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Living with a Hallucination

For more than a decade, my world has been a whirlwind of chaos and constant companionship. I've forgotten what it's like to experience peace and solitude. Allow me to take you through my journey:

It all began when I was just 20 years old. While I was taking a refreshing shower, a piercing cry filled the air, sending shivers down my spine. Frantically, I searched every nook and cranny of the house, only to find nothing but an eerie silence. Initially, I brushed it off as a byproduct of exam stress or the medications I was taking for my mental health. Little did I know that this was just the beginning of an extraordinary and perplexing chapter of my life. A few weeks later, as I drove to one of my university lectures, a figure suddenly appeared in front of me, seemingly crossing the street.

My heart raced as I slammed on the brakes, narrowly avoiding a collision. But to my bewilderment, my roommate later confirmed that there was no one there. The lines between reality and illusion began to blur, leaving me questioning my sanity. Desperate to maintain a sense of normalcy, I wrestled with my inner turmoil, all while this mysterious hallucination became a constant companion by my side.

Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months as I battled in silence, afraid to burden my loved ones with the weight of my secret. I struggled to stay present during lectures, my mind torn between the real world and the realm of my hallucination. It was a lonely and isolating experience, a silent struggle that consumed me from within.

One fateful day, unable to bear the weight of my secret any longer, I confided in my psychiatrist, laying bare the truth of my existence. The revelation led to an immediate admission into a psychiatric ward, where I embarked on a quest for answers and healing. Countless treatments were attempted, but the enigma of my hallucination remained unsolved. With a heavy heart, I had to bid farewell to my studies and dedicate myself to exploring every possible avenue for relief.

During my journey, I found solace in the deceptive embrace of drugs, seeking temporary respite from the relentless presence of my hallucination. It was a desperate attempt to regain control, to feel a semblance of normalcy. I fooled everyone around me, including myself, with the facade of functioning and success. But like a house built on a foundation of sand, my world crumbled when the drugs ran dry. Reality came crashing back with a vengeance, the hallucination resurged stronger than ever before. It was a devastating blow, one that led me back to the confines of the psychiatric ward, where my battle for sanity continued.

Those months in the psychiatric ward were a tumultuous rollercoaster ride. I desperately clung to the hope of finding a treatment that would banish my constant companion. Yet, one evaluation after another, one therapy session after another, the truth became undeniable – my hallucination was here to stay. I had to learn to accept the unbreakable bond we shared, to forge a relationship with an entity only I could perceive.

With time, our relationship evolved. Though it still had its challenges, we settled into a peculiar friendship. Let me clarify – there was no romantic involvement. Instead, he became my protector, fiercely guarding me from the perils of the world. But his presence, while comforting, also posed obstacles in my relationships with others. Always at my side, he bore witness to both my triumphs and struggles, casting a shadow that sometimes clouded my interactions with loved ones. In moments of neglecting my self-care, he would manifest his frustrations physically and verbally, adding another layer of complexity to our bond.

To navigate these challenges, I turned to Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), harnessing its powerful tools like opposite action and "fake it till you make it." Opposite action taught me to defy my immediate emotions and urges, reaching out to friends or engaging in activities that brought me joy, even when every fibre of my being wanted to retreat. And "fake it till you make it" became my mantra, acting as if I felt a certain way, even if I initially didn't. Something as simple as putting on a smile, even when I felt broken inside, could work wonders, tricking my mind into experiencing moments of genuine happiness. These skills became my lifeline, helping me break free from negative patterns and reclaim control over my narrative.

Through this challenging journey, I've learned the importance of self-compassion. It's been emotionally and mentally draining, so I've granted myself permission to take breaks and prioritize self-care. Every step forward, no matter how small, deserves celebration. I remind myself of the immense progress I've made and the resilience that has carried me through the darkest of days. Living with a chronic hallucination has been a relentless battle, but it has also shaped me into a person of unwavering strength and determination. I am proud of my story, this is a reminder you should be proud of yours too.

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