Look it up and you’ll find all kinds of nonsense up/downloaded as answer to that question, most commonly:
“Loss of contact with reality.”
What does that even mean?
For sure, whoever says that to you most assuredly has.
Truth is we don’t know, but it’s not as baffling as “experts” would have you believe and it doesn’t have to be as scary either.
The so called “symptoms” of “psychosis” are in fact experiences everyone will have – one in three will be experiencing at least one right now. Many are judgements made about stepping outside cultural norms. None have anything to do with test tubes and labs and bodily specimens.
So. this thing we call “psychosis” is not a separate “thing” that only some of us “have” or can have, but a state that any of us can, given challenging enough circumstances, find ourselves in: confused, disoriented, isolated and sacred.
You’ll not find it in medical text book but one of the most reliable ways to tell if others think you’re “in psychosis” is the expression on the face of people around you and the names they are calling you.
Most times it’s entirely understandable as an overwhelming state of being in which a person feels unsafe, and not disconnected but intimately and painfully connected with events in the present and past.
It pays to go carefully, and with compassion – despite popular myth that people in psychosis are violent they are more likely to be victims of violence, and a person who has been given a diagnosis “psychosis” is fifteen times more likely to have been abused as a child.
Most Docs and other “mental health professionals” don’t have a bloody clue, some do, eg –
- In Finnish Open Dialogue “psychosis” is conceived of not as a problem in one person’s brain but in the spaces and relationships between people, with language playing a key role.
- Jim van Os and PsychoseNet have more of a clue than most, and have developed an approach that is hopeful and based on noticing patterns in unique personal experience and building strengths and resilience.
Below is first three of PsychoseNet’s fourteen…
Principles for good care of psychosis
- It is scientifically impossible to make a clear distinction between psychosis and other experiences: one can view psychosis as a state during which personal emotions impact thinking and perception to such a degree that it becomes difficult for other people to understand. Psychosis is furthermore linked to alterations in motivation, mood and cognition. Psychosis is treatable, just like depression and anxiety.
- Over 15% of adolescents and young adults experience mild psychotic symptoms (eg. hearing voices or paranoia) over the course of normal development. In 80% of these, symptoms disappear by themselves – these people simply continue their life and their functioning is not affected.
- About 3.5% of the general population develops psychotic symptoms, combined with changes in motivation, mood and cognition, that are so severe that they require treatment. Their symptoms are part of a psychotic syndrome that manifests itself differently in each person. The name for this broad syndrome could be Psychosis Susceptibility Syndrome, or Psychosis Spectrum Syndrome – PSS abbreviated.
PsychoseNet’s 14 principles…