my story give real hope to people suffering from psychosis, schizophrenia, severe depression, and wanting to commit suicide
Posted by mark123
22nd Mar 2019

My name is Mark. The chief reason why I choose to recall the horrors which I try to forget is to give real hope to people like I was when no real hope was offered by most doctors and nurses to me for a long time, and I never could imagine that I could return to normal and not depressed life, especially that a doctor told me I would hear voices in my entire life, which turned out to be not true (another psychiatrist almost shouted at her when she told me that, she was so angry).

I never forget how much it meant to me when the trainee psychologist brought me stories of people experiencing hearing voices and other things, and how they recovered eventually, when I could not even imagine such a level of illness can exist as I experienced, much less a way out of it, thinking of myself the type or percentage who will not recover.

Believe me, if I could recover from the severe and horrible, horrible illness against odds, you have a good chance too, never fail to have real hope!

The reality is that mental health problems are quite common, and even severe ones are far from being uncommon.

Don't rely on doctors and nurses for hope, when they don't offer it for you, but you need medical treatment, which they can provide.

Be patient, but very persistent on doctors finding the right combination of medication for you. Good and conscientious doctors do try different medications - we all have different chemical build-ups, and the right medication and combination can be different for everyone.

For me, only the third choice of chief medication worked, supported by an anti-depressant. No anti-depressant worked in any amount before that and I never believed one day I can live without crying and wanting to kill myself to escape the pain of severe, psychotic depression.

I told the doctors shortly after they started me on the second choice of chief medication that I could simply not function with it. Regardless - doctors were continuously changing too - they left me on it, but luckily some excellent professionals who came later, chose a third one, which turned me from a cognitively non-functioning human being, to a balanced, improving person.

Believe in yourself, things will get better, don't give up, even when you cannot endure the constant torture of psychosis, know that today science is learning more and more of mental illness, and really many people have recovered well from them, and are useful, working members of the society, which they never thought possible when they had been very ill.

You are probably going through such horrors and torture that you never had thought to be even possible.

Believe me, our brain, when it is out of balance, is capable of producing any feelings, beliefs and sensations you may believe entirely real, and your thoughts and body can act against you physically and mentally, being so negative that you could not imagine your own mind can turn so evil against yourself.

Believe me, I've been there. And my road to recovery led me through many nice and horrible people as well. I was not diagnosed paranoid, but if you are, seek advocates and any external help you can get, because I have seen patients who were diagnosed paranoid, and sometimes they told unpleasant things which were true, but no-one took them seriously, because of their other, unreal beliefs.

I had had crazy religious beliefs, which were paranoid persecutory ones, but apart from applying religious beliefs to happenings, and people, I never had any real-world paranoid beliefs, like people scheming against me, talking about me, etc., and I do remember clearly most of my journey, however horrifying it is, and hard to process not normal, unbalanced things with a well-balanced mind.

I started hearing voices during meditation, which I had practised for a long time.
I attributed them to some spiritual guidance.

I try to collect the things which probably contributed significantly to my severe episode:

1. I have ulcerative colitis and I used - just topical and limited times - steroid medication treatment, which made me experience mild visual hallucinations; one of my nurses confirmed that internal steroid medications can contribute to mental illness.
2. I was - for the first time in my life - completely alone for a long time, in London, without the support from my family, eating a lot of unhealthy food. I had lots of responsibilities upon my shoulder - I was not enough as a single person to deal successfully with them.
3. I was severely disappointed in the world and people in general - I would like to note that even with a balanced mind, I am strongly disappointed with the state of our world, and during my recovery, and disabled every days I met horrible people as well, but I stood up to many when I was able to, and some people are no longer employed by their respective organisations, after behaving unacceptably.
4. I have abruptly changed my colitis medication from one which contained a lot of sweeteners in granules form, to unsweetened tablets.
5. There was attempted rape in my family - I learned that my mother's stepfather tried to rape my mother as a child - and once her grandmother had to take her out of the bathroom. I wanted to be a strong man, and just go on, keeping it inside, feeling that telling about it to anyone (even to psychologists) would injure their minds.
It was a big mistake, looking back. As one of my psychologists suggested, you are strong if you ask for help when necessary; and if your mind cannot deal with traumatic events, you need to seek support - professional counselling and from professional people. I spoke to various medical professionals and my care co-ordinator too, before being able to handle it, and to accept that I cannot go back in time to "rescue" my mother, no matter how much I love her.
6. After practising some strange, unusual tai-chi forms, and probably way too much of chi kung – pumping up chi to my head, and kung-fu exercises, I became very very strong physically, and did not need to relax as much I needed normally before. I did these exercises to become healthier and stronger every day, whenever I had the time.

With all other things that contributed to unbalancing my brain, it was eventually too much for my mind and body (some chi-kung books do say that the body needs to be prepared and become very strong first, and only later can you do internal, advanced Chi techniques).

I had a strange and vivid dream about Lucifer as an angel coming to me, and I woke up after a vivid dream that the devil was standing next to my bed.

After that, I was beginning to hear a voice, which I accepted then to be "God's" voice, and began to experience religious hallucinations, mainly the voice talking to me, but also "miraculous" happenings, change of the taste of food, after blessed by "God", the radiating power of Jesus, energy flowing in my body, to name a few.

I became very religious, and visited churches, where people were very happy with my (strange) religious transformation.

The voice then was always positive.

I experienced visual hallucinations at work as well, and started roaming London instead of going to work, guided by the voice and other types of hallucinations, receiving "gifts from God". During that I was not far from buying a plane ticket to the United Arab Emirates with my credit card, but luckily it did not happen.

I was sure that I was destined to do good, and offered my services to "God" to act for the benefit of humanity, and to lead fallen people back to God from the devil's grasp and beliefs.

Later, there was a sharp change, and "God's" voice became angry and tormenting. I was convinced that I betrayed God, and eventually the emergency services picked me up, as I was running around cars, and praying for forgiveness at the side of the road, soaked in the cold rain (the memory is still very painful).

They took me to evaluation to a mental health unit from where I wanted to escape. "God" told me there that I was not normal, and I probably will be an invalid for the rest of my life, losing my eye-sight as well. I believed all of it, and later, that I will probably end up in hell, and tortured for eternity.

When my mother and brother visited me in the hospital, I was so unwell I did not even recognise my family. I will be eternally grateful for nurse Teddy for giving hope and support to my mother, who was crying desperately, seeing me for the first time in our lives as an unbalanced person, unaware of his surroundings, trying to hurt himself; unwashed, more like an animal than a sentient human being.

I could write much more of the long period of the horrors I experienced at the hospitals, but to understand the severity:

- The strangest, and later the most horrible thing was to me, was not a hallucination, but a physical response from my body. I was having a bath, and went under the water to wash my hair. Then, completely unexpectedly, I felt that "God" was angry at me, and my body physically blocked down my breathing process. I was literally drowning underwater, and only after what felt a very long time did I manage to come above water, gasping desperately for air. It is still among the most horrible things for me, that your mind and body can become so unbalanced that it turns against you, even preventing your breathing - basic life support. What kind of an illness is that?
- I tried to poke my eyes out, break my teeth on the heating units, flushed my head in the toilets in repentance for my sins, guided by the voice.
- I had constant hallucinations, being tormented by the devil and God for my sins, feeling that I was possessed. I "had to" do push-ups and other physical exercise, to purge and punish myself, becoming exhausted.
- To fast, I refused to eat and drink, and the nurses were afraid I was becoming dehydrated, before they could feed me.
- I experienced not just voices, but parts of music endlessly repeating in my head, which was torture.
- I had such vivid nightmares - the worst being children sliced up, and sold in cans as food, that I woke up the whole ward shouting, and beating the furniture when I finally woke up myself.
- Later severe depression followed: I was suicidal, they had to cancel my leave, I was running around like a headless chicken crying, and beating furniture to try to ease the deep depression, against which there was no escape. I was thinking of contacting of bad relations before killing myself.
- I was developing insomnia, as a side effect of the second choice of chief medication they tried on me, and I was begging and shouting for sleeping pills, it was so horrible to be so unwell and unable to sleep at all.
- I was barking like a dog sometimes - completely surprising myself, and crawling around, trying to hit fire extinguishers.
- The voices with visual hallucinations told me horrible things, everything that was bad in my life or I was afraid of came back in a convoluted and intolerable way.

Looking back, I understand the cause of some of the horrible hallucinations, the worst being that I was always afraid my mother was successfully raped by his (really evil) step-father - you do not want to imagine the words and images.

I - like many patients - concentrated on just the medication, and thought that psychiatry is much more important than psychology.

I could not have been more wrong. Psychology can be just as life changing as the right medication, and even more in its long-term effects.

As one of my doctors explained to me, mental illnesses can have lots of components, and it is very important not to concentrate on just taking the medication, but to have counselling, find what makes you happy and relaxed, what keeps you motivated, change your routine, do exercise, healthy eating, and so on, in your recovery.

Right now, I am successfully volunteering at the IT team of the local council, and cannot wait the time when I am well enough - which I know will happen (now) - to gradually get back to part-time and full-time employment.

It took me long years and good treatment, and a lot of effort and suffering to get here.

Severe mental illness can be torture, disabling and unfair on the sufferer.
But it is an illness, and while it can take a long-long time to recover, it is possible, and with careful (baby) steps, you can find yourself back in life, as a more balanced person than you had ever been before.

So hang on to whatever you can, or just try to survive the day, have real hope no matter what the communication of the "official" doctors and nurses is, you have a good chance one day to live in peace, and even to become a better person.

With all the good wishes my heart can give,

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