One thing I’ve touched upon here on my blog is my battle with depression, but what I’ve never talked about is the psychotic aspect of my depression diagnosis. The main reason is that until recently I’ve always denied I see and hear things, which changed during my last inpatient stay.
Anyone who’s been screened for an inpatient stay or gone to a therapist is most likely familiar with that simple question; do you see or hear things that aren’t there? I’ve always answered no to this question, not because I’m trying to hide things from those attempting to help me, but rather because I’ve always believed the things I see or hear are there.
For as long as I can remember I have always seen ghosts, not only seen them but have been able to talk with them, hear them, and been able to interact with them. Hence why this blog post is name “Psychic or Psychotic”. I believe in ghosts, spirits, and otherworldly things, so in my mind they exist and are not hallucinations, but of course everyone doesn’t hold this view. Those trained in the sciences, like the psychiatrist during my last inpatient stay, are trained to believe things that can be empirically verified…but I’m getting ahead of myself.
One night after taking my nighttime medications, I went to my bedroom to attempt to get some sleep although I didn’t have much hope that would happen. I was sleeping only two to three hours a night during my last inpatient stay. I wrote in my journal until 1am, at which time I gave in and tried to get some sleep. Up until this time that night nothing unusual had happened so I was unprepared for what happened next.
Once I turned out the light, the wall at the head of my bed started to change colours! I freaked out and turned my bedroom light back on, but the wall was back to its normal color and was no longer changing colors. It was at this point I saw a rabbit run across the room, past my feet, and out the bedroom door (which I habitually left open since the techs would have to open it every 12 minutes when they did rounds). I jumped on the other bed in my room as the rabbit scurried down the hallway. Jumping off the bed, flipping off the light, jumping on to my bed, pulling the covers over my head, and freaking out of my mind (ya, being out of my mind is a frequent experience these days).
When I peeked out from under my covers, I saw the wall was once again changing colors and on the far wall a parade of shapes and figures were dancing about the wall as if it was some kind of TV. I curled into a ball and sat rocking back and forth on my bed watching the walls do weird things. I also kept repeating, “that’s not the color of the wall” to no one in particular. I stayed like that until the morning sun peeked into my room. The techs during the night noted my condition and must have made note of it since the doctor knew about the incident before I brought it up.
When I met with the doctor the next morning I told him that was one hell of trip last night. I attributed the hallucinations to changes to my medications that started the same night as the hallucinations of the walls changing colors. This started a discussion with the doctor about ghosts, spirits, and otherworldly things that go bump in the night (and day too).
“Have you seen or heard things that aren’t there?” asked the doctor.
“Depends. Do you believe in ghosts?” I asked in response to his question.
“Well, I’m trained in the sciences and taught to believe things that can be empirically proven. I don’t discount that some people believe in them, but I don’t personally have enough information to make an informed decision on the matter. Why?”
“Do you believe in God? He can’t be proven to exist empirically, but what about faith?”
“I’m not going to get into a religious debate with you. Why are you asking all these questions this morning?”
“Hypothetically speaking, what would you say of someone who believes in ghosts and sees them regularly?” I could already see how this discussion was going to go and feared I was going to be labeled psychotic because of it.
“Hypothetically speaking, based on my training, I would have to say the hypothetical person in question is psychotic. Why? Are you seeing things?”
Eyes downcast, staring at a speck of lint on the floor, and wishing I was invisible at this point, “yes”.
The doctor started writing things on my chart (funny, here it is 2013 and the hospital is still using paper charts), circling things, and checking off some boxes. When he was done with all of that he wrote something at the top of the page, something I was able to read even with it being upside down; Major depressive disorder, recurrent; severe with psychotic features. Great, just great, my major depressive disorder just got upgraded to include psychotic features. I should have just kept my mouth shut.
Over the next couple of days my hallucinations became more frequent and far more detailed than any hallucinations I had ever had to this point. They’ve continued becoming far more detailed since getting out of the hospital, and I can now see them, talk with them, feel them, and even smell them.
As things stand, my hallucinations have gotten to the point I can no longer differentiate them from reality. Let’s just say, not knowing if someone you’re talking with is real or not is a very discomforting experience…
One person’s psychic is another’s psychotic…
Peace, love, and contentment,
PS Check back tomorrow when I take a close look at hallucination, their types, and complexities.