The author of this article, Danei Edelen, Executive Director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Brown County Ohio, presents a poignant and accurate retelling of what it is like to live in the aftermath of psychosis. This stage of psychosis recovery is very near and dear to my heart because it’s hard to explain to others how the pain remains after the madness has evacuated.
For some reason, this article’s comment section has been turned off . .or never turned on. Below is my response to her frank and insightful retelling of her journey:
Danei, thank you for this intimate story of what it is like to go through the recovery process after negotiating the challenges of psychosis.
Now that my psychosis has cleared and I am almost two years into the recovery effort, it is hard for others to understand why I’m not immediately back up and functioning in a high-level management position as if nothing ever happened.
I think that the mainstream views the struggle as a whole by distilling the experience into a “was crazy/not crazy” narrative. When the reality is that breaking from psychosis is an equally disruptive event — all of a sudden, everything you trusted and believed in crumbles into disturbing remnants of delusion. Your universe is flipped upside down and nearly destroyed. It is a cataclysmic experience.
After my psychosis broke, I had to attend almost six months of intensive outpatient rehabilitation treatment. Much like soldiers recovering from PTSD, I had to learn to look people in the eyes again, verbally address strangers, and hold my cool at the sudden onset of loud noises or disruptive surroundings.
Like you, I have found self-confidence and purpose with launching myself into NAMI’s support and advocacy programs. I appreciate your story, and I think, together, our stories will help many others.