I didn't expect that it would be so difficult for me to write Part 3 of my Psychosis Series. Maybe it's because that aspect of my life is still so relevant to my life now; maybe it's because I worry that it will be misinterpreted, that I'll be seen as a token of something that I have no business explaining to others. Maybe because delusions are inherently hard to write about. You believe a thing that is false, but the arguments of others have no bearing on your beliefs.
Before I get into all of that, I'd like to say that I am so touched by everyone who has gotten in touch with me about this series. When I began, I did so with trepidation, and not knowing whether or would be relevant or interesting to anyone; now I know that there are people who feel spoken to as I hope to feel spoken to. Thank you.
I suppose I'd better begin with the start.
The first time that I experienced the onset of a delusion was at work. It happened very quickly, and without warning — I looked up from my computer in the office at the two coworkers sharing the room with me, and was overwhelmed with a terrifying feeling that they had been replaced by foreign beings. The "reality" of those people was no longer a certainty for me. In fact, my next conclusion was that they were now robots who wanted to do me harm.
For the next week, this delusion continued. It spread beyond the two women in my office and expanded to strangers and loved ones. The delusion had its own logic, including the notion that eye contact was dangerous; if a stranger could look me in the eye, I would be destroyed. The nature of the destruction was not obvious to me. I started looking at the sidewalk, wearing sunglasses, and clothing myself in big hooded sweatshirts with the hood pulled down over my eyes. My fear blossomed.
This type of psychosis is very similar to what is known as a Capgras delusion, in which a person believes that his or her loved ones have been replaced by doubles. It is the main delusion that comes in and out of my life. Sometimes it goes away in a few hours; other times, it takes as long as a week.
I've had other delusions. Once, I called my husband, sobbing about the spiders that had invaded and were eating my brain. This notion stayed with me for days. These beliefs are very hard to eliminate; in order to maintain a high-functioning exterior, it is important to not voice such fears, as all-consuming as they might be. I grit my teeth. I let them pass.