This is a survival skill kit. This is not a road map to live with psychosis or hearing voices. There is a difference. There are also continues to be different takes on the long term sustainability of doing so. In cases like this you will want to do your research. To begin your search, refer to hearing voices networks and life choices to live in more complex ecosystems that include voice hearing and altered realities. In terms of mere survival, however, have you been diagnosed as having a psychotic disorder or are you being treated for psychosis? More importantly, are you experiencing symptoms of psychosis? I guess what really matters is, is your reality or how to understand the world around you so radically altered that living is hard to tolerate.
When thinking about this, now ask yourself : Are you prepared for your psychosis to worsen? If not, you may want to prepare yourself for the worst when you are first diagnosed. This means getting to know how your psychotic symptoms impact you on a moment by-moment basis through self-reflection, and practice. This article will explore all three phases of preparedness. Please review the survival skills learned here with your therapist before implementing them in your living environment.
On a moment by moment basis, get to know yourself, and your review your patterns of interactions with others closely: Begin with your external world, and when you do so without incident. In negotiating the world, how do others evaluate your mental status? Not every second (don’t feel the need to get caught up in every social exchange) but take notice globally across your day or week. Do people generally notice your clothing or profundity in thought or any level of interaction depending on your job, or reason for connecting with others in the social world. This will determine how to track your own ability to continue to sustain meaningful interactions with the outer world, and largely get what you need to sustain yourself: medical, employment, food and resources (purchasing) and even locomotion (getting from point A to B).
In the event you have a full break you will need to communicate with people for your basic needs. For example, you cannot walk into a supermarket and buy groceries without speaking with a cashier. For obtaining medication, you will need to communicate with a pharmacist. At the onset of your diagnosis you should become familiar with these people and life processes (how do these people respond to you when you are feeling normal? How do they respond when you don’t feel so well?) Remember, how you behave under either circumstance to get what you need and do so without incident and doing so with the smallest chance of harm done is critical.
You will need to execute these activities of daily living without incident at every level. This means, you must function well enough to not alarm others or cause distress (to yourself and others) even during a “break” so always be prepared! Knowing how to complete these tasks at different levels of functioning will be critical for completing them seamlessly when you’re operating at diminished capacity or during a “break”. Reflect on your experiences. Ask yourself questions about how you felt the task could have been completed a different way or improved upon or done so with less distress during increasing distance from your norm.
Be sure to reflect on the people you interacted with and evaluate how they responded to you when you felt fine or how they were when you were hearing voices? This is a great way of knowing if this person can be relied upon when you aren’t feeling so well. If he or she treated you with disrespect each time you were hearing voices but nicely when you felt normal this is not a person to include in your survival plan. Healthy intersections, even in the wake of distress, are stable and non judgmental.
Many psychotic disorders are life-long illnesses. You should always be practicing your survival skills. Always discuss with your therapist and review the outcome and results of practicing and revise your plans accordingly. Do you usually get lost on the way to the supermarket when you are only oriented partially? By revising your plans and knowing your weak points during illness and wellness you will improve your possibilities for navigating a break each time and more importantly your safety.