How Can I Help Myself During a Psychotic Episode?
When one is given a diagnosis it can be a great relief if they have been feeling overwhelmed by their experiences. One expert, Prof Marius Romme, suggests that people’s own personal perspective can be as valid as a medical view of psychosis, which sees psychotic experience as an illness to be treated. They may include many different explanations for the experience – parapsychological, psychodynamic, psychological, spiritual or mystical. These allow people a framework for developing their own coping strategies. The more involved you can be in your own treatment and in looking after yourself, the better.
Self-Help Groups & Coping Strategies
Talking to other people who also have hallucinations, whether hearing voices or seeing things that are not there can provide reassurance and hope, increase self-esteem and reduce isolation. Various organisations run self-help groups, which encourage members to share their experiences and help them to come to terms with them. They can help people to recognise underlying patterns in their experiences, develop and discuss strategies, identify early signs of crisis, and take active steps to manage the situation. People who are experienced at this often train others. Books and booklets containing the same information are also helpful.
Taking steps to increase relaxation is important. Relaxation exercises, yoga, meditation and other physical activities can help. For some people, massage, aromatherapy or reflexology can be a benefit, yet for others, touch can evoke unexpectedly powerful or intense feelings that may cause distress.
During a crisis, you may not be able to tell people what helps you. While you are well, it may be a good idea to discuss with someone you trust what you would like to happen, or not happen, when you are in a crisis. You may like to make out an advance directive (also known as a living will), which states this in writing.