Learning to Speak Psychotic

Eric Coates
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One of the biggest barriers that people who are “psychotic” face is one of communication: other people often have trouble understanding what they’re talking about. The way that so-called “psychotics” describe their experience (their actual language) and their ideas are simply foreign to most people, and this lack of clear communication is what gets “psychotics” labelled as “psychotic” in the first place, and thus it leads to a breakdown between the “psychotic” and the rest of society. This is a loss to both groups.

The way to address this might be if everyone, or at least those who are in the helping professions, learned to Speak Psychotic. I am referring to Psychotic as a kind of language, then — almost a kind of code that is based on a metaphorical (or possibly even factual) system which, I hope you will see, is focused on certain relatively limited groups of themes once you learn to interpret them for what they mean.

1. The Nature of the Code

To begin with a story:

A little more than three years ago, in 2015, I was confined for about four months in New Hampshire Hospital, my state’s psychiatric facility (which I regard frankly as a prison). I was going through a “psychotic” period myself, characterized by all sorts of what they call “delusions,” a term which is entirely a misnomer — we will let that pass for the moment — as well as by hearing voices all day long, every single day.

Shortly after I first arrived I made the acquaintance of a woman who had long, dyed-black hair and all kinds of old scars all over her face (possibly burn or acne scars), and she wore black shirts and black pants and black boots and all sorts of little trinkets like bracelets and necklaces from the hospital/prison’s gift shop. She would stalk up and down the halls of the unit, and each time she passed me she would look at me in this blank way out of the blank mask that her face had become with an expression that said she was studying me, looking out of her prison of psychological Hell with a desperate expression in her eyes, and after I nodded at her in acknowledgment, she began to talk to me.

She spoke in what might have seemed like a kind of gibberish, a kind of word salad that was near impenetrable, but I kept listening to her and gradually, over the course of a couple of weeks, I began to see the outlines of what she was talking about.

She talked all the time about internet porn and how there were people out there who had robbed her, and I realized that she was probably the victim of sexual abuse and financial exploitation of some kind, and that she was being made aware by her “psychosis” in some strange way that the human universe was full of schemes for power and control and exploitation.

It seemed to me that this was a powerful lesson.

What did she personally stand to learn from her experience? I don’t know, but she was clearly sending a message, even if no one else in the hospital seemed to understand or communicate with her.

After that I became determined to listen to as many “psychotics” as I could, thinking that I would listen to them all until I learned to Speak Psychotic myself, to be fluent in both languages, both Normal and Psychotic, so that I could translate between the two and even understand what these people were talking about.

It was not long after this that I had the opportunity to listen to a friend of mine talking to his psychiatrist while I was sitting in the hallway of our unit. This friend of mine was as “psychotic” as they come. He had been in and out of various mental institutions for years. When outside this hospital/prison system, however, he would have episodes where he completely lost his memory and his awareness of what he was doing and he would get himself in trouble by doing something outrageous. Just previous to this present commitment, to this period of confinement, he had apparently gotten drunk while in his usual state of non-awareness and assaulted a police officer. He had no idea when he would be getting out, but it might be months or even years. He had a kind of hopelessness that was palpable. He had long hair, halfway down his back, that was matted in the back from all the time he had spent lying down in his room, his head on a pillow and staring up at the ceiling. He was a computer coder by trade, and he talked all the time in this very mysterious and Psychotic way about the technology of the internet and all kinds of computer systems that I knew nothing about. I once showed him a passage from the book of Revelation that talks about the city of God, and as soon I said that it sounded like a computer that ran on light, he raised his hand and made a cutting motion with one finger across his throat to tell me to shut up. He seemed to believe there were a lot of secrets that it might be dangerous to talk about.

To be honest, I couldn’t really understand what he was talking about when he talked about internet transmission and technology, as well as about satellites and different systems for directing the flow of different kinds of waves and of information, when he was talking about things related to the computer industry. He would stare at you with these deep, deep, dark brown eyes that were like two bottomless holes bored right into his soul as he droned on in this incomprehensible way.

One day when I was sitting with him in the hall, however, his psychiatrist came along and started to talk to him. He got up to talk to her, and they began a dialogue between the two of them that was completely outside my understanding. The doctor happened to come from Russia, and as the two of them talked I could vaguely make out that they were talking about some sort of conspiracy theory that involved Russia, and the two of them batted it back and forth, clearly enjoying themselves and making casual references to all sorts of other conspiracy theories that I knew nothing about, and they apparently understood each other perfectly. I was a mere apprentice; here were two masters of Speaking Psychotic, and all I could do was listen in non-comprehension.

Again, what I did was simply keep listening to him, and one day it occurred to me that what he was talking about all the time was the design and control of communication systems. In some way, he was obsessed with how the communication system of the world worked and how it was there to control people, or something like that: it was hard to make out exactly. But that was what he seemed to be talking about, and I combined this with my own experience of hearing voices. Yes, it seemed to me, there indeed seemed to be some sort of force out there, if you chose to look at it that way — someone or something or some government agency or some otherworldly being that was actually manipulating the whole human world in ways that were explicit and yet that were virtually invisible to most observers, and it was communicating with people.

Well, that was interesting. Both of these people I’d been listening to — the woman with the scarred face who talked about internet sex and exploitation, and the friend with the matted hair who programmed computers and talked about the internet — were both talking about power and control and communication systems, an outside force that was attempting to impose itself or had already imposed itself on their lives.

I had another friend that I became very close to for a while, whom I met on the same psych ward as the other two people I’ve already described. When you got to know this friend of mine well enough, she would talk all the time about the FBI and its plans to exploit her even more than it already had. Something had happened to her at some point — she would never come right out and say what it was, but she would drop hints about it that led me to believe it was some sort of sexual harassment or abuse by someone outside her family. She wore baggy clothes all the time so that people wouldn’t look at her body. What I think was happening for her was that she heard voices, and she believed what they had to say to her about the FBI spying on her and trying to exploit her. When it wasn’t the FBI that was actively spying on her, it was ghosts that were talking to her about something that was never quite clear. Perhaps it was getting a curse lifted. She had what would be considered a very unusual cosmology for a normal person, but not at all out of the ordinary for a “psychotic.”

So, once again, we had a secret communication system that was being used for exploitation. This was becoming a common theme.

And the end of the story is this: that eventually I began to realize that this was the basic theme to what almost any “delusional psychotic” was talking about, once you learned how to fit the pieces together.

2. The Structure of the Belief

So it doesn’t matter if you’re talking about God or aliens or some secret government agency or some secret international society or even the fairies dancing in your backyard or the ghosts and demons that haunt your second-floor closet: everyone is talking about something that has the same basic structure underlying it, which could most easily be outlined in four points.

1) something out there has some special kind of power and control in the world (God, the NSA, aliens, etc.);

2) either you have discovered it yourself or this something has revealed itself to you in some special and probably secret way that others may not have access to or insight about;

3) this something has some specific use or purpose for you, possibly as a victim of exploitation or punishment or experimentation, or possibly in some special mission or magnified role in the universe;

4) this power infiltrates your world, although there may be other powers out there as well.

Once you realize that this structure is there, underlying what just about every “psychotic” is talking about, it becomes very easy to decode what “psychotics” are saying almost all of the time. It seems to always revert to the same basic pattern, and each of the basic themes of the various kinds of “delusions” that have been classified are related in some way to this scheme. There may be pieces of this arrangement that are missing in what some people talk about, but the underlying pattern is still at work. Let me give you some examples.

There are a lot of different kinds of “delusions” — which are considered “false beliefs” by the psychiatric profession, but which are actually representative of very real experiences that the person has had, whether those experiences were mental (voices that convinced them of something, unusual beliefs that came out of nowhere) or physical (seeing something other people don’t see, having various somatic experiences). Some of these experiences — or “delusions” — are clustered in certain ways.

For instance, there is the large cluster of “delusions” around the idea that one’s thoughts are being read, that one’s thoughts are broadcasting to other people around them so that those people actually hear the person’s thoughts as though spoken aloud, that one’s thoughts are being inserted into one’s head by an outside force, or that one’s thoughts are being taken away. This is where the communication system comes in. You are being communicated with and/or controlled by some outside force. This is a very common group of “false beliefs” to encounter. (I myself fall into this category.)

This cluster of beliefs is really the foundational one. What it is basically saying is that, yes, there is something out there, some kind of force or power that is all-pervasive, unstoppable, and seemingly all-powerful, and it is communicating with you and controlling the world, or at least attempting to do so.

What does that sound like? Well, it sounds a lot like a description of God, or it sounds like some kind of super-advanced alien race that is advanced enough to take over the world if it wants to, or it even sounds to some people like the mind control systems that are controlled by secret government agencies. Any one of these, if you think about it enough, is plausible. But what they all share is that some sort of powerful entity is out there, attempting to do something to the people who believe these things or even to the entire world.

So: If the core belief system, the underlying structure behind what most “psychotics” believe, is that there’s what has to be described as some kind of supreme entity out there, then all the other so-called “delusions” are in some way related to that.

For instance, that one’s thoughts are being read and shared with others. In a world ruled by God, of course, this would be the sort of communication that beings would have with God — mind to mind. Or, when you think it’s the NSA doing mind control or the aliens making contact, it might be mental like that.

So what you’re talking about here is an underlying structural paradigm to Thinking Like a Psychotic, and thus learning to Speak Like a Psychotic.

As I said, all the other “delusions” grow out of the first one; it really all depends on what this outside force wants to do to you or wants to happen in your world. It might even choose not to let you know it is there.

We might call this the “interventionist” view. The sum of it is that there is an outside force intervening in your life and/or in the world.

Some of the more far-fetched of the so-called “delusions” actually become sort of reasonable if you think about them for long enough.

There is, for instance, the idea or “delusion” that people have been replaced by fakes who look and act just like the original people, but aren’t really them and they have some outside agenda. Well, if you want to look at it that way, it could very well be that, in a world ruled by the aliens or the CIA, there may actually be some fake people out there. In a way, our whole world is a fake, an illusion conjured up by the expression of our collective imagination. The news is staged, the newspapers are skewed when not full of lies, the government is covering something up, the election was rigged, the Illuminati are out there, there is a conspiracy, what are we going to do? So why not people who are fakes? It’s really not all that far out there, and in real life, all kinds of people are liars and thieves and false friends, so none of it is too much to believe. The government would definitely create fake people if they could get away with it.

And in a world ruled by God or by aliens? There would be fake people all over the place, believe me.

There is the “delusion” that you are a special person with a special destiny, such as a reincarnation of Napoleon or the second coming of Jesus. Well, in a world that really is ruled by either the karmic chain or by the being whom we call God, it’s going to happen that someone is going to be those people sooner or later. Someone has to be. All you are doing is accepting the Will of the Universe as you take on your role. Is that so unreasonable?

There is the “delusion” that you have had a device implanted in your body and that it is either monitoring you or controlling your thoughts or something. Well, the truth is that some people are getting heart monitors and even brain implants for deep brain stimulation even now, and we all know it’s coming: a brain chip that they will just plug in and control everybody. And there’s one in my arm right now — could you please get it out?

As a last note, I have also noticed that I could pick each of these beliefs apart with each person and find that somewhere back in the time of their “normal” life, in their life before their “diagnosis,” there is probably a hint of what is to come. You had a thought once that you wished you were a saint, or a hero. Now God’s showing you what it’s like to be that. God is asking you, “What do you think of this?” Or maybe the aliens are getting you ready to go up to the mothership and seize your destiny. Who knows? Pick a belief system and see what it yields when taken to its logical conclusion. In a way, God is fulfilling all your dreams and nightmares by making it all happen in some kind of mystical world.

Each one of these beliefs could be, on its own, quite reasonable, if you only take the time to explore it far enough — to Learn How to Speak Psychotic.

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Eric Coates
Eric Coates is a psychiatric resister. Despite numerous hospitalizations, he does not feel that drugs or psychiatry are effective, but that what people now call a "mental illness" is a form of spiritual awakening that cannot be contained by drugs or psychiatry. He is the author of the popular book Hearing Voices, to be reissued soon.

41 COMMENTS

  1. Nice written. I think that when we talk about body we must know its anatomy, To speak about psyche, we should now its mythical geography. Without phenomenology of the psyche, we don’t know about what we are talking about, we are blind. Psyche it’s not something spiritual, because we are talking about psyche, not the spirit. That’s why I am amazed by spiritual emergency, because spirit has got no pathologies, it is simple easy happy and bright. There is a language of dreams and the language of so called “reality”, psyche has got many languages. Psychotic language has got its own logic and it is far beyond logic of rationality, it is a higher language, not lower than rationalism. Apollonian ego logic is lower than logic of psychological Hades, its logic ist not as trivial as apollonian. I suggest you to read James Hillman, Re-visioning psychology, it may help more than my words. Hillman write about apollonian ego and PSYCHOLOGICAL Hades reality which is deeper and far more sophisticated than SIMPLE APOLLONIAN RATIONALISM. Psyche is something mythical, it never was a biology, science or medicine, it was always a phenomenology. IT ALWAYS WAS. But no one reads, and very few knows Hillman works. Myths are logic for advanced humanity, not for scientists.
    Science and brain has nothing to do with the logic of psyche. To understand psyche you need use love empathy and knowledge about reality and logic of different states of psyche, because psyche it is not rational, its strongly metaphorical and poetic. Only Apollonian ego is rational and that’s why we have psychiatry, they think that psyche begins and ends on apollonian rationality. Forget about it. Apollonian cold logic is cruel toward poetic metaphors=authoritarian harsh mind killed psychological poetic man. THEY CALLED LANGUAGE OF THE PSYCHE ==WORD SALAD. Because they are rational Nazists WHO HATE psyche,. Psyche is a gypsy to Apollonian, REMEBER ABOUT IT. PSYCHE IS A GYPSY TO APOLLONIAN RATIONAL FACISTS.
    There’ s no mental illnesses, there are only forgotten/banned/ridiculed languages. To know psyche, you shoul kill psychiatric jargon,because this language is toxic and create hidden holocaust.

    • We are hostages of apollonian EGO hegemony ITS /LOGIC/SYSTEM/ECONOMY. APOLLONIAN EGO MEANS STATE. PSYCHE MEANS HOSTAGE, SLAVE ..
      .In the center of the mythical psyche is death not “mental health” and authoritharian/apollonian logic/ way of thinking is out of touch with experience of those called “mentally ill” (BANNED), who TOUCH THE REALITY OF THE psyche, AND SEE IT, NOT those who judge them – SIMPLE AUTHORITARIAN MIND, AND AUTHORITARIAN MIND DON’T GIVE S. ABOUT IT, THAT HE MAY MEANS A LOT FOR THE STATE AND ECONOMY, AND NOTHING FOR THE human psyche/HUMANITY. They can’t touch NOTHING, can’t see NOTHING AND all what authotitarians are doing IT IS TO JUDGE FROM THEIR ANTYPSYCHOLOGICAL POINT OF VIEW, AND KILL BY WORDS AND TOXINS.

      THIS IS PSYCHE! They will heard it, I am sure about it.

      • Everyone see psyche,psychosis as economical disability -wrong, THIS IS THE GREATEST BS of the authoritarians.
        IT IS A VERY HARD PSYCHOLOGICAL WORK. IT HAS ITS PRICE and it is priceless.
        You think that even HARD work is harder than psychological hades? YOU ARE WRONG, APOLONNIAN.

        PAY, PAY PAY AND PAY NOT WITH MONEY, BUT WITH great WORDS OF RESPECT. AND IF YOU F. CAN’T FIND THE RIGHT WORDS, BECAUSE YOU ARE TOO STUPID, KNEEL DOWN BEFORE PSYCHE/DEATH WHICH YOU have stolen AND Sold TO PSEUDO MEDICAL .MF.. WHO CONTINUE THE POLITICS OF NSDAP. I HOPE YOU READ THIS, MAGGOTS.
        YOU KNOW, WHO YOU SHOULD PAID? TO ANNELIESE, BECAUSE WHEN SHE WAS IN psychological HADES YOU AND CHURCH WERE F. FOR MONEY and you sold/ BANNED her great psychological work to this pseudo medical parasites.
        AND IF YOU READ THE HILLMAN WORKS AND SZASZ MANUFACTURE OF MADNESS, YOU WILL KNOW THAT THIS IS NOT EVEN A STATE, BUT A INQUISITION APARATUS – PSEUDO MEDICAL MONSTER.

  2. Well, once you’ve gotten around to constructing a psychotic experience, I imagine the time has come around to deconstruct it. I mean anybody can indulge in stirring up a word-salad, question is, how do I get somebody to slip a coin in the cash-box for it. I know. Really stir it up, and somebody will put a shelter over my head, and a meal on my plate. Somebody will also be going on and on about how pathetic somebody thinks I am.

  3. I’ve read where most of the personality is formed in the first 5 years of life through interactions with adults, usually parents. Since psychosis does involve some kind of external influences being thought about, perhaps it could be the brain still looking for what it needed in those first years but was unable to find. I read they think that infants first feel like they are one with the mother and then later separate to form a separate person. And that a child growing up needs to feel their experience and feelings are known to their parent, who can be trusted and tolerant. There is a lot that can go wrong on the way to maturity. If we really knew what happens to people, maybe we would be a lot more sympathetic.

    • I’d like to think that any education a person attained might count for something, too, and that everything was not decided by the first five years of life. I seriously doubt that everything is determined by the first five years of one’s life. I was five once, and let me tell you, I was glad to turn six. It’s the same thing with negative prognosis’s, and other statistics. I wouldn’t pay too much attention to them if I didn’t want to fulfill some kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy, and become one of them. Five is, like, dumb, and six is probably a little smarter.

  4. Eric:

    What is true, anyway? This is something I happen to be pondering in my own life.

    And who are we to decide if a false belief is delusional or not?

    And maybe it isn’t even a false belief. Hemingway was thought to be paranoid because he said he was being followed by the FBI – turns out he really was.

    I was listening to a youtube about “gang stalking” recently. Seemed farfetched to me, but who am I to say it isn’t a real thing?

    A man I met recently thought he had been abducted by aliens. He even wrote a book about it. He didn’t seem to be psychotic. He didn’t seem to be lying. He seemed like a nice person, and I was glad to have met him. But I didn’t believe him, either.

    Another thing – conspiracy theorists are often thought to be delusional, but what if some of what they believe is actually true? Isn’t discrediting them as “crazy” across the board a very convenient way of covering that up?

    Oh, and something I just learned today – people are starting to have themselves implanted with these chips called NFCs. I can’t figure out what it means or why they are doing it, but I thought it was interesting.

    This is my long-winded way of saying, thank you for your post. I appreciate it very much and it’s got me considering all sorts of things. Looking forward to future writings by you.

    • Sometimes it is clear that a belief is indeed false – which is a key criterion for ‘delusional’.
      That does not mean that it has been derived without evidence. An example illustrates the point:

      When I first “heard voices”, I had little to no information about what that meant.
      I was home alone and heard two people talking to each other about what I was doing – making a meal.
      “He seems to be OK” a feminine voice said. “Hmph”, from a disinterested male voice.
      “He eats better than we do” followed by another “Hmph”, they said.
      That was the evidence I worked from. I figured out that logically it had to be my upstairs neighbors because:
      1. They had to be able to see into my apartment
      2. That could only be done from the external fire escape
      3. The only other people with access were the upstairs neighbors
      Conclusion = “It’s the neighbors!”, a ‘belief’ ‘fixed’ by the evidence through a rational process of elimination.

      Weeks later after things got out of hand I saw my doctor who described what I was experiencing as “auditory hallucinations”. He might have called the belief delusional, from that frame of reference (he didn’t, but I get the basis of the definition, in spite of it being poorly understood).
      – It was real problem because I ACTED on it, I moved out

      The fact is it WAS NOT the neighbors. The problem is that the stimuli that ‘voices’ presented sounded like people speaking softly or at a distance. What they said only made sense as the neighbors peeking in on me. I had hurt myself that afternoon and made a lot of noise and rationalized that at least one of them thought it a good idea to check up on me. We didn’t know each other, hence ‘peeking in’ seemed reasonable (literally, supported by a plausible reason).

      There is no point in defending beliefs as true or not true – that is not how beliefs work.
      We form beliefs in spaces where we LACK good evidence – beliefs are more hypothesis than fact.
      We often use beliefs in a different form – what we believe IN – the ideas we hold as true and navigate towards, in an attempt to create A world in which they HOLD as true (we DISMISS contradictory evidence).

      Beliefs are by definition not truths. Unless they occasionally happen to be true.

      In spaces where we do not know, we can believe anything – based on partial evidence, or by sucking something out of the air. The fact that these ideas cannot be disproved does not make them true.

      What makes a belief delusional is clear in the example above. The problem is the medical definition: “a fixed belief resistant to contrary evidence”. Until I knew to dismiss voices ‘they’ were evidence that my neighbors were commenting on my activity. A new frame of reference helped me see the problem differently.

      It helps to pick a simple example like the above – which is not confused by the idea of ‘meaning’, a burden that ‘belief in’ carries.

      Believing THAT ‘voices’ ARE aliens, or energy parasites, or god, or a demon… are trickier to pin down one way or the other. The point is we DO NOT KNOW – and these are hypotheses… that we are calling beliefs, and sometimes defend as if we believed IN them. I think we can see how that can be problematic, whatever we call it, if it makes an experience more intense (paranoid for example) or if we act on it. This is where the rubber hits the road, less so in the debate about what to call it.

  5. “everyone is talking about something that has the same basic structure underlying it, which could most easily be outlined in four points.
    1) something out there has some special kind of power and control in the world (God, the NSA, aliens, etc.);
    2) either you have discovered it yourself or this something has revealed itself to you in some special and probably secret way that others may not have access to or insight about;
    3) this something has some specific use or purpose for you, possibly as a victim of exploitation or punishment or experimentation, or possibly in some special mission or magnified role in the universe;
    4) this power infiltrates your world, although there may be other powers out there as well.
    Once you realize that this structure is there, underlying what just about every “psychotic” is talking about, it becomes very easy to decode what “psychotics” are saying almost all of the time.”

    This structure of the stories in which voices engage us is supported/created by characteristics of the phenomenology.
    1) I am experiencing unusual stimuli of UNKNOWN origin in an unusual way. I experience it as “supernatural” precisely because it is unusual and as having intent and agency that is very definitely not me… therefore something must be producing it and I form a BELIEF (not fact) about what that something is. We account for the PRESENCE in a belief system that connects how (supernatural) and what/who (an entity that might explain the how. It might be the neighbor (if the stimuli seem like voices nearby); god (if say the stimuli are ‘a soft still voice’ ‘in the mind’, or the voice claims to be god, as one of mine has) or an alien (my voices claimed this too). When you reject this as simply a belief, voices might PERSIST in trying to create new beliefs: :: The voices I hear worked to escalate their power by claiming to be people who had died (connecting to a common belief); people that I knew who had died (making it personal); family who had died (personal and more significant); god, the devil and then an evil god (in an attempt to assert greater power and influence)… and aliens and multiples… The point is voices drag us into a space where we have no evidence – and beliefs flourish. Whilst you may say we have no evidence for OR against any particular what/who belief, ‘voices’ cannot be all those things and none seems more likely than the other.
    We are unlikely to agree at the level of belief, an expression of the experience – and conflict is the result.
    2) I hear them (or experience intrusive thoughts, or…) and you don’t – therefore the information that ‘voices’ have shared with ME is “privileged”, or unique or special… and specifically NOT shared or transparent to others… and potentially has value or threat potential, depending on how ‘voices’ choose to present it, or how I interpret it. We need to remember that it has NO PROVENANCE whatsoever, cannot be tested, verified, validated or be subjected to any kind of check for coherence or even relevance, let alone significance. We are inclined to give it significance because it is unusual, special or secret or… :: The voices I hear have thrown so much horseshit at me it is simpler to reject it all than to bother to assess it.
    3) Now that I have been ‘chosen’ as a victim or the second coming (or both, more likely), I am engaged in a conspiracy with ‘voices’ or ‘god’. Either I am a victim, ‘voices’ torture me and “don’t care” as mine say; or ‘voices’ may impose a special responsibility on me – mine chose to say I am “the perfect man for the job” which morphed into being the second coming in an escalation of role (imposed) in much the same way that they escalated their own assertions of power via what they claimed to be. The basic tactic is to encourage, or so it seems (and cause mania) and discourage (causing fear and paranoia)
    4) These come together in a story, a narrative of the experience as ‘voices’ persist and use these phenomenological characteristics to create scenarios usually with: a conflict = the problem that gets a reaction and engages; a role that encourages one to act, so that ‘voices’ get to interfere ; and consequences in the outcomes, or more accurately, the perceived implications.

    Experience is shaped by phenomenology in very specific ways.
    1) We form a belief system around our answers to to the basic how (the phenomenology experienced), what/who (a belief) and why/why me (a personal narrative) QUESTIONS. Where/when become a self evident pattern that we learn to anticipate. Our answers vary widely, our questions are the same.
    2) ‘Voices’ engage us in stories that leverage these beliefs, creating scenarios that connect to events in our lives (to maintain apparent relevance), encouraging and discouraging us to create extreme states
    3) By dragging us into spaces where we lack verifiable evidence… voices are able to create and sustain conflict by suggestion, assertion, deception… the conflict is unresolvable (because the problem ‘voices’ set is fake)… and we are more easily set against each other because we hold beliefs strongly (based on MY evidence, which YOU don’t have)
    4) The stories can be reduced to the simplest of all – the battle between good and evil…

    If you want to see more on the structure of the stories voices engage us in, I talk about it in this video. I talk about three common narratives based on where we locate voices (the villain), a soap opera (my world), conspiracy (the world) and cosmic opera (other world). The structure is the same, the heroes/villains are of each world, their ‘powers’ become progressively more grand 🙂
    https://youtu.be/lpAthnONQ54

  6. Thanks for this explanation Eric. When my son was psychotic I spent many hours listening to him to try to understand his struggles. Most of the rest of our family, friends, and the professionals he interacted with just dismissed his ideas as “crazy”. But I know that he was struggling to make sense of the world and his place in it. The problem was not so much his ideas but rather the intense anxiety that he was experiencing. His anxiety/fear/paranoia resulted in him being unable to cope with life. He wouldn’t eat because he thought the food was poisoned. He couldn’t leave his home because everyone was out to get him. He couldn’t stay in his home because “they” were spying on him. His life became totally intolerable and that was what ended in him being hospitalized and medicated. He is much calmer now but sometimes I miss the interesting, deep conversations we used to have.

  7. I largely agree with your insight into “psychosis,” although I found there to be different types of “psychosis.” When you’re on massive quantities of the psych drugs, you get an extremely dumbed down, satanic, inane type of “psychosis.” This type of “psychosis,” created via anticholinergic toxidrome poisoning, consists of incessant “voices” bragging about their sick child abuse and child murder crimes. This type of “psychosis” could have been created via voice to skull technology in my case, because the “voices” related to real people, but it could have just been the result of the poisoning, I’m not certain.

    The other type of so called “psychosis” would be as a result of a drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity manic psychosis, seems to be how the medical community would describe it, if you found ethical psychiatrists who did not automatically assume drug withdrawal symptoms were a “return of the illness.”

    And this type of “psychosis” is the type you are talking about, it’s about the existence of a spiritual realm, or as some call it the collective unconscious. According to my drug withdrawal induced awakening to this collective unconscious, I learned this realm is supposedly organized a lot like the internet, with lots of websites. And all the souls are supposedly connected within this collective unconscious. IMHO, it relates to a “we are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord” type theology. Does such a collective unconscious exist? Some psychologists believe it does, technically the religious should believe in this spiritual, non-material realm, although I learned many do not.

    And a big problem lies, IMHO, in the fact today’s psychiatrists do NOT believe in anything other than the material world. Thus anything that relates to the possible existence of a collective unconscious, a spiritual realm, or even belief in God is a “delusion” or “psychosis” to today’s so called “mental health professionals,” even the ones who fraudulently market themselves as Christians or Jews. But this material world only belief system of theirs has not been proven to be true, so it’s matter of faith on their part. It’s a matter of faith either way.

    But since we do theoretically have freedom of religion in the US. These “mental health professionals” who are trying to murder those who believe in God. They are overstepping their boundaries, and breaking the law. And just because the “mental health professionals” choose to behave like criminals, this is NOT proof that the collective unconscious or a spiritual realm does not exist.

    I do hope the “mental health professionals” get out of the business of trying to murder those of us that believe in God some day. And I still believe in God, no matter what pedophile empowering, child abuse covering up, criminal “mental health professionals” claim. And the psychiatric lunatics, who have delusions of grandeur they dictate reality, are NOT God, despite their god complexes.

    Nonetheless, I largely agree with you that the “mental health professionals” belief in only the material world, is resulting in many who believe in God being misdiagnosed as “psychotic,” then we’re made psychotic with the antipsychotics, and with the withdrawal from such drugs. But I hope you’re right that God will fulfill our dreams, and I do see that my antidepressant induced nightmares of 2001 have come to fruition. So I hope my dreams that we will some day take this world else where, and bring about a better world for all, will also some day come true.

  8. “The doctor happened to come from Russia, and as the two of them talked I could vaguely make out that they were talking about some sort of conspiracy theory that involved Russia, and the two of them batted it back and forth, clearly enjoying themselves and making casual references to all sorts of other conspiracy theories that I knew nothing about, and they apparently understood each other perfectly.”

    Hmmm… Isn’t believing in “conspiracy theories” involving Russia is a supposed sign of a “mental HEALTH” in the West nowadays? At least, among the Western establishment such theories are now presented as a self-evident common knowledge, with anyone doubting them being either an undercover Russian agent or a “delusional conspiracy theorist”, since the “delusional conspiracy theorists” and undercover Russian agents are the only ones who may even think about questioning the motives and actions of a unquestionably benevolent and trustworthy Western establishment.

    P.S. I’m from Russia. 🙂

  9. While there is meaning in everyone’s communications, even those which have different characteristics and different parameters than schoolbook English, the notion of there being a “psychotic code” that can be “translated” is a little too gimmicky. The primary shortcoming here is the assumption that the term “psychotic” itself has a uniform meaning, when it is in essence a term used to connote a common understanding where there is none. So while a creative communicator with some intuitive skills and sensitivity can meaningfully interact with people who have been labeled “psychotic,” to tacitly accept that label by using it oneself serves only to legitimize a chimera.

  10. Brilliant, Eric. Just brilliant. I’ve been saying this for years: Everyone’s life and thoughts have meaning. And there are no “incomprehensible” Mad people. Just a lot of interpersonal laziness among the able-normative members of society. Top notch article, brah!

  11. About your four points Eric:

    1. Psychiatrists have unusual power and influence in the world.
    2. My psychiatrist revealed his powers and clairvoyance to me. Mind reading and sooth saying are powers psychiatrists possess since they know who will commit crimes and can tell what patients think. We can be sure of this; they say it after all.
    3. Psychiatrists have special plans for me as a career test subject for their Mengele-like experiments, and a societal scapegoat to blame for all violent crimes that occur. They also cherish similar plans for 20-25% of the population.
    4. Psychiatrists run the world. People accept any bologna they serve on television or in court rooms without any question at all. They are in bed with government and you are condemned at their word since they are never wrong. Like Cotton Mather at the Salem witch trials.

    Psychiatry produces and is itself insanity.

  12. If it’s true that elements secretly control the universe, their not doing such a wonderful job are they. People probably could do just as well left to themselves.

    We should maybe just ignore them and they’ll go away. Or maybe not, in which case another answer might be in order!

  13. Actually, this is one of the more coherent discussions on this website!
    I speak psychotic, well, at least I certainly know what I mean.
    I can also speak “normal” and “science”
    Just keep em guessing!
    Psychosis is the result of seeing deeply in a brutal and insane world. There is truth in all delusions, which are, after all, the result of one’s life experiences. It’s just that “normal” people don’t want to see. My world is not incomprehensible. The other world, the “normal” world, is the incomprehensible world. So “normal” people have to turn themselves into zombies so they don’t have to see, don’t have to acknowledge the reality of others’ experiences, or their own, for that matter. That’s how the insanity persists. Just a bit of cognitive dissonance there. A + B = C but only when someone else says it does…
    So which time does it equal C and which time doesn’t it??? There’s no mathematical formula, it’s just insanity.

  14. no one said it as good as……
    “Coercion masquerading as medical treatment is the bedrock of political medicine. Long before the Nazies [sic] rose to power, physician-eugenicists advocated killing certain ill or disabled persons as a form of treatment for both patient and society. What transforms coercion into therapy? Physicians diagnosing the subject’s conditon as a ‘disease,’ declaring the intervention they impose on the victim a ‘treatment,’ and legislators and judges ratifying these categorizations as ‘diseases’ and ‘treatments.’

    TS Szaz
    Or Maybe…“Although we may not know it, we have, in our day, witnessed the birth of the Therapeutic State. This is perhaps the major implication of psychiatry as an institution of social control.”

  15. You know, this had some real possibilities to become a fruitful discussion about communication style in altered states and the process of listening. I thought what the OP had written was very interesting. I was so hoping this wouldn’t devolve into the usual rant about psychiatry is evil, psychiatrists are evil, we need to destroy the field of psychiatry. So much for that hope.
    It’s a mystery to me why some people who so obviously hate everything about the whole mental health field keep hanging around a website dedicated to a wide range of discussions about mental health and what that means in our society. So many of these discussions end up being hijacked by the same people proclaiming the evils of psychiatry.
    I am no apologist for psychiatry. I could be a card carrying victim of psychiatry if I chose to be, but I don’t choose to be a victim of anything. One of the take home messages of the article above is that active listening is important. There were several people who contributed thoughtful comments to the discussion. If y’all had bothered to “listen”, we could have had an interesting discussion about communication and the authenticity of listening. How ironic!

    • It’s a mystery to me why some people who so obviously hate everything about the whole mental health field keep hanging around a website dedicated to a wide range of discussions about mental health and what that means in our society.

      Stick around long enough and you might begin to understand, and maybe even begin to put quotes around metaphorical notions such as “mental health.” All MIA discussions tend to go off on tangents.

      • What are you, the word gestapo?? Well, just for your edification, the term mental health requires no more special designation than does the term physical health. Or are we required to use only the state approved words and express the state approved ideas here now?
        This is a great example of exactly what I have said elsewhere on this site, that psychiatry is not the problem. The problem is power and control and who gets to wield them. If you destroy the field of psychiatry, something just as toxic will rush in to fill the vacuum. Our society is dominated by insecure, small minded people who feel so threatened by people with ideas different from theirs that they have to eradicate them in some way. Dominate the airwaves with only one message; that’s the ticket!
        How very interesting that you are becoming that which you so vehemently profess to despise and want to destroy: people who need to control others’ thoughts and ideas and the ways they express them.
        All roads seem to lead to the same hell, don’t they??
        This site used to welcome people with different ideas. Well, I don’t want to be part of your herd any more than I want to be part of anyone else’s.

        • “Mental health” is the thing people claiming to be “mentally ill” are buying, and vice versa, “mental illness” is the thing people claiming to be “mentally healthy” are pegging on others, even when psychiatric labels are disavowed.

          On one side you’ve got bio-psychiatrists and allies claiming “mental illness” a form of physical illness, genetic deficiency, or brain disease. On the other, you’ve got people claiming it isn’t physical at all, but still, problem, that would make it an abstraction, and if it’s an abstraction, that is, in reality, an illusion, neither “disease” nor physical/concrete, the word, transformed into an insult, would actually be a euphemism, and unfittingly inappropriate.

          Although I think a power disparity is part of the problem, I cannot ignore the part that language plays in this power disparity as a tool of oppression. Thing is, if language can be used as a tool of oppression it can also be used as a tool of liberation. This is why language is important, it provides us with a chance re-appropriate the mother tongue from those who have turned it against us.

        • Well, just for your edification, the term mental health requires no more special designation than does the term physical health. Or are we required to use only the state approved words and express the state approved ideas here now?

          That’s why I said you should stick around and explore what people are talking about here. “Mental health” is a metaphor, not a real thing, such as physical health (which needs only to be called “health”). That’s why we put it in quotes.

          I am not “the state” btw, and the state would in fact oppose most if not all of my ideas, as well as those of many other people who post here.

          The discussion of language such as that which takes place in the article is quite pertinent; it is simply the “psychosis” terminology I oppose.

          • Certainly the state has expressed no disapproval of the term “mental health”, nor “mental illness” for that matter, giving the “mental health” movement leverage when it comes to begging for more taxpayer funding as it does so. The “mental health” movement and the feds are completely in bed together when it comes to terminology. There might as well be an official stamp on the term, or, better, we could call it the state religion for states that disapprove of state religions. Where, after all, would forensic psychiatry be without the anti-social and personality disorder labels it uses to demonize suspected offenders? Outside of the courtroom I imagine.

      • Maradel – You make a good point. May I answer it this way, – Those of us who see an injustice in the world may choose (or feel compelled) to attend to it, to challenge injustice and hopefully do something about it if not actually end it. We don’t have to identify as ‘victims’ to acknowledge that we or others have been and are the victims of adversoties and that the systems employed to support us often result in additional adversity rather than any remediation.