Psychosis and psychotic disorders aren’t talked about a lot in the media and, when they are, there’s almost always a negative connotation attached to it. The media will brand people with these conditions as dangerous, violent, and crazy which, in the end, causes those that need help not to ask for it. I am here to tell you that it is okay to ask for help for these things and to give you some tips on how to handle these hallucinations based on what I have experienced in my own life.
Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional, nor are those here at CelebMix. If you are in need of immediate help, please contact emergency services or even a hotline. The best way to get better is to get help. Please take care of yourself.
First off, professional help is a MUST; at least therapy. It can be tough finding a therapist that you connect with, but please don’t let that discourage you. Once you form a bond with a therapist, they can help you a lot, with or without medication. Finding a psychiatrist has always been more difficult for me. Do not be afraid to contact different places, ask within your social group (if you’re comfortable with that), and do your own research. I highly suggest researching medication before agreeing to take it, perhaps seeking out a second professional opinion. But what if you simply can’t afford professional help right now? Never fear! There are some things that could also help you.
Audio hallucinations (which are when you hear things that aren’t really there) can range from annoying to scary to downright terrifying. It can feel like you’ve got no escape from it. I know that feeling. I’ve experienced it. Here is something I’ve had luck with: if you are with someone you trust and you start hearing something (or someone), ask the person you trust if they hear it, too. Obviously if it’s a hallucination, they will say no, and if you trust them it will be easier to believe them.
Visual hallucinations (which are the hallucinations that you see that are not actually there) can be a bit trickier because when you see something, it’s right there, in your face, and seems incredibly real at the time and even afterwards at times. I’ve seen Slenderman and Pennywise one too many times in my life to not know how this feels (perhaps I should lay off the Creeypasta and Stephen King…). What you can do to try and fight these is similar to the one for audio hallucinations. First, when you notice something, also take notice of the people around you. Do they seem to be seeing it, too? Are they reacting to it? If you trust someone with you, ask them if they see it, too. While this might seem impossible to do when the really downright terrifying things come around, if you can get a handle on the not-so-scary ones, it could really help you out for the larger hallucinations.
I understand that these coping skills might not work when in the midst of a psychotic episode, but baby steps can take you a long way. Freshman year of high school, I felt like I would never be able to graduate. My head was too loud, my anxiety and paranoia were off the charts, and most days I just didn’t see the point in trying anymore. And yet, here I am, twenty-one years old working a full time job.
Never give up, readers. Life may not be easier, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it. Find something healthy to cling to, and let that be your life raft. And promise me that no matter how rough the water may get, no matter how many times you fall out, you will always, always, get back in.