What it is like to be psychotic

bi polar 2nd time

This blog entry may shock people but I hope it will open peoples eyes to what being ill with a psychotic episode of bi polar effective disorder can be like! All the photos on this blog were taken when I have been Ill in 2009 and 2011.

This is a big thing for me to put out there for everyone to read but I know that if other people with bi polar read this they will understand me on a level that no one else will and I hope it will also educate others about what a mental illness can be like, because lots of people are unaware of the reality of an illness which so many people suffer from, so I hope this gives you an idea of how serious and real the feelings and thoughts I had when I was psychotic really were, I’d like to give you a personal insight from my lived experience what it is like, because mental illness isn’t taken as seriously as it should be because its not physical and people have trouble understanding it because they cant see it.  I hope this blog entry makes sense, its extremely hard to put into words!

bi polar 1st time

For years after Jumping off the fourth floor balcony I blamed myself, because it was me myself that did it. The first year was the worst I just didn’t understand the illness at all, after I came out of the manic high literally all I thought about was what I could of done differently that night, I would lay in bed everyday and just look at every detail of that night and I actually thought by thinking about it I could change what had happened to make me not be in a wheelchair anymore, it really was mental torture. Over time I learnt and realised that it was not my fault at all, it was purely the illness. The ability to finally accept that it wasn’t my fault has been incredibly hard, because the effect of me jumping has had such serious consequences and has impacted on my life hugely.

I have only ever been really ill twice, but each time it lasted a few months to get back to complete reality. The first time was when I jumped off the balcony believing I could fly just over five years ago in 2009 in which I broke my back which has resulted in me using a wheelchair for the rest of my life. The second time was in 2011.
crazy glasses
 The first time I got ill, me and people close to me had no idea I even had bi polar so when I became psychotic and completely delusional and not myself, no one knew what was going on. The week Before I started to become ill I felt very depressed and confused, I remember saying to a friend one day “it just feels like there are clouds in my head” and a then another friend rang me later that day and I couldn’t stop crying, I had no idea why but I just felt so different and depressed. A few days later I went on a college trip for five days , I had doubts about going as I just didn’t feel like myself at all.  I hadn’t slept at all the night before but I decided to go. It was on this trip away that I spiralled out of control and turned completely psychotic. I started to feel intensely euphoric , it was so much fun I felt on top of the world.

bi polar 1st time hostel 2

I felt incredibly happy beyond your imagination, my thoughts were extremely delusional and all over the place. My actions thoughts and feelings were like nothing I had ever experienced I started to behave completely unlike my usual self , the others on the college trip must have been so confused, they probably assumed I was either constantly drunk ,high on drugs or just really really excited and hyper. 

bi polar 1st time amster

The important thing to remember about Bi polar is there are different types but when someone is on a manic high/psychotic episode like I was they have racing thoughts and lots of them. I had so many ridiculous ideas but all at once. The strongest feeling I had was that I was someone very special that had been placed on the universe for a special reason. Everything I saw I thought related to me, every song I heard was about me etc. If i saw anything on TV it was as though the adverts or the programes were trying to pass on secret messages to me. I believed for a few hours one day during my college trip that I was the re incarnation of Van Gogh and had very strong feelings that I was the next coming of jesus but a female version. I thought so many unusual things! Whilst on the college trip I had no inhibitions and felt I was invincible and had seriously high feelings of self belief , I would go up to strangers and just start talking to them I was extremely chatty and very friendly. I nearly got hit by a vehicle by walking in front of it – you just don’t think of the consequences of your actions when your as ill as I was.

bi polar 1st time hostel

I spent all the money in my bank account as I thought I had endless money and when my card was getting declined I thought that there had been some kind of fault with the bank so I kept going into different shops and trying again. I bought so much random stuff!! I would do and say such ridiculous things , its so embarrassing looking back. I dressed in such random clothes , I thought at one point that I looked really cool when I wore odd socks tucked into my jeans and wearing a pair of 3D glasses you get from the cinema I thought I was setting a new fashion trend . Whilst ill like this I barely slept or ate, these things didn’t seem important. I bought an umbrella whilst away and one day thought that I would jump out of the hostel window with it like Mary Poppins. I onestly had absolutely no idea what was going on , I was completely out of touch with reality. I really don’t know how I came back from that trip alive!

amsterdam

The night of my accident In London I had several racing thoughts going through my head. The main one was that I had to fly off to the olympic stadium to perform and sing to millions of people , I remember being in the flat thinking that TV and film crews in helicopters were outside and were waiting for me to go out onto the balcony so they could capture me flying on camera. At the same time as thinking I could fly I thought that I was like Jesus and had to die and come back to life to save the rest of the world. I also had these ideas that if I jumped and died, everyone else would be able to live forever. So I got out of bed got dressed into my best outfit and did my makeup went out onto the balcony got up on the ledge stood up , put my arm in the air and said “too infinity and beyond” and jumped.

The next thing I remember is waking up in hospital laid on my back with things sticking out of me everywhere , I immediately tried to sit up ( this was before my spine had been operated on) so as soon as I tried to sit up there were about four people pushing me back down, I was still very psychotic , I honestly thought I was dead, there was a mental health nurse next to my bed and I thought she was some kind of weird voodoo lady, I was so scared, confused and upset. It wasn’t until later when my family walked in the room that I realised I wasn’t actually dead.

Despite breaking my back from believing I could fly and Jumping off the balcony, the second time I got ill in 2011 I still had the feeling that I would be able to fly.

bi polar second time

One night at my house in 2011 I thought someone was sitting on my window ledge outside my window and I was to go out there and fly off with them, so I got all dressed up like I did before, luckily though I didn’t attempt it again. Although the second time I got psychotic I was very delusional, I wasn’t as bad as the first time. I haven’t been severely ill since the second time in 2011 but I do have the worry that if I was to get ill I could have another accident because I am just such a danger to myself. Currently I am on medication that keeps me stable and my care plan is to go into hospital if I was to ever become severely psychotic again, I made this decision myself with my mental health team.

The first time I was ill I was on the trip and then in London hospitals because of my severe injuries. Looking back on how I thought, felt and acted whilst ill is just so embarrassing , the singing really loud- thinking I could heal others is so cringey because my singing was just so awful and loud but I thought I was amazing! The second time I was ill I was living at home in my small village for the whole three months I was ill. So when I would go out I would see lots of people that knew me or knew of me so this meant that I embarrassed myself in front of lots of familiar people!  There was a lot of silly things I would do , for example I would carry round a big bag with me that had all sorts of random things in like a mini trumpet, bubbles, stickers, sweets, nail varnishes , wind up radio etc and I would get them all out and start using them.

bi polar second time lax

Although it is a lot of fun being ill because you feel great a lot of people that get psychotic and have similar feelings of being invincible like I did, have accidents and don’t always survive. It was incredibly difficult and worrying for my friends and family to see me ill like I was.  When people close to me would say comments about me acting weird I thought they were just trying to ruin my fun as I really was having a great time! I would snap at friends and family which I always look back on and hate because that isn’t like me at all.

I broke my back and its changed my life forever but I am still here and I have learnt and suffered things that a lot of others haven’t so I feel like I can now help other people that are maybe experiencing Bi polar or depression using my experiences of having the illness, so I am going to be attending recovery college to learn about my own mental health then I can start learning how to help others. Mental illnesses can effect anyone at any point in their life. For me I was just a 19 year old girl  living a regular stable life then one day bang and my whole life was turned upside down. No one could of ever predict what happend to me.

Please share the link to my blog to anyone you think may be interested and hopefully it will spread awareness of mental health and also spinal injuries- rachelholly90.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading!!

Rach

This photo was taken in 2011 when I was Psychotic for the second time

bi polar 2nd time

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20 thoughts on “What it is like to be psychotic

  1. Reading this and seeing you now is just unbelievable to me. The way you describe everything you have been through is incredible, to feel on such a high yet cause so much damage to yourself must have been a hard experience to go through. It just goes to show so much goes on within everyone’s life that not everyone can see. Mental illness does not get as much recognition as it should, from my own personal experiences not with bipolar but other things It is frustrating to be within your own head and no one understands why you are acting in a certain way or how you are feeling. I thank you for sharing your experiences , being brave enough to tell your story. If only everyone would feel able to do that. You may have bi polar but it does not define you, you are beautiful and have come so far beating every odd possible 🙂 Thank you once again for sharing your story xx

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  2. Loved reading this Rach. Although incredible in many ways, you have explained everything perfectly. Seeing you and knowing you so well, it’s hard to realize what you have been through, and your family too. I hope you keep going on and improving as you do……..when you decide to get that stick from Fram, make sure we go together! Lots of love xxxxx

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  3. Oh bless your heart Rachel for being so brave. I do hope that opening your self up to tell everyone what it is like to be Bipolar will help others understand the condition. I have learnt so much from your blogs. You go girl…you are an inspiration to us all.
    Jules xxx

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  4. Hiya! we haven’t met Thank you for sharing your experience. My depression has just been designated bi-polar effective disorder. I am still clinging to some of my delusions and am a little terrified by reality. I can relate to alot of what you say, I am presently on mirtazipine andmy doctor wants me to try litium. I wanted to ask what you were taking. You may not wish to shareand thats cool.Manythanks for sharing your experience. Its completely raw and totaly honest and it has helped me to read it. xxx

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    1. Hey Dave , I hope you are ok , I used to be on lithium it is a good mood stabelizer , a lot of bi polar sufferers are on that. I’m currently on olanzapine to stop the manic and psychotic phase . I’m also on lamotrigine as a mood stabelizer , they work well , I have been well now for four years. I hope your medication helps and you feel better soon and safer in reality , it’s a very strange time when you are ill , but you won’t be ill forever don’t worry ! I’m so glad it helped you reading my blog x

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  5. I think your very brave. I am Bipolar and currently recovering from a hypomania episode and now depressibe period. I am currently off work hoping to return in 2 weeks. I think it is so important that people talk about bipolar…you are an inspiration.
    Caroline

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  6. Thankyou for writing about your psycotic episode,i too had one a few years back and i also thought i was very special and had done something that the whole world knew about .I also thought that everything i read in the newspapers or saw on the tele was about me .I cant explain it to people because they just dont understand but i realise now i have read your blog that i am not the only one that has had these thoughts so i thank you for that it has helped me a lot x

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  7. I can relate to so many of your experiences and it really helped me to have someone put it into words. To see someone with my illness still live their life to the full like you is so inspirational. Thank you so much for the blog and for appearing on a documentary on TV tonight. You’re a very brave, exceptional person. Xxxx

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  8. I’m reading this and thinking that you have predicted my thoughts. It is not very often that you read something and ‘connect’ with it.

    I hope you are well.

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  9. Hi Rachel, I hope you are feeling well in yourself,

    What you are acheiving right now at this moment is giving the doubters doubt,(walking) “No she can’t…she can’t its not possible!…Can she?!?!?!” I say carry on believing in what your acheiving.

    speaking up about Bipolar is icing on the cake but overcoming adversity is icing over the icing thats already on the cake!

    Ian

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  10. Hi Rachel

    I hope you are well in yourself

    It is so refreshing that a human being, a person in flesh and blood revealing emotions and feelings that cannot be seen, cannot be touched and is so misunderstood.

    You do not need to be beating yourself about the past because you see its just that. Its in the past. In your eyes you were a normal teenager but what is a definition of normal?

    What you are acheiving now at present is absolutely extranoordinary, being open about your Bipolar is icing on the cake, overcoming adversity, well…the icing on top the icing thats already on the cake!

    My Mum has Schizoeffective Disorder and is completely in Denial, wether or not she comes to terms with it remains to be seen

    So i’m the “other side” as she calls it.

    Ian

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  11. Thanks for sharing. A family member is currently going through such difficult time and in denial. It has been six months and we still cannot see any way out. Thanks for sharing we are not alone

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    1. I’m so sorry your feeling this way Somewhere, It is going to be tough but if you have a caring family and friends it should lessen the blows.

      If your family member is being in a “recovery model” then all you need to do is concentrate on you and family and friends, go to your local community groups it may be daunting at first but they are exactly in the same boat as you.

      I was 8 years old when mum had her first psychotic episode, shes had 5 up to date i’m 39 this year

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  12. Hi Rachel, don’t know that you will remember me, but we met when you came sailing with me and my family in harleston. My mum old me about the tv show that you were in last night, and I have just been reading your blog. I don’t know where you were in your illness when we met, but you seem to be doing so well. I am now a children’s nurse, and reading this has helped so much, as I have a lot of contact with young people living with mental illnesses. You are doing such a great job, keep speaking out to help us understand.

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  13. Hi Rachel,

    I watched your documentary on Monday and found your story inspiring. I have bipolar and have experienced psychosis in the past – managing that alone is a tough task! The way you dealt with your accident is incredible. I hope things continue to improve for you and the bad days become fewer and fewer.

    Hugh

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  14. Hi rachel i watched your documentary on monday and it made me realise im not the only one that had bizare thoughts when i had psychosis .I too thought i was someone really special and had discovered something the whole world wanted.I also thought that everything that was on the television or in news papers was to do with me .I cant explain it to anybody and not many people understand .I wish you all the best and want you to know how much your blog has helped x

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  15. I had expected same type of experience thought luckily wasn’t injured. I spent all of my saving because I thought I was Mary Magadalene and the government were going to refund me. I was also convinced I was pregnant with Christ’s child and that tv, music etc was all about me. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Xx

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  16. You are amazing! And strong and honest. I am sitting in hospital at 44 years of age after a panadol overdose that nearly cost me my life again. Bipolar/ BPD
    I have jumped off a balcony twicein my life. Broke my back and both legs in my late 20’s but was very lucky.
    A year a go I was manic / psychotic and did it again . Was in a wheelchair for 6 months but an alive and can walk again now.
    I have three young boys and I feel so guilty. Luckily I have great family , friends and support.
    Stay strong. You give me strength xxoo s

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