Tag Archives: delusions

More Rest, More… Butter?

Very quick update.

Please do not be offended if I do not answer your calls, texts, or emails in the next few days. Between the physical illness I’ve been having and intense insomnia I have stumbled into a place of extreme irritability, confusion, delusion, and paranoia.

Yesterday I shampooed my hair three times because I couldn’t figure out which bottle was which. I also snapped at my poor old granny on the phone, which is why I am instigating a period of Sarah-radio-silence until I can talk like a civilized human being to people again. Or, at least, civilized-ish.

On the upside, after some really fun biopsies of my stomach lining I do not have celiac disease (thanks doc!), I have finally slept four hours in a row (thanks benadryl!), I’ve been enjoying a John Cusack movie marathon, and I ate 1/8 teaspoon of butter this morning on an otherwise very dry bagel (weee!). This is huge progress (especially since I spent a big chunk of time earlier this week doing more vomiting) and I hope it means I will soon be able to stop putting olive oil and salt on my noodles and eating with my eyes closed pretending it is butter.

Once I get better at the not-hating-everyone bit I should hopefully be on my way to recovery on all fronts (well, that and once intestinal infection is ruled out). Usually the emotional instability part takes a bit longer to catch up, but who knows… maybe if I drink enough smoothies I’ll start to feel peppier.

Confronting Delusions

The older I get, the more acutely I’m aware that my mind creates fictional situations and relationships all on its own. Once I started paying more attention to this process, I realized that this issue seems to come from my mind jumping to conclusions after stumbling upon something my mind considers to be a clue.

Here is a very simplified example.

I call my boyfriend.

Clue: he doesn’t answer.

Delusion: he is dead.

I’ve gotten better at spotting these irrational conclusions in simple situations (like the one above) but in the cases of hardcore delusions (like the one 16 months ago where I was certain my boss was trying to get me fired and sabotage the company we worked for) my delusions are made of a series of clues, usually all taken out of context, coupled with subsequent bad-conclusion-jumping.

It seems that in these situations, anything I read, anything that comes up in conversation, as well as physical clues (mail, clothing, you name it) all begin working together in a web of total fiction. The more clues I stumble upon that seem to lend themselves to my theory only make a stronger case for the delusion, and makes it more difficult for me to break the spell.

Generally, when I begin having delusions like this, I tend to make things much more complicated by talking to different people about it. I might easily find myself talking about the clues or suspected theory to friends, family, or my therapist even… and though one would think this might help (and it does occasionally) most often people take what I have to say at face value. Usually if I believe it, it isn’t totally unreasonable to suspect the people I tell will believe it as well.

There have been a few situations where I was contested about what I mentioned, but it wasn’t enough to “break the spell” until almost a month later. No, realistically what I’ve learned is that it is best to go straight to the source.

I had a delusion almost a year ago now that one of my friends was having an affair with another friend of mine. In that situation I knew I couldn’t completely trust myself and the conclusion I had come to, so I did the only thing I could… I confronted one of them and asked about it.

NOW, confronting someone you have a delusion about in an attempt to find the truth has been one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever had to do. In some cases it has actually been a bit rewarding (not having to continue obsessing over the delusion anymore is nice) but generally, you need to know that it really puts people off.

I’ve only done this sort of thing with people who are pretty close to me, people who already know about my (somewhat questionable) mental health. Even then, starting the conversation with something like, “so, I have a question for you, and I don’t want you to get upset because it is going to sound totally crazy -but that is only because I think I may be delusional. I just need to know what is real and what isn’t!”

Yes, people get offended. Or distraught. Or very silent.

(I guess this is starting to sound less and less like a good idea, but I swear it can be very helpful!)

The thing is, the way my brain functions, I need to be able to walk up to someone I trust and ask if something happened, or didn’t. If something exists, or it doesn’t. If they saw or heard something or if there was only silence a moment ago.

There are so many layers of things going on in my mind that sometimes I need to be able to ask if I’m the only one experiencing something, or if everyone else saw/heard/knows it too.

Though mildly concerning to the people I’ve asked of this before, the result on my end has been extremely helpful. By going straight to the person I’m having delusions about and asking them about the situation I am essentially bypassing days, week, maybe even months of delusional thoughts and “clues” that riddle my brain with no real point (apart from distraction), as well as averting potential crises (like setting a huge HR investigation in motion).

I’ve also had to consider what this does to my reputation. After all, it isn’t particularly common for people to be sharing their delusions (let alone confronting people about them) and it probably looks a little… weird. Since I embrace the fact that I’m a bit of an oddball, it doesn’t bother me much at all.

I guess the best advice I can give is to tread carefully.

No. Wait.

The best advice I can give is to have one person in your life that you can trust and be honest with who will tell you (gently) that you have no idea what you’re talking about. If you can find more than one, consider yourself very lucky!

Sometimes it is better to go straight to the source when it comes to delusions. If you can risk talking to the person about the delusional situation you could ultimately save yourself a lot of time and trouble down the road.

Straight From the Horses Mouth

Most of my blog posts are concocted days, if not weeks in advance. I write about four times more than I actually post, to weed out… well, you know. Crap. Yesterday, for example, I wrote four posts in preparation for today. All I had to do was wake up, pick one, and post it.

There are moments every once in a while though where I need to be able to write about my current situation (not complain, mind you) without feeling guilty about it or feel like I’m some kind of raving lunatic. The truth is that I’ve got a lot going on, and trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together has left me more confused than informed.

I spent the better half of yesterday and this morning delusional. This isn’t new, as Corey just walked out the door about half an hour ago (the delusions just usually take a bit longer to catch on). I’m about to be alone for the next five days (I say “alone” but I mean primarily “with friends” so not actually alone alone) and there was a moment last week in therapy where my therapist predicted this broken record of a situation.

“Your lizard brain is going to be screaming ‘he’s leaving me, he’s leaving me!’ …but he isn’t.”

I’ve been rather forthcoming on this blog about how backwards my brain seems to work when my boyfriend is away. I do seem to suddenly believe he has left me, that I am all alone and will be forever, and that he doesn’t give a shit about little old me.

In the last 48 hours, this has caused me to cry uncontrollably, send him angry text messages, yell at him, cry some more, and try (probably unsuccessfully) to explain that my brain is giving me both fact and fiction at once, and it is anybody’s guess as to which will win out at any given time.

It isn’t that I’m jealous, or even suspicious of him. It is more like once he is out of my sight, I believe whole heartedly that he is dead and I will never see him again.

Of course, were this some kind of zombie apocalypse movie, I’m sure he might be… but Texas on a Friday probably isn’t a big deal.

At this moment I feel surprisingly optimistic. I mean, maybe it is over? Maybe I’ve cried all the tears I have, and I wont cry any more.

On top of that, it could also be that Tegretol could be to blame for this cry-fest, not Corey’s departure. All I can do is keep taking it and see if the crying continues or if it (hopefully) stops.

The delusions themselves seem very… quick-ish. Coming on rapidly in waves of 30 minutes to an hour apiece, and then apparently evaporating as quickly as they arrived (nice, I’d say). My head does feel like a magic eight ball somebody has been shaking all morning though, so I think I will need a little time before I can step back and see the big picture again.

In any case, I am prepared to watch chick flicks, eat pizza, go shopping for cheeses, eat donuts, belch loudly, and dance around in my pajamas for the next five days. If you need me, that’s where I’ll be.