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How Long Does it Take to Become Psychotic January 8, 2011

Posted by Crazy Mermaid in Delusions, Disability Claim, ESP, mental illness.
Tags: , , , ,

Back when I was working as a Project Manager in downtown Seattle, my employer- let’s call them M Construction- paid for a long and short term disability policy as part of my compensation package.

As the stress on that job escalated to impossible levels due to the fact that I had no support staff (no matter how hard I tried to get it), I began to believe that I had ESP, and that I could communicate with my flesh-and-blood bosses via that ESP. As my mental illness rapidly progressed, I became more enmeshed in my delusional world, communicating with my bosses via ESP several times a day.  They knew, I believed, the untenable position I was in.

As the pressure on my job escalated to impossible levels, we (my ESP bosses and I)  hatched a plan.  They directed me to in effect hold my job hostage. I was supposed to tell the flesh-and-blood boss that I had a job offer with a competitor- someone whom the company had recently lost a lot of employees to. The result was supposed to be leverage to get the staff I needed in order to perform my job. At the direction of my ESP bosses, I made that threat to my flesh-and-blood bosses. But instead of getting the staff I needed, the flesh-and-blood bosses wished me well and held an exit interview.

During my exit interview, as I sat in a Starbucks with my flesh-and-blood boss across the table from me, my flesh-and-blood boss wrung his hands, asking me why I didn’t say something sooner. I tried to argue that point, saying that I would stay if I was given the staff I needed. The flesh-and-blood boss said it was too late, while the ESP boss told me this discussion was part of the ultimate plan to get me that staff.  At the end of the interview, I was officially out of a job. But my imaginary ESP boss told me to sit back and wait for things to happen.

After a few days of waiting around for their phone call to return to work, my ESP boss told me to give him a call, which I did. My flesh-and-blood boss tried to argue with me, telling me that I had quit. I explained that I was only doing what he told me to do. Confusedly, he ended the phone call, telling me once again that I had quit. During this conversation with my flesh-and-blood boss, that same man (in the form of ESP) told me this conversation  was all part of the plan, and that the offer to return to work was imminent but that he couldn’t say so over the phone. “Just relax” was my direction.

As the weeks leading up to my ultimate involuntary commitment wore on, I continued to maintain regular phone contact with my flesh-and-blood bosses, truly believing that my return to M Construction was imminent, despite his continued assurances that my job had been filled.  When my husband asked me how my job hunt was coming along, I explained that there had been a mistake and that I would be returning to M Construction soon.  I didn’t even bother to apply for unemployment, because I knew my return to work was imminent.

Within three weeks of holding my job hostage, I was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital. During the three weeks at the hospital and the subsequent months in recovery, the furthest thing from my mind was the insurance policy. But as I began to mentally re-enter the real world, my husband reminded me of that policy and asked me to check on it.  Digging around the house, I located the policy. Sure enough, I was covered!

I called M Construction’s Human Resources department to start the claim process, only to be informed that I had quit before entering the hospital. Policy null and void.  Submitting the claim anyway, I wasn’t surprised when Prudential’s denial letter arrived, saying the same thing: I had quit before I became crazy.

Upon further consideration, I realized that what I really had was an on-the-job injury, just like I was hit on the head with a 2X4.  But the 2X4 in my case was the stress that caused me to go psychotic.

There was no doubt that I had become sick. My involuntary commitment was physical evidence of that. But one burning question remained:  How long before my hospitalization was I psychotic/sick?  Was it before I “quit” my job, or afterward?  How long does it take a person to become psychotic? More than three weeks or less than three weeks?

I hired an attorney to find out.



1. Heather Whistler - January 9, 2011

After my husband had his psychotic break, we originally planned to apply for Workman’s Compensation rather than disability because we, too, felt that the stress he’d experienced on the job had played a significant role in his breakdown. However, we were advised that it’s very difficult to win “stress” claims, and were fortunate enough that he had good health and disability insurance through his job.

It certainly sounds like you were psychotic prior to quitting your job. I wish you luck with the lawyer!

Crazy Mermaid - January 9, 2011

On my disability policy there is a two year limit for mental illness. It sounds like your policy doesn’t have that limitation.

2. ManicMuses - January 11, 2011

Have you heard back from your attorney? My brush with insanity certainly had a lot to do with job stress. Not all, but a lot.

3. Dixie Elder - December 3, 2013

although my doctor, neurologist & therapist filled out all the required forms & I attended a lengthy hearing (during which time the judge said “this woman is the most deserving of a mental health SSDI of anyone I’ve seen in my 30 years as a judge”) I was denied SSDI or SSI. The rep’ at social security said that anyone who works for a state or federal agency for the past 10 years would be unavailable for SSDI/SSI. I am at a loss. My husband makes just enough to keep us at borderline poverty level ($33,000) in our state ($15,000/person is poverty level). I had worked from age 10 (shoveling snow for 10 cents a sidewalk) until age 55 when my neurologist et alia diagnosed me as unable to ever work again. I’d had a severe head injury which exacerbated life-long seizures & manias. I will keep checking back to see how your case goes & wish you all the Best

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