• Mair Elliott

Experiencing hallucinations..

During a recent exploration of my computer files I stumbled upon and file named 'ramblings', intrigued I opened the file and discovered a couple of short written pieces. I have only vague memories relating to writing these pieces, and so it was a fascinating find. One, titled 'I value honesty', particularly caught me. Having read it numerous times, I'm still struggling to put into words how I feel about this.

Something I don't talk about very often is the fact that I experience hallucinations, I would say that when younger I experienced multiple short psychotic episodes. My hallucinations started as hearing voices when I was about 15, but then I started to see things as well. The voices would shout derogatory comments at me, narrate my actions and talk between themselves. Unfortunately, I was so scared of how people would react if I told them that I kept it a secret. Over time the voices grew in intensity and how much they affected my ability to function. It reached a critical point and at this point I started to see things too. I would see characters, namely; Anna, Daniel, Toby and a few other whom I didn't get to know very well. Again, I was so afraid that I kept it to myself. At 16, I realised after suffering with severe self harm, suicidal feelings and intentions, uncontrollable anxiety, debilitating depression and other problems, that I needed to do something. I told the people closest to me about hearing voices and the wheels were set in motion to hospitalise me. I still was too scared to tell people about the visual hallucinations. I went through 4 months of hospital treatment with no on realising that I could not only hear things, but see things also.

Upon being discharged a quick and marked decline in my health in the community saw that I started to believe in odd things. I remember telling my psychiatrist that Russia's siege of Crimea was my fault, and truly believing it. It was at this point I told people I could see things. Most of the time I had a vague understanding that they weren't quite real, but I would go through episodes were I truly thought and believed in the bizarre imaginings of my brain.

I don't talk about this a lot because I've never really processed it or given it much thought. I also have a strange connection to my hallucinations - almost as if they're MY hallucinations and I don't want the world to pick and and prod and investigate. I'm at a stage where I know they are not real, I know they are a result of my brain trying to process information that is difficult and painful. I live in fear that my brain will lose the barrier between reality and imagination again, it is frightening and disorienting, to say the least. This short piece was written as I was going through that period of mini-psychotic episodes, I hope it sheds some light on what it can feel like;

"Do you want to know something? I value honesty more than most other things. Why? Because every morning I wake to nightmares that belong to my sleeping brain. I walk through my life in a haze of imagination cross dressing as reality. I see things that would stop most people from functioning, but I have to wake, live, eat, and sleep in my wonderland. My wonderland is not full of eccentric characters singing songs, but of bizarre, confusing and terrifying things.

Sometimes I can feel the darkness corrupting my body and my mind, with its’ cruel distortions leeching into my head with a certain strength that stumps me. Other times it hits me like a train on tracks and my fall from grace becomes shocking and horrific. Devils dance in my ears, tricksters play with my mind, and I wake every morning to fight the same demons which left me so exhausted the night before.

I value honesty because I can’t guarantee the honesty of my own mind. I value honesty because I get screwed over by my own brain on a daily basis, and to have the supposed reality to do the same is quite simply heart breaking. "

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About Me

I am a young patient  activist, speaking openly about life with mental illness and autism. My activism includes public speaking, trying to affect change in mental health and/or autism services by contributing to relevant organisations, panels, committees and executive boards. I hope to break down misconceptions, stereotypes and stigma relating to mental illness and autism, and to create a future where mental health services are fit for purpose.

Want to hear me speak? Curious about my story? Think I could help you or your organisation to understand mental health and/or Autism?

Get in touch; Mair.elliott97@gmail.com


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