Friday, June 29, 2007

Psychosis & your loved ones PART 2

This post is about my second psychotic episode and the effect it had on those around me. For the 1st episode go here

If my first psychosis was triggered by weed (operative word "triggered" not "caused"), then my second one was triggered by stress. It happened 3 years after my first one. In those 3 years my life had got back to total normality, I went to University to study Philosophy, but dropped out to start my own clothing biz. From there I went into business broking, and was doing a roaring trade. I was piling all my money into the stock market, which was also roaring.

Then suddenly in a matter of 5 days some fairly stressful things coincided. I was doing my commerce exams through correspondence and had left everything till the very last minute. My biggest exam was on a Monday. But that Monday when I awoke, world stock markets developed a major crack, and started falling... and falling. Eventually that Monday would become known as "Black Monday", even now, an infamous day in world economic history. Stockbrokers in New York were jumping out of windows, and world leaders were tense. I got totally caught up in all the panic and tension. With a major exam (for which I was totally underprepared) about 5 hours away. And my next door neighbour doing the loudest clanging and banging building restorations since 5am that morning.

On the way to the exam, I cracked. I turned the car around and drove home. And next thing I knew, all the demons and angels from my first psychosis were right back with me. It was like I'd lost my way and been asleep, and forgotten about my profound calling in life.

I grabbed my bicycle and started cycling all over the city. I had discovered an exhilerating new form of cycling, finding the steepest hills, and cycling down them as fast as I could with my arms stretched out wide like a flying bird. I suddenly discovered such, balance, such control, it was like I could really fly. I could even weave in and out of the morning traffic, oblivious of the incredulous expressions of the drivers' faces. I spent a whole day like this, up and down the steepest, and busiest hills in Durban. Energy was boundless.

My parents and sister were devastated. This time, when I rushed around to their house babbling about the Grand Satanic Plot, they knew exactly what it meant. And I had made such a major recovery since my first psychosis that everyone had presumed that that had just been a "flash in the plan". A once-off wobble that would soon be buried in the deep recesses of memory.
This time I steered well clear of any psychiatrists. No matter what happened, I was not going to land up in a hospital again. I went to the family Doctor, and he gave me some anti-psychotics. Then my Dad took me up to the mountains for about a week. Just him and I in a little cabin. Those few days were very special for me. We went for long, long walks, me babbling my head off about the Apocolypse, my Dad just patiently listening. Slowly the babbling subsided and when I got home I was pretty much back in reality.

I had a live-in girlfriend at the time. Unlike my Dad, she didn't understand it at all. She was in the fashion industry, a major trendoid, and hung with all the coolest chicks in town. And as far as she was concerned she had been going out with a young, up & coming stockmarket tycoon, not a spiritual lunatic from the Edge. Whilst I was in the mountains, she and her friends had taken my car and hit the south coast casino for a night on the town. When I got back, I suppose you could say that she tried to be understanding, but it was obvious from that stage onwards that we were no longer on the same page, not even the same fckn chapter.

My sanity recovered, I sold all my shares, said goodbye to the plastic business world and we headed for Europe where we travelled around for a year. After 9 months I parted ways with the girlfriend, and continued travelling on my own.

Bottom line: In looking back, yeah, my psychosis definitely sent that relationship off track. And all I can say is Thank God!


  1. your dad sounds really cool, taking you away like that and hanging out keeping you safe until you came back.

  2. Yeah. A cool dad, for sure.

    My first full-on mania got me out of finishing high-school and the second one extracted me from the music video biz. That's a neat way to think about it. Thanks.


Recent Posts