We all see the world differently - it's one of the things that makes us who we are and gives us things to talk about.
If you're experiencing psychosis (also called a psychotic episode), this view of the world can become confused and you might feel like you've lost touch with reality or are experiencing things very differently to others (in a way that might not be real). This could include feeling paranoid, having hallucinations, believing things that aren't real or feeling very muddled.
Psychosis can be the result of a really stressful experience in your life, be a symptom of a mental health condition or happen at the same time as drug use. It sounds really scary but it's usually temporary and, with treatment, most people make a full recovery.
How it can feel
If you're experiencing a psychotic episode, you might notice new symptoms that aren't there when you're feeling well. These could include:
- Disordered thoughts - Feeling like your thoughts are muddled, confused or not quite right. This makes it difficult to concentrate, for example, when reading, watching TV or during a conversation;
- Delusions - Beliefs you have which aren't real, such as, believing you're particularly special, that you’re being controlled by others or that you're part of an experiment;
- Paranoia - Suspiciousness and delusional beliefs – for example that you're being watched by people, harassed, followed, poisoned or that you’re part of a conspiracy;
- Hallucinations - Hearing, seeing, smelling or feeling something or someone that isn’t there.
You might also feel like you've 'lost' something or that part of your normal personality has changed. This could include:
- Feeling withdrawn - Having no energy or motivation to see people or do things you normally would do;
- Emotional responses - You may show less of an emotional response or appear a bit detached from things going on around you;
- Isolation - You may not feel like talking to others, ignore your family and friends and prefer to stay by yourself;
- Preoccupation - You may be engrossed with other things and less involved in the world around you.
When to seek help
Psychosis is not something you should try and deal with alone. Getting help early can have a big impact on recovery, so please talk to someone if you're experiencing any of the symptoms listed above.