I’ll Keep Talking About Psychosis Whether It’s Relatable Or Not

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I suffer from psychosis. I have auditory hallucinations, so I hear voices, either when I’m manic or depressed. It took me a long time, over a decade in fact, to face up to this reality. I was in denial that I heard voices, and convinced myself it was something everyone experienced. Now, I’m open about my experiences. I’ll talk to family and friends about it, and I can even joke about some of the stranger sounds and voices I’ve heard. I have shared my story online, notably here on my blog. You can read more about how ‘I thought the voices were normal.’ Realising I had Psychosis and Doubting Myself – Hearing Voices

It’s not an easy subject to talk about. Even starting a conversation about it can seem unbearably daunting at times. It can feel jarring to suddenly start talking about it, as it can seem like such a alien topic for people who haven’t experienced it. I have to judge the atmosphere and the mood of the person I’m talking to. I shouldn’t have to, but that is the reality. If striking up a conversation about psychosis is badly timed it can shock and jolt a person and yes, unfortunately, distance them from you. Sometimes the reaction is simply silence. Sometimes you can see the fear of what to say next in a persons eyes. Sometimes they ignore what you’ve said and start on another topic.

It’s all about really, truthfully communicating and educating others. If I can sense how uncomfortable someone is, I’ll ask them,

“What is it about psychosis that scares you?” Or,

“Why does this conversation make you feel uncomfortable?”

If I didn’t ask, and just let it slide and quickly moved the conversation on, I’d never know the answer. People need to understand that having psychosis doesn’t make you an insane, crazed killer. It doesn’t change you as a person. I’m still the same person as before anyone realised I heard voices. Most of the time confronting someone with these questions is positive. They know me, and want to hear me out. I’ll explain when it happens and what it means for me. For instance, once when I was manic I could hear voices coming from my phone. They were speaking loudly and animatedly, like they were at a party. Initially I thought somehow I had rung someone by accident, but looking at my phone, there was no call in place. It went on for hours whilst I tried to distract myself by watching tv. Every time I turned the volume up the voices matched it. I was already feeling irritable and this added to my frustration. I remember being beyond relieved when the voices finally stopped.

I’ll be completely honest here; it’s not a relatable subject. It can be a curiosity for others, or they can try and sympathise, but unless they have experienced it, they will never completely understand. The best I can do is to keep talking and sharing my experiences. I want to try and normalise it as a subject, so people no longer feel afraid to talk about it. I know that not as many people will read this than if it was a post about depression or anxiety, but that’s ok. Like I’ve said, it’s just not as relatable. People don’t have a frame of reference for it.

Educating others is key. The stigma attached to psychosis left me paralysed with fear and terrified for over a decade before I sought out help and support. I’m not afraid anymore and will continue to spread awareness.

10 Comments

  1. ashleyleia January 2, 2018 / 3:52 pm

    It’s interesting that psychosis is more stigmatized and less relatable than mood disorders, yet a fair number of those of us with mood disorders have experienced psychosis at some point. When I had psychotic symptoms it was certainly disconcerting for me, so I guess it shouldn’t be that surprising that others find it a bit weird. But you’re right – education is so important, and the more we talk about it the better.

    • Katie Conibear January 5, 2018 / 5:21 pm

      Mood disorders are definitely stigmatised and it’s so frustrating to see. I think with psychosis if someone has never experienced it, they can find it difficult to relate. The same goes for mood disorders. Thanks for reading and commenting x

  2. JH January 2, 2018 / 6:27 pm

    Thank you for talking about it.

    • Katie Conibear January 5, 2018 / 5:21 pm

      No problem, thank you for reading x

  3. orangewallsblog January 3, 2018 / 3:49 pm

    Thanks for sharing 🙂 Psychosis is not only difficult to have others relate to, but it’s so stigmatized that some can’t even empathize on any level…

    • Katie Conibear January 5, 2018 / 5:23 pm

      I totally agree. I think many people find it difficult to empathise with something if they can’t relate to it in some way. Thanks so much for reading and commenting x

  4. Wendy January 6, 2018 / 7:31 pm

    I’m so proud of you. Being afraid of our mental health problems is something I think many of us can understand, hearing that you are no longer afraid, even with psychosis, that gives hope that we can all be less afraid.
    I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your honesty and thank you for sharing your experiences.
    No, you won’t get as much traffic because it’s not as relatable to as many people as depression or even bipolar disorder is, but it’s important. and if just one person reads this and relates to it, you have made a huge impact.
    I have psychogenic seizures. I don’t have them often now, but I was having them quite often a couple of years ago. At that time, I wrote about it on my blog. I don’t know if it reached anyone who really needed to see it, but I think it’s important that we testify. It’s important that we make it known that we are not going to hide because of these things, we are just regular people with something extra.
    Best to you. wendy

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