A police officer is not the best person to help someone in psychosis

By REBECCAH LOVE: For Entire Post, Go Here…

A person with severe mental illness is considered the ultimate unreliable narrator.

She tells you a story about a horrible thing that happened to her, and you ask:

“Yes, but did this actually happen? Are you sure you remember correctly?” “Yes, but what did you do to provoke this?” ”Yes, but were you not a threat to other people?“ ”Yes, but you were sick, you deserved this treatment.”

In June of 2008, I graduated as valedictorian of a well-known Toronto private school. I was ambitious, highly motivated and excited for my future.

A year later, I would be experiencing my first episode of psychosis, admitted into St. Michael’s Hospital Emergency Room. I would spend the next four years going in and out of psychiatric wards in states of serious mania and psychosis.

The thing you have to remember about a person experiencing psychosis is that they do not interpret their surroundings in a normal way: in my episodes during these years, all things and people around me became metaphors. Police officers or paramedics or hospital security guards were not just people to me: they represented force, harm and danger.

At those times in my life I was suffering from an undiagnosed eating disorder, purposefully starving myself. During my hospitalizations, I was very weak and underweight. I was never a violent patient: a little stubborn and eccentric, maybe, but mostly just terrified, not in any kind of position to do anyone any harm. So when the men in uniform grabbed me, or slammed me against a wall, wrestling me to the floor, in my delusional state, they were not just hurting me, they were killing me. I screamed out for my brother to come save me. It was not just a little jostling: in those moments, it felt very much like my life was coming to an end.

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