Picture your best friend. Get their image in your mind. Their face, smile, laugh. The way they dress, walk, sing, and dance. The scent of their shampoo, perfume/cologne. The way they structure their stories. Picture your fondest memory of them. Picture the things you do, places you go. Remember your favorite memory, your best story together. Remember when they were there for you, the best time and the worst time. Picture when you were there for them. What you did for each other. Remember your biggest fight. Remember your dumbest fight. Close your eyes, get a clear picture of them in your brain.
Now, imagine everything you just remembered, thought of, pictured, isn’t real. Imagine it was all in your head. Imagine this person is not a person at all. Imagine you just conjured up every single memory, every image, every photo, every conversation. Imagine you are the only person on earth who knows of their existence. Imagine not one experience you had involving them is real. All of it was made up in your mind. Open your eyes and look around panicked because your best friend is not real. Picture the fear, confusion, anxiety, and terror that brings.
And now, imagine someone telling you that you’re wrong and that they are real. That you didn’t make them up in your head, but you did make up their lack of existence. Imagine that someone is holding you, comforting you, explaining to you that they’ve met your friend and know them. They worked with them, gone out to eat with them. They are real. Imagine the fear, confusion, anxiety, and terror that this also brings.
Imagine you talk to a professional after this happens. Imagine you spend an hour and a half describing your rapid mood changes, your manic pressured speech, sleepless nights and shopping sprees, other false experiences you’ve had, things only you saw and heard. Imagine they give you a name for what you are experiencing. Imagine you found out you have a schizoaffective disorder-bipolar type.
Imagine, you’re living with paranoia, hallucinations, delusions. You’re living with manic episodes, hypomanic episodes, and mixed episodes. You’re living with anxiety and panic attacks. No more imagining now, you are—and have been—living in a state of psychosis.
Finally. Fast forward. They’ve given you the right combination of medicine. You can finally breathe. You can finally think clearly. You realize that young professionals with families are not exempt from serious mental health conditions. You realize that this doesn’t define you, it doesn’t change who you are. And, you finally see the world as it was intended to be seen.