Sussex Psychosis Research interest Group (SPRiG)

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Tips on dealing with psychosis the moment it occurs

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Psychosis is defined as being overwhelmed to the point of losing grip on reality. This may manifest as paranoia or delusions, e.g. people are sending you secret messages through their use of words.It goes without saying that a life of not being able to trust your own mind is not the greatest carnival ride in the world, but millions of people deal with it on a daily basis.

It’s also different for everyone.

Psychosis doesn’t only happen in with mental illness either, sometimes in periods of great stress or trauma normal people can start to believe things that are outside the scope of reality.

Michael Hedrick, who wrote an article in Psychcentral, stated that he has lived with psychosis for 10 years so he said ‘I’m acutely attuned to the things my mind is telling me. Sometimes I lose myself and that’s perfectly normal for someone in my situation, but having the means to realize that something isn’t quite right is part and parcel of nursing yourself back to sanity. I’ve learned some tricks for dealing with psychosis when it happens. These are all part of my tool bag for dealing with that stuff and they’ve worked, to varying degrees for me. Maybe they can help you too.’

Michael suggests includes:

  • If you find yourself spiraling into paranoia and delusion, maybe something someone said made you think they were spying on you, step outside for a moment and take a few minutes to yourself.
  • Take several deep breaths, five seconds in and five seconds out and do this for however long it takes to slow your racing heart. Take whatever time you need to yourself to get a grip on the situation, removing yourself is essential in order to quell the constant barrage of messages you think you’re receiving.
  • Talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling, analyse the situation with them being as honest as possible about everything you were thinking and get reassurance that none of what you thought was happening was actually happening. It can be hard to separate yourself from the thoughts you’re having and getting an outside perspective can give you a good look at the reality of the situation aside from the things your brain was telling you.
  • If you have emergency meds on hand, which you probably should, take them. They’ll help to calm you down and reduce the anxiety and nervousness you are feeling from the situation. While it may seem defeatist to rely on meds there’s no harm in living better through chemistry. That’s the reason they were invented, to help you.

Michael lastly states ‘I know it can be hard in the midst of psychosis but take the time you need, talk to someone and take your meds, these are all things that have helped me, they’ll probably work for you too.’

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By: Abigail Christine Wright
Last updated: Tuesday, 9 February 2016

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