Midge from the Mental Health Support Team at the Health Insurance called again early this morning. She calls every few weeks to see how I’m doing and we just chat about my recovery and any concerns I might have. She asked how things had been going, and I filled her in on the Psychosis diagnosis that I’d received since we last spoke. I could hear her taking notes on her keyboard as she enquired how I felt about it. I told her the truth- that it scared the living hell out me when I first heard the word, but I was coming to find acceptance in a term that explains some of my symptoms. We talked about how Psychosis can originate in severe Depression, Bipolar Disorder, as an offshoot of OCD, or after either prescription or recreational drug use. Three of those apply to me, (Depression, ‘severe treatment resistant OCD’ and reformed Stoner) so I guess all those things combined made for a potential vacuum in which Psychosis could form.
She asked me if I was hearing voices, and I told her no, I hadn’t experienced that. Then she asked about hallucinations and I stopped and thought about it for a moment, wondering if I actually had. I mean, I’ve never seen a random Pirate Ship in the middle of the mall, or an Ewok in my bedroom, but occasionally I do catch a glimpse of something in my periphery that causes me to flinch like I’ve seen a bird come swooping towards me. I’ve also had hypnopompic hallucinations upon waking from sleep. One I recall where my cats were talking to me, which I admit, in hindsight, I find quite amusing. Fuck, you’ve gotta laugh, right? It was as though I’d woken up and had a chat to them, then fallen back asleep and woken up again in the real world. She said that these types of hallucinations are quite common to the diagnosis. To be honest, I hadn’t put the two together before this, which probably sounds quite odd to someone who’s well. Then she asked about tactile hallucinations…did I ever feel like there was something on me, or touching me or crawling on me? I instantly realized that indeed I had, but again, had never chalked it up to a ‘hallucination’. Sometimes I’ve felt as though I might have a bug crawling in my hair. It feels like a strange tingle on my scalp I’d swear was lice or a flea I’d picked up from the cats, but I could never see either or find any evidence of my assumption. Oddly, the fact that it’s a tactile hallucination is kind of a relief. Beats the shit out of having lice.
She recommended some books, The Happiness Trap and Reality Slap and Sane’s information on Psychosis to give me some more insight on the illness. While it’s still a diagnosis I’m getting used to, it does give me some relief to know why I’ve been feeling the way I do. And the fact there’s medication I can take to help treat it gives me a lot of reassurance that I won’t have to live this way forever, talking to cats, fleeing from imaginary birds and dusting invisible bugs out of my hair.