Coping with Bipolar Disorder with Psychosis

The Bipolar Burble blog again welcomes National Council Reintegration Award-winning mental health advocate Andrea Paquette - also known as the Bipolar Babe. Andrea shares her struggles with bipolar psychosis - both as a bipolar manic psychotic break and as repetitive psychotic episodes.

You were diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 25 after a psychotic episode. What was the psychotic episode like that led to diagnosis?

At the age of 25 I plunged into a deep psychosis where I saw, believed, and heard things that weren’t real. I was unaware that I was suffering from major manic highs and I eventually toppled into a psychosis that spelled disaster. I believed I was Eve from the Garden of Eden and removed all my clothes, eventually leading me to my neighbour’s doorstep looking for Adam. It felt as natural as waking in the morning and as real as I am alive right now. I also saw the Devil’s head dancing in front of my face and observed a globe of the earth deteriorating in front of my eyes. I experienced a number of bizarre incidents during this time, many that were breathtaking and others that were horrifying. My psychotic episode disabled my ability to make sound decisions and everything flowed into a serious break with reality.

Have you experienced psychosis since?

I have been medicated since my first psychotic break 11 years ago, and I have since experienced a type of mild psychosis in episodes. The episodes contain periods of extreme paranoia and anxiety inducing feelings of sheer terror that come over me, leaving me paralyzed and unable to function. The only way that I can describe my experience is that it feels as if I have smoked 10 marijuana joints. When it happens I’m bound to my bed for hours as I attempt to calm down and recoup.  The “high” feeling is not fun, welcoming, or enjoyable, it actually is treacherous. I experience the world differently and the only way I can make sense of it is to conclude that it is psychosis. These episodes are constant and relentless, but have recently begun to ease.

 
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