A Woman Documents Recovery From Her Struggle With Bird Psychosis

One woman bravely documents her struggles with alcohol addiction and mental illness, which includes a brief bout of what she calls bird psychosis.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Sep. 23 2023, Published 8:37 a.m. ET

If you or someone you know needs help, use SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to find support for mental health and substance use disorders in your area or call 1-800-662-4357 for 24-hour assistance.

One thing I am particularly protective of and vocal about is mental health. I frequently discuss my therapist and whenever I learn a new way to deal with my own flavor of trauma, I eagerly share it with anyone who needs it. My own experiences have afforded me the ability to be more understanding of anyone who is also dealing with similar issues, and for that I am grateful.

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Speaking of our brains, I sometimes think they are not-so-secretly working against us. Why else would things like intrusive thoughts exist? Hey brain, what is imagining a knife going through my finger while slicing a tomato really going to do for me? It feels like a battle and for one TikToker, that battle resulted in something she calls bird psychosis. Thankfully she is getting help because you really can't wing it when it comes to sanity.

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Bird psychosis is for the birds — but it is very real for this courageous creator.

A lot of people get very uncomfortable when people joke about their mental illness, but I'm of the mind you can filter your own experiences through the lens of your choosing. I think people get upset because they equate jokes with not taking this seriously, or they simply cannot understand how a person can turn a tragic situation into comedy. Sucks to be them.

I also think people project themselves onto others in such a way that they believe their way is always right, ergo others' is wrong. I'll use true crime as an example. Fans of the genre really enjoy picking apart the behavior of someone accused of a crime. Said behavior is often used against them. People don't say this out loud, but what's happening is that they've decided that's not how they would act in that situation so the accused must be guilty. It's wild.

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The same thing happens with mental illness. Just because one person might not document their journey on TikTok, the way Helena has, doesn't mean she's doing it "wrong." In fact, I find her videos to be a breath of healthy air, even when she's not feeling great. Every bit counts.

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In one particular TikTok, Helena breaks down some of the things she did while gripped with something she calls bird psychosis. Now, bird psychosis isn't real, but based on Helena's previous TikToks, it's clear she was suffering from alcohol-induced psychosis.

According to Science Direct this is a "secondary psychosis with predominant hallucinations or delusions, occurring in many alcohol-related conditions, including acute intoxication and withdrawal." Helena was on the sauce and was paying for it.

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While gripped with paranoia, Helena procured a secret key that opened up so she could hide money from the birds. She also had an escape suitcase that contained bottled water, several old cell phones, a radio, medication of some sort, and possibly snacks.

Things got even more bizarre as she showed off a bright yellow jacket she purchased to remain visible, and even showed a small excerpt from a journal she had where her "weird bird thoughts" lived. Naturally she had to get fish bedroom slippers to attract the cats needed to attack the birds. Sadly the cats in question were just drawings she did of cats.

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Finally, there was a bird mugshot which was another drawing she did. This particular bird was one Helena was hyper-focused on in another TikTok. Then of course she needed two first aid kits and confusingly, paper bags labeled police evidence. Honestly, it looks like Helena was treating the birds like criminals and was on the hunt for them. The video ends with Helena admitting that taking one's medication is important.

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Helena previously uploaded a video about how the bird psychosis was back. She was in the hospital taking care of herself because she had in fact stopped taking her medication. From what I can gather, this TikTok account is new. An old one, which went into greater detail about her situation, was deleted.

The thing about mental health, addiction, and any sort of chronic pain is it's the one job you can never quit. Managing is forever, which can sound depressing. However, the alternative of slipping into oblivion is much worse.

As of the time of this writing, Helena uploaded a video where she's discussing at length how she handles her triggers in a healthy way. She did this in response to a comments on her videos essentially accusing her of using again. This TikTok is how Helena is turning negativity into a teachable moment, but she's also holding herself accountable. The thing is, your trauma is not your fault but it is your responsibility. And Helena is doing her best.

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