While Of Psychosis, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Further covers my theory and history of what happened to me in the past, I felt it would be of benefit to myself—and I sincerely hope to you all as well—to write down as best as I can what I experienced. This will be a little bit different as it will be less based on references and making clear, logical deductions; rather, it will be more a journey into what it was like to experience psychosis first-hand. I will attempt to keep this as organized as possible, going categorically as much as possible; however, I feel it appropriate to disclose that when talking about one symptomatic experience, there is often a degree of necessity to discuss another symptom, due to some overlapping occurring with some of these symptoms.
This is not intended—by any means—to be a go-to guide of what it is like to experience schizophrenia-like psychosis or schizophrenia. It would be foolhardy to believe that reading one or two individuals’ experiences with such would be enough to think you know what those symptoms look like. Symptoms in these conditions—especially when speaking of hallucinations and delusions—are varied to such a degree that it is nearly impossible to give more than a general definition for some of these symptoms. That said, I will be going through these, as aforementioned, categorically to the best of my ability.
I will begin today by discussing the “eye-catcher” symptom type: hallucinations. This consists of any sort of phenomena I experienced that I would classify as a hallucination and will further be sub-divided into both visual and auditory hallucinations. In addition, I will be digressing into another symptom from visual hallucinations, then I will go back to auditory hallucinations from which I will digress again. Other types of hallucinations exist; however, these are the only two types of hallucinations that I experienced.
I did experience some visual hallucinations, though I only had one example of such. Outside my room, the staircase to the downstairs is directly to my left. At eye level from the top of the stairs is a window. I don’t remember when this started, nor why, but at some point I started “seeing” a figure in the window at night. This figure was humanoid, but certainly not human. Its “face” was rather bizarre. It had no features that I could associate with a normal face: no eyes, no ears, no nose, no mouth. Instead, it appeared to be almost like a spiral pattern across it, with a central point that seemed to be an empty hole to nothing. It also seemed to be sort of furry as well, like it had a layer of dark brown fur over it. The “visual” appearance of this figure was bizarre and disturbing itself; however, that aspect was not the most unpleasant aspect of this.
Now, I say “visual” because I cannot say with complete certainty that every aspect of this figure was visual in nature. Every time I saw this figure, there was always an associated feeling of absolute dread. This feeling made me feel uneasy in my stomach, my teeth and muscles wanted to clench up, and I had a great deal of difficulty in traversing near the window. I also experienced this feeling when I went downstairs, particularly at night. With both this and the window, I could feel a relatively minor degree of dread in the day, but this was dramatically more intense at night. In the lower level of our house, I could feel this dread, but I want to clarify that is not the same as the uneasy feeling of going into a dark basement. That elicits some anxiousness and fear, but this was that feeling of sheer dread, like something awful is about to happen. As said before, this is not what I would consider a hallucination, nor do I know exactly what I would consider it, since it was mostly just an emotional feeling with bodily response, but it was associated with the visual hallucinations.
While I did not experience many visual hallucinations, I experienced many auditory hallucinations. Not to restate too much of what has already been laid out in the original post, I will try to go into more detail regarding these hallucinations. As stated in there, I first started experiencing these strange voices. There were several voices and all whispering what seemed to be words, but I could not understand them, like they were in another language. But I felt as though they were certainly words and not sounds, for whatever reason. They also were different tones, with some low pitched and others higher pitched, with some sounding female as well. Eventually these started growing in volume to the point that they were so loud it was hard to understand what other people were saying. This certainly complicated things, as it made it much harder to converse effectively with people, especially in public, since I had a hard time understanding what they were saying. While there was not much more complexity to the auditory aspect of these voices, it became challenging and rather tortuous over the course of almost three years.
What’s more bizarre is what accompanied these voices. I can’t say that this was a visual hallucination, as it was not something I “saw”, per se, but more something in my mind. It did not seem like I was seeing it with my eyes, but more like it was generated in my mind and overlaid, sort of. It felt like I was looking inside my mind, I don’t really know how to describe it, but it was like this weird, cavernous space (sounds about right, heyo!) that had these bizarre things in it. They were like weird stalks with a bulbous end and a large mouth. They had grotesquely large teeth as well, and their mouths were always open. Again, I don’t fully know how to explain or describe this pseudo-visual aspect of these voices, but they were bizarre and I understood that these were essentially where the cacophony of voices were coming from.
Further on in the original post, I stated that I started “having thoughts” that were almost like responses to my actual thoughts. This came in the form of a voice that sounded almost like mine, but just a little different, like if I was trying to talk a little deeper or something. As mentioned in the original post, I didn’t really notice it at first. I mean, I obviously was aware of it, but that awareness was not an awareness of a hallucination; rather, it was an awareness of—what I thought were—my own thoughts. I don’t remember when it occurred, but at some point, I started realizing that there was something different about this voice. It was bizarre to experience. The realization that my thoughts were not my thoughts, a knowledge to make one question everything in a paranoid fever. The degree of pseudo-sentience of this voice was stark as well, for as soon as that horrifying realization began to wash over me and send chills down me, it began to change. What seemed like simple repartee in my mind began to take on a darker, more sinister tone. I don’t know whether the fact that the voice began changing in sound was worse or not. At least then it no longer seemed like my own thoughts, but then it felt like a parasite buried in my mind; the violation of my mind by something, but something that was not even real—nothing and no one to blame my misfortune on, I suppose. As it changed to a different tone of voice, it also became much more blatantly antagonistic. It was not just making responses to my thoughts, but it was responding in a way that made me feel deep despair. Everything said was pure ridicule, telling me how worthless I am or telling me that I should kill myself, that my family would be much happier and better off if I just offed myself. It cussed all the time while telling me these things, flooding my mind with these thoughts. Also interesting was that this voice could keep complete “conversation” and argument with me, seeming perfectly natural, even though it also…acknowledged? that it was a hallucination in my mind. This voice will be brought up again in the future as well, as there are more dimensions of this abomination.
With this as well came about a “visual” aspect in that same sort of mindscape that the…mouth stalks were in. This singular voice came from what appeared to be a man, dressed in what I could best describe as some extravagant, fantasy mercenary’s clothes. I don’t know why this was the case, but it was. Whenever I “saw” him, he was always on a throne in the mindscape, perhaps to emphasize the ridiculing nature of his (as I write I realize how bizarre it is to call a hallucination a “he”) commentary. Neither this throne—nor the “man”—were originally in this mindscape, just the mouth stalks. I don’t recall the timing relationship between the realization that this voice in my head was a hallucination and the change in mindscape, though I do know that this change occurred after this realization—I just don’t remember how long after. It was quite unpleasant, almost like a usurpation of my mind itself.
This is hopefully a better and more descriptive look at the hallucinations that I experienced. Unfortunately, some things have been lost to memory; however, other things are scarred too deeply to forget, though I do not think I would want to forget. Remembering allows me the possibility of being able to use my experiences to help others, so I do not want to forget. To further the chronicling of my experiences with psychosis, next time will hopefully delve into delusions, and other things that are tangentially brought up, which will likely come back to that singular voice, as it has a relationship to multiple symptoms I experienced.