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reality testing without freaking people out: how to?


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so how often is appropriate and doesn't attract attention?

 

here's the thing: some shit is back

and i have fresh shot in my ass of increased size

so i don't really need to hear about pro med and so forth

 

i need to figure out how to live here (here=consensus reality)

 

so i see shit that "doesn't obey the laws of physics"

which the best way ever i've had someone ask me that question by the way

and i don't currently have any voices

i'm pretty sure

like, no orders, no commentary

no questions

no chatter

 

pretty much radio silence here

 

and i went to appointment today

and the upshot is: "yeah, it's not great that you're seeing people who aren't "spatiotemporal", etc" but i'm not going to get sectioned/involuntary commission *provided* i can keep it together

 

so, what does that mean?

no self surgeries and no trying to jump off shit

basically keep it to myself, right?

 

but HOW to do that?

like...ok...i've done a fucktonne of bilateral rounds and i've tried a laundry list of meds

i'm in cbt and all that other good shit

and this is not like....welcome melli...i've been diagnosed a looong time

and i have the whole insight thing going on...mostly...finally...so i'm not asking for medical advice

 

i'm asking: how to reality test discretely? 

ideas? 

i have a couple of trusteds 

but i *need* to not lose it

at LEAST until the end of this year

 

so like, if the fucking world splits open and wires are exposed everywhere and the them tries to formaldehyde me and things are probing and fucking with me... as long as i can go about my business, i'm set.

 

there are all sorts of people here who retain insight and somehow know what's "real" and what's "delusion"

 

how?!! how do you reality test without coming off kinda suspicious yourself?

 

specific tasks/"i do ___ and it keeps me walking in the general public" much appreciated. x

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That's good you have people you trust.  For the most part I would ask them if they see those things or think they could have been real.  I've had a little bit of insight where I knew that I shouldn't mention some things to just anyone.  It's great that you have insight. I'm pretty quiet, keep to myself and even though I have a family people didn't really notice until I started talking to my husband about some of the things going on in my head.  I'm really fortunate that my meds work pretty well now.

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so if someone says

that's not real

even if you totally see and hear it

you just be like

yep

and walk by like it's not happening?

 

 

you fake it is what i need to do? just ignore it? and like, get confirmation from one person i trust and then just act like things aren't happening.

 

 

HOW exactly do you do that? how do you not get caught up in just being caught talking or muttering or... does anyone know what i'm asking right now? ican't be the only one who has shit just straight there and how do you just carry on? specifically. a checklist wouldbe great.

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so if someone says

that's not real

even if you totally see and hear it

you just be like

yep

and walk by like it's not happening?

 

 

If others don't/cant see or I can't prove to others (ie political information I "hear," or any type of thing like that) that something was said, or i can't back it up by something like something on the internet, than no, I dont believe it.

 

If I am just randomly walking and I see something and am not sure if it was real or not, I play stupid and do a double-take and if someone is around say, "Did you see that?"  and depending on what they say I'll know whether to believe it or not.

 

 

you fake it is what i need to do? just ignore it? and like, get confirmation from one person i trust and then just act like things aren't happening.

 

No, I don't fake it and don't just ignore it ... I can either get confirmation from someone, or I really make sure there is information to prove myself before i say anything or talk about it.

 

 

HOW exactly do you do that? how do you not get caught up in just being caught talking or muttering or... does anyone know what i'm asking right now? ican't be the only one who has shit just straight there and how do you just carry on? specifically. a checklist wouldbe great.

 

Yeah, I think I do know what you are asking.  I used to get caught up in doing this all the time and it drove me batshit.  I learned to think back to myself instead of out loud though, or ask if someone just said something to me.  Somehow (this Idk how I learned this ... practice maybe) I learned to distinguish what was real vs not over time.  Like a knock on a door.  It didn't just happen overnight though; this happened years after believing everything I saw/heard every time.  Med changes to the right cocktail also helped for me ... when I got the right cocktail, it became easier to figure things out.

 

I don't really have a checklist, but ways to figure out if something is real or not is to find proof on the internet or magazine or book etc, ask someone else (play stupid if you need to ... this happens to a lot of people, even without MI ... I've had people casually say to me "Did you hear that?" and I'll say yes or no depending if I did or not).  Also if I can show myself something to prove what I saw or heard.  Otherwise I just learned to brush it off. 

 

The biggest changes came when my cocktail was pretty much together.  It just started to all make sense then.

 

Once in awhile now I still will question something, but if I can't find proof of it anywhere or from anyone, then I don't believe it, and will brush it off.

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I separate things in layers by where they belong.  when something is questionable I do a double take and I try not to acknowledge it outloud or make any outward appearance that I notice something strange while I run through my head whether or not this item belongs in reality. I look around and focus on what does belong and that helps me knock out what doesn't belong.

I don't know if i'm making any sense.

 

sounds get me though i'm always like did you hear that or answering doorbells or phantom calls of my name.  i'm more now I try to go to the source of where I hear it come from instead of responding. or I try to remind myself before I respond that I am alone.

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I also do what Zoe does, try to figure out if something belongs or if it's suspicious. I have persistent auditory hallucinations but it's the occasional visual hallucinations that cause me the most distress. I don't know if you have pets, dogs or cats but they can help. I have two dogs and I know if I'm seeing something in the corner of my living room and my dogs don't react then it's probably not real.

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CBT really helped me.  Sometimes I ask but most of the time I just ignore the information as false.  Once I was talking to a manager and it looked like her face was melting.  Since she was still talking to me and didn't freak out I figured that it was just me.  My therapist at the time had me ignoring things like that and it seems to prove correct for me.  It's not easy but it has gotten easier.

 

I still ask for reality checks from my husband though.  

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When I was undiagnosed, I was constantly looking for evidence like melissa said. Most of the time when I'm not sure if i'm hearing things (I don't have visual) and others don't hear it, I just brush it off, play along and pretend it's not a big deal, saying "eh, whatever."

OR.

 

Think two steps ahead. Have a response ready before you ask the reality check from a person you like but aren't sure if they can handle reality checks. For example, if the person negates your question about realities, you might say, "Oh god, I thought that blur was _______. I need to see an optometrist."

 

My example, I texted a real person whom I thought was stalking me if he wanted to go for a ride in my car. (trying to reach out and help him). He obviously said "no, I am at my house many miles away". Without missing a beat, I texted back "OH LOL I was texting my friend (someone whose name is close to his in my phone)! Sorry not meant for you." I got a text back saying "sick". Not sure if it was positive or negative response. I'd like to think the former.

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CBT really helped me.  Sometimes I ask but most of the time I just ignore the information as false.  Once I was talking to a manager and it looked like her face was melting.  Since she was still talking to me and didn't freak out I figured that it was just me.  My therapist at the time had me ignoring things like that and it seems to prove correct for me.  It's not easy but it has gotten easier.

 

I still ask for reality checks from my husband though.  

 

this is exactly where i think my psychiatrist was heading. i'm in cbt again, as i've mentioned i'm sure a hundred times because it's always tough, but this is what i think is going to be the key. and limiting myself. like, sorta how zoe was talking about layers and keeping things in their proper place. but i also think i need to be prepared to look odd in one way and just suck it up.

 

there was a thread i started about dealing with my thought disorder in public

and i remember titania was like

(feeble paraphrase of great point)

maybe there are just limitations and doing the best within them

is enough and all that can be expected by others

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That's good you have people you trust.  For the most part I would ask them if they see those things or think they could have been real.  I've had a little bit of insight where I knew that I shouldn't mention some things to just anyone.  It's great that you have insight. I'm pretty quiet, keep to myself and even though I have a family people didn't really notice until I started talking to my husband about some of the things going on in my head.  I'm really fortunate that my meds work pretty well now.

 

it's great maybe therapeutically...but it is awful, don't you think? i mean, it's truly horrible for me. i kinda am 

like ....fuck the blue pill/red pill choice

which i kinda feel like what those years of anosognosia were

i can't believe how much of my life i've laid waste to since diagnosis

and how much more recently--the past handful of years, i mean. 

 

since february of 2008 i've been in the hospital so much

and i gotta say...fuck this shit. 

i can't believe this is my life 

but who else's would it be?

insight foresight hindsight blindsided me all at once.

 

BUT: with having people i trust: yes, yes yes yes i'm most fortunate : )

i have two 

three really

but two in immediate geographical presence

one most immediate

v fortunate x

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There are certain recurring things, like the presences and certain voices, that I know not to acknowledge in public. I still accept them; I don't ignore them so much as just try not to react to them. I think having flat affect helps with this actually. It's just there to me as well. I don't know how to ignore them or "shut off" my interaction so I don't reflexively acknowledge or try to interact.

It is probably a cheat, but when I'm in public I often wear headphones. That way, if I do accidentally start talking aloud to myself, I can pass it off. I sometimes wear a hooded sweatshirt, also, for the express purpose of blocking out my peripheral vision and cutting down on the possibility. I'm not always able to do that, though.

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cheers for the suggestions to all : )

 

mim...yeah... the hoodie and cutting down peripheral vision

*great idea*

i wear a ballcap a lot after my recent head thing

but my hair's grown enough it'll lie flat

but maybe i should just keep with that and try to reduce peripheral vision for awhile

whilst i sort things

i can't do headphone

i can't have wires around my head that'll freak me out 

maybe one day though : )

 

i think you're on to something with the flat affect

though i know that brings its own set of challenges for you

and i certainly wouldn't want to be seeming to minimize the struggle

i do tend to react very...immediately...to my environment

and some sort of time delay might help

 

like when television isn't *really* live

there's some brief delay

if i could manage that

i need a filtering system in place

i think i could exist better undercover whilst sorting self

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I learned to think back to myself instead of out loud though, or ask if someone just said something to me.  Somehow (this Idk how I learned this ... practice maybe) I learned to distinguish what was real vs not over time.  Like a knock on a door.  It didn't just happen overnight though; this happened years after believing everything I saw/heard every time.  Med changes to the right cocktail also helped for me ... when I got the right cocktail, it became easier to figure things out.

 

The biggest changes came when my cocktail was pretty much together.  It just started to all make sense then.

 

Once in awhile now I still will question something, but if I can't find proof of it anywhere or from anyone, then I don't believe it, and will brush it off.

 

 

have you done cbt or other therapy to help with the distinguishing at all? if so, which and for how long?

 

i think my cocktail is kinda what it is. and i did all of that ect to stop the psychosis that wouldn't quit. 

so now i'm at the living with it and making do point

i'm on injections and other stuff and this is definitely the most lucid i've been in several years...

and if you count the years since diagnosis where i didn't see my illness at all

maybe the most lucid ever ever...in like nearly two decades

 

so i've got therapy options and day programs or whatever else

but i kinda have to figure out just how to live, you know?

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How much deductive reasoning capacity do you retain? How much can you work on accepting standard scientific "facts" as real, I mean internally knowing them to be real, despite your perceptions? CBT might be able to help you beef up your focus on generally accepted scientific facts over perceptions. Maybe the academic in you can get a jag for research. Physical sciences are interesting study, actually. You also already have lots of knowledge, too. More than many, I suspect. Studies on the fallacies of perception are interesting, too. I mean perceptions even in the general population. The shortcomings of witness testimony, for example.

 

I just read another of your posts, so I'll borrow. Steel is hard and is a material used in buildings. You can know this scientifically. If you can remember it and take it as fact, perhaps you can recognize that buildings that bend and warp to reach down to you isn't logical, and therefore, not real, especially if others aren't reacting to the threat. I mean, buildings are big. One reaching down would scare others. So, deductive reasoning combined with observing others. Of course, this totally depends on your ability to reason and remember/accept certain scientific facts as truer than your perception of reality. Success also depends on your ability to focus on other more concrete things. You can probably help train yourself in this skill.

 

Like others have said, if science and logic suggest that what you see is not real, then class it as unreal unless you can find science and logic to support it. For example, you know that the world spins on it's axis as it travels around the sun, and that weather is temporary because it is always changing. There is day and night. The world cannot be cast in permanent darkness unless a major volcano blew which you'd hear on the news. Science does not support evil descending like that, and even if it did, there would be major media reporting, not just coded messages. If you can't find broad scale public reporting, class the perception as not real. Also, logically, you can know the perception is not true even if it's only partial knowledge enough to not freak others out with questions. So, thinking that maybe it's not real can sometimes be good enough.

 

FWIW, I don't have sz and will never really understand what your life is like. Don't want to imply that I do. At the same time, I lived in a grey world with lots of "fog" for awhile so relate to the world of darkness. I also get how hard it can be to begin the process to question/challenge some delusions in the first place. I lived with the ones during depression for years without saying anything to anyone about them because I just accepted them as real.

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all good points

i do think i retain a fair amount of reasoning capacity

i will admit that i have a lot of habits and living

based on "delusional thinking"

but that IS the purpose of cbt right now

 

that and the whole self care thing being reinforced, etc...and the panic/agoraphobia

 

anyway, i'm pickin up what you're puttin down, annemarie

 

and sz or not, i find your insights ever valuable. x

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ok, here's the only thing though:

 

what if others are either programmed or in on the whole thing and THUS not reacting?

i'm pretty sure there aren't any devices and wires

though not 100% but...i have to just deal with that never being total, i'm pretty sure

i just got more x rays done not all that long ago

but obviously if the machines are in on it all...duh, x rays aren't reliable

 

but how do you stop being obsessed with getting tripped up into the perceptions that

corroborate everything i already think?

 

then my neighbor appears and it's really hard to keep it together and not react

 

i know he's not real and so forth. but there's that time delay in between reason kicking in and reaction where... i guess that's part of the cbt but have you found ways to make that timeframe shorter? because i don't know that i'll ever be able to disprove my thinking patterns--at least the ones based on self affirming presuppositions...like...if everyone is in on the robot takeover, then the fact that nobody else notices ...would be part of it. or the whole i'm being labeled paranoid schizophrenic to discredit me...obviously that is discrediting. 

 

i know i just need to learn to lessen the constraints of those thought patterns, etc, on my daily life

but i seem to need affirmation all the time

well, not constantly

but maybe closer to than not

and i am not great with playing it off as another suggested... i need to not do that, i think, which if i could just widen that timeframe

 

ok, i feel i'm sorta pulling a repeater here and about to say what i already said...

 

cheers 

 

NB: i wrote the above because that just happened to me. like, in between reading and responding. i went to different part of house and he popped up so i came on here to try and type it out of self...we'll see if that works. 

Edited by mellifluous
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have you done cbt or other therapy to help with the distinguishing at all? if so, which and for how long?

 

No, I haven't had any CBT or anything.  It was all kind of "self-taught" over time.

 

 

but i kinda have to figure out just how to live, you know?

 

Yeah.  Until I got a hold on things more it was hard getting by day to day.  It gets easier to get by with the more little "tricks" you learn to prove things to yourself and get by with.

 

ETA:

 

because i don't know that i'll ever be able to disprove my thinking patterns--at least the ones based on self affirming presuppositions.

 It takes time to learn but it can be done.

Edited by melissaw72
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I totally get what you are saying about the "delay in between reason kicking in and reaction." You hit it dead on. There is that gap that can be shortened by things like CBT and practice and some more practice. Therapy and reality testing with your trusted people or here on CB can also help with that gap. The trick to reality testing is to first:STOP. Then before you react calmly ask a simple question that could be passed off as nothing. I also like the idea that you think two steps ahead and have responses ready for what the person could possibly respond with either way.

Now this is all tricky and requires a lot of cognitive facalties and attention spans that a lot of us lack. But your intelligence can only be an asset to you mell. Take on that CBT challenge with all your might. I hope this will help diminish that gap in between reason kicking in and your reaction.

And like mim, I have noticed recurring themes that I have learned to ignore that I KNOW are hallucinations or possible delusions (although the delusional type things are feelings for me so I find them harder to break away from even with reality testing, this is my personal experience though with things like paranoia or thoughts that aren't real). With the voices I usually know that it can't be real mostly. Although when they command things over and over or place worry in my head that I didn't come up with, well then that wears down on me and sometimes I give in and do what they say to do (even if it is bad).

They say use coping skills to ignore the wear and tear of the voices that command. Like distraction. Really I know that sounds lame but I have found doing something that is mindless yet captures my attention nearly completely can sometimes distract me enough so that while I still hear the voices telling me to do things, I don't do the things they say because my little attention span is focused on something else. I play slot machine games on my phone apps. I know that sounds lame but if I do that I get caught up with the spinning of the game and the sounds music and the bright colors and the excitement (am I losing or winning big!?). My husband even knows to prompt me or even give me the damn thing and set it right in front of my face to play until I feel distracted from the commands enough that I can ignore or fall asleep after taking bedtime meds.

Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Sorry for the novella I just wrote. I always find your posts to be so thought provoking. Thank you for them.

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