Drug-Induced Psychosis And My Anxiety Disorders
For this post, I thought I’d flesh out my anxiety disorders for you. We’ll look at where they first started appearing and when they became a permanent fixture of my life. Here’s a hint, my anxiety disorders were largely the results of drug-induced psychosis, due to the disregard I had for my own life and wellbeing.
If you’d read my earlier post, you’d be aware that I had to deal with a lot of racism from my peers and abuse at the hands of my teachers. However, through all that, I never experienced any anxiety. My first taste of anxiety didn’t happen until my middle school years.
This ‘taste’ of anxiety happened after I had gotten into a fight with someone because of their racist abuse. Which, moments later, resulted in me getting jumped by three other people. Although I didn’t get that badly beaten up, it did make me realise how much of a target I still was. This lead to my first minor bouts of anxiety, feeling weak, worried they were all laughing at me, worried more people would try to jump me again for simply not being white.
I was afraid to go to school and scared to get lunch on my own when I did go back to school. I’d only go get lunch if one of my friends was also going, if they didn’t go, then I didn’t, even if I was starving. I just couldn’t handle being on my own to get lunch and would experience a state of panic and tunnel vision when I went alone.
One time I saw one of the people who jumped me on my street from my bedroom window, I just hid below the window as I had a panic attack again. What made this worse was that I couldn’t reconcile why I didn’t get revenge, why I just didn’t catch them on their own and bust their knees with a bat or something. But that wasn’t who I was, I’d only ever gotten into fights because I had little choice. If I didn’t stand up for myself, no one else would (bar that one time at primary school – Gratitude Letter).
It certainly wasn’t who I was after that attack. From that single event when I was jumped, I’d fundamentally changed as a person forever. Although I’d always had a shyness about me, I was, somehow, at the same time, a little cocksure about myself. I had always stood up to whatever had been thrown at me because everyone was trying to grind me down. But now, now I was different, now I was full of self-doubt and fear.
White Men Can Jump
This wasn’t the only time I was jumped, the second time was when I was walking back home with a friend, but taking the long route back. This happened just before I was about to join high school. We passed the sister of one of the people that jumped me the first time, who was hanging around with people I thought were my friends. We’d been hanging out with these so-called friends over the spring and summer months street/park drinking and having a laugh, even though they were several years older than us.
These “friends” I thought we got on well with, decided to try and jump me because this girl told them too. Thus, three of my “friends” attacked us. Although their attempt at jumping us didn’t lead to any real harm being caused, it did further reinforce my attachment problems that drive my borderline personality disorder (BPD). My BPD largely exists because of my peers, rather than my problems at home.
But even these encounters with anxiety and panic attacks weren’t where my permanent anxiety disorders took hold of me. The anxiety disorders I live with every day, they started a few years later, with completely different triggers to what I’d experienced so far.
The anxiety issues that flared up during that time were nothing like the anxiety disorders I’d permanently have a problem with. The difference in scale is so vast that I’m not even sure if I have the words to fully give it the descriptive justice they deserve, but I’ll try my best.
The anxiety disorders I have now first started to flicker into life after a breakup with an ex at 19. My ex threatened to harm themselves and then tried to stab me with needles in a club we went to. Which I took a break from going to, after that. Instead, I decided to do a LOT of magic mushrooms (at this point I wasn’t drinking alcohol, and would only drink Red Bull. It was the effects of these hallucinations that would come to play a big part in my anxiety disorders.
I did ridiculous amounts of shrooms in a short space of time, going through over three thousand caps in a little over two weeks. When I stopped, it left me almost bedridden for a number of weeks. I was going to my A-Level classes unable to hold a pen because I was shaking so much. My digestive system was in agony, I had chest pains, and I was barely able to eat. It was a huge struggle to do anything. I was a complete mess once.
During my shroom binge, I had two events that seemed like a mild heart attack, starting with pains in my chest, and then numbness in my left arms which spread to my legs. During the two week come-down, I started to experience the hallucinogenic anxiety disorders (which I would later find out was actually a psychotic break) that would go on to make my life unbearable. But at this point, still weren’t a permanent problem.
During my shroom binge, I saw my own death several times. One time I was blacking out, even though my eyes were open, and I thought I was dying. The thoughts that came through my head that stopped this feeling was that if I’m going to die, I may as well do a lot more drugs. Thus, then and there, I decided I’d use drugs until they either kill me or causes retardation.
Give Me Death
The reason I aiming for death or retardation was that the people I’d met with down syndrome and other learning difficulties always seemed happy. Far happier than I’d ever been, and I wanted to experience that kind happiness. What I got instead were anxiety disorders, psychotic episodes, and a truckload of physical health problems that would make my life a living hell.
So from that day, I started doing stupid amounts of drugs hoping they’d kill me or cause retardation. Anything from doing 14 grams of speed in an hour, to cocktailing as many illegal and legal drugs I could get my hands on to see what would happen. It started off gradually, first wanting to try as many different drugs as I could. But the lack of caring about if I lived or died vamped up my purposeful risk-taking.
Oddly enough, I always had one rule when doing drugs, that I would never chase a high. If the negatives of a drug outweighed the positives, then I wouldn’t do it anymore. That rule has never been broken, largely because I would cocktail drugs to experiment with creating new effects. I had no issues giving up these drugs, even when they came with horrible withdrawals. Once I decided to quit a drug, that was it, I wouldn’t do it again. Other people don’t have it as lucky. I’m fortunate in that regard.
Have a Kit-Kat, Have A Break
My body was putting up with a lot of punishment, but my mind, my mind was about to be broken. One night when I was at the end of a three-day drug and alcohol binge (where I was experiencing hallucinations) and out clubbing with friends. My friends kept asking if I was ok, and I felt fantastic, but they kept asking and asking.
This was the moment everything changed. The repeated questioning of if I was ok lead to me doubting my reality. I started to wonder if they were aware of something I wasn’t, resulting in my total break with reality.
I curled up like a baby with my thumb in my mouth and was only able to say one thing over and over again: “what’s going on?”
I’ve struggled with crippling anxiety and psychotic episodes ever since, and all the sensations from that event are a factor in my anxiety disorders. When I was dancing high as a kite, I was hot and sweaty, and ever since that break with reality, these sensations are now a part of my anxiety disorders.
Have you ever heard stories about how people were so wasted they pissed themselves or mistaken a sofa or cupboard for a toilet? Well, those kinds of stories are also a part of my anxiety because I could no longer trust that my reality is what the real reality of my situation is.
One of the main hallucinations I was having as I was slowly pulling my mind back together after leaving the club, was a feeling of wetness. I felt wet and was seeing liquid dripping off me and everything around me. This is too became another factor in my anxiety disorders. This fear manifested itself as worrying I’d lose bladder control. For example, thinking I’m at a toilet doing my business, but in fact, I won’t be, because I’ve detached from reality without realising, and I’ll be doing my business somewhere in public.
Not being able to trust my own reality made my anxiety disorders a nightmare to live with.
Not long after that, came to realise that I was having a problem with anxiety whenever I was smoking weed (which is a hallucinogenic). So I went from smoking a couple of ounces a week to not smoking it at all once I’d decided to stop. This allowed me to function normal-ish for a couple more years.
I still suffered from a few random bouts of extreme anxiety, however. One time I was getting ready to go out clubbing, and suddenly, out of nowhere, I couldn’t leave the flat. I curled up into a ball and hid behind the door trying to control the utter terror I was experiencing and asked my partner at the time if I could stay home. I’ve never felt a fear like it before or since.
Eventually, my anxiety started to appear whenever I did any drug hallucinogenic drugs, as my homeostatic mechanism clapped down hard. So I simply gave up doing hallucinogenics drugs.
Everything seemed fine as long as I wasn’t doing hallucinogenics. I had also found a combo of non-hallucinogenic drugs I could cocktail that would cause hallucinations which didn’t cause anxiety, surprisingly. In hindsight, this probably wasn’t a good idea. Even this workaround wouldn’t be enough to keep the party going forever. Which it didn’t.
By this stage, it was already becoming too late. Although hallucinogenic drugs would cause an anxiety-induced psychotic break as soon as they took effect, other drugs were fine, until they weren’t. The drug-induced psychosis had started to spread to anything that would affect my bodies homeostatic mechanism. It got to the point that if I did two ecstasy pills in a night, I’d have an anxiety attack. The first one I’d take I’d be fine, but if I took another one sometime later, I’d be slammed with anxiety.
That’s not even the worse of it. If I took bog-standard pain killers two days in a row, I’d have extreme anxiety on the third day. Even a can of Red Bull would cause an extreme psychotic episode.
I should also stress that at this point in my life, whenever I had any kind of anxiety attack, I was also having a psychotic episode, which would mean I hallucinate. My hallucinations weren’t just contained to seeing things either, nor would it stop at the traditional five senses. It would be a full-on onslaught of hallucinations, whereby my sense of temperature, moisture (wetness perception), etc. would also be affected.
If you’ve read my previous post (My Anxiety Disorders Vs Mindfulness), you’ll already be aware of how my bodily sensations aren’t processed as they should be by my brain, causing sensory hallucinations. This is why that happens.
Thus, I quit doing all drugs. I never once had a craving to do them again or relapsed. Which makes me very lucky. I may have not had any cravings or relapses, but I did have was far worse, and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
My anxiety was so bad that I couldn’t sleep, through fear of wetting the bed. I’d constantly be going to the toilet throughout the night to try and drain every drop of moisture out of my body.
However, the problem with not getting any sleep is that it will eventually cause hallucinations, which would then trigger a shitstorm of anxiety-induced psychosis. I was living in hell, I couldn’t leave the house without being drunk. I was suffering constantly from hallucinations, surviving on an hour sleep a day if I was lucky. It was a struggle to keep myself together.
Even simple tasks like sitting in the living room with my housemates because of a neverending battle with my own mind. Don’t even get me started about trying to go food shopping
On a day-to-day basis, my coping strategy was to keep myself dangerously dehydrated to try and manage my anxiety and to avoid a psychotic episode. This was especially difficult during the hotter months, whereby I’d be struggling to balance my dehydration with the effects of heat stroke. It was a terrible way to live.
I could barely function. I tried getting help from professionals, but every antipsychotic and antidepressant they gave me would cause a psychotic episode. No one understood how important my homeostasis was to me avoiding a psychotic episode.
Eventually, I was given sleeping tablets so I could actually sleep, and that worked for a while. It also turned out that taking sleeping tablets had an extra bonus, they allowed me to take a mood stabiliser without it causing a psychotic break.
However, I didn’t feel that the mood stabiliser really made any difference to my mental health, but my GP convinced me to keep taking them. I was still suffering from hallucinations and anxiety on a daily basis.
I had no idea that eventually, this combination of medications was going to become such a quandary. This all became a problem because I moved to attend university, thanks to the new mental health trust I had to deal with.
To find out about this impending problem, keep an eye out for my next post, Anti-Depressants And Me: My First Run In With My New Mental Health Trust.
As always, leave your comments below and tell me how your anxiety affected your quality of life. Also, feel free to share your experiences of drug-induced psychosis in the comments below as well. Lastly, if you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up to my newsletter.
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