Eye Shimmy (Voluntary Nystagmus) and Other Signs

I know my world is much different from what typical people have.

Especially when a psychotic episode is around the corner.

I’m finally noticing little signs.

Signs that I need to keep an eye on.

My hallucinations flare up.

Every time I get even slightly stressed out.

I’m learning that I have a very low stress tolerance.

And tons of things cause stress.

Just being alive is stressful at times.

Let alone having hallucinations and delusions added to that.

Even things I smell aren’t real.

I’ve been smelling garbage for the last couple of days.

And there’s nothing in my apartment to make that smell.

I’ve checked several times.

Took out the garbage.

Sprayed an air purifier.

Turned on my oil diffuser.

I even had the windows open for a couple days because of it..

Still smelled it, strong.

Nothing worked.

How do I explain that to anyone?

I can barely make sense of it.

But I can barely make sense of my world most days.

It’s random.

When things surface.

There’s zero pattern to anything.

But I’m wondering if the bout of dissociation I had at the beginning of last week was really the start of a psychotic episode.

Because the voices have gotten more prominent since.

And louder.

I went to pick up my groceries from a curbside order the other morning.

And there was a woman talking loudly about the volume of my music with my dog in the car.

(It was not loud – I would never.)

When I finally got the nerve to look around.

There were no women in any of the cars remotely close to me.

An older guy to the left.

And a heavily tattooed guy to the right.

So, that entire conversation I overheard about me neglecting my dog.

Me being a horrible person.

And not caring for the needs of my dog.

Was not real.

None of the back and forth between her and her male driver actually happened.



It didn’t really click until I started driving away.

That all that I heard was a hallucination.

It wasn’t real.

And how the voices have gotten louder since I felt like my head was stuffed with foam.

And I remember reading an article where someone said they could tell an episode was coming because their head always felt like it was stuffed with cotton. 

(I couldn’t find the exact article again, but the phases of a psychotic episode can be seen here.) 

And I now get what they were saying.

Because I do think it was dissociation.

And a prequel to an episode.

There’s quite a few signs.

And everyone’s different.

But so far, the voices are getting louder since my five days of dissociating.

The voices are getting much more detailed in what they say.

Their entire conversation is pointed at me.

I’m the topic.

What I’m doing.

What I’m hearing.

The voices loop.

They talk about every internal thought I’ve ever had.

I can’t help but notice that the past two days I’ve had what I call an “eye shimmy”.

But it’s really called voluntary nystagmus.

(I found this article on it.)

For years I have done this shimmy after seeing shadows or other images.

And it just clicked while writing this just now.

That I have used it as a coping mechanism for visual hallucinations for a very long time.

I see these iridescent shadow type figures and shapes all the time.

And I do the eye motion.

And it makes them subside.

Not go away.

But not be as prominent.

And they eventually fade.

It’s a side to side, extremely quick vibration/movement of my eyes that I’ve been able to do ever since I can remember.

I can do it on demand.

But when it surfaces without me initiating it.

It becomes an inhibitor to my vision.

And concentration.

And upon keeping track of it a little more in my mood app.

I realized it may be a sign of a pending episode.

It gets bad when I’m having a lot of hallucinations.

Which now, after thinking about it, makes sense with the past use of it.

It’s been happening again the past couple of days.

It happens spontaneously when I need to focus my eyes.

When I’m coloring.

Or writing.

It’s like my mind tells my body what to do.

Without clueing me in at all.

They talk behind my back.

And bark demands without being able to stop.

It feels like I’m not in control when it happens like that.

Just like I’m not in control of my symptoms in general.

My world is full of random, meaningless chatter.

Signs that mean nothing.

Blurry, pulsating vision.

Voices that don’t exist. 

I have to constantly re-examine my surroundings.

Because I never really know what is a hallucination.

And what isn’t.

– Keren


5 responses to “Eye Shimmy (Voluntary Nystagmus) and Other Signs”

  1. I understand the smells.

    I also understand the head thing. During a time of heavy intrusive thoughts and other things, my mind starts racing with tons of thoughts, music, noises and sounds, and absolutely nothing. Sometimes I can’t even see or comprehend the things that are around me. It’s bad when I feel guilty or I thought of something nasty or just everyday stress and trying not feel like I’m sinking. It’s awful.

    Liked by 1 person

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