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On the other hand, some parts of my job are stressful—e.g. I am fortunate to work at a law school willing to accommodate me around teaching.Also traveling and giving talks is stressful for me; I usually decompensate the evening after I have given a talk, remaining in the land of psychosis for several hours.
COOK: When did you first sense that your academic work helped you deal with your condition?
SAKS: Except for my first two years at Oxford, and intermittently when in a serious episode, I have always been able to work. I think I have always sensed that keeping active intellectually is a big support and a big source of wellbeing.
I have killed people) which I immediately identify as symptoms of my illness and not real.
A little further along the spectrum, I may have three or four days of being dominated by crazy thoughts that I can’t push away.
You have all the terror and confusion and the bizarre images and thoughts that you have in a nightmare.
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And then with the nightmare you sit bolt upright in bed in utter terror.
The several-day episodes are usually a response to stress and may happen three or four times a year.
The experience of crouching in the corner hasn’t happened for years.
Only with a nightmare you then wake up, while with psychosis you can’t just open your eyes and make it all go away. Objectively, I have delusions (irrational beliefs like that I have killed hundreds of thousands of people with my thoughts); infrequent hallucinations (like watching a huge spider walk up my wall); and disorganized and confused thinking (e.g.
what are called “loose associations,” like “my copies of the cases have been infiltrated. I don’t believe in joints but they do hold your body together”).