Over the past 10 years, I have had 11 or 12 episodes of psychosis. When I have a psychotic episode, I lose touch with reality and lack self knowledge. I am completely unaware that I am ill.
I have never been dangerous during an episode of psychosis (thankfully), but I have done odd and unusual things. Embarrassing things. Dangerous things, like walking barefoot in risky neighborhoods.
There are several people who have tossed me aside due to things I have said and done while suffering from psychosis. This blog post is for them. It’s an apology–even though an apology may be unwarranted.
For quite some time, I have thought that people who cast me out of their lives due to something I said during psychosis were discriminating against me. After all, the stigma of schizophrenia is often worse than the illness itself.
That may be true. Those people may lack awareness and understanding. They don’t get to see me when I’m with my doctors. They don’t know my mental health status. They don’t know what I will do next.
All these things have made people cast me aside.
Sitting here now, with over one year of recovery under my belt, made me wonder how I should respond to people who have shunned me due to my psychosis.
I’m not too needy right now. It’s not that I have a deep-seated need to have these people in my life. But, despite my having been truly and legally insane and thus not responsible for my actions, I am offering an apology.
I went to counseling for approximately two years. My counselor told me to tell people who have witnessed me psychotic that it’s not me, it’s my illness.
In a very real way, that’s true. Anyone close to me knows that I really am not myself when I am sick. I have tried several different treatments over the years and I think I finally found a medication that works. Right now, I am the healthiest I have been in 10 years.
Still, even if it really wasn’t me who said and did those things and I truly cannot be held responsible for them, they nevertheless happened. I don’t recall everything I have done, but I am sure my unwell self has made people embarrassed, uncomfortable and offended.
It wasn’t me who did it. Yet, it happened. And, since there is no one else to offer an apology for these things, I am writing this blog post to apologize to anyone disturbed by my unwell behavior.
I have tried for 10 years to bring my symptoms under control. I may have finally succeeded. If you accept my hand in friendship, just know I am doing the best I can.