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I'm curious about what techniques/approaches/whatever people have related to things they've done/said/believed while psychotic.  Do you deal with shame, which is the main emotion I tend to feel?

Context - I've had two major psychotic episodes (prior to the AH-generating SZA diagnosis--these were the product of mania first and a mixed state second).  During them, I've believed and said all sorts of things.  I had a long list, but I don't think it's necessary for the question.  But think of things that are random like the hospital floor operator is operating a crematorium and it was my job to save the babies or that everything has to be done in a particular order in order to have everyone not die.  There are others, but I don't think I need to describe the specifics.

I talked with my tdoc about it and he suggested I think of it as if I were an automaton.  My brain was sending very skewed brain waves and I wasn't responsible for them and I didn't control them.  My thoughts just went in their haywire state.  And that it may have caused some behavior that I would be embarrassed of were I in complete control--but I wasn't.  So essentially don't blame myself and recognize that this came from a part of me that is not the me I consider myself to be.

I don't know if any of that makes sense.  But I'd appreciate any insight/suggestions.  I like my therapist's approach but I'm looking for more if there is more to be found.

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I feel shame I suppose, but because I always to a certain extent believe my paranoid delusions (the trackers aren't following me and reporting the THE people right now, for instance, but I know they will again in the future) I don't feel that the same way.  It helps too that Toby is so calm about everything.  

The thought broadcasting though I find somewhat shameful or at least embarrassing when I'm well because I do stuff to avoid people being able to see my thoughts, or hear them over the radio.  The thoughts I have aren't nice and I feel ashamed by them.  I have seen people who I knew were demons too which makes me panicked but I'm not sure what I feel about that when I'm well - I suppose I adopt a similar approach to your tdoc - they're thoughts I had when I wasn't well but I'm better now and don't have those thoughts.

Though, as I said in my first paragraph, I have a lot of trouble letting go of paranoid delusions.  When I was first on lithium my best friend was part of a plot against me, and even though I never let on that I knew what she was doing, and when I was put on seroquel I understood she wasn't, it took me a LONG time to forgive her for what she'd done.  It changed my whole feeling towards her.

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thanks @jarn.   I can see how the emotional response/aftermath could be different if there was a perceived kernel of truth to them.  So far, most of mine have managed to vanish.  But I recognize the nature of the illness is that they could come back, which is scary.

Edited by dancesintherain
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Similar to what Jarn said ... Even when I'm not preoccupied with or really bothered by my delusions, they still feel plausible, I guess? The one exception I can think of was thinking that my husband was poisoning me. I know that's not true and I'm a little embarrassed to have believed that. But all the stuff about the government and people reading my thoughts still feels too true for me to be ashamed of it. It just fluctuates how much of a hold those ideas have on me, if that makes sense.

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Thanks @Juniper29, that makes sense. I think that for me, the majority of the things are so far out there (someone got remote control access to my ipiod and is sending me messages through the music it picks on shuffle) that once I've come back up for air, I don't believe them anymore.  Which then shifts toward the shame for having believed them.

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I feel great shame... I’m still unsure if there is any truth here, but I do feel “lesser than”

 

i feel like I’ve let my family down

 I think I scared my neighbours

 

 i just feel lost

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While I don't personally have a psychotic illness, I've worked directly with people who have for the last decade on an inpatient unit and can tell you that embarrassment/shame is very common. People feel it with everything from hearing voices in general, to believing delusions that aren't real but they shared with others and possibly even tried to convince them of that belief, doing things to hurt themselves or others because of command auditory hallucinations, being hypersexual due to delirium/mania/psychosis, etc. 

I can't speak for anyone but myself and people I've worked with, but you have nothing to be ashamed of or feel guilty about; it's your illness, not you as a person at your core, and, if anything, we wish there was more we could do to remove some of that guilt or shame. 

And to give you an idea of things and people I've worked with during my decade of experience, so you have a better understanding that I work on a very acute unit for some of the sickest people — I've been assaulted to the point of black and blue marks/cuts/gouges from fingernails, had urine and feces thrown at me, had to restrain people who have tried to hurt themselves or us, been bitten three times, had to take people's clothes off and shower them because they've been incontinent, fed them, etc. And not once have I taken it personally, wanted that other person to feel bad, ashamed or guilty or anything like that. If anything, it's only hard for me because seeing that person suffering, both in general and learning things they've done while symptomatic, because it breaks my heart and I don't know what to say or do to make it better or take that pain away.

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Just now, psychwardjesus said:

While I don't personally have a psychotic illness, I've worked directly with people who have for the last decade on an inpatient unit and can tell you that embarrassment/shame is very common. People feel it with everything from hearing voices in general, to believing delusions that aren't real but they shared with others and possibly even tried to convince them of that belief, doing things to hurt themselves or others because of command auditory hallucinations, being hypersexual due to delirium/mania/psychosis, etc. 

I can't speak for anyone but myself and people I've worked with, but you have nothing to be ashamed of or feel guilty about; it's your illness, not you as a person at your core, and, if anything, we wish there was more we could do to remove some of that guilt or shame. 

And to give you an idea of things and people I've worked with during my decade of experience, so you have a better understanding that I work on a very acute unit for some of the sickest people — I've been assaulted to the point of black and blue marks/cuts/gouges from fingernails, had urine and feces thrown at me, had to restrain people who have tried to hurt themselves or us, been bitten three times, had to take people's clothes off and shower them because they've been incontinent, fed them, etc. And not once have I taken it personally, wanted that other person to feel bad, ashamed or guilty or anything like that. If anything, it's only hard for me because seeing that person suffering, both in general and learning things they've done while symptomatic, because it breaks my heart and I don't know what to say or do to make it better or take that pain away.

Also, to add to that and further make a point, my username comes from working there with people who were manic or psychotic at the time. In a nutshell, I have long hair and a beard and times when I don't have it in a ponytail or manbun, I've had several patients over the years think I was Jesus. And a few times I've used that to help people and get them to do whatever they need to do to get better, including "Jesus" telling them to take their meds when they wouldn't listen to anyone else. 

I use that name as a point of pride to remind myself of what I've experienced, how I've played a small role in others' lives (and hopefully made a little better), and to commemorate working in a job that genuinely does not feel like a job but a calling that will always stay with me until I die, even if I quit tomorrow. 

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Maybe its too early for me but most of the time I don't feel embarrassed because it feels like my beliefs are true, though logically I conclude they're a sham. Its hard to actually believe they are false. I also had a belief that music is there to control me, I hope that soon I can be embarrassed about them, because then at least I could have a sane mind. Some of my past beliefs I feel a bit embarrassed about because they've finally come to seem ridiculous and untrue. I think I would rather be embarrassed and wrong than paranoid and correct.

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I feel a lot of embarrassment, though perhaps not shame. I like your pdocs way of looking at it.   Ultimately I was just not in my right mind and that’s not my fault. Well, it kinda is because I chose to go off my meds but if I knew what would happen I never would have.

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