Jump to content
CrazyBoards.org
Sign in to follow this  
Annad

Help me understand what happened to me - Intrusive thoughts/psychosis

Recommended Posts

Hi guys,

This is my first time asking the internet for advice so apologies if I screw anything up and for the novel-length post.

I’m not at immediate risk - things are getting rocky again but I have already made appointments to see a doctor and therapist.

I would appreciate any feedback, comments, similar experiences, or being pointed towards useful resources.

In terms of background, I think things went a little off for me around 13. My sleep has been shoddy since. When I was 14 for a year I barely left my room, didn't go to school (not a country where it mattered), would occasionally run away, punched walls and experimented with various forms of self-harm, would spend most of my time in bed staring at the ceiling, often very badly wanted to end it but couldn't inflict that disaster on my parents who then bore the brunt of my anger when I decided that they were to blame for standing in my way. So I thought often about killing them too because that's logical. In retrospect a pretty classic case of angsty teenage depression.

At one point my sleep was very disturbed for almost a week. I went downstairs to get a yoghurt and insects started crawling all over me and I saw lots of blood. I very vividly remember that I used my fingers to push through my eardrums into my head and then pushed out my eyeballs from behind. I was terrified but internalised it and was probably in denial that it had happened or that it was me who saw that (if that makes sense). I’ve never watched horror films, have never witnessed a car accident, or in fact had anything traumatic happen to me at all. Who knows.

I eventually got over the worst of it and aside from occasional periods of depression and self-harm nothing much happened until about 2013 when things went south a little bit.

I felt like I was moving through slush and that people were talking to me underwater. It took a little bit of time, probably around two weeks, for me to get myself to a doctor (I’m stubborn and I thought I might be getting sick again and I was scared I would end up like a close relative whose mental illness has turned her into a zombie). I was immediately diagnosed with depression and prescribed ssris that I took at best sporadically, since I had a deep-down belief that relying on them would mean I was weak (more logic).

From there on things degenerated somewhat. I began to hear the radio, or someone slamming the door and moving around, but I would head on over to switch the radio off or say hello to my roommate and the radio would already be off and no-one had come home. Then I began to have episodes where I would again feel my hands were pushing through my ears to pop out my eyeballs, and I would dig holes in my chest til I could see my exposed ribs and snap them, and mushy bits would ooze everywhere and there would be a lot of blood and a lot of pain. Seeing this would often trigger a panic attack. I sometimes had panic attacks without images but never images that didn’t trigger absolute panic, since they were fairly terrifying things to witness. Once I had to be physically restrained because I was trying to scratch something out of my arm with my fingernails and by the time someone noticed I had scratched a deep enough wound to leave a pretty gross scar that won’t go away no matter how much bloody bio oil I massage into it. During another episode my boyfriend at the time had come up for a cup of tea or something and I apparently told him things were coming and that he had to take a knife and kill me before things happened. Sometimes I had to self-harm quickly because I could feel things coming and if I could see and feel my hands doing something like that then it was easier to believe that they weren’t doing something else, if that makes any sense.

I was hospitalised twice in crisis situations but the psychiatric wards were mindnumbing and I was scared that being surrounded by people with serious issues would somehow trigger or emphasise mine so I always got out as soon as I could. I was variously diagnosed with severe anxiety with intrusive thoughts, depression, bpd, psychosis, or preschizophrenic symptoms. At the time I didn’t read anything on the internet or in books as I thought I might be influenced by what I read so I let the doctors do their thing, but at a later date I started reading around and although I identify strongly with descriptions of depression and anxiety (then again I already knew that) and partially with some descriptions of psychosis, I think the diagnoses of schizophrenia or bpd were patently bollocks which has shaken my trust in doctors a little. I was prescribed with anti-depressants, benzodiazepines, and anti-psychotics but even aside from my inherent stubbornness against medication I was in no fit state to stick to a treatment plan so took them erratically, I wouldn’t take them and them someone would notice and force me to take them for a while and then I would stop again etc.

At some point I moved home and got a very manual job which left me physically exhausted and with no free time so I was in a comforting cycle of work sleep work sleep etc. I was screened again for psychosis but the symptoms had begun to subside and I found that recounting the experience was very distressing so didn’t take any form of treatment further - I was just grateful that it seemed to have stopped and that the whole thing was over.

Things have been alright for a long time now but I’m having some wobbles and in any case I can’t keep working to the point of exhaustion just to keep from spiralling. I want to be able to have free time and enjoy it without immediately sinking into a cycle where I feel happy and energetic and then flip flop into comatose and then when I get energy again I can’t enjoy it because I have to catch up on everything I didn’t do when I was comatose. I want to be able to do things that are intellectually demanding without grinding to a halt and have happy, fun relationships and most of all I want to seek treatment and finally fess up to what happened and do everything I can so that it doesn't happen again because it's terrifying and it's kind of bollocks that the fear I have of these images is enough to trigger a panic attack because honestly the way these things feed off each other is fairly toxic.

I know I’ve got depression and anxiety and panic attacks and I’ve read many accounts I identify with and that have helped me consider these things difficult but approachable and certainly not the end of the world.

It’s the episodes I’d appreciate talking through. I’ve read accounts of intrusive images in relation to OCD and anxiety and I think it must be that, but these accounts haven’t quite rung true in the same way that accounts of depression have with me. I suppose they’re not psychosis or delusions because it’s pretty obvious after that they didn’t happen (or I’d have spent a lot of 2013/14 just splopping my eyeballs back into their sockets like some deranged bungee jumper). Also they just sort of went away after a while but these recent wobbles have me paranoid that they’ll come back.

Please help me pinpoint what happened so I can try and fix it.

And if you've made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read.


 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello, welcome to Crazyboards :)

Good for you for making an appointment with a doctor and a therapist! That's really pro-active of you, and seems like a really good idea. Feel free to let us know how it goes.

We can't diagnose you here, (we're not doctors, and even doctors shouldn't be doctoring on the internet). I'm not really sure how to fix it. I can see if I can rally the troops to find someone who might have some ideas, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi WinterRosie,

Thank you for your response. I'm definitely aware that seeking a diagnosis here would be misguided! I'm hoping that in collaboration with the doctor and therapist we will figure a diagnosis out over time.

Because I've been misdiagnosed several times however I'd like to just hear from people who may have had similar experiences and how they've coped and also to collect ideas as you mentioned in case there's something I haven't heard of that I could read about to see if anything rings true or mention to my doctor to hear her opinion.

When I was younger I thought the only mental illnesses were either being serial killer crazy or being depressed. It's a learning curve :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry if I missed this, but are you currently taking any medication?  I know you said you've been on some, ie when IP, but wasn't sure if you still were. 

I'm glad you'll see a pdoc (psychiatrist) and tdoc (therapist).  I really hope they help you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you currently have a psychiatrist? A psychiatrist should probably be your first port of call with your questions. 

I'm going to just throw this out, and I am certainly NOT diagnosing you, but there is such a thing as depression with psychotic features. I think you need to work closely with your doctor to discern whether you are dealing with some variant of OCD or psychosis. It doesn't sound like my OCD, but I have the classic OCD with compulsions. There is "pure-O" OCD but your doctor would be the best to be able to suss out what is actually going on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Melissa, jt07

I am not currently taking any medication but I have just been prescribed sertraline, diazepam and zopiclone. I'm hoping that since I'm starting this round in a better frame of mind that I'll actually stick to taking the sertraline every day and give it a chance to work.

jt07, I did have a psychiatrist back in 13/14, but he was state-appointed and I did not get on with him at all as he wanted to sit back and let me talk but I refused to just wordvomit unless I was asked specific questions so it would always end in a mexican stand-off of silence haha (I can be a bit stubborn...) I saw him very regularly (around 3/4 times a week at my worst), but I think his main function was really just to check that I hadn't topped myself. I've now found a therapist (I think she describes herself as a psychoanalyst, is that similar to a psychiatrist?) that I think I can get on with - do you think it would be a good idea to also see a psychiatrist? 

Thank you for your suggestions of things to look at - having skim-read a few things on both I think pure O seems unlikely however I wasn't aware that there are forms of depression with psychotic features and from what I've read so far it definitely seems like something I should explore further and bring up to my doctor to see what she thinks.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A psychiatrist and a psychoanalyst are usually two different professions. A psychiatrist is an expert on medication and making diagnoses. A psychoanalyst is more like what we call a therapist, i.e. talk therapy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/9/2017 at 10:27 PM, Annad said:

At one point my sleep was very disturbed for almost a week. I went downstairs to get a yoghurt and insects started crawling all over me and I saw lots of blood.

Hi, and welcome to Crazyboards! In reference to the quote above, I'll say that lack of sleep is a huge trigger for many who experience psychosis (and even people who usually don't). Getting really consistent sleep helps me a lot, as well as many people I've talked to on Crazyboards. I have mostly auditory hallucinations, but they sometimes appear as visual hallucinations when I'm really off. I messed up my antipsychotic medication (Abilify) by not taking it for a week over the holidays, and I'm still feeling the repercussions as it continues building back up in my system. We all screw up our meds at some point, whether it's forgetfulness, the thought that we're cured, etc., so I wouldn't beat yourself up about it. Just do your best.

What you're describing definitely sounds like psychosis, which can be the only thing you're diagnosed with in addition to your depression and anxiety. I have been diagnosed with "some form of psychosis" for over a year, and it's definitely intertwined with the anxiety and depression and not schizophrenia. The more anxious/depressed I am, the more likely I am to have psychotic symptoms.

In terms of coping, everyone has their own techniques. Your doctors should be able to help you come up with coping techniques, but your front line of defense is likely medications. One technique I've used consistently is making jewelry. When I'm very anxious, it puts me into a more meditative state and stops me from focusing on the voices, etc. Perhaps the physical labor you were doing was a way of shifting your focus from your own hallucinations. Do you have any crafty hobbies? Knitting is a big one around here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for clarifying the difference, jt07!

Hi Heilmania, thanks for reading so carefully and for your response. It's very reassuring to hear from someone in such a similar situation. It's certainly helpful to think of the psychosis not necessarily as a condition in its own right that I have to worry about, but as a reaction to the periods of intense stress and sleep deprivation that occur when I don't properly manage my dep/anx.

I did take Abilify for a while, but I felt like it was making me very nauseous and burned my stomach no matter how much water I took it with - what has your experience with Abilify been like, if you don't mind me asking? I do find medication is a 'thing' with me. When the side-effects of the pills you're taking happen to be the symptoms they're supposed to be treating (like with abilify and antidepressants triggering anxiety and insomnia in some people) and, in addition to that, you might be feeling some kind of 'negative placebo effect' because you really don't want to be on medication so you convince yourself they're making you feel worse, plus you're taking a massive cocktail of them, it can end up being quite difficult to accurately judge what impact each medication is having. This time I'm more determined to stick to the plan, even through the rocky first few weeks. Do you have any tips when it comes to trialling different medications and the process behind finding out what works for you?

Crafty hobbies is a simple but brilliant solution that I've definitely found works for me, and I think you're right when you say I was getting a similar effect from doing physical labour at work. I think in a sick kind of way self-harming during the worst of the episodes was probably the most extreme and unhealthy variant on the 'doing something with hands to redirect focus' method. Coping mechanisms come in all shapes and sizes eh! More knitting less knifing will be my mantra for the year then. When I was at my most sick I pushed out around 15 paintings and a whole album's worth of songs over a few months... this from someone who's most definitely not an artist and can barely play the guitar. As soon as I got fairly well the creative madness completely dried up haha. Talk about a random and unexpected silver lining.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Annad said:

Do you have any tips when it comes to trialling different medications and the process behind finding out what works for you?

I think for me it's been my trust in my psychiatrist. I've been seeing him for about 5 years. I started seeing him thanks to severe anxiety, depression and ADD. When I started experiencing psychosis about a year and a half ago, I had already been seeing the same shrink for a while without him ever pushing me into diagnostic categories and rigid ideas about what meds one must use in certain circumstances. I hope that makes sense. I'd also been on Abilify at a lower dose before (as an add-on for depression and my maxed-out Effexor), so I knew I had an antipsychotic that didn't give me crazy side effects, and it was a smooth transition getting back on it. 

And yes, hooray for crafty hobbies! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By Motoko
      I had a terrible manic/psychotic episode last August, and I'm having a great deal of difficulty letting go of certain elements of the experience. I keep being gripped with the feeling I've made a terrible mistake of some kind that's going to result in something bad, but other times I'm able to reassure myself that's not the case. What's really bad is when i start to argue with myself internally about it, which can make me panicky. I do take Depakote and Zyprexa, so it's not like I'm not taking my meds.  Has anyone else had this kind of trouble? I thought about posting this in OCD but it seemed more relevant here.
    • By Blahblah
      Have a strong itch to drop Effexor...(I won't go cold turkey). It stopped my dysphoric crying spells, but now, 10 months later, I'm feeling increasingly flat, apathetic, numb, no motivation (even after dropping to 75mg). I hate how all A/Ds have this lobotomy effect on me longterm. It's initially fine in acute episodes, I'm not sad now, but I can't function properly, and I continue to score Moderate-Severe on the depression scale.
      I think it's counteracting my Ritalin (which I increased to 30-40mg)? I don't want to increase Effexor above 150mg, I'd never be able to go off.
      I'm trying dosing at night instead, will this make any difference @mikl_pls ? I skipped yesterday's morning dose (then came the intense nausea, over stimulation & brain slosh awfulness @10 hours later) and I took my dose with dinner.
      I'm seriously considering going on low-dose mild SSRI instead (Prozac?) I'm sensitive to meds & side effects, and I'm also VERY worried about withdrawals. Especially from Effexor, they are the WORST, and I just read study that Effexor withdrawal syndrome is not dose-dependent:
      https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7402189_Venlafaxine_and_Serious_Withdrawal_Symptoms_Warning_to_Drivers
      https://metro.co.uk/2018/01/24/woman-shares-coming-off-antidepressant-ruined-life-7255570/
       
       
    • By Blahblah
      Forgot to take Lamictal yesterday (I took my other meds). Holy Hell, I took my dose today (on schedule) and I STILL feel awful!!  I've only been on 100mg....I thought Lamictal had a super-long half-life? Yesterday went like this:
      10am - up, had breakfast
      11am – slight Brain “swishes” started (was out the entire day)
      12pm – Stronger Brain zaps start
      1:30pm – Lunch (meat, salad/veg)
      2:30pm – Sudden extreme exhaustion
      4pm - more brain zaps =>  ZAP ZAP ZAP! 🤯
      7pm - Irritability starts
      11pm – Tea, bedtime, could not fall asleep (I haven't had insomnia in 2+ years)
      ...Night sweats…Restless legs.....
      12am – Ruminations, feel weepy
      ..Insomnia ensues…(Toss & turn, sweaty/achey all night)
      It's now 12pm,and I am STILL having brain zaps! I worry I’ll never be able ever taper, switch from, or withdraw from this med. You probably think well, with MI, WHY would you ever go off it? For me, longterm, these meds are band-aids. There is always a price.  Ok, maybe great at preventing acute/severe depression, but as a result, they rob me of any spark, joy, elation, happiness, libido, sexual sensation/response, feelings of reward, love.... This disturbs me. I used to know what positive emotions felt like…
      So I’m stable, existing.....but still lacking will or any interest in living....
    • By mikl_pls
      I apparently have very treatment-resistant OCD. My pdoc hasn't said it, but I have gathered this from my profound lack of insight into my obsessions, psychotic preoccupations, and the fact that OCD is not only interfering with life, but treatment as well.
      I have tried novel strategies like memantine (30 mg), lamotrigine (400 mg), zonisamide (400 mg), topiramate (400 mg), etc. I've tried somewhat high doses of SSRIs (my pdoc hates prescribing anything at max dose) (fluoxetine 80 mg, fluvoxamine 100 mg (nightmare), escitalopram 10 mg (nightmare), sertraline 200 mg), SNRIs (venlafaxine XR 825 mg!!, duloxetine 120 mg, desvenlafaxine 150 mg, Fetzima (joke...)), Viibryd 40 mg, Trintellix 20 mg, etc., clomipramine 225 mg. I've tried various antipsychotics (typical and atypical) alongside SSRIs: fluphenazine 1 mg tid, perphenazine 4 mg tid, trifluoperazine 5 mg bid, haloperidol 1 mg tid to 5 mg x1, pimozide 2 mg bid, etc. Nothing seems to really help. Basically, if there's a way to treat it, I've probably tried and failed it or tried it partially due to conservative prescribing habits of my pdoc.
      I have not tried low-dose clomipramine + SSRI, supratherapeutic doses of SSRIs (pdoc won't hear of it...), higher doses of typical antipsychotics (for acute psychotic preoccupations), certain antipsychotics (thioridazine, clozapine, etc.). I'm thinking about seeking a second opinion from another pdoc soon because my current pdoc is no longer helping me. She just keeps me on the same useless regimen and never wants to change anything, pats me on the back saying "you're better than you think you are," and sends me on my way. The office staff are severely understaffed, and one of them in particular always bitches me out after my sessions because it's so late, but it doesn't matter if I take 5 minutes or 55 minutes... she's going to bitch me out no matter what about it. She never says anything to the people who go back there and take two hours though. Just me, because I'm at the end of the day. It royally pisses me off and I'm about to snap at her, and I really don't want to (the office staff person). I'm also about to snap at my pdoc and ask if she'd rather the meds kill me or me kill me due to inadequate medication. I know meds aren't all there is in treatment, but she seriously has to budge for something to change.
      I am seeing a therapist, but he's new and still getting to know me, so nothing has been done yet. He's taking notes and asking thorough questions though. I like him so far. He actually has a white dry-erase board in his office that he uses to illustrate things he's trying to convey to patients, and he's the only therapist with one in that whole office. I wish I could see my original therapist though. She's known me since I was 9 years old... She knows me like no other mental health practitioner knows me, and has the most extensive history on me. Last I saw her, she was in "partial retirement," which meant she blocked off half her office to this new guy (ex-pastor gone family counselor), disposed of all her notes on all her patients, sent half of her patients to this new guy, and kept the other half of her patients (mostly younger patients she said). I saw her twice or 3 times during that time, and she dismissed me after that. I wasn't really seeing her for my own purpose, but because of a problem I had I didn't know how to deal with. I tried calling her semi-recently when I was looking for a counselor several times, texting her, everything, and never got an answer, so I assumed she fully retired.
      Anyway, I didn't mean to digress so much in this post.
    • By Blahblah
      Good God, my habitual oversleeping is worsening.....I literally cannot get up before 11am. I know this is probably due to the fact that yes, I'm depressed and do not have anything of purpose at the moment to wake up for.....PLUS winter weather that's dark as Hell.....PLUS on a stupid stimulant break, until I can get in to see pdoc in 5 days.
      Are there any other tactics you've used?? I'm going to bed same time every night (by 11pm). I sleep really well entire night. WTF.
      I tried a sunlamp thing in the past and it made me headachey & irritable. Even when I go for walks during the day, it doesn't help.
×
×
  • Create New...