Mental Health, Thoughts

Sober Hallucination

Talking About Mental illness | DavsArt

I’ve hallucinated a few times in my life, most of those experiences were drug induced. I was a wild kid. But later in life I experienced a sober hallucination. I am not schizophrenic, I have bipolar and PTSD. I will never be sure what caused this experience. I was told it was a result of PTSD, I was under a lot of stress at the time that I did not know how to cope with. But in the interest of opening up about mental illness I thought this story might shed some light on what it may be like to hallucinate. That quote by Pablo Picasso ‘Everything You Can Imagine Is Real’ rings true to me. Reality is subjective. I know from the story below there may not have been an alien under that car, but it was, for that time, my reality. The feelings were real, I was wholly convinced. For me this is a glimpse into what it may be like to hallucinate on a daily basis. My friends who experience auditory, tactile, and visual hallucinations have explained to me that they have adapted, and most of the time have learned to recognize what is a hallucination and what is real. I don’t know anyone who does not take medication to help manage it. I think my hallucination may have been a bit more intense than that of someone who is well versed in sober hallucinating. But I don’t really know that for sure.

If you think this is too much information, it’s because people are still too afraid to be open about mental illness, and that’s a shame.  Here is my story. This event happened in 2006.

I get out of the cab, it’s dark, the parking lot is full. I walk softly toward my apartment. Streetlight glowing. I look down and catch a glimpse of otherworldly eyes peering at me from beneath a car. I see an inhuman body crouching. Dread floods through me, adrenaline pumping, I have this un-shaking, paralyzing fear. Irrational thoughts grow like mutant tree roots throughout my brain. What lies beneath that car is unnatural, a villainous creature come to suck out my very last breath. I have no doubt that if I look again it will come for me. My heart races. Each step is a gamble. I must walk by that car. Every move deepens and intensifies the moment. The slow motion horror. But I can’t stop, there is no where else to go. It’s past 3am. I make it passed the car and slowly walk down the steps to my apartment believing that if I acknowledge what is behind me I will die. Inside now. The door is bolted shut. I sit against the door listening, trying not to breath, too afraid to move.

~Sarah Davenport 2014

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2 thoughts on “Sober Hallucination

  1. Psychosis (delusions or hallucinations) can occur with bipolar disorder (it does for me several times a year). While I can tell penguins in my bedroom are a hallucination (duh, right?) there are elements that feel so real I don’t know where so called “reality” starts. Great post, thanks for that!

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