symptoms Archive

Four Ways to Help Show Support to a Loved One with a Phobia

I would like to welcome the newest member of our writing team, Nic Alea. In their first post with us, they give valuable tips on how to support someone with a phobia or other anxiety disorder. Thanks for sharing with us, Nic!

One thing that has hurt me over the years is my consistent effort to try and tell people that I have Ichthyophobia (Fear of Fish) and people not taking it seriously. Well it’s serious. This phobia, although somewhat uncommon, can trigger me anywhere, whether it’s a picture on the internet or in a museum, a fish market, or walking into a shop with a fish tank, shit can be really scary sometimes. It’s already hard to tell people intimate things about ourselves and it’s even worse when people don’t believe it.

Small Steps: Adventures in Prescriptions and Dosing

After a lot of work with my psychiatrist, we managed to, more or less, titrate my medications to acceptable doses that managed my anxiety and depression (again, more or less). Primarily, these were my Paxil and Wellbutrin, which are my long term maintenance medications. A little bit of Ambien here to counter the side effects, and a little bit of Klonopin there to pick up the occasional slack (an intense background social anxiety), and I’m pretty much golden.

New Experiences

A few months ago, I saw someone who was not there. I woke up in the middle of the night and saw a woman with long hair and a long dress leaning over the bed. She was not frightening or threatening in any way. I gradually realized that I was seeing her features more clearly than I should be able to, given how dark the room was. Then she faded away. I am as certain that I was awake then as I am ever certain that I am awake.

Crisis Checklist

Inspired by work people have done on madness maps and mental health first aid kits, I decided to make a checklist/flowchart to use when I am having a particularly hard time or am in crisis. It was a good process for me to make because it helped me to really think about what has helped me or caused me trouble in the past. I really like that we can make these sorts of tools for ourselves instead of relying on more general (often judgmental) dos and don’ts or advice from people who never know us as well as we know ourselves.

Fuck. Schizoaffective?

The last few weeks have been chaotic for me. I’ve been in a mixed episode, and starting last week, I’ve been hearing voices. Whispers, chatter, and someone calling my name. All either alone, or only with my partner nearby, and she’s confirmed that they aren’t things that she’s heard. I’ve also been feeling like the crows that wake me up in the morning are mocking me. I’ve known for months that something like this was inevitable, but it’s still jarring to experience a psychotic episode for your first time.