Today I’m posting a guest post from a new blogger, who also happens to be my best friend, Lottie. She’s a 15 year old from the South West of England and has had experience of mental illness herself and also through her dad. I hope you enjoy her little story, remember to leave a nice comment and share this post on social media to support her!
– Chaz x
When I was 14 years old I went to a friends house and we were talking about multiple different personal things. They said that their parents had gotten a divorce. whereas I told them that when I was eight years old, my dad had a psychotic episode.
Straight away, I was asked a question that thoroughly baffled me at that moment in time, one that I had never been asked before: “What did he do?”
I look back on that experience now and it makes perfect sense that perhaps the word “psychotic” being so close to the word “psychopath” could have confused some issues, but that’s why it’s so important to speak up about psychosis more since it clearly is misunderstood. My dad was never dangerous when he was ill and he still isn’t whatsoever, in fact he had never hurt a fly, so why is it that the first reaction to speaking about what he had experienced induced a question that sounded a lot like an accusation?
Did you know that in the United States alone, approximately 100,000 young people experience psychosis each year and as many as 3 in 100 people will experience a psychotic episode at on point in their lives? Yes, it may not quite be as high as the statistic that 50% of marriages end up in divorce that everyone talks about, but it is still a lot higher than people could think. It is relatively difficult to talk about an experience that comes and goes within my household with my dad having had three separate major issues within the space of five years, so I thought it would be beneficial to go through symptoms. (Taken from NHS.uk website):
Hallucinations – these are where someone sees, hears, smells, tastes or feels things that don’t exist outside their mind. Specifically for my dad, he heard conversations between his colleagues saying that he was going to be fired when that simply wasn’t the case. He also was caught a couple of times having conversations with himself.
Delusions – A delusion is where a person has an unshakeable belief in something untrue. This is linked to my dad thinking that he was going to be fired when he was not but other things included things such as receiving subliminal messages in the TV, that our house was being bugged and also that he was going to be reported for sexual harrassment because he offered milk to someone at work when they were both making tea (I would like to add that that didn’t happen for anyone that possibly may have been fooled.)
Confused and Disturbed thoughts – These are self explanatory. This is evident in him believing in the things I mentioned beforehand that was not by any means supported by any logic. This could also tie in to lack of concentration as in his initial episode he found it so difficult to concentrate that for a while he could not read or drive.
Lack of insight and self-awareness which includes things such as my dad randomly going for runs for hours outside and having to call my mum saying he had no idea where he was when he had finished. His trainers were very wrecked but at least he had a good amount of exercise.
There is no cure for psychosis, but there are many treatment options such as medication and therapy. Although it sounds scary, and in many cases it can be for the people around sufferers and sufferers themselves, there is light at the end of the tunnel and my dad is excellent proof of that. He still has a job and a family who loves him, his workplace is outstanding for helping him and understanding as best he could when many workplaces may fire someone for being off work for as long as he sometimes has to be. My dad is extremely intelligent and there was no point, even when he was very ill that his love for me or my sibling was questioned.
If you or someone you know is dealing with psychosis or a psychotic break, here are some helplines and resources: