Hallucination

“They’re not real. They’re not real.” You try to tell me. 

You don’t have to convince me. 

And yet, at 3 am every morning, when the whole neighborhood is fast asleep, and you’re no longer here to remind me…they share my bed with me, their voice like a ringing in my ears. 

Their companionship is truer than yours, more persistent than all your corrective voices put together, their presence more constant than my dead husband’s ever was.

Call them my friends or my disease. Like my shadow, my smell…they accompany me my every waking moment. 

{Sometimes…I wish I believed in God. Maybe this will make more sense?}

You can find brief descriptions of different kinds of Hallucination here. For a longer and more literary read, you can also consider reading Oliver Sacks’ book on Hallucination, which he discusses in this podcast. [Please note, when they talk about drug induced hallucination, it’s important to remember, as they themselves briefly touch upon, that knowing that the hallucinations are medically induced and will soon end helps to make them bearable for a neurologist like Oliver Sacks (and makes for good stories later). When listening to such stories, one should keep in mind that those who experience hallucinations induced by psychosis, trauma or other psychological causes, don’t have the luxury of knowing when and if these visions/ voices/ sensations will ever end, and may sometimes experience them all their lives. By sharing this podcast, I do not want to undermine the long and painful presence these hallucinations make for many people’s lives who cannot get rid of them as easily as Sacks did. But of course, when discussing a book on radio, one tends to focus on the more juicy parts of it.]

Here is another interesting article that provides personal accounts of auditory hallucinations and discusses the Hearing Voices Network, which is an interesting concept that has come up in some parts of the world. These networks act as support systems to those experiencing auditory hallucination or voice-hearing and view them “not as a pathological phenomenon in need of eradication but as a meaningful, interpretable experience”.

 

 

 

 

Hypochondriasis

They think I am pretending, they laugh at me behind my back (or even in front of me, those shameless devils), but I despise them just as passionately as they reject me. Do you think I enjoy taking rounds and rounds of hospitals and clinics, a different one each time, watching doctor after doctor frown at me, cut me off mid-sentence, charge enormous fees for 10 minutes of their impatient time? I have spent 20,000 INR just this month alone, on  my medical fees. That’s 20% of my salary! You think I enjoy this!? I am going to need this money for my treatment when they finally find out the cause of all this! Will they repay me for the time and money I have spent on them, each time hoping to find a doctor who will listen and sympathise, who will make use of their expensive education and help me. Instead, with each passing year, the doctors coming out of these medical colleges have shorter and shorter attention spans. They throw offhanded judgements and medicines without waiting to listen to the discomforts I have faced for the past 12 years.

I now self-monitor my weight and bloodpressure I myself; I measure them both twice everyday, making careful notes. I have instructed my daughter to video-record me every time I have my pains, to show the doctors how my skin loses its colour, my body goes limp, how I shriek with true pain. I have lost almost as much money on sick-leaves as I have on my treatments. Those doctors might find these videos more entertaining than hearing me speak. Maybe one day all these notes and videos will help a more patient, more understanding doctor get closer to finding the cause of my illness. I lose more weight everyday; my temperature fluctuates every week and my body goes weak with exhaustion without any physical strain. This is not a life anybody wishes on themselves. I will do anything to not be like this, to not inhabit this body…to work everyday without having to rush home every other week, to go out with friends without making excuses for my sickness, to be distracted for even a few hours from the tickings and runnings of my system; and I definitely don’t want to see the snarky face of another doctor who thinks they know more about my sickness that I do myself. 

If you want to read a quick description of Hypochondriasis, go here, and this is a slightly longer article explaining Hypochondriasis as an anxiety disorder . This is a more humorous personal account by Woody Allen in New York Times, who has proclaimed himself, on multiple occasions, to have acute debilitating symptoms of hypochondriasis.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder

mental health, violence, aggression, conduct disorder,

Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED)

The music gets louder and louder and louder.

I can’t hear you anymore.

Every cell in my body throbs with the percussion in my head.

I am about to burst!

If I can screech this off me and make it stop

stop STOP. I am blinded with that familiar red blaze. 

….

I open my eyes to a room of broken things, broken people 

and silence. {What have I done?}

-x-x-x-

If you want to know more about IED, you can go here and here. This article is pretty interesting too, especially if you’re a parent to someone who shows symptoms of IED.

[Please note, I am not justifying any violence brought about by IED, nor would I (or any mental health practitioner) give the impression that any kind of rage is naturally an indication of IED. All I am trying to do here is to increase the understanding and empathy for it, which then would hopefully help us deal with it in a more informed and sensitive way. IED can be really scary for both those who are going through it, and those who live with and/or love those who have it.]