I have a doozy of medical diagnosis of the mind. I have anxiety disorder which, for me, means I can’t even stay in a big box store for no more than about fifteen minutes. I can’t be in crowds and meeting new people is really hard.

I also have obsessive compulsive disorder. This mental illness follows under the umbrella of anxiety. Let me me break down obsessive compulsive disorder. My OCD gets worse under stress. When I moved out after living with my parents because of my bipolar disorder. I found my OCD strained. I started obsessing about my safety. At night I had to check the locks five times, the same as when I left the apartment. The obsession was my safety. The compulsive bit was checking on the locks.

My repetitive hand washing is a compulsion. I get fixated on numbers that are multiples of five. That being said, when I get stressed out I wash my hands – 5 times, 25 times – you get it. The obsession is that something bad is going to happen.

My bipolar disorder is complex, as it is for many. First of all, I live with rapid thoughts. For me that is like watching images and sounds from a projector. One after the other these images slam inside my skull in an effort to confuse me.

No one prepares us for what life will be like with a mental illness, a severe mental illness such as bipolar disorder. We hear the professionals try and help (at least the good ones), but dear reader, there is no cure, there is simply better. Our “normal” friends try to understand, but it is this – this thing they probably haven’t had to deal with every moment of every day. It is not that they do not care, it is simply that they do not know how to understand.

Some of us live also with psychosis, which is a mental disorder characterized by symptoms, such as delusions or hallucinations, that indicate impaired contact with reality. Yep. Bull’s eye. Over the weekend, I experienced a new hallucination. I believed my left arm was grey and decaying. I did not want to be alone so this thirty nine year old ran to mom and dad’s place. Both of the assured me that my arm was okay and my skin was fine. I still find it grotesque and am glad I will be able to video chat with my therapist tomorrow.

Over the years, I have had more than enough of hallucinations. Back in the early days, it would come as a someone knocking on the door when there was no one there. I would think rats and mice were running the floor boards. I believed I could fly. I would climb out of my bedroom and would climb outside to the spine of the three story house. I knew I could fly to the little girls’s bedroom across the street and she and I could fly around the neighbourhood. I once saw fur growing on my feet. I could see it and feel it, but that was not reality. In that particular episode, I also thought I could see shapes in the air.

One of the scariest hallucinations was when I believed that there was this blue devil who was going to kill me. Another was the rustle of leaves telling me to end my life. It is SO hard sometimes to discern what is real and what is not. With proper therapy and medication, psychotic episodes may allow us all to see a marked improvement. Do not be afraid, tell your professional help. They are there for a reason.