Reality Check

This week has been a little strange, I saw someone I worked with previously on Wheel of Fortune, and the next day I saw someone I went to school with on the news.

Most people wouldn’t think twice upon seeing people they know on television, but for a minute I felt like I seriously needed to step back and check on myself.

Am I getting delusional?

There are times when psychosis can include beliefs that one is interacting with television or radio, or that this media is talking to or about you, and I’ve always found this notion a little silly up until recently.

I can’t explain exactly what it was like, but there was a time where I briefly felt threatened (on a personal level) by the content of what was playing on my television when I was extremely paranoid during a mixed episode a couple weeks ago. It only lasted a little while, but it was indication enough that I can’t discount these sorts of symptoms (as ridiculous as their occurrence does sound to me).

Thus my concern -are these people I have actually known, or was I being delusional?

I have to admit, I find it slightly comical that this is a concern that enters my mind. I know my therapist (at the very least) would call it responsible and herald my momentary reality check as something I should be very proud of but I honestly can’t help but laugh. It never once occurred to me that this is a situation I would feel wary of at any time over the course of my life up to this point. It is odd to me where life takes us, and despite being subject to a disorder that is often overwhelming and just plain icky feeling, I can’t help but laugh about some of the situations it hands me.

Like wondering if I am psychotic when I know someone on Wheel of Fortune.

The small bites of psychosis I’ve experienced (as, at this point, I’m not sure I’ve experienced psychosis that lasted more than a day… though how I could be entirely sure I don’t know) have seemed to worm their way into what is going on in a very subtle way. It is a little Kurt Vonnegut-ish, like suddenly sliding into an alternate version of reality. At the same time, the situations are so silly in hindsight that it is hard to imagine they ever felt real.

Is my television trying to kill me? Probably not. It is an inanimate object.

Maybe I watch too much science fiction, but I just think of Total Recall as an example where it is almost as if the character is paying for a psychotic episode. Injecting memories and beliefs and delusions into someone’s head so they can experience another life. I just find it curious that someone, even a fictional character, would pay for that. Though, it is a wild experience to have. Isn’t there a drug that does this yet?

The people on the television  were people I knew, and this was later confirmed by another party.

I just thought I’d check, though. I know how mania has a way of sneaking up on me, and every once in a while things begin to slip before I realize anything is off. A very tricky state, for sure, so every once in a while I definitely need a reality check.

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5 responses to “Reality Check

  1. At least you had a third party who could verify for you! Isn’t it fascinating how a situation can be both amusing and alarming at the same time? A passing thought while reading this post was that episode of The Finder where a tin foil hat was really a necessary protection!

  2. I don’t think these happenings would be called ‘delusional’. A better term for it would be called “ideas of reference”. There is a subtle difference but I do think the ideas of reference fits better. Take it from someone who’s been paranoid, had ideas of reference, been delusional and psychotic :) — I like the smiley face after that last sentence.

    T’is something to google for you “ideas of reference”. Then compare to delusional – they’re close, but not quite the same.

  3. Just a teensy bit more. Delusional would be more like you think you’re the queen of England etc. etc.- you hold false beliefs. Psychotic is like a dream that you never leave even though you’re awake. An idea of reference would be like you think that messages are intended just for you or similar.

    With me I used to get ideas of reference when I was f*cked up medically and or medicinally. For example the song ‘American Pie’ would come on the radio say in the car. There is that part in the song that says “this will be the day that you die” etc. It made it somewhat uncomfortable to drive thinking that I was gonna bite it any moment. Another thing that would happen in that situation is that traffic signs and messages seemed to be just for me. A stop sign would be more like “stop Mark” — even though it just said “Stop”.

    Songs, tv programs, news, newspapers, signage seems to be just for you and directed to you.

    • Sarah @ bi[polar] curious

      Hey Mark, thanks for dropping by!

      From what I can tell, ideas of reference are simply delusions of reference that aren’t solid. Someone having a delusion of reference can’t be swayed about what they believe, while someone having an idea of reference is willing to admit their belief could be wrong, if proven so or pointed out to them.

      Interesting topic to bring up, now that I’m looking I didn’t realize there were so many types of delusions (which, really, I guess I would classify a delusion of reference as a type of delusion).

      I agree with you, since I was questioning the situation I was probably experiencing an idea of reference (as it wasn’t a solid fact, but more of a questioning). “Does this mean something to me specifically?”

      At the same time, my fear was that I was becoming delusional in the sense that I was worried I believed I knew people on television that I didn’t actually know.

      Based on further reading, I think my recent mixed episode delusion with the television feeling like a threat was a persecutory delusion. I wasn’t being talked to or referred to, I just believe that I was being attacked by the content, if that makes any sense.

      Anyway, thanks!

      • Mark Perka

        You just clued me into two more types ‘… of reference’ That I hadn’t previously known about. No, thank you!

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