Lynn explores what can take a person from living a happy, fulfilled life to the bottom dropping out of their world into a confusing world of psychosis.

Mental health problems started for me when I gave birth to my second child in 1976. A GP promised soluble stitches as protection from a phobia.  He went back on his word and I suffered unrealised PTSD, diagnosed ‘neurotic breakdown’, because the phobia was a result of unrealised sexual abuse in childhood.  My marriage ended and I started a new way of life with a 2-year-old son and a new born baby boy.  It was also unrealised that I had Asperger’s and was going out in the world as a vulnerable adult.

With a weak personal foundation and poor coping mechanisms, it was only a matter of time before I suffered psychosis.  The first of 3 episodes happened in 1987, the second in 1988 when I identified sexual abuse and the third in 1993 when invasive medical treatment was identified as triggers for psychosis.  The upside of having suffered medical abuse was that I set out on a self-directed journey of discovery and recovery.

The word to describe my experience of psychosis is ‘awesome’.  There was an overwhelming vastness and wonder about it.  In balance, the terror was beyond description and the last thing I would want is another episode.  The thrust within the body was so great that I felt and still feel I would not be able to survive another. 

A catalyst for change

The experience was a catalyst for change.  It was incredible for insight and I am definitely richer for the experience.  I lost a lot of my previous way of life, but am greatly advanced and transformed as a person because of it.

It is difficult to describe an experience, especially psychosis, because it is personal and something other people cannot relate to, unless they have had a similar episode.  I have found a way of using similes, to which people can relate.

I see mind as being like planet earth suspended in the heavens.  Planet earth has gravity and time.  Outside the atmosphere there is no gravity and time is said to be oneness.  The pressure within breakdown was like a rocket that takes off and goes outside of mind into the outer atmosphere.  My senses were heightened and all conditioned beliefs broke down as I became one with time and space.  Psychosis gave me an altered state of consciousness, where nothing made sense.

The psychotic experience can float between dream states and nightmares.  It is like LSD with good trips and bad trips and with a sense of no gravity, I can see why people on drugs thought they could fly and jumped from buildings.  I had a sense of heaven and hell.  Heaven was when I felt at one with everything and hell was when I had a total sense of separation and felt isolated to the core of infinity, lost in time and space.

I could see scientific comparisons.  I had four languages running, which was like listening to a radio, where the channels kept changing.  It was impossible to make sense of any communication.  I have been left with the belief that we have different channels with frequencies, which affects our interpretation of what is said, done or meant.

It is a common experience that what is written in papers and said on the news is taken personally by people suffering mental health problems.  That happened to me.  It is heightened awareness of our oneness with the world and each other.  The whole gamut of human nature is within each of us.  As we see this, all sense of where we end and the other begins is lost.

Religious aspects of psychosis

As a deeply religious and spiritual person, I got closer and closer to the bible when my situation was difficult.  I found myself in among the characters and they were within me.  With hindsight, what I believe I was seeing was archetypes (Jung) and the bible to me became the story of human nature.

I had a total recall of all that I had said and done in my life.  It was the day of judgement as I found that everything was stored within the memory banks.  It was terrifying.  In life we have coping mechanisms and justify our actions.  Within that experience, the justifications were off and it felt that what we face on the day of judgement is the better self!

When astronauts look at our planet from outside, they come back as different people with a altered view of the world and life.  They want to help humanity.  It is the same for me.

I discovered my inner universe.  From the scientific comparisons found in the psychotic experience, I believe that the inner and outer universes are parallel.  It is the spiritual dimension of our humanity of human and being, where form and formless work together.

With sexual abuse in my background from childhood, I set out to understand the duality of love and abuse within human nature. Psychosis for me was being lost in confusion. My point of reference for finding my way back was spirituality.