What is Your Experience of distress in Psychosis?


I am a PhD student in Psychology.
I am interested in understanding distress in Psychosis.

Can you tell me a bit about how you define distress in psychosis?

Thank you!

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Kind regards,
PhD Candidate
Psychology & Sociology
Queen Margaret University

A frizzleing or a disruption in the flow of your psyche.

I define it as an unshakeble feeling of “I have to do something about this”, despair and struggle with what is reality.


I don’t really understand what the question is…

I am interested in your understanding of distress in psychosis; how do you define, determine distress within your experience.
What is it like to be distressed?
What are the emotions, thoughts, behaviours that present when you are distressed.

I hope that makes more sense :smile:

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What I think is difficult to grasp about my schizophrenic experience is the following.

Normally, I think it is fair to say, thoughts and emotions are about particular events, objects, people (intentionality and its objects). My psychotic experiences are better captured by the concept of a mood, I think. That is to say, what is significant in psychosis to me is not so much this or that particular object, event, or person striking me as such-and-such. It is rather the whole that changes. As in moods. When in love, the whole world glows. When depressed, the whole world is grey. These are metaphorical expressions, of course. What I hope to get across is the sense that in psychosis, my whole experiential world is at stake, not this or that particular object in it. In this sense, it compares to moods that permeate all of experience. In the midst of psychosis, it seems to me then, distress takes on this permeating character of a mood too, rather than a state directed at this or that object, event, etc. Normally, there is a default mood/attitude against which one is only able to notice the distinct experience of distress. In psychosis, distress becomes the default, a way of life, rather than an occurrent experience.

Hah… I mean…


extreme anxiety, sorrow, or pain.


  1. pressure or tension exerted on a material object.
  2. a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.

For me the anxiety was a definite thing… much aligned with @Minnii’s post up there… I felt a constant need to undo what was done… felt it unbroken for a solid 2 years at least… it was the fundamental layer of my psyche… what can I do to escape this mess and go back to what life was before the development of psychosis.

Pain and sorrow came and went… The pain was from the confusion of undying noise in the mind… the sorrow was for myself as it felt my soul had fallen and was damned to hell… I wouldn’t even get to live a normal life and then burn… I got an early ticket. (Thank god for atheism… that’s just not true… it eventually does start to subside for some… higher powers have nothing to do with it… I pulled myself out of that madness… there was no damnation involved aside from the abstract of the subconscious mind trying to tame the errant driver.)

Had I not seen that definition… had I not read minnii’s post… hmmm…

“What is distress in psychosis?”

Well it’s different from person to person… Feeling to sexual to live… Feeling transparent… Being a sucker for the hallucinations… Delusions aren’t decided, they are subconsciously believed…

There even comes a point where you gain such insight over the nature of your particular psychosis that it is nearly predictable and it still won’t go away…

Having the experience that would suggest your closest family members are made of something different, that they are in the hive mind, that they are essentially evil in their folding in with the flock and how that shows their subservience to a system which punishes you.

I say… the depths of distress in psychosis are a bottomless as they are varied…

Good luck @mel3475

Schizophrenic souls are the god damn champions of suffering distress… this ■■■■ even ■■■■■ with our dreams. Some of them don’t get a break for a ■■■■■■■ second… you know how you feel at the end of the day when you’re laying down drifting off… that peace that over takes you?

We’re so worn out and tired of hearing voices we don’t even get to experience that… we just blackout at some point… only to wake up to more chaos in the morning. What’s worse than the distress itself is the total absence of peace.

Luckily for me though, neuroplasticity via CBT and lifestyle changes we’re enough for me to start winning the fight and maybe escape the valley. (Years lost in that process)

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Absolute distress?

Id say its believing whatever people feed you just because your brain Freezes up due to lack of quantitatively put.

I experience it more like how flybottle explained it. It’s not always evident that I’m psychotic to me because my whole experience of life has shifted for awhile. I notice afterwards that during that time I’m unusually angry and anxious and fearful. Lately I’ve been watching my moods because irritation and anger seem to be a red flag that I’m not quite right; if I’m interpreting everything as threatening I’m on a slippery slope… distress during psychosis is fear and the behavior is trying to avoid the scary situation-for example, i slept under my bed for awhile hoping “they” couldn’t find me.

Assuming you can work while actively psychotic because meds never worked, it is situation where you had new symptoms added to your usual mix (probably because you ran into another group of mental abusers), and you don’t think you will be okay or able to work for a long time.

In my case, went to work for non-profit and found out EVERYONE was very psychotic, some VERY plantively psychotic and crying out for relief while following orders to catch the new one (me)… One victim said it was so bad, she wanted to die…It is having more mental noise added to your everyday mix and I hear it A LOT anyway, so then I had someone talking about GAWD and Jesus so badly I could not function to work for months. I moved several hours to get away from this employer and I still have someone trying to call me back to them to pay money to be left alone or labor on the grounds like the others.

I’m filing protection from stalking orders as there were lots of threats before the extra psychosis and some visual stuff showing people from this employer only. I’ve never had any visuals like this before, actually relatively few visuals. Also filed discrimination suit as I had mentioned I was on SSDI before this happened, and then my psych symptoms changed so bad, I was hearing people from this new employer ordering me around and visuals of being given the finger/lewd stuff.

These coworkers have history of drug abuse and I’m having such lewd stuff talked about by strangers in my presence, I’m really worried I may never be able to work in anything in public for a long time. One job I just got said he was being bothered mentally and fired me…My disability review comes up in year and I was told I was going to be canceled which I knew I would be okay prior to taking this job with the drug addicts, now I really worry if I will be okay…

I sleep with pills now as insomnia is really bad for me anyway after my nervous break 12 years ago. I’m on valium now too PRN. Avolition is getting low and just think I’m gonna do nothing for a while except focus on my health while I work on this group of people legally & hope I will regain all my function so I can at least work part-time so I can live on my own again soon.

This situation resulted after taking a marketing job at an event center that actually catered to the unlicensed ‘therapy’ types labeled metaphysical…many of these are mental abusers and almost nothing can be done about falling into their clutches. I would NEVER go near this stuff myself like reiku as you can catch ‘crazy’ more than once and there is no way to get relief except move as far away from the group as possible and ignore it while you ride it out for years maybe. NEVER write a check to these as it can get your account cleaned out and facilitate identity theft…

Can’t really allow myself to feel this or express it past this…I’m used to being verbally abused so feel okay enough…The complainers would overload, shut down or worse probably.

Thank you for your replies! I really appreciate your insight
Anyone else wants to comment?