A Life Lived Vividly Series – Psychotic Doesn’t Equal Dangerous
These are all words that people relate to psychosis. We all need to stop using it as a derogatory term. So often I hear people described as psychotic when they’re being cruel, or acting unpredictably. Recently I saw someone on twitter describing an ex as a ‘psychotic nazi.’ Politicians, especially a certain orange American one are constantly being described as psychotic. It’s lazy and ignorant to use a mental illness to negatively describe someone.
Psychosis is a mental health condition that makes you feel;
I have psychosis. I hear things that aren’t really there. I’m a danger to myself when I hear voices. Those living with hallucinations and delusions are some of the most vulnerable in society. Feeling detached from reality and not being sure what you’re seeing or hearing is real can be terrifying.
Once I’d just turned the lights off and got into bed. Out of nowhere, I heard a voice, as if someone was speaking right into my ear. The voice whispered in a slow, assured tone,
“I see you.” I sat straight up in bed, my heart thudding in my chest. I couldn’t move, I felt paralysed with fear. I couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night. I couldn’t calm down and kept hearing that voice whisper in my ear. Even now when someone says that phrase I’m transported back to that night and I feel deeply uncomfortable.
People with psychosis are far more likely to hurt themselves than others. According to Time To Change
‘Over a third of the public think people with a mental health problem are likely to be violent.’
Psychosis doesn’t make you a ‘psycho’. It doesn’t make you a freak. It doesn’t mean you’re scary. It doesn’t mean you’re dangerous.
How do you think it makes those feel that have psychosis to keep hearing the word used to describe murderers and violent criminals? Hearing it in tag lines for horror films and descriptions for Halloween costumes? It hurts. It makes a tiny piece of you feel that maybe you’re actually evil and dangerous, because you’ve heard it so many times.
I’m in a place now where I understand my condition, and I’m learning to manage it. It wasn’t always this way and for me and many others like me I was terrified of opening up about my experiences for years.
Too many people mix up the meaning of psychosis with other disorders. They use the term psychopath to describe those with psychosis. They aren’t the same thing. Psychosis means a person will hear, see or feel things that aren’t really there, or a combination of these. It doesn’t mean you’re going to go hurt anyone.
We’re ill not dangerous. We deserve compassion, understanding and to be listened to without judgement. Please think about the language you use and how harmful it can be. Your words can cause more harm than you realise. They could cause someone to remain silent and not look for help that they desperately need.