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Shannon Love’s story of psychosis while a mother of 3, living abroad is compelling. Her story isn’t only only compelling because as a person who’s never suffered psychosis I get a peek into her world. No, what’s compelling is her family’s fight for her sanity. See, as she was in the midst of her first psychotic break, she thought all was well.
The way that Shannon tells her story will draw you in. If not from a place of fear, then wonder. If not from fear or question, then sheer honesty and bravery. The amazing strength she, her family, and close friends demonstrated is one that will inspire you to keep fighting. You’ll read that as she fought for her sanity she wasn’t sure of anything. And suddenly struggling with not just mental illness, but psychosis, she was confused.
At times, I would get lost and confused, as I tried to follow the events and understand her experiences. That’s part of the point though. From my limited understanding of psychosis through training and education, I still have no true understanding of what psychosis is really like. I have no understanding what it’s like to have such grandiose thoughts, persecutive thoughts, or even auditory hallucinations. Shannon Love will take you there, though. You’ll grasp a better understanding of what psychosis can be like. Psychosis is different for different people, but this is a better glimpse than none at all.
In the United States alone, it’s estimated there are about 1 in 500 people who have experienced psychosis in their life.
Psychosis can manifest in different ways, sometimes with another mental health diagnosis, sometimes not. Generally, a psychotic episode occurs between the teen years and 30s. General health, as well as a history of mental health problems can indicate a likelihood for a psychotic episode, though that’s not always the case.
Psychosis typically manifests with some or all of these symptoms:
- disorganized thoughts or speech
- disorganized or abnormal motor behavior
Each person who experiences an episode of psychosis experiences it differently than the next, even if their symptoms are seemingly similar.
There are many ways to assist someone who may be having a psychotic episode. A big piece is to be supportive and seek professional medical and mental health assistance. One of the best ways to assist, is by contacting your local mental health authority or 911 for immediate help. You can also contact the SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline at 1-877-726-4727.
As Shannon Love outlines in her ‘Note From Author’ chapter, she recovered with the “good fortune” of unconditional love, her husband’s employer, mental health efforts of many psychiatrists and psychologists, seeking knowledge, being naturally stubborn, and writing. She also writes, “Simply open your heart, delight in life’s joys, and offer compassion when you mind wants to judge.”
About Shannon Love
Shannon Love began life in rural Alabama as a seemingly stable and content youngster. After marrying her childhood sweetheart she continued on this path of fulfillment, expanding her household to five members and thoroughly enjoying a nomadic and international lifestyle. Three countries and five states later our author suffered a psychotic break, forcing her into yet another world—that of mental illness. Repatriated to the U.S., she now resides in Houston, Texas with her husband, two sons, and daughter.