"You're a nut. You're crazy in the coconut!"
- The Avalanches, Frontier Psychiatrist.
As someone who has been through most of the psychiatric services this Country has to offer, I have now understood the "true" meaning of that oh-so dreaded word "psychosis".
Upon talking to a psychiatric nurse the other week, I discussed previous drug use briefly as people, especially here in the UK, think of psychosis as something drugs, moreso Cannabis, inflict upon the consumer.
However this is not always true.
The Oxford Dictionary defines Psychosis as
noun (plural psychoses /-siːz/)
A severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality:they were suffering from a psychosis.
[mass noun] :the symptoms of psychosis
We have all experienced some sort of extreme emotions, be it anxiety, paranoia, phobias, hate, love and even a regular day routine. These emotions can pop up out of the blue for some, and for others it is a part of life. These can be, but aren't limited to a predisposition either genetic, possibly sustained drug abuse over a long amount of time or an extreme experience in life such as being in a combat zone, experiencing a death of a loved one or recurring thoughts.
Like I said, many people think Psychosis is caused by drugs, as countless Media articles and stories are packed in the UK with "Skunk" Cannabis an d other drugs causing people to become Psychotic.
However, over the course of my life, even before my latter Teenage drug use, I have experienced Psychotic symptoms, for even a short amount of time. An extreme amount of anxiety, which can be about anything, can even cause Psychotic symptoms such as auditory or visual hallucinations, irrational thoughts or mood swings. In essence - Psychosis is an umbrella term used for a different state of mind as seen by the regular state of mind everyone apparently experiences within their life.
Worry over exams, a relationship, family issues, or the after-effects of an event can trigger these Psychotic thoughts, but nowhere near the Media hype that is regularly plastered over the news. If anything, it's sometimes normal, and at least it's good to know that most people in their lifetime will experience these Psychotic symptoms.
What I am trying to say, without appearing in denial, is simply that everyone goes through and experiences these symptoms, and they can appear from almost nowhere. I covered the issues which can most commonly cause them, and they can be felt in all walks and levels of life, from the young child who is scared of monsters under their bed or in my case, needles, to the high-flying businessman/woman who is under extreme amounts of pressure to perform in their job. Of course I am not discounting members of the Armed Forces who have seen and heard things no regular civilian would in their lifetime.
So before you read that next News article, or hear about "someone someone knew" who smoked Cannabis and went a bit crazy - just remember that it's a regular part of life, and that differeing degrees of mental instability can come out of nowhere, and effect everyone. It's nothing to be ashamed of - in fact its's something you should feel comfortable talking about and explore, as your experiences can help others. Be it from hallucinations, delusions and full-blown episodes right down to simple things like phobias or worries. Nobody has a full grip on reality.
There is no such thing as "normal" other than seeing the overriding "stability" of life seen in the many people who walk and inhabit our Countries. Every one of them has their own issues.
Nobody is normal.