On my 40th birthday my younger sister gave me a coffee mug with a picture on it of a mouse singing, “Hi Ho … Hi Ho … It’s over the hill I go.” It immediately became my favorite mug I was never going to use. I was going to keep it in pristine condition so I could give it back to her on her 40th birthday. But I almost didn’t get the chance. When I went to retrieve it after eight long years in storage I found the handle of the mug had snapped off. Now it was time to see if all those Crazy Glue commercials were telling the truth.
I repaired the mug, wrapped it up, and was able to re-gift as well as re-joke. But … if someone had taken a sledge hammer to the mug and reduced it to a fine white powder, no amount of Crazy Glue would help. There would be no doubt that it was irrevocably broken, smashed to bits, and it would take some sort of deranged magical thinking to think that it even could be fixed.
But what if I ignored the blatantly obvious and dedicated a little time every day to try and “repair” the mug? And even though my sister’s 40th birthday had come and gone, I still tried each day to force a mound of powder back into being a functioning coffee mug. You might say I was a little … um … strange … for even thinking about it, but as long as I kept my obsession a secret, and continued to function normally in my day-to-day life, no one would be the wiser. But as soon as you found out I’d spent almost 14 years at it, you’d definitely know I had blown my wheels. I do believe I’d fit the definition of suffering a psychotic break with reality.
A “psychotic break with reality” means hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, or feeling something that does not exist. Or believing something to be true that is false, fixed, and fantastic. Simply put, the person loses contact with external reality.