This will be a tough article to write for me. During a psychotic episode things are flying all over the place in your mind and there are many blackouts. Never the less, I will do my best to recount my experience with my psychotic episode. Strap yourself in, as this could be a long one.
I guess we’ll start at the beginning. For months I was smoking a LOT of pot (marijuana). I’m talking about an ounce (28 grams) a week. To say the least this is a decent amount of grass to be consuming. Ironically I was trying to quit the stuff when all hell broke loose.
Having spent a very fun 8 hour evening at a friend’s house live streaming video games I went home and was “buzzed as bro” so I decided to re-watch the live stream to see how I had performed. Things get a bit hazy here already as I hadn’t slept for about 24 hours. In fact things get very hazy here as I’m not sure when I did sleep next.
One of the following days (I’m not sure of the time line sorry) I had a friend over to record us playing video games for a new YouTube channel. Energy drinks were consumed and before we started I sat my friend down and said I wanted to record a conversation. I still have the recording but haven’t listened back. But I’m sure it wasn’t too evident I was unwell other than I was very open about sexuality, my fears for my brother’s wedding, my fears of an STD from an ex and all around epiphanies that I was having about myself (I was starting to strongly believe I was an artist, also read about my suicidal thoughts here). Apart from this I was pretty normal but things were in a bit of a haze, I was super hyped up and I had a burning sensation on the front part of my head.
I think it was the next day we (my brother and his then fiancé) had plans to go out in the evening. I don’t really remember what I did during the day but I recall time going very fast, not much food was consumed and my head was burning. We went out to a friend’s place, my bottle of whisky in hand and pot in my pocket. This is when things went really crazy for me. I remember walking into the room of friends and being very paranoid, I thought my YouTube partner had prepped the room about the “new” Tim. I remember discussing with a friend my close call with suicide, I had a few drinks, and things seemed ok. Then I had a joint. This blew everything up and I would say I entered full blown psychosis at this point. After the smoke I was met with 2 friends, I wasn’t able to communicate on any level here so I ran off inside and thought I was suffering a panic attack.
Yours truly was in the kitchen and 3 good friends were around me. I recall exclaiming “Doesn’t anyone else understand the bible?” and having 3 blank expressions looking at me. I then thought I was incredibly smart and asked a friend to stop me if I went too far out there. Then I was convinced I had castrated my friends, yet they still accepted me. I remember being concerned whether or not my brother would be able to have kids because I was a serial castrator. Then I believed I had been molested in early childhood and I tried to talk to a friend about it, which was very soothing.
Back in the lounge room I believed I could control the room. I thought about instigating an orgy but thankfully I didn’t attempt that. I remember drinking lots of water on account of my burning head, I was sure I had neurosyphilis. I had a conversation with a friend’s girlfriend but the content of this conversation is a blank to me.
I was framing my brother’s dog in the kitchen, much like a photographer would with his/her hands. I had no camera. I believed I was Jesus and my father was God, I was very sad that I’d die soon without doing more good in the world.
Somehow I was outside again and a joint was being passed around. I remember the people there wanting my opinion on the quality. Here I started blurting out nonsense without realizing, “did I say that or think it?” ran through my mind, but it was obvious I had said my thoughts out loud as they had asked how much weed I had consumed. I ran back inside after this and then there is a big gap in my memory and I only remember leaving (remembering my whisky at least).
The next day I had a 4 hour phone conversation with my Mum, I remember very little of this. My brother and his fiancé had gone to the doctors to treat my brother’s sore throat. Here I remember hallucinating, the contents of which I won’t go into but I did call my bro’s fiancé in a panic and said I needed to go to the doctors too. She came and collected me thankfully and off we went. After urinating in the street we went into the doctors. I thought it was all a set up and I was being committed to an asylum. I couldn’t fill in the forms for the doctor but thankfully my brother could for me. Just as we sat back down our names were called (at this point in my mind the universe was working just around me). I remember being checked over by the doctor for STD’s and he ordered tests for me. I blurted out at the end of the consultation that I needed valium. Luckily he provided me with 5. By this time though they didn’t help, I was all over the place.
When we got home I must have jumped in my computer because I remember writing to a girl who I had been dating and accused her of being multiple people and a psychologist my friends had secretly purchased for me. You can do a lot of damage on social media when you are having a psychotic break, let me tell you.
That night was a nightmare. It’s hard to describe the utter terror and confusion that followed but I’ll do my best. I couldn’t sleep, every time I was nearly asleep I woke up in sheer terror. I believed I was my ex-girlfriend (who had a horrible up bringing) at one point. I believed I was a serial arsonist at one point. I believed I was a serial killer at one point. I thought my family was dead and they were all in my head, an illusion. Everything mixed together and I was full of confusion along with all of these delusions. Memories from child hood came flooding in yet I couldn’t decipher them, was I the victim or the perpetrator? I didn’t know. I was sure I’d hurt everyone I’ve ever come into contact with.
Luckily for me my brother and his fiancé were in the room next to me. I kept bursting in with a new theory, a new problem, a new delusion. They did their best to calm me down and gave me a valium every 4 hours. Hell, I could have eaten the bottle and had no effect. I tried sleeping on the floor of their room and remember sobbing thinking everyone in my family was dead.
I found some comfort in exercise. I paced the house for the rest of the night. I busted out massive amounts of push ups and chin ups. Moving kept me somewhat sane even if I was texting nonsense to my Dad. I’m not sure what or how it happened (later I found out my family organized it of course) but some carers appeared at my house. I thought they were the police. I remember laying on the couch with sunglasses on, with my family around me, sure I would die if I would sleep. “At least I’ll go out with style”, I proclaimed. The carers came back with more valium and olanzapine (an anti-psychotic) and this is about where my story ends.
It’s been almost 2 years now and I’m still recovering. In this time I’ve suffered chronic anxiety, depression, drug addiction, 30kg more weight (thanks olanzapine) and all kinds of fun stuff.
The doctors have since explained that it was a stress and drug induced psychotic episode. A psychotic episode is a lot like a bad psychedelic trip that you have no control over. I really wouldn’t recommend it. Look after your mental health and see a psychologist regularly if you feel at all like you might be suffering psychotic symptoms.