This post is on the subject of psychosis but also deals with suicide.
That can be very hard for some people so I'm putting this as a warning.
Both these states cause a drastic rise in the chances of a suicide attempt.
Psychosis causes me to mentally disconnect with my surroundings, as if I'm detached from my body but still inside of it- watching but emotionless and with no internal responses. Not by choice, it just happens. The other day around 1 am I stood up, walked out of my house, and down to a park on the reservoir about a half mile away. I just walked down there without a thought in my head or any concept of what I was doing. I wasn't dressed properly for the cold, wet weather but I didn't notice. It wasn't a "I don't care if it's cold and wet," it's a complete lack of conscious acknowledgment . I had a very content form of disassociation. This isn't numbness- it's very different. My mind detaches itself from receiving or processing information. I don't become some else- I become something else. This time around it was like a peaceful possession- and I only say peaceful because that is what it felt like while I was in that state. I felt nothing but a perpetual sense of calm. And that's exactly how it can get scary.
I ended up standing at the end of a dock, just standing there over the water experiencing everything but feeling nothing. In that state I don't have emotions or internal dialog. In the absence of those there is no way to police what my mind is doing. There is only indifferent silence.
While standing at the end of the dock I stared out across the water for a while until something caught my eye. I looked down and saw my body right below the surface of the water looking up at me. It was staring directly at me. She looked alive but wasn't moving- her hands and feet didn't make swimming motions in order to keep her self suspended there. The face was devoid of any emotion. She slowly started sinking and I watched her disappear with only couple bubbles replacing where she once was floating. Her expression didn't change as she sank. There was no sadness or fear just cold acceptance of her decent.
Completely unresponsive to what had just happened I shifted my gaze to further in the distance. I looked up to an image of myself walking on top of the water surface about a quarter of a mile away. She was walking with her back facing me for only a moment before she turned around. As clear as day I'm looking at myself standing on top of a lake with a boulder in my arms. She locked eyes with me and then plunges straight down into the water with a loud splash. The same expression on her face as the previous image.
I stood there for what seemed like hours looking out over the water. Neither upset or disturbed. No reaction what so over- just that same peaceful disassociation. Eventually I saw a couple bouquets of flowers starting to float by. Beautiful bundles of white flowers almost glowing against the dark water. A couple at first and then more and more kept floating by. Hundreds of bundles of pale flowers coasting through the pitch black water directly in front of me. I knew right away what they were. They were flowers placed there after my "death." Another image my mind was throwing at me.
These images seem 100% real when they happen. I can see them as clear as day. They are not faint, they are not cloudy, and they aren't fleeting images seen out of the corner of my eye. The parasite has full control over my mind during these episodes.
I stood there for a long time with images and thoughts like this flooding my consciousness. Obviously I didn't act on any of them nor did I have a desire to. I wasn't fighting anything that was going on, I was just standing there and watching it like a movie.
Eventually I walked back home, not a conscious decision- things just happen in this state. I laid on my bed and stared at the ceiling. Blissful and peaceful nothing. Every thing around me registered as what it was but I still felt 1000 miles away from my mind and body. I was a ghost.
I did eventually have some of my mind return because I remember telling myself "take your medication and your sleeping meds then lay down." This message wasn't a harmful "take more than the prescribed amount of sleeping meds," it was just enough of my regular self preservation breaking through, knowing that tomorrow this will be gone.
Waking up the next day was terrifying. I panicked almost immediately. Every bit of fear I should have felt the night before I experienced when I woke up. The next 3 hours were spent crying on and off, almost incapable of getting out of bed to face myself. I couldn't believe I "saw" what I did. I knew they weren't real when they were happening but in the moment I didn't mind their existence. I focus so much on making sure I don't act out and negatively impact my loved ones with my mood swings that I neglected to realize the parasite could let me torture myself. I became afraid of who I was. My mind has the ability to conjure up images of me taking my own life that look 100% real.
This is all very terrifying but I found out a bit more about myself through this. I have alcohol induced psychosis.
When I was at UPMC I was really concerned about this revelation that I have "feelings" of things that aren't there (images hadn't manifested themselves until recently). It sounded like schizophrenia and I had just begun to accept the label of bipolar- I didn't know how I would feel about switching my diagnosis. They assured me I wasn't schizophrenic and it had to do with my type of bipolar. Also the fact that I knew these things weren't real apparently attributed greatly to the divide between the two.
They also pin pointed that my symptoms got worse when I drank, something I had not pieced together on my own.
I have almost never "seen" images and never to the extreme that has been the past 3 months. After speaking with my Drs and some self research I found out my mood stabilizers alter the chemical make up of my liver and therefor it doesn't process alcohol properly. My meds cause it to create an extra enzyme that regular livers don't produce. I haven't been drinking often and I sure as shit haven't been drinking heavily. But I did notice one glass of wine or one hard cider would drop my mood or make me feel uneasy. I told myself that I wouldn't drink anymore months ago but in my depression and lack of daily maintenance I had lost sight of my goals and mistakes were being made.
I only had two and a half glasses of wine over the course of 4 hours to cause the images that night on the dock.
Through this very harsh experience I had to reevaluate everything in my current life and path to recovery. I didn't learn it right away but I am here solidifying and accepting this limitation in my life. I cannot drink. Not a glass of wine with dinner, not a hard cider hanging out with friends, not a shot of liquor to calm my nerves. Nothing. If I want to be healthy and functional like I keep fighting so desperately for I have to accept this as fact and no longer test those limits.
I will not let this disorder take me down. I will break the cycle in my family and give my daughter and others a success story.