For aeon, Roberta Payne, a professor of literature and the author of Speaking to My Madness: How I Searched for Myself in Schizophrenia, writes about her experiences with psychosis and paranoia.
DEALING WITH THE “LIZARD”
In this Article the Author seems to support a type of “Schizophrenia” interpretation to her thinking. I don’t see it the same way.
I was overwhelmed by “High Anxiety” when I discontinued psychiatric drugs. My natural anxiety defences had been seriously damaged by the years of drug exposure, and I was vulnerable. But with help I was able to reconstruct a type of suitable Alternative CBT Anxiety Defence System – that worked.
I learnt that the High Anxiety Dynamic was supported by its own emotional logic – which was very persuasive. I found that if I could detach from this for long enough, I would eventually calm down – and then my thinking would return to neutral (- and then I’d know what to do). The CBT solutions worked for me – for my potential problems and for my real problems.
British Psychologist Rufus May offers solutions that work in overcoming compulsive anxiety:-
(After 30 years of Recovery I still get overwhelmed – but I can deal with it.)
No, her experiences are more of the amphetamine psychosis type, that isn’t same, but is equivalent to, amphetamine-induced paranoia. Each of these conditions can be easily mistaken for the other. Were I a shrink, I’d likely have her on multiple grams of B3 and C a day.
Bcharris, if you were a shrink, you wouldn’t put her on benign and helpful supplements. Or if you were a psychiatrist, the APA would not like you and you would have to go rogue like Dr. Brogan and others.
I suppose I could say that in my own case my “High Anxiety” could be dealt with succcessfully – through practical Non Medical means.
I see in her article the same lack of self-control exhibited that is at the heart of much diagnostic labeling, in this case, self-labeling. Somehow the excuse is that one doesn’t have the will power to control one’s own thoughts, behaviors, and impulses.
“I’m thinking primarily of schizophrenic paranoia, such as my own. It is a red-hot drive that inhabits an individual and feels like it wants to take over his mind.”
Both paranoia and schizophrenia are medicalized terms used here together in diagnostic labeling.
“Logic is almost always pointless against it: I can no more will my paranoia away than I can will my thinking straight.”
I don’t think saying ‘logic is pointless against it’, makes logic pointless against it. Then there is the “almost always”. Her defense is lack of will power.
“I have signs on the bulletin board behind my computer, to alert me at just such a time: ANGER IS A SYMPTOM and ASSUME THAT IT’S PARANOIA.”
For most of us the sign on the bulletin board would read: ANGER IS AN EMOTION. I would suspect that there is, in fact, more to her anger than paranoia. I would suggest maybe she should look a little deeper into the relationships she has to find where it originates.
I would suggest that there is a certain amount of preferring life with her lizard over logic here. I can’t but imagine that some kind of self-deception is taking place, as in, if you want to be deceived you will be. As for will power, I don’t see will power as innate anyway, it’s something developed over time through effort, training, and experience. There is no gear shift in a human being from auto-pilot to manual, and everything is pretty much something you have to learn to master on your own.
She makes a comparison between her lizard/”disease” and the former Soviet Union as totalitarian state. In demanding non-accountability for one’s actions, whoa! D’ya think she could have gone further? I don’t know about (tongue in cheek) “paranoid schizophrenia”, but she certainly has got the evasion of personal responsibility matter licked.
When I described the problems to psychologists and counsellors they didn’t think there was anything, that couldn’t be remedied or improved upon. I don’t think diagnosis was even mentioned; and in the long run the non medical process worked.
No- she literally perceives them to be the same- with a certain degree of insight, if you were sensitive to the Orwellian nature of your surroundings, back there in the USSR.
Hard to say, Frank, because the sensation of being driven by unseen (cosmic?) forces is fairly common in paranoid folks. That our lady is getting messages from unusual messengers like her dog or inanimate objects suggests (to me, at any rate) the likelihood of her having auditory hallucinations (curiously enough, you can induce paranoid behavior in “normal” subjects by post hypnotic suggestion, that when they awake they’ll hear voices talking about them, according to the late Abram Hoffer and the late Humphry Osmond).
Some people are truly scared spitless by the idea of freedom. Her imaginary lizard is a convenient excuse to give up on doing anything but popping pills and whining, “I can’t help myself; I’m sick!”
I have had extreme anxiety–what people call paranoia. I willed myself out of it. Ditto with depression and a few other weird and difficult emotional problems.
Antipsychotics did nothing for my paranoia. It was an emotion–I overcame it by reasoning my way through it.