There is a secret that many people with depression live with. In their world, psychosis may be rampant or simply evident. Sometimes they are aware of this but other times they are not. It can be a very scary world where one’s neighbor might be a spy and the world is against them.
More and more people are getting comfortable explaining that they have depression or anxiety but some individuals who suffer from such diseases also suffer from psychosis. There are likely many undiagnosed cases as it is not a fun thing to discuss with a doctor and is not always identifiable by those with these symptoms. There are many people who suffer from paranoia who never seek help as it is normal to them and they have no idea they have it. Unfortunately sometimes when they do admit their diagnosis they are marginalized and looked down upon.
There are extreme cases where prisoners have been abused due to their illnesses. According to The Post and Courier, in a recent case brought before the courts in the United States, prisoners with mental illness were found to be mistreated. The judge in the case blamed underfunding and insufficient staff contributed to the violation of human rights of mentally ill prisoners. In the same article, the writer recounts the punishment of a prisoner who slashed his arm. The prisoner’s arm was wrapped in gauze and he was placed in a restraint chair for acting out. Bleeding from the wound, he repeatedly asked for help saying he could not feel his arm and he could only see white but the guard callously responded that he had done everything he could.
It is a terrible waste of time to treat mentally ill inmates as if they are misbehaving. Treating their disorder is the fastest way to get these poor folks back into normal society. Often it is their illness that has landed them in jail in the first place and so treating them would help remedy the problem. Why people develop paranoia and psychosis in the first place is an interesting question.
According to an article in Psych Central, there is depression, which many people have, and there is psychotic depression in which the patient may hear or see hallucinations or have delusions on top of having symptoms of depression. They may think they can read other people’s thoughts and may not think their thoughts are their own. Researchers are not sure exactly what causes psychotic depression but they know it is linked with elevated levels of cortisol and a family history of psychosis.
According to the article, people with the illness often believe that their delusional thoughts are real and try to hide them even if they are aware of them. It is very difficult to diagnose this illness and sometimes people are misdiagnosed or have multiple diagnoses from different psychiatrists.
People with this diagnosis are not really strange and are usually indistinguishable from those without it. In fact, there are a number of new mothers with paranoia who get diagnosed with postpartum depression. There is nothing scary about these people and their secret worlds of psychosis do not often affect those around them.
It is really important that society learns how to deal with people with mental illness. The stigma surrounding these disorders negatively effects these patients and they are more likely to develop social phobias on top of all the rest of their disorders. Usually the paranoia is quite manageable with treatment and medication. People live in their own weird little worlds no matter whether they have depression, anxiety or are healthy. Having to hide one’s psychosis is sad but discrimination is why there is a secret world of depression. Perhaps the world will soon learn to embrace these people and reduce the need for secrecy.
Opinion by: Nicole Drawc