I’m home alone, while my husband is at work, and my dog, Cash, keeps barking. Every time he barks it freaks me out, especially since he’s normally so quiet. Each time he barks I get up and show him that no one is outside, the front door and the back. He calms down for a little bit, but he keeps barking about 5 minutes later. The same thing happens over and over with no one and nothing there.
I deal with auditory hallucinations regularly. When I’m at home and I hear things, I look Cash for security. If there was actually something there, he would recognize the sound and and bark at it. There’s almost never anything, so I calm down and go back to whatever I was doing. However, this evening, since Cash is barking at almost everything, I’m very anxious. I can’t wait for my husband to get home from work. I’ll feel a lot better then.
Psychosis is the mental state where a person’s thoughts and/or emotions are so impaired that they lose track with reality. The first time I was told that I was in a state of psychosis, I was offended. This was over 15 years ago. I just didn’t understand at that time what a psychotic state really meant. I have been in a state of psychosis for a while now. It’s all because of my hallucinations. I have auditory hallucinations fairly frequently. I hear things that aren’t really there. Usually, the things I hear are doors opening and closing, a person’s footsteps, knocking, whispering, or gunshots.
I know that most of the things I hear really aren’t there. If the dog doesn’t react to what I think I hear, then I can be pretty sure it’s not real. If it was real, the dog would bark in response. Hallucinations are a lot to handle. The sad thing is that after dealing with them for a while, you get used to it in a way. I still freak out every time I think I hear something, but I calm down much quicker.
My hallucinations are generally related to experiences from my past. Most of them are from the time period when I got my first apartment a couple of towns away from where I grew up. I lived there with an abusive boyfriend for over a year. This is when I was using a lot of drugs. I got myself into a lot of problems, and now I continue to pay for it. With all of the memory loss that I’ve had, I don’t know why I can’t forget these memories.
I decide to look up from my screen this morning and I see the beautiful image of a sunrise. Without even realizing it, I stayed awake all night long. This was not done on purpose. In fact, I took all of my nighttime prescriptions and supplements like I always do. I’m not sleeping as well as I normally do, but at least I’m usually sleeping. Last night, however, I hope was an anomaly. I finally fell asleep around 8:15am and woke up at 10:00am. Something was off and I’d like to know what it was so I can avoid it in the future. Was last night a symptom or just a bad night? Everyone has bad nights on occasion.
My mind wanders constantly, I don’t need/want as much sleep as I’m used to, my energy is greatly increased, I’m dealing with auditory hallucinations, and I feel a bit more restless than normal. These all appear to be manic symptoms. However, I also have increased anxiety/panic, I’m indecisive, I feel worthless and pathetic, and I’ve had ongoing suicidal ideations. These seem to be depressive symptoms. I have learned over the years, through both manic and depressive episodes, to pay attention to my symptoms. It’s important to be able to tell your psychiatrist what symptoms you are experiencing, when they began, and how severe they are. I have currently been dealing with most of these symptoms for months, but the restlessness, wandering mind, and increased energy are new within the past couple weeks.
Knowing and keeping track of your symptoms can help you stay ahead of the episodes; at least that’s my experience. Sometimes I’m not aware of my own symptoms, so my husband or the rest of my family tell me what they see. Since my sleep has been so terrible lately, especially last night, I am concerned that it will enhance my other symptoms. All I can do to stay proactive is to be aware and then report the changes to my doctor. I can’t control the symptoms, but it’s important to bring them to the attention of my doctor. However, almost every time a new symptom happens, I tend to wait weeks or months before saying something, thinking that I can handle it on my own. I don’t like going through medication changes and new treatments. I already know that I’m coming up on a medication change next week. I have to decide between Clozaril and IV Ketamine by Tuesday, so my mind says, ‘What’s the point in saying anything if I’m already facing a med change?’ This is not a logical thought, but it is what goes through my mind. It’s possible these symptoms are brought on by the stress of choosing a new form of treatment and/or the loss of an old friend. I know the right thing to do, but I tend to procrastinate. My doctor already knows everything except how bad the sleep has really become. I can commit now that I will update him by Tuesday at the latest when I give him my answer regarding the new treatment.