Psychosis: A Heart Attack of the Mind

Previously I wrote about Mindblindness and how it can lead to me experiencing paranoia. Some would argue that I am just experiencing mild psychosis or extreme anxiety. In any case, it is something I have to live with for a long time that has got worse over the years. Though it tends to affect me variably.

What clearly comes under the symptoms of my Schizoaffective Disorder diagnosis is when I experience psychosis – often leading me to being sectioned in a psychiatric hospital. For me, these experiences have been delusions, occasionally hallucinations and more recently like a talking person in my mind (like telekinesis). I remember one healthcare assistant in hospital, who has met me on previous admissions, saying to someone “Shaun gets it really bad”. It does feel that way. I am so beholden to the delusion that I breakdown and lose my rationality. This is why I describe it as a ‘Heart Attack of the Mind’.

I was diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder in Australia in 2012. I had mainly severe symptoms of depression. I was up and down a lot. I was paranoid of social situations, often occurring in work and the psychiatrist suggested I also had though disorder which I don’t entirely understand. I had to try a series of anti-psychotics which caused all kinds of side effects before settling on one known as Asenapine. I eventually moved back to the UK when my relationship ended. I have written previously about my life since then in these three blog posts: [1] [2] [3].

After my ECT in 2015, the severity of my depression had much reduced and I wanted to get fit by running. I stopped all my medication except the Lithium. I lost a good amount of weight.

Depression became less of a problem and I was experiencing manic symptoms. I was absolutely obsessed in running and solving my issues. I read many books on mental health and autism. I would listen to motivational speakers on YouTube and did several courses from home.

I was experiencing huge problems with agitation. I think it’s driven by the autism, mania and the slow realisation when it became obvious the Social Contract doesn’t work for people like me. The stigma and attitudes I faced for being different or not working only added to it. So rather than being hospitalised but not sectioned for depression (due to a few suicide attempts) – I started being sectioned with psychosis. I was put back on anti-psychotics once again.

Between 2017-2022 I was sectioned 8 times. Usually just by the Police (a Section 136) but sometimes extended by the Doctors under Section 2 or 3.

In 2017, I was sectioned 3 times over 3 months. I remember in my home in 2017 seeing the outline of lizard like creatures. I have never done drugs this was something my mind was doing but I started to think like it was some kind of inter-dimensional rift in Star Trek or that I was in The Matrix. I remember stopping all the traffic down a busy road thinking I was like Neo in the Matrix with my palms out towards the cars. I would ramble at members of the public and when the police would arrive I would see them like agents of the Matrix (software).

I noticed in the psychiatric hospital in 2017 that Black people run the night shift and White people the day shift. I started to believe there was some kind of conspiracy behind that. I confused Black people with darkness and White people with light. When I was discharged I attended a Church believing I needed redemption. I took part in my first communion not really knowing what was going on. I hadn’t read the Bible. I wouldn’t return to a Church again until 2022.

At the time I was recently exposed to Spiral Dynamics in therapy to help me understand different perspectives. I took it too literally in my psychosis, associating Red with the devil and dictators (power Gods in Spiral Dynamics). If a red car was behind me, I though it was our dictatorial government. When I saw white cars I thought it was a signal from God and Black cars was a signal from the devil. I was very frightened going out.

I got much solace from running. I remember running in the early hours of the morning alone along the seafront where there was no people. As I was running all the white seagulls were flying above my head. It was like they were angels – a signal from God. God wasn’t happy for me but it felt like he was trying to save me from this evil government. I remember when I stopped running, I saw 2 runners, one dressed in red and another dressed in blue. I believed they were government agents representing the red and blue of the Matrix of Spiral dynamics. I wasn’t sure if this was God’s Matrix or the governments. It was obvious I was having a Spiritual crisis as well but that isn’t something the NHS are equipped to deal with. Much other stuff happened that I am too embarrassed to write about. Incidents would happen in hospital as well.

During the Covid pandemic I was sectioned a few times. Given the lockdown and isolation I began to believe the government was staging a coup. I acted bizarre in public and thought later they had put a microchip in my brain as I felt I was hearing things. When the police turned up several times to take me to hospital it was confirmation that people like me were being wound up for internment. These were very frightening experiences. I recently wrote about a brief psychosis episode this year which I have written about here.

I do take my medication every night. I think sometimes when I began to experience some issues I would lose track of taking my medication which didn’t help things. When I am unwell I am too scared to sleep which only makes me more unwell. In 2022, I agreed to have one of my medications as a depot (injection) every month in the hope that would prevent issues. Though I have still had some issues in 2023 albeit less severe this time.

I wish to be free of these psychosis episodes. It really scares me and takes me time to recover and build my confidence up again. I think one key contributing factor is stress. Government policies with their rhetoric against people on benefits and issues with my own income in 2017 have affected me greatly. The beginning of the Ukraine war also triggered me in 2022. I thought World War 3 was about to begin. Thankfully the recent Israel-Hamas conflict hasn’t affected me too much. I’m hopeful life will get better from here.