They’re all out to get you, once again.

“For a long time, I lived in an imaginary world. A world were everybody was nice and respected me for my invented talents and very unlikely beauty. As a child, I often spoke these fantasies out loud and the habit carried on into my teens, leading to a child psychiatrist assuming I heard voices. I didn’t; I just confined myself in a fantasy world to the point where I believed it all. I didn’t live in the real world, but in a false reality. What happened, only happened in my head. At some point, the childish fantasies became a psychosis and that’s when everything changed in my happy little world; I invented slights and insults, and became convinced that, rather than adoring me, everyone loathed the very ground I walked on. Being bullied in secondary school pushed me further into the fake reality and only confirmed (in my addled brain) my suspicions that everyone was conspiring against me.”

Psychosis is impossible to explain to anybody who’s never experienced it first-hand. Wikipedia describes psychosis as an abnormal condition of the mind, and is a generic psychiatric term for a mental state often described as involving a “loss of contact with reality“, and given that my fantasy world was as far removed from reality as it’s possible to be, that’s what I’ll call it.

Of course, I don’t remember what was real and what was simply imagined, so I can’t accurately describe exactly how my psychosis panned out. Although I now realise that certain torments and threats were entire fantasy, I sometimes wonder just how much of my life as I see it is just an illusion. I confess… I don’t like feeling that so much of my life was a lie.

I can remember sitting on my bed in the room I used to sleep in, and feeling convinced the entire world could see me. Not through cameras, but in their heads; I don’t know, some sort of telepathy. They saw me and judged me on everything I said and did. Sometimes I got dressed under the bedcovers, worried about everyone seeing me naked and laughing at my body. I would turn photographs and posters to the wall in case they were somehow a way of people watching my every move. At one time, I had hundreds of posters and, when stressed, would refuse to look at them in case they knew that I knew.

At no point did the thought occur to me that none of this was real or strange. It felt so normal that I never questioned it; you see what’s in front of your eyes, and what I saw may have been removed from reality but I saw it all the same, and had no reason to be suspicious I was living in a false world. If you see a cup on a table, you don’t think, “hey, is this real?”. You just accept that the cup and table are there. I accepted that the things I thought and believed were there too.

I’ve written before about how happy my years in primary school were, but I neglected to mention a few problems I had along the way. On the whole it was an amazing experience, and one I’ll always cherish –  I can still smell the cut grass on the school field which signaled it was summer – but it wasn’t always the rosy-tinted childhood I make it out to be. I suppose I haven’t felt ready to talk until now.

I have never got on with numbers. Basic arithmetic is the best I can manage, and I’ve done a lot of avoiding maths in my life. I still don’t have my maths GCSE; I wasn’t even competent enough to take the exam. It’s not that I don’t want to learn, something just stops the numbers processing properly. It’s like they turn to mush in my brain as soon as I try to solve all but the most simple problems. In the first years of primary school this wasn’t a problem because even I could understand that 2 + 2 = 4. What I didn’t reckon on was being introduced to basic fractions and decimals when I joined the junior classes. I couldn’t process them. They made no sense. I couldn’t accept that there was any rhyme or reason to any of it, and I began to panic. I started needing to pee all the time, and often used it as an excuse to escape to the toilets next to the classroom and hide from the numbers.

This is where things get cloudy. I have memories, but they may not be real. I have brief flashes, but I’m not entirely convinced I didn’t invent the whole thing.

All I remember is those toilets. Three small stalls and two sinks opposite. Tracing paper toilet roll. And somebody – somebody male – in those toilets with me.

His legs are all I can picture. Dark trousers and black shoes. That’s it. His legs. Nothing else.

It’s only a fragment of memory. A tiny second out of twenty-seven years of life. In the grand scheme of things it barely exists. So why does it follow me around? I just know that toilet stall is somehow important. I just don’t want to consider why.

The last two years of juniors is when I started retreating into myself. I started spending time alone on the playing field, picking daisies and throwing them. Once, I fell over and badly cut my hand on a piece of glass which had been sticking out of the ground. Instead of going to the teacher on duty, I stood and watched the blood. For a long time. I remember kids crowding around me, and a teacher wrapping a bandage around my hand.

By the age of eleven, I was inventing scenarios in my head which never occurred. I began to tell ridiculous lies; lies which were so obvious yet I was convinced I was actually speaking the truth. It’s hard to explain to somebody who’s never experienced it. Even though what I claimed was clearly impossible, as the words came out of my mouth I believed them entirely. When the bullying started, my beliefs became more and more outlandish; to the outsider it must have sounded like I was trying to make myself sound cooler than I am, but in reality I had no such plans. All of it – the invented boyfriends, imagined situations – were 100% real in my head. The people I created lived out their lives and, when something bad happened to them, I felt sorry for them. When one died, I cried in the history classroom, putting my head down on the desk and sobbing into my black blazer.

This is all so difficult to talk about. You just can’t explain something which was never there.

Sometimes the walls moved in one me. Loud bangs would shoot off in my head, as though there was a gun going off inside my ear. Music played when there was none. I saw figures standing just out of my vision, always watching me. I stayed up late every night, worried that somebody or something would grab me if I fell asleep, and I would stare at the reflections in my tiny bedroom television, convinced I could see people moving inside. Not once did I consider that tiny people inside my television might be quite an unusual event.

I knew, without a doubt, that my every thought was being broadcast somewhere. Where, I never quite decided; most likely to my enemies, the people who hated me most and who were waiting for me to put a foot wrong so they could point and laugh at my total inability to fit in with the social norms.

By far the worst aspect of being bullied was knowing that two desks behind me I was inevitably the subject of a caustic bitching session. This bit was undoubtedly real. I did experience name-calling and shoving in the corridors, but that wasn’t anywhere near the feeling of being totally ignored. I had a handful of friends but my increasingly wacky behavior – muttering to myself, writing poetry on wardrobe doors and turning up to class with my white shirt sleeves soaked in blood from where I’d hacked at myself with a razor – quickly drove them away and although we still hung out at break, I was suddenly being invited to a lot fewer sleepovers.

I skipped class often. Nobody ever missed me and I often whiled away hours in the toilets near the R.E classroom, locked securely in a stall far away from the door. I’d hear girls come in and chat about the usual mundane things. Once, I was sitting on the toilet seat and writing in the back of my English book when I caught my name in their conversation.

Yeah, she’s such a freak“.

From this point on, every word said to me was taken as a criticism on my worth as a human being. I scrutinised every conversion – looking for insults and judgement – and found that everyone, every single person I met, hated me. Total strangers knew my entire life story and looked down on me for failing to succeed, and even my own family were conspiring against me.. When my mother sent me to the child psychiatrist after I was found harming myself in school, I saw it as a direct attack. I was perfectly fine, she was the one with delusions.

Every session with the psychiatrist, I sat on a blue-cushioned chair and stared at the clock on the wall above his head. I counted the ticks. I looked at his ratty face and imagined throwing him out of the window just so he’d stop asking me how everything made me feel. I felt fine. I was okay. The world was fucked-up, not me, and I’d cope much better if everyone just stopped interfering with my life, thank you very much.

One day, he asked me if I heard voices. I answered honestly; yes, I did. And yes, they suggested bad things.

The voices… they’re not like a real voice heard inside your head. They’re more like thoughts – you don’t hear a thought, you think it – which occasionally pop up and, because it’s just a thought, you believe it.

The bad things? Killing myself. Killing my classmates. Going into  school with a kitchen knife and forcing the bullies to take me seriously for once, rather than laughing and making sly comments when I put my hand up in class. Once, I took the knife – a small one – in my schoolbag but wasn’t brave enough to use it.

I never thought that I was anything other than normal.

The psychiatrist said I was schizophrenic. I was sent to PL. They said I wasn’t. Nobody seemed to know why I was so removed from everything, other than I was experiencing some sort of post-traumatic psychosis. In one of the many counselling and therapy sessions, I was asked if my father had ever sexually abused me. I said no, of course he hasn’t; my dad may be some things, but he never laid a finger on me.

Nobody ever asked if someone else had abused me, though.

About these ads

26 Comments

  1. I think you’ve kept yourself reasonable together. It’s scary, the thought that something could’ve happened to you, yet you just have an image and a weird feeling in your gut that you could be right, it could have happened. But you can’t remember. Maybe (and I guess this is where you’re coming from) your psychosis, and the eventual problems later in life, came because you had some form of PTSD, or as they said in your case, PTP. You blocked the bad, shitty stuff to the point you can’t remember more than that, and to be honest, I don’t know if it would be beneficial… it’s so fucking scary, the whole of it, it’s amazing that you’re still alive.

    Btw, I mentioned you briefly a couple of times in my last blog entry, in case you’re curious.

    You’ve been a great inspiration to just put it all out there. Take care. xx

    • Thank you so much, Lorraine. It’s weird; I didn’t expect anyone to comment on this post. I don’t know why. Firstly, thanks very much for the mentions, and for the post; I read it earlier but haven’t had a chance to respond yet.

      I just feels convenient to me that I can remember something, but not much. And I made up my own little world. It’s so textbook, how can it not be real?

      xx

  2. Someone SHOULD have asked you,
    You shouldn’t have been so alone.
    This post of yours has opened my eyes, you write of your experiences with such clarity, drawn from such confusion.
    As I read, I wished I could be beside you, where ever you are, and just give you a big hug, let you cry.
    ‘so difficult to talk of. You just can’t explain something which was never there’. – you explained it perfectly, heartbreakingly. And it was there, crystal clearly for you.
    I have felt at times I may be deluded, but your descriptions, they show me why my therapist does not give me this other label. It just sounds harrowing. You didn’t deserve this.
    Wouldn’t it be nice, if in every high school cubicle, there was a guardian angel. So all those hundreds of lost teens, who need to escape for some calm (like you and I did), could just sit within this angels embrace. Just a thought. ♡
    Thank You, for being so honest in your sharing, and enlightening me.
    Elyn ❀✿❀

  3. I suffered childhood sexual abuse. (it is still so hard for me to type that) Every thing you have written here I did. I crawled so far into a shell that for years no one thought I would ever come out again and then when I did I exploded with such anger at myself..well I am sure you have read a bit of my story on my blog so I won’t repeat it here. Just know that there are many that will understand what you wrote (their heads will be nodding in agreement with each of your experiences).
    It is hard to put a puzzle together when you don’t have all the pieces. I get it. You are very brave and so much stronger than you think. I know because I am a lot like you and I am still here and so are you. ;)
    Thank you for sharing this, it will help others know they are not alone.

  4. BRAVERY, plain out and out bravery, you traversed in a world that you designed and were happy at one point, and then the walls came tumbling down upon you and whatever or whoever brought down those walls is where your point of view changed, after that you thought the world was out to get you, and they were, sorry but that is part of growing up like we all grew up, some of us were mentally strong and some of us were physically strong and then their are the hybrids that are both, i fit in that category, it is funny well maybe not so funny and i will use an anaology that really quite sucks but here i go. One pothead will always know another pothead from the look on their face to their posture and mannerisms, now while I say this i can use the same anaology about people with our issues, one person(lets not call it crazy but gifted) who is gifted can usually tell when another person is gifted by the same logic that one pothead knows another pothead, by the look on their face their posture and mannerisms, ok i had a point here i know i did, but i seem to have lost it, fucking DID is screwing with my short term memory. ok really i have lost my train of thought, i thought if i reread what i had written it would hit me out of the blue, but apparently not, damn it was going to be good this post i was responding to. i beg someone to read this and try to see where i was going and finish it for me, sorry HALF.

    • Don’t worry about it mate; I often lose my train of thought too. I get the pothead analogy – a week or so ago I had a conversation about it – and yeah… we do seek each other out. I can usually spot someone who I know is struggling. I think it’s how we hold ourselves. Something in our eyes.

      I don’t think I’m any kind of strong, really. People say I am, but I don’t know. Maybe.

  5. Did anyone ever do a hormone test on you when you were in your junior year? I went through some weird mental issues in junior high school (that’s our “juniors” in school). Paranoia was one. Guilt trips. My mother was too busy with her own health issues to notice anything with me. Luckily, I eventually worked through it and went on with other hormonal issues like mood swings and anger issues.
    In high school I dated this guy in my class. My first love. My parents didn’t like him (what else is new?) so it drove an wedge and I moved out at 19. While I was still living at my boyfriends, they thought it best to get me counseling because of course it was my fault. I remember going to this guy on Sundays. I guess because it was the only time we could see him. But he would ask me questions and then proceed to fall asleep! Really!
    I went three times I think and finally told my father this guy was nodding off during the sessions. I don’t think I went back after that third trip. Ever since then I’ve had this negative attitude toward counseling.
    As I got older and maturity set in, things got better. I still don’t think I’m “all right” in the head, but I do have a friend who’s very patient with me and I can call her at the drop of a hat if I start having an issue or episode of panic or anxiety. Friends can be so much better than a counselor or therapist!
    Kids can be brutal in school. I wasn’t popular at all. Awkward is a good word. Almost hippie like. I went through the change in friends where everyone hated me. Of course, you hang with those who accept you whether they’re good or bad…everyone wants to be accepted. I’m not proud of those years. I’m only friends with three of those that I used to hang with. That’s it.
    Considering what you went through you managed to keep yourself together. You were smart enough to see what was going on in that hospital and were determined to get out of there and knew what to do. As you get older and more mature, you learn how recognize and control urges and feelings that might have taken over when you were younger.
    I honestly feel that if you move out, your mental state of mind will improve!

    • I didn’t have any hormones tests then, but I did have tests when I was fourteen (or maybe fifteen, can’t quite remember) which confirmed polycystic ovaries, so yeah… my hormones were more messed up than usual. I had too much testosterone. After being put on the pill to even things out, I did notice I was less prone to violence and lashing out.

      He fell asleep? Really! What a douche! I’m not surprised you’ve developed a negative outlook, I think anyone would in that situation. I can’t get over what a pillock he must have been to fall asleep while you were opening up! I agree that friends can be much, much better counsellors; I talk to S when I’m feeling a bit edgy, and he talks me through it better than any therapist can. I’ve never been able to truly trust therapists anyway.

      Awkward… yeah, that was me. My first “phase” was hippy-like, strangely enough. I just couldn’t fit in properly no matter how much I tried. I’m glad you have three people from those times; I have none. Well, none that I could call friends. I speak to some of them on Facebook, but that’s it.

      And I agree about moving out! I know a lot will improve. Thanks for the comment and read, luv!

  6. Why does the world have to be like it is – where the people who are struggling with just HELLISH stuff are the ones who kids hone in on. Why does the culture have to be such an awful one where those kids felt so insignificant and unconfident that they had to demonise you to make themselves feel better? Why does our culture have to have so much FEAR in it that never gets addressed? It makes me angry on your behalf, and sad on your behalf too. Because if those kids understood how you were feeling, and could feel how you felt, surely they would have thought twice about being mean.

    I suffered childhood sexual abuse as well. And I also have feelings that there are possibly unremembered scenarios too. Those fragments are a little scary, ain’t they. They are neither real nor not real.

    I have done a lot of what you did in the past, having a really rich inner life, and inventing characters and things there to compensate for what I didn’t get in the outside world. I think that’s actually really pretty normal (whatever that word means) and I suspect everybody does it, or at least the introverts of the world do. I don’t think I ever developed psychosis though – wow, that’s some sort of spanner in the works just to complicate things!!!

    Okay. So I really really really hate it when people give me advice when I haven’t asked for it. Because often that advice is way off course. Like, a woman swanned into my site the other day out of the blue and suggested that my problems with depression and feeling awful where wheat. Well, I’d love for them to be plain old wheat, but instead they’re kidney misfunction and stored heavy metals in my body. I feel like people are gonna think I’m crazy when I say that I can feel these metals in my brain, and that they’re messing with it. But it does feel like that.

    Anyway, I’ve been researching copper overload in recent months, wondering if it is an issue with me. I know you’re a redhead, and redheads often have problems with copper. If your body is having problems excreting it, it could possibly explain your schizophrenic symptoms. Apparently half of all schizophrenics in certain tests have high copper. Anyway, please accept my heartfelt apology if this advice pisses you off, seeing I’m being SUCH a hypocrite doing what I hate other people doing to me, but I just wanted to mention it in case you hadn’t heard about it. There’s a site here for example that talks about it – http://www.arltma.com/CopperheadsDoc.htm

    From Sue the Uber-Hyprocrite

  7. Most of the schizophrenic symptoms were years ago, but thank you very much for the advice and link; it’s something I’m certainly not adverse to looking into. It frustrates me how redheads have problems with so much; it’s like I was doomed from the start! Never mind the bullying… even trying to get medication levels right is difficult. Anesthetic is impossible to judge. I’ve never actually researched why redheads have such difficulty with medical stuff, maybe I should.

    As for why the world has to be like this… I have no idea. I wish I knew. Thank you so much for your comment <3

  8. That’s a story you have there, quite interesting. I hate hearing stories of bullies and sad things like that. It took a lot to tell that story I’m sure, I’m glad you did though. Did it help at all? Getting that out loud I mean? ::hugs::

  9. ..I still kind of have those moments where I feel like someone somewhere is watching me, reading my thoughts and what not. I’ve just simply wondered what they thought.. if they were frightened by what they read (or saw) or if they thought I was so ridiculous. I’m not sure. There’s actually a movie with Jim Carrey in it, The Truman Show. It’s actually something you should look up. It’s kind of.. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s a good movie none the less.

  10. I half read this last week at work and it got too difficult and I knew I needed to read and take in the whole thing, so I stopped. Then it was such a manic week I forgot to come back to it, sorry.
    I think you probably knew when you wrote this it would ring a whole bunch of bells with me.
    The fake world thing, God, I still do it now sometimes when things get really bad! This leads me to the fear that sometimes, because I was so convinced things were true, reality and fake have somehow been blurred into one. I get worried just in case I’m doing the same thing now. What if someone didn’t really say something and I just imagined it?
    I have a memory, like the man in the toilet, but it is a man taking my socks off. I don’t wear socks, I hate wearing socks and I somehow think the memory is related, but what if the memory is actually something I made up? That’s why I never told anyone. I can’t be sure. Even though the man was convicted of doing things to other little girls.
    I also did the posters thing. I still now think I’m in the Truman Show sometimes, but then I think why would anyone want to watch me? I remember this got worse when I was in the psychiatric unit.
    I’m glad you could share all of this. Really and truly although I know it must’ve been hard. Thank you so much.
    Take care xoxoxox

Send me love.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s