health

The confronting video showing the reality behind severe psychosis.

Trigger warning: This post deals with mental illness, and the accompanying video may be triggering for some people.

For 20-year-old Sophie Eliza, the world is usually privy to only one side of her.

It’s a smiling face, an arm around her boyfriend, a carefully considered front. It’s a side that works alongside the side she usually keeps to herself.

A side that has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD): a mental condition that is marked by a pattern of ongoing instability in moods, behaviour, self-image, and functioning. One of the symptoms of her disorder is severe psychosis.

And so, just over a week ago, Sophie decided it was time the world saw. It was time they understood what psychosis looks like, what it sounds like and what it entails. It was time they realised that mental illnesses aren’t “romantic or beautiful or cute.”

So the UK resident uploaded a video of her own experience with psychosis onto Facebook. A week later, that post had been liked more than 21,000 times and shared more than 30,000 times.

“This is the reality of psychotic illnesses,” she wrote on Facebook, juxtaposing a photo of her usual smiling self with a video of her experience with psychosis.

“This is the reality for some with bipolar, or BPD, severe depression or schizophrenia (all of which I’ve been diagnosed with at some point). Mental illnesses aren’t romantic or beautiful or cute. Mental illnesses are scary, terrifying. Mental illnesses aren’t a personality trait. Mental illnesses aren’t a quirk.

“And I am not too happy to have one (or several). Mental illnesses are serious, they’re dangerous and ugly. This is the reality of being triggered by something. It’s not a joke, or a laugh. Being triggered by something can lead to this. This state of pure agony and fear,” she wrote.

Sophie went on to lament a section of society who are still ignorant about mental health, continuing to “flippantly” use words like “depressed”, “anxious”, “bipolar” and “schizo”.

“I am a happy, smiley person. This is temporary, I hope. I am getting better every day, even if I still have some bad days. In fact I can’t emphasise enough how much better I am than this time last year,” she added.

The support of the people around her, particularly her boyfriend, has been paramount in being able to work through her psychotic episodes, Sophie told Metro this week.

“My boyfriend is absolutely amazing – when I’m in a bad way he stays very calm, and talks me through our dream house that we’ve imagined together to focus my mind on something else.

ADVERTISEMENT

“He also began reading to me at night to help me sleep without lying awake and thinking myself into a depressive state. But apart from that he treats me normally – we’re a normal couple.”

Since the video took hold of the internet and ignited conversations about reducing the stigma of mental health, Sophie has started a blog to articulate more of her experiences. Of note is one blog post the student wrote in response to her video going viral, saying some of the responses were so negative it meant she lost her job.

Source: Facebook.

"I’m glad my original post has resonated with so many people as I believe its such an important message.

"While of course the majority of the reactions to my post against stigma have been positive, there have been plenty of negative reactions. Some so negative the people sought out where I worked and expressed their concern about me working with children, so I lost my job."

Despite what appears to be quite the injustice in response to a post that took incredible bravery to write, Sophie says she is doing "okay" since the video became such a talking point.

"I’m okay by the way, in case you’re worried. I want to raise awareness and fight the stigma, but not at the expense of my own health.

"You are not alone. I am with you. We will fight this together and win."

If this post brings up issues for you, or you just need someone to talk to, please call Lifeline on 131 114. You can also visit the Lifeline website here and the Beyond Blue website here.
Tags: awareness , health , mental-health , video , viral
00:00 / ???