Psychosis vs Dissociation

I have 13 draft posts sitting in my WordPress dashboard (including, from 1st June, one entitled ‘Everyday Feminism’. A response to a wave of posts on feminism on other mental health blogs, this article was conceived and drafted well before I learned of the excellent ‘Everyday Sexism‘ project, which highlights exactly the same things as I’d set out to write about. Given the huge success of that site, I clearly missed a trick there 😉 Oh well; it’s entirely my own fault.) So, rather than try and complete one of those, I am of course embarking on an entirely new post. Obviously.

My therapist and I irritated each other today – indeed, he commented at the end of the session that it was “almost like we were arguing.” I responded by quipping, “you should have seen me arguing with my last therapist then.” It was intended as a compliment as it happens; my last therapist had a propensity for being an arsehole, and my current one generally doesn’t. I used to scream at, laugh at, sneer at, insult and on one occasion even threw something (my glasses) at my ex-therapist. I have never felt thus inclined with the current one.

However, as I was walking down the stairs out of the building, I realised that if anything I’d insulted him by reminding him of how volatile I could be with my ex-therapist (and not him). If that sounds perverse, then hear me out. My ex-therapist had (eventually) access to all of me; the good, the bad, and the very, very ugly. My current one often comments that he only occasionally sees any anger in me, yet he knows it’s very fundamentally there. He never sees psychosis, dramatic outbursts, personal attacks, blah de blah, and he wonders why.

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Lovecraft and Madness

How do you view the psychiatric phenomenon of psychosis? Is psychosis the quintessential stereotype of madness – people so badly affected by a mental illness that they live only in the world of apparent make-believe, where they talk to imaginary friends, view ‘real’ people with morbid suspicion, and worry that the pair of curtains that adorn the window are symbolic of communication from alien races?

If anything, it’s an idea that has been almost romanticised by fiction and the film industry – but if you’re reading this, then the chances are you know that it’s bollocks. All those things can be true of someone suffering from a psychotic episode, but the idea that it is a permanent state that routinely requires a strait jacket and a padded cell is as outdated as it is offensive.

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