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(I say this with love and a little experience of my own. I’m neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist, nor any sort of licensed medical professional. What I am is in a better place than I was in 2018. This essay is intended to be a testimonial, but not to replace actual professional advice.)

Psychosis comes in many forms.

You might have visions, seeing things that aren’t there. You might appear to be delirious, talking with your visions or to unseen entities. You might self-reference, which is where you believe certain things are messages meant for you.

You might start to believe things that aren’t true, such as delusions. Delusions are, in essence, lies to support your psychosis. They are beliefs that you have, that are not supported by actual facts.

You might experience severe paranoia. This paranoia may present in multiple ways, most of which is a deeply held suspicion of people around you.

If these don’t sound like familiar symptoms to you, but your friends and family members suggest that you may have recently displayed signs of delusions or psychosis, please seek out professional help, as one of the most common ways to pull an individual out of a psychotic break is to get checked out by a specialist

It takes time to understand what triggers your psychosis and find medications that control it.

Now that the most serious part of the essay is out of the way…

Level-setting after psychosis is when you’re giving yourself a good hard reset.

If psychosis is a computer virus, when you finally confront it, you will most likely “blue screen” multiple times. This is when paradoxes between delusions and reality present themselves during recovery. Your mind will try to redirect you away from recovery at times, as delusions, hallucinations, and so on are intrusive thoughts.

In those times of concern, having someone who can help you by listening without judgment can be crucial. A strong support may gently redirect you or simply listen, but your brain is actively fighting. It’s fighting because it is struggling between reality and what it is being presented as reality.

It’s hard to get back to normal after psychotic episodes, but with time and work, it is definitely possible. Finding ways to ground yourself is truly a important opportunity during a reset. That includes seeking support for things like mindfulness when speaking, assertive behavior, and cognitive behavior therapy.

And when you return to normal, whatever normal is for you, it will be different than before. You will see yourself as unique, because now you have experienced a different way of thinking. You have experienced the dopamine high of looking for the unseen, listening to the unheard, believing the unbelievable, and doing ten impossible things before breakfast.

You have to be kind to yourself.

You have to understand that you have been through trauma. And not just a little bit; psychosis is severe trauma of the psyche, and it leaves scars.

You may still be dealing with the ramifications of your psychosis for quite some time after level-setting. It may include trying to repair relationships with friends and family, trying to reconnect with people that you lost connection with due to your actions, and even seeking out government assistance while you work on recovery.

But no matter what, level-setting is one of the most important steps of recovery. Don’t forget it. Don’t neglect it.

V. Buritsch

A freelancer, fiction writer, podcast listener, fantasy reader who sometimes remembers to write for herself on occasion. She has a BA in English and Management, and currently lives in the Pacific Northwest.

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