress looking up her ancestors in England, and I was watching this and petting one of my cats, when I felt this strange little breeze on my face. This was odd because I was in my apartment where my air conditioner is broken and the windows are shut. I felt that it was a definite breeze at that time and I could feel it on my feet. I suddenly began to think that my grandfather, who died in 2009, was there present in the living room with me. I began to think this because sitting in a chair, petting his cat, and watching this very TV show, that I KNOW he would have loved because he was very interested in ancestry, well that would be what he would be doing at his house right then if he were alive. I began to talk to him in my mind, not out loud, and tell him again how sorry I was for the things I said when I was psychotic, and that I loved him and that he was a good grandfather. I felt like there were physical sensations on my hands (but now I don't think there really were) and that this was indicating that I needed to call my grandmother. So, still feeling the tiny, light breeze, I called her, and the first thing she said to me after we said, "hello, how are you?" was, "It's really windy here right now."

I laughed. I didn't tell her why I was laughing, but at that moment it felt to me like a confirmation my grandfather was making contact with us. I know that I can't tell this to anyone in my family; they would just assume it was a symptom of my mental illness.

But I wonder, what if that really is what happened? I will never know for sure. I might be getting a little delusional with my depression, but today I had my biweekly injection of Risperdal Consta, so that would be odd timing to be getting psychotic.

Perhaps the universe wanted me to know my grandfather is okay, or my grandmother is lonely, or something. I never had good closer with him before he died.

Then again, perhaps I was imagining all of this. I guess that is the more likely scenario.

I would be interested in your thoughts.


  1. I've been contacted by both my dead grandmother and dead grandfather. I have the schizoaffective disorder but like you, take medication. My medication stops all psychotic thoughts except suicidal thinking.

    I think people with schizophrenia are closer to the spirit world. There are many, many people WITHOUT any form of mental illness that get messages from the other side. I've met two such well adjusted members of society who held secret psychic powers.

    And I've talked in both a southern accent and German accent when I was not on medication and psychotic. Yes, I freaked everyone out. My normal accent is New England Yankee.

    The spiritual world is real. But its scary when you encounter it.

    Good luck,
    Karen Sorensen

  2. What you have described sounds like delusional thinking and I am betting it is stress induced because of the move. But I could definitely be wrong.

  3. Hi Jen,
    First up, I'm sorry to hear that you are not doing so well. Moving is stressful for everyone, as is dealing with bureaucracies. Especially if they are related to mental health.

    If you are up to it, I would try to stay in contact with the agency that owns the apartment despite their rudeness. You don't have to go calling them every day, but checking in every week or two might help you feel a bit more at ease if you can't rely on them to keep you informed. And look on the bright side - once you are out of that place, you won't need to deal with them again.

    About the experiences you describe, it probably won't surprise you that, like you, I'm skeptical about them being supernatural. It is possible, of course, the world is full of strange things.

    But it seems more likely that your memory was spurred by watching something on TV that would have interested your grandfather while petting your cat, something he also liked to do. And when we are feeling lonely I think we naturally think about those we know and care about, whether they are alive or dead. We instinctively seek company, and if we can't find it in the real world outside we seek it inside, in our memories and imagination.

    It doesn't seem especially crazy to me, nor does it seem like anything supernatural. It just seems that you really cared about your grandfather, and your mind brought back memories of him. This seems very natural.

  4. Thank you for sharing this. I am sorry you are going through all of this stress right now--moving and dealing with bureaucracies (as depressed reader said) is difficult for anyone. I think any symptoms may be heightened by the move. I know that is true for me--when I feel stressed, I definitely feel more tired, overwhelmed, irritable, avoidant, etc.

    I have only found your blog recently, so forgive me for not knowing some of these answers that you may have said. Is your psychiatrist someone you can talk to about these things or would s/he overreact? Do you have any friends/family/church people that could help you organize and pack? I often need to remind myself that it is not just people with mental illness who need help in these times, but anyone. I actually love to pack and organize--wish I lived closer (I am in WI) and could help you!

    As far as the other possible delusional encounters--hmmmm. I tend to agree that feeling your grandpa can be sparked by many things. I find that touching.

    I would be concerned about thinking you were Jesus and getting into a car. How did that end? What stopped you from getting into the car? Maybe keep track of these "odd experiences" and see if they are getting more frequent. Do you have someone you can check them out with?

    Hope things go well for you--I'll be checking back in!!!

  5. I do think that the stress of moving and of work and school is the reason for your depression. You have taken on a lot, which on many occasions has amazed me. It was a good thing that you took off the day from work because I think you needed and need to give yourself a break. I agree with erathora about talking with your therapist and about seeing if anyone can help you with the move, give you moral support. Can you do that Jen?

    About psychic experiences and being supernatural, I think it is better for you to detach from such thoughts, even if there is some truth in them. I recently read a journal from when I was deeply psychotic and I write several times in large letters "You are SUPERNATURAL!!" which I wasn't. For me it was a sure sign that I was going in the wrong direction. I haven't really wanted to be supernatural, but I have wanted to reconnect with my dead boyfriend and so there are times my voices say that he is near me in spirit, but I find I have to let that go too.

    Better to stick to the hardboiled common reality and to find as many ways as possible to reduce stress in your life. I have found that stress, even minor stress, can generate symptoms in me and I venture to say that's true for all of us with mental illness.

    I'll be thinking of you Jen and wishing you well.

    Kate : )

  6. I'm sorry to hear you are having such and awful time right now. I get the feelings from people who have died too [and cats too].

    I don't necessarily think they are delusional because I believe very strongly in spirituality and I agree with Karen that people that suffer from serious mental illness are closer to the spirit world.

    I get things from people and without knowing previously I can tell them things I see in my head and they are actually correct. It will be something like, "ahh, you got a new ring" and it was significant because my friend had just gotten engaged and she was bursting to tell me and had her hand hidden under her other one.

    I also described my friend's girlfriend's house without having seen a photo of it and never having been there or been told about it.

    I hope you feel a little better soon. Be safe and be gentle with yourself.


  7. Karen, Yes, I think the thing with talking in accents or other languages when you are psychotic is very interesting, and I would love to hear a legitimate epxplanation of it. I'm not convinced it is a spiritual thing, but I'm open to the possibility. However, that only happened to me once, when I was floridly psychotic six years ago and not on medication. My antipsychotic medication generally works, but I say generally because ther are still times when I do have psychosis. So I can't be sure about the thing with my grandfather, if that was real.

    In the Pink, I think you might be right.

    D.R., thanks. I will be less stressed out after the entire place is packed up, and then moved, and then everything is unpacked. Having an idea of when that will be would help. I will be contacting the agency/landlord again. Unfortunately, they will still be my landlord after I move. I am only moving into another unit in the same apartment building, because they are doing renovations, and everyone who lives here is forced to move. I am just hoping to get through this time without losing touch with reality because of the stress involved. I think you are right that the thing about my grandfather wasn't necessarily "especially crazy", but I can't bue sure.

    Erathora, I wish you lived nearby, I would definitely love some help moving, but only after I get my apartment cleaned and presentable! I didn't realize you lived in Wisconsin. I've been watching the protetss lately. About the thing with the care, that actually happened about six years ago when I was acutely psychotic and not on any medication. Stuff that severe does not happen to me anymore, thanks to medication. But sometimes, I do hear voices or think delusional thoughts. Thanks for your ideas. I really don't have a lot of friends where I live. So there are not many people who could help. I don't go to church. But my mom and brother might help, with the move.

    Kate, thanks as always for your smart words. I am trying to stick more to the hardboiled reality, as you put it. I really need to force myself to work on my apartment and must make myself do it. My mom and brother might help, but the majority of it I will have to do myself, because of needing to pack things a certain way, and having the place be such a mess.

    Sarah, thanks for your thoughts and I appreciate you sharing your story. I have had experiences I definitely thought were psychic. The problem is when I really got into thinking those kinds of things -it was when I was really psychotic.And I don't want to start thinking in a way that would lead me back down that dark and very dangerous path. So for right now, I think I am better off not focusing too much on the psychic stuff.

  8. Hi Jen - I just popped over here via DefineFunctioning and love what you have to say (in this post and the blog in general). I'm going to disagree with previous comments and say that I think what you experienced was 1) spiritual/supernatural and 2) real.

    My grandfather communicates with me on a regular basis, and has ever since his death 10 years ago. And I've only had one psychotic episode, just over a year ago, so most of the time it happens when I'm quite stable (or while dreaming).

    This is not to say you aren't at the edges of experiencing psychosis or instability, though you come across in this post as quite self-aware. But the idea of a spiritual element of psychosis is by no means new. And the two are not mutually exclusive. There were definitely spiritual aspects to my own psychosis, it was not all crisis by any means. I'm still in the process of sorting it all out and putting the puzzle together for myself on that front, but I know that what I experienced was not merely a "mental health crisis."

    Bottom line - It sounds like your grandfather reached out to you, you communicated some things you needed to say and that he needed to hear, and then you were compelled to reach out to your grandmother. Regardless of your present mental state, anyone who thinks there is anything wrong with any of that process should think again.

    I hope things are settling down with you preparation to move! Take care of yourself in this time of stress.

  9. Hi Natalie,

    Thank you for coming by and I appreciate your comment. I'm not totally sure about there being a spiritual aspect to my psychosis when it occurs. I know that when I really believed I was psychic and channeling dead people years ago i was actually suffering from severe psychosis and I don't have those experiences now that I'm on meds that work. However, I do think it is possible for people to reach out to you in the afterlife, or, at least, I'm not toatlly sure it's not possible. It's been over a week since I wrote that post, and I haven't been experiencing any other psychotic symptoms. So seems like that is not a problem for me right now.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


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