What I wanted to talk about here is, how taboo mental health still is. It seems like we, as a society, got much more open about it, and yet ‘mental health problems’ often mean depression or anxiety, nothing more serious than that. Sometimes bipolar may get a bit of publicity but not schizophrenia or psychosis. I wonder why.
Mind you, I had two psychotic episodes but I don’t normally suffer with depression or anxiety, so it could look like my mental health is perfectly fine.
It is fine now, I suppose, when I’m not under severe stress (mum likes her care home) but I still remember how I wanted to climb up to the loft only so that I could throw my laptop out of the window so that it got completely smashed, because I believed that The Company is watching my every move and listening to my every word through it. That’s how bad it can get when one doesn’t know how to control stress.
Luckily mum was at home at the time and she prevented me from causing that. That was 2017 and I still use that laptop occasionally, it’s a bit old but still ok for typing. It would not be good for my recovery if I realised I did even more financial damage (staying in a hotel where night costs almost 200 pounds when one doesn’t have a job?)
At least with the hotel I kind of needed it. It was in Warsaw, on my way from the UK. My hallucinations really intensified during the night and, I’m almost sure, if I stayed in a budget hotel, I’d came out of my bedroom screaming, that’s how scared I was. In that one I was surrounded by fluffly pillows and was laying on incredibly comfy mattress. It did not make sense to leave that comfort and run into an empty hallway.
So I probably needed the hotel, but I didn’t need a broken laptop.
Funny thing is how, even though in psychosis, I knew exactly what I was supposed to be doing. I was informed the night before that breakfast is served from 6.30am so I was in the restaurant at 6.35. I was sat at the table, given a choice of tea or coffee and I kept helping myself to various meats from breakfast buffet. I couldn’t see bread anywhere (it later turned out it was just by the entrance) and because I couldn’t be bothered to talk to anyone I just decided not to eat any. Was that weird? Not any weirder than being on a keto diet.
After breakfast I came back to the room, took my things and went for check out to the reception. I asked the receptionist to book me a taxi to the station and she did. She asked me if I enjoyed the night and I said ‘Yes, it was very nice, thank you’. I didn’t tell her I thought people are watching me. Anyway, she would be one of them and I thought I had to pretend that I enjoyed that game.
There was this one, awkward moment when the receptionist asked it I want to pay in Polish zlotys or British pounds and I thought, what’s the trick here. ‘Whatever is more convenient for you’ she said. I didn’t know what was more convenient and didn’t really think of that. I looked into her eyes trying to appear like I’m not intimidated by that confusing choice. That must have been rather uncomfortable for her. However, apart from that, I was behaving totally normal. All the way home I felt like I have to act normal or I won’t be allowed to go.
I wonder whether a person who’s not autistic could experience it the same way, I mean acting normal when they didn’t feel normal, but for me it’s pretty standard that I have to play ‘acting normal’ game when I don’t feel ok, so I guess I was doing that rather automatically.
I must say here my second episode was much worse in that respect that I wasn’t travelling anywhere so I didn’t feel like I had to act normal to be allowed to go.
As I said I don’t get depressed or anxious that often at all and the above is for me what I consider bad mental health.