Sunday, May 31, 2009

Psychosis © Megan Snider

"And this is not my face
And this is not my life
And there is not a single thing here
I can recognize
This is all a dream
And none of you are real
I'll give anything I'll give anything..."
--Reznor, "Head Down" (click to read)

Let’s talk about psychosis today. A psychotic person is not a psychopath. You must realize this. Write it on the back of your hand for reference. Tattoo it on your back. Remember what I tell you.


A psychotic person is not a psychopath.

With this blog, I struggle between the use of first and third person pronouns. Should I say “I” or “she”? Sylvia Plath used “she” for “I” in The Bell Jar. She used “she” for “I” often. I hesitate between “she” and “I” simply because I don’t want to be Exhibit A in the Looney Tunes section of Ward B.

That’s how we treat mental illness, right? It’s funny. Straight jackets are funny. Padded rooms are funny. People that drool from Thorazine (Chlorpromazine) are funny, right? Paranoid Schizophrenics are funny, too, aren’t they?

It’s funny until it happens to you.

So, psychosis, let’s deal with it. Let’s look at it. If you’re scared, that’s ok; you should be. Psychosis is terrifying and can be the result of a mental disorder or can be a torture all by its lonesome self.

In the 1950s they used to stick needles behind the orbital sockets and skewer the brain like hamburger to get rid of it. The effect was permanent brain damage. Once again, thank you, mental health centers. They called it a Frontal Lobotomy. If it were the 1950s now, I would be walking around in white with half my brain shaved off. Simply because of the horrible fact that many psychiatrists cannot realize the total sum of differences between dissociation and psychosis.I actually read an article that suggested a new treatment for psychosis was to disrupt or destroy a portion of the frontal lobe to subdue psychosis. This is the rebirth of the Frontal Lobotomy. We put it in a new pair of boots and a new jacket, but it’s still the same sadism. Still the same, loving, biting, painful psychiatric care that all of us should be used to by now.

This will make you better– by the way, do you have insurance?

If you don’t have insurance, we can only destroy one section of your brain and not the whole lobe.

So what is psychosis? Simply put, it’s a break from reality. You have experienced psychosis and you probably don’t know it.

Did you ever believe something that wasn’t true?
That’s a delusion. Talk to folks with Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia about that.

Did you ever hear a noise when no one was there? A foot on the stairway or a knock at the door? Did you get up to answer the doorbell and there was all of nothing standing on the other side of that cherry or oak door?


Di d y our thou ghts eve r go like thi s an d you coul dn’t s top the m?

Did you ever have trouble or think you didn’t fit in?

Did you ever think someone might be able to see through you and tell what you were thinking?
Were you ever scared you were paper-thin and see through and translucent?

Hey, let’s give you a pat on the back and a push through the door.

You just experienced psychosis.

Virginia Slims would say: “You’ve come a long way, baby!”

It’s not really funny, is it?

Did you laugh when that happened to you? Then why do you laugh if it happens to me or her or him?

Psychosis may be present with Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Panic Disorder, Clinical Depression, unspecified mental disorders, sleep deprivation, epilepsy, extreme trauma, brain tumors, drug abuse, severe stress, brain damage, and drug withdrawal.
Oh, man– Oh, no– That means…It could happen to anyone…Jeez…Man….Oh my God….

Yeah, that’s right, you just got a bingo on your score-card.

Psychosis is a scary term and it’s a scary problem to have.

If I had a lobotomy for every time someone told me that…

© Megan Snider


  1. Thank you, Megan. As I've said in almost every post, it is so validating to read your articles. I have tried to explain in my own way to people I know that Panic Disorder can bring on psychosis, but people don't get it, don't believe me.

    My mistake has been to explain my bizarre behavior and thinking AFTER THE FACT, which doesn't go over well when you've alienated someone. Still, you try to tell someone beforehand that you have vulnerabilities, specific vulnerabilities, and still they don't want to believe it.

    Your articles should be required reading for the rest of humanity. I love the voice with which you deliver this information. As always, thank you.

  2. I struggle with psychosis, too. It's very hard to explain and even harder to experience. When I walked through the door of my house it hit today all of the sudden, on top of everything else.

    I remember hiding in bathroom stalls in college trying to get away from the odd disconnecting feeling. It's not proud-- "death be not proud", you know-- but it's "real" even if you don't feel "real".

    I hate psychosis the worst of anything! I'd give away almost anything to get rid of it!