Yesterday my nieces asked me about when I was sick. They had moved back into town just after I became floridly psychotic. My niece said, “You weren’t the Deas we knew in Dallas.”
It’s really hard to describe to people how psychosis can be so devastating. Descriptions of strange thoughts or beliefs and hallucinations don’t really delve into the emotional fear and confusion. Similarly, describing something to older teens who don’t have the benefit of many years of lived experience makes it even more difficult.
One of the things I told them was to call an ambulance next time I start acting strange, which launched a conversation about how they felt I had “wanted” to be in that crazy state in which they found me. Horrified, I quickly corrected them and, as best I could, tried to describe how when I was psychotic I didn’t know I was sick. Agnosia often plays a role in schizophrenia. Nobody chooses to suffer like that. Intervention is what I want.
Forced medications and forced hospitalization is a big topic for people with psychotic disorders. Many families and loved ones struggle with the issue as they watch their friend, brother or sister, child or parent spiral into madness. While there is not a single clear-cut answer, I do think achieving a functional stability should be the end-goal for anyone with psychotic illnesses, especially when we can’t make good choices for ourselves.
I have a bad memory, not to mention that my memory is poor as well.
Unfortunately, since my psychosis, my memory only seems to serve up the worst leaving no room for the new. I was also so inundated by sensory experience (and extensive auditory hallucinations) I could hardly pay attention to what was happening around me, outside of myself; these events were among the first to bypass my memory altogether.
As the psychosis subsided, I started to notice an inability to focus or concentrate. Conceptual information never entered into my memory, for it simply didn’t exist. As the side effects from the medications wore off, I find now that my memory simply doesn’t work like it once did, before all of this happened. It seems the associations I make now all refer back to that shattered space.
Be patient and forgiving of those with schizophrenia and psychosis — their memory may be affected by any number of things, to include psychic trauma, overwhelming symptoms, sedating medications, changing brain chemistry, and that one thing that gets us all in the end. Age.
As I was driving to an interview yesterday, I saw Zoey. I am certain it was her. I was too stunned by disbelief to stop. She looked good, healthy and cared for. When I lost it and lost her I kept thinking this is the Reality Show as a maroon car followed me.
Is it possible I will find her? She had her tags and was registered. I can only hope that somewhow I will be reunited with Zoey.