Blog John, Mental Health

Onset of Psychosis (ii) John.

I just did the funniest typo. I was hitting the brackets button, which is also the 9, and then hit exclamation mark twice, which is also 1. So the title for the post came up as ‘Onset of Psychosis 911’. I love things like that! Anyhoo that’s not what I’m here to write about but thought it worth sharing. In my last post Onset of Psychosis (i) John. I started  to tell the story of my first episode of psychosis, which would eventually lead to my only true manic high. I reckon it will take one more post to finish this story, so lets pick up where we left off…

So I found myself in this dream like state, almost as if I’d stepped into another dimension, and I was walking through Edinburgh to take a seven mile bus journey back to my parents. By now everything was becoming a ‘sign’ to me, shop names, adverts, even road signs. At one point I remember seeing a sign for a road diversion and considering if I should follow it or not. It was like I’d stepped into my very own version of The Matrix (I imagine others prone to delusions, like me, maybe got as much enjoyment out of those films as I did…but from a slightly different perspective lol.)

When I got on the bus I experienced for the first time something that has only ever happened during this initial period. I could smell a terrible rotting smell on the bus. I’m just discovering as I write this that it’s called Phantosmia (Unpleasant phantosmia, cacosmia, is more common and is often described as smelling something that is burned, foul, spoiled, or rotten.[ )Wikipedia.) It can manifest in acute psychiatric conditions. Isn’t this blog great? I’m the guy writing it and I’m learning new stuff! I would experience other moments like this over the coming week, but next time around it became a pleasant smell of tangerine and violets. When it happened again it was like an early warning system that I was about to slip into the delusional world again.

So I got home to my parents around 11.00p.m. My mum was still up and I did something quite remarkable at this point. I was quite lucid, and I managed to completely mask that I was experiencing such fantastical thought and events in this recently formed new found me. I was just like my everyday self. So I sat down and switched on the T.V. People who have experiences of delusional psychosis will probably note this wasn’t the best of ideas, but I was new to the team. So by pure luck one of the strangest films committed to celluloid was on, William Friedkin’s version of the Harold Pinter play The Birthday Party. This is a film so unusual it could probably induce mild delusion in the most stable of minds lol. I was completely engrossed. My mother remarked, ‘Well this is too weird for me.’ And went off to bed. If only she knew. So now I’m thinking a weird movie on telly is somehow a coded message to me. Things were getting very interesting. After a bit the film began to unsettle me slightly, so I decided to go to bed and prepare for my mission tomorrow. I had no idea what this mission was, but it was definitely important and I was quite looking forward to it…


Nearly 22 years later I find myself doing a degree in Theatre and Scriptwriting. I decided I needed to get familiar with some Harold Pinter so grabbed his first play The Birthday Party from the library last year. At that point I had no idea that this was what I had watched all those years ago. I was quietly amazed when I began to read and I realised it was Mr Pinter that caused all the bother way back. If you’re familiar with his work you’ll probably agree he’d be delighted to know that. I really enjoyed reading the whole play…and yes… it’s just as weird as the film. 😉

2 thoughts on “Onset of Psychosis (ii) John.”

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