How Does Spiritual Voice Hearing Compare to Psychosis?

Researchers compared the experiences of people who understand their voice-hearing to be spiritual and those who experience psychosis.

18
1625

Researchers interested in understanding varying experiences between people who hear voices recently published their findings in the Schizophrenia Bulletin. The research team, led by Peter Moseley from Northumbria University in the UK, identified significant differences in the experiences of spiritual voice hearers and people who attribute their voices to psychosis. The authors write:

“As well as supporting previous findings regarding low levels of distress and increased control and multimodality in non-clinical groups, we also provided novel evidence of other more subtle differences, including a lower likelihood of  experiencing voices coming from perceptual boundaries and increased integration of modalities into one entity.”

In recent years, there has been increased interest in studying varying experiences of voice-hearers as part of a movement toward depathologizing these experiences and understanding the distinct and diverse ways people live these experiences. For example, Tanya Luhrmann at Stanford University has identified different voice-hearing presentations and cultural differences in the experiences of voice hearers.

Research has also found that a person’s context, language, oppression, social stigma, and how people make sense of voice-hearing influence their experiences of voices. These factors, among others, can alter whether voices are experienced as hostile or supportive or whether the experience brings about distress or well-being.

Voice hearers and people who experience psychosis who have questioned psychiatry’s biomedical theories have developed peer-led resources. For example, Hearing Voices Groups operate internationally to support others with these experiences. Research has found that these peer support groups improve their member’s well-being and promote positive changes. The efficacy of these groups is connected to their values: self-determination, a reluctance to challenge people’s explanations for their voice-hearing, respect for multiple ways of understanding, the fostering of non-judgmental curiosity, an egalitarian form of collaboration, and nurturing authentic relationships within and outside of the group.

To explore the differences between people who experience distress when voice-hearing and those who do not, the researchers interviewed 26 spiritual non-clinical voice hearers (NCVH) and 40 psychosis patients. Participants were asked eight broad, open-ended questions developed by a multidisciplinary team who consulted with experts by experience.

The interviews were initiated by two researchers trained in clinical and phenomenological interviewing. They also administered a standardized assessment to identify the frequency, duration, location, loudness, and other characteristics of the voices heard by the participants. The researchers analyzed the interview by coding or identifying its contents and emerging themes.

The following themes were identified:

Modality and Spatiality

Spiritual NCVHs more often reported having other sensorial experiences such as gustatory and tactile experiences than interviewees who experienced psychosis. All the Spiritual NCVHs also reported having visual imagery or visualizing in their mind. While both spiritual NCVHs and people who experience psychosis reported experiencing internal and external voices (coming from within their mind or from the outside), the latter group also experienced boundary voices (or voices that stem from boundary-setting spaces such as doors or walls).

Spiritual NCVHs were more likely to report thought-like voices or voices that can be confused as a thought, but most experienced auditory voices or voices that are experienced as an external voice.

Control and Change Over Time

The spiritual NCVHs were more likely than those who experience psychosis to report volitional experiences and the ability to influence their voices. The influence over voices reported by spiritual NCVHs was described as changing over time and was experienced as increased control of the voices and other sensorial experiences. Few participants in both groups reported changes in the characteristics of the voices, and the spiritual group was less likely to report changes in the number of voices they experienced, while it was more common in people who experience psychosis.

Affect, Agency, and Content

Spiritual NCVHs were likelier to hear voices who provided positive messages or evoked positive emotions, provided the hearer with knowledge and wisdom, had simpler speech, and were often the voices “of persons from the voice-hearer’s real life.” On the other hand, people who experience psychosis were more like to experience voices that were abusive, violent, commanding, or commenting that evoked negative emotions. Both groups reported personified voices or voices that had their own unique characteristics.

Social Context and Interpretation

People who experience psychosis often explained their symptoms as being due to stress, while spiritual NCVHs were more likely to make sense of their voices as supernatural. Both groups often described their experiences as running in the family. People who experienced psychosis were more likely to report that voice-hearing negatively impacted their interpersonal relationships, sleep, and suicidal ideation. These experiences were less often reported by the spiritual NCVHs, who mentioned that their voices were a part of their identity and cultural life. The authors were conscious of the social influences that might explain these group differences. Clinicians might influence how psychosis patients understand their voices as the result of stress, while spiritual NCVHs’ understandings are shaped by their sociocultural groups.

This article identified similar findings to previous studies and added new insights into the differences in voice-hearing experience. For example, they identified key differences between psychosis and NCVH, such as boundary voices, visual imagery, and hallucinations. These findings serve as additional supporting evidence for these similarities and differences between types of voice-hearers. Learning about the development of control over voices might help develop strategies to decrease some of the distress experienced by some types of voice-hearers.

 

****

Moseley, P., Powell, A., Woods, A., Fernyhough, C. and Alderson-Day, B. (2022). Voice- Hearing Across the Continuum: A Phenomenology of Spiritual Voices. Schizophrenia Bulletin, https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbac054 (Link)

18 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Josez,

    You say…

    “In recent years, there has been increased interest in studying varying experiences of voice-hearers as part of a movement toward depathologizing these experiences and understanding the distinct and diverse ways people live these experiences. For example, Tanya Luhrmann at Stanford University has identified different voice-hearing presentations and cultural differences in the experiences of voice hearers”.

    I say….

    This is an assumption that would mean that wealthy people have joyous voices. Schizophrenia is a culture that accepts everybody, rich or poor, intellectual or unlearned, stressed or happy.

    I have been happy throughout my years of having my schizophrenia and despite that I still have the same terrible symptoms. I have also been dirt poor and better heeled and none of those changes or improvements stopped my hallucinations and beings and voices.

    I cannot see the point in telling people that they only have cancer because they are poor or they do not have cancer because they are rich. Cancer is cancer. Schizophrenia is schizophrenia. One in a hundred are voice hearers. Does this mean the other ninety nine are happily minted and living in mansions?

    The Schema research on schizophrenia suggests that there is a possible biological factor that leads to schizophrenia. But nobody wants to know. I think that is understandable given the dreadful treatments. There is a difference between the word treatment and management. I do not favour treatment unless for short crisis intervention. Thus I asked for pills and came into hospital; where I am now. I am reticent of pharma treatment but I am in favour of managing the symptoms in more holistic ways. And I do feel that schizophrenia is a severe kind of suffering that does need resources and support of a voluntary nature. Open Dialogue is great. Soteria also.

    You have come to the right person since I hear spirit as well as my having a jumbled up awareness from my psychosis.

    Spirit are always caring and of highest gòod intentions.

    Psychosis beings are figments that are from faulty perceptions gone rogue.

    The brain struggles to tell the difference. But it can be done. With patience. Most schizophrenics are shoved on high doses of pills and with akathesia they cannot discern the difference between healthy spirit guidance and nutty nonsense. It all becomes a mess and this arrives at the psychiatrists door. Who makes no sense of it either…and so ups the dose. Which is wrong wrong wrong.

    Often the spirit world likes working with the mad since they are more open to such possibilities of there being a spirit realm. Sometimes it is the uptight practical atheists who are tone deaf to suble perturbations of leaves and meanings who do hear spirit but cannot make something busily creative from what they percieve.

    I am picking up s bad backlash against antipsychiatry. I think a number of people may be forcefully treated by a new regime in goverent in the future. I think some religions have no patience with mystical contenders. I think the mystical will be oppressed by the religious wing of a future regime in world goverenment.

    Being forced to tow the biological line is bullying. Being forced to not tow the biological line is bullying.

    We must cease ALL forms of force and bullying regardless of what place it is coming from.

    • An interesting fact you might want to know is that studies of voice-hearing people in cultures where hearing voices is accepted or viewed as a gift have their voices say a lot more positive things. There is excellent evidence from the WHO studies that people in developing countries have MUCH better long term outcomes, despite (or because of) using a lot less psychiatric drugs in the process. Culture and expectations apparently DO have a very significant impact on how “schizophrenia” is experienced.

        • Does this mean that because certain people on MIA who consistently appear to denigrate my schizophrenia that my voices are worse and really rowdy?

          Im sorry but I do not believe “people” have ANY ANY ANY effect on my schizophrenia. People do not have the ego superpower to heal epilepsy just by infusing the seizured person with positive vibes.

          We are not wild horses. Stallions who just need a caress to stop us rearing up in a panic.

          Schizophrenia is not BIG panic. A person may panic at the sense of a fit coming on but the panic does not cause the grand mal. Having had two grand mals I know.

          But because the schizophrenic person CANNOT much be helped by “the church of people power” this is all the more reason to have a bit of sympathy for the schizophrenic suffering one, or just leave them alone.

          I would want to see a lot more recent research into the notion that schizophrenia fairs better in other cultures.

          For one thing, in certain places in Africa for instance, people are being cruelly treated for being “possessed” by Jin. Such people are murdered for consorting with the devil. This then allows their property and patch of ancestral farmland to be redistributed to the bullies. Don’t forget that there is no way of knowing how many floridly psychotic schizophrenics are conveniently allowed to wander off into jungles never to be seen again. As for places like Afghanistan I would fancy that if women are not allowed to sing and dance with passionate feverish abandon then the odd female bipolar disorder sufferer or schizophrenic would not be smiled upon for doing such immodest acts either. My last psychiatrist told me that in rural countries they have no alternative but to shackle the frenzied runaway schizophrenic to a hut.
          In war zones people with learning difficulties are routinely given vests of semtex explosives to wear into crowded markets. I do think some people are better off being in a nice western hospital. I am in one now. I get three meals a day. Coffees. Clean towels. My bed in my spacious lockable single room is made over with clean sheets and pillow cases. I am given shampoo and conditioner. I am warm. The chair in my room is comfortable. I have shelves for books and the en suite shower room is large enough to fit a king sized bed in. I have my own private toilet and toilet roll is in plentiful supply. The nurses check I am not wandering off into a jungle. No doctor has pushed one drug on me. Not once! All medication that I am choosing to try is through my choice. And before we get into the idea of informed consent about what the drugs do long term I already know that. Much like I already know that a bottle of vodka a day has a long term effect. Both are very difficult to withdraw from but then so is a successful suicide.

          Steve, I wonder if where you are coming from is a medely of folk tales about how tribal cultures often do respect voice hearers for a while incase they are prophetic. This closer affinity with “divine madness” as being a valuable spiritual mediation is more to hand in other countries. In short the shaman doctor sounds as barking mad as his voice muttering client. The tribe is used to not freaking out about the shaman saying that the women flew around the camp on berry bush branches all night long because the men are not being courteous. When the client then says the men are not being courteous because they are imposter spies from another tribe, then all of that hyper-reality is not refuted. This not refuting some of what the schizophrenic says probably does instil more calm than when nobody believes their reality at all. It is called “up streaming” in dementia care. Going with the flow of the client’s experience. Not challenging it and forcing it to belong to this or that vogue in politics or “consensus opinion”.

          I will walk with you Steve on your appreciation that listening to a schizophrenic is profoundly calming to a lot of them. Many of whom do not feel themselves to be schizophrenic or psychotic at all. I will be with you on how the west has lost patience with listening to the schizophrenic Kings and Queens of all things “illogical”. But it did not used to be so, in the nineteen seventies humanity had a better respect for emotions and imaginaton and poetry and art and dreams and prophecies. These days those romantic values have gone. What we have now in the west is an over emphasis on logic, driven by “computer think” rationalism.

          I fear that the schizophrenic; that freak show bearded lady scapegoat, all sadled up and carrying societies baggage for them out of the tribe, will be a scapegoat fed medication she has not freely chosen. That forcing is no different from taking the property and farm land of an apparently posessed elderly widow in Africa.

          But heh…..if you prefer your “fact” then who am I to contest it. We may never agree on how we see our shared world. You see potattoes I see potaytoes. You feel it is spwinklin, I feel it is wraynin. (click on my name to catch the in joke)

          The real rain doesn’t care what it is.

          • I am concerned that you are making assumptions about the meaning of my comment that are not my intentions.

            I have never stated or implied that TREATMENT BY SOCIETY is better/kinder/not abusive in every tribal culture. What I said was ONLY that the content of voices is affected by culture, per the studies I have read:

            “https://news.stanford.edu/2014/07/16/voices-culture-luhrmann-071614/”

            I find that fact very interesting. I think it adds some complexity to the picture of how one might best approach someone who hears voices to get a better idea of what might be helpful. It is not meant to disrespect your views of your own situation.

            I have also not heard people here “denigrating your schizophrenia” in general, and I certainly have never meant to do so. There is general disagreement about whether “schizophrenia” is the name of a “disease” or “disorder” or merely a description of phenomena which really do occur but are not attributable to one, concrete, biological “disorder” or possibly a wide range of causes, such that one case may have little or nothing to do with another. This is very different from specifically attacking or “denigrating” you for your view of your own situation.

            With all due respect, we all have a right to disagree about things that are not determined to be “factually true” in a general sense. I have never once disrespected your right to label yourself with “schizophrenia” and to believe that you personally have a problem with your brain that causes your voices and other symptoms to occur, and in fact have state repeatedly that you absolutely have that right and that I do not question it. I also agree with you 100 percent that bullying others into agreeing to comply with someone else’s belief system is a huge problem. I would like you to grant me and others the same right to believe differently than you about THE CONCEPT OF SCHIZOPHRENIA IN GENERAL, without taking it to mean I intend some criticism of you individually and your beliefs. In truth, I find it likely that some people do, in fact, have difficulties with brain functioning that lead to some cases of “mental illness” as described in the DSM. I just don’t believe that we can define a “disease” for OTHER PEOPLE by looking at their thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Until there is some way to distinguish which people have or do not have a biological problem, and what exactly that problem may be, I’m afraid the final assessment will remain up to the individual client, not to the psychiatric “thought leaders” or individual mental health professionals.

            My objection is not YOU believing in schizophrenia and biological causation for you, and I have no criticism of you for choosing to approach the situation in ANY way you feel would be helpful. My objection is to DOCTORS and other MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS telling their CLIENTS that they “have a chemical imbalance” and “need drugs” when they have no real idea what is going on with that particular person. I have NO problem with the CLIENT identifying as “ADHD” or “Autistic” or having an “anxiety disorder.” I just don’t think it’s someone else’s job to pretend that they know things about the client that they do not.

            If you believe I have in some way “denigrated your schizophrenia,” I would appreciate you directly stating exactly what I (or someone else) might have said that you find denigrating. That way, we might be able to come to some kind of an understanding. But I really don’t like being treated as if I’ve done something wrong without knowing specifically what it is that you are objecting to and why.

      • Dear Steve,
        In a comment further down you express dismay at my use of the word “denigrating”. What you long comment seems to want me to do is bicker and bicker and bicker about which one of us is “right” and which one of us is “wrong”. I am not up for spending any more time on this exhausting argument. The world is full of “thought police” and it gets more “policey” by the day. I am curious that you keep going on about an illness you do not have. If I were to count the last fifty comments you have made I expect the schizophrenia commentary would show up a lot in your scrutiny. You have a schizophrenic affiliate in me, someone who does have the condition and does have hallucinatons from it and someone who IS IN A PSCHIATRIC HOSPITAL because of real schizophrenia. So why not ask me more about it? Why not ask me whst my hallucinations feel like? My voices? My delusions?

        You do not seem to want to even know that my schizophenia exists and yet here I am IN A HOSPITAL.

        If antipsychiatry cannot speak to people who are in hospital, possibly lest they persuade antipsychiatry that utopia is not that easy to manifest in a week or year or decade, then the utopia becomes excluding of fence sitters. Original thinkers make good fence sitters. Any future paradigm needs fence sitters to call out the potential that new leaders invariably grow, of bullying people into “having to” accept a new utopia or a new orthodoxy.

        But often what is going on is not to do with making a utopia. It is to do with voicing a howl of exasperation at the complexity of living an overthinking analytical existence. On every youtube channel pay attention to the musical cadence in the narrators voice. Listen not to the words nor the activism but just tune into the opera. You soon hear that all speakers are yelling out the same exasperated shrill questions that are basically saying….

        1. Why is everyone fighting in the world?
        2. Who do those people think they are?
        3. They cannot be alllowed to get away with it anymore.
        4. People are crying, suffering, dying all because of the “them” who refuse to “change”.
        5. The “them” are always gaslighting the “us”.
        6. To stop the gaslighting we need to stop their holding any opinions.
        7. They are everywhere now and they are going to force us all to be “them”.
        8. We must stand against anything they stand for.
        9. Be vigilant because they want to take over the loudspeaker and pretend to be “us”.
        10. Let them say some things but not other things.

        Steve, this music of “exasperation” is in EVERY activism now. What exasperation does is it leads to a hostile panicky wish to CONTROL any activism that is vaguely different. So the real exasperation is over “difference”. It is not so much over difference as it is over the impunging or intruding by the different. The different threaten to weaken the safe bond that tight “consensus opinion” instils. So the different are deemed the enemy of the cosy bond. This makes the different seem greedy and demanding. When all they are doing is existing as a beautiful harmless difference.

        Mass graves will be filled with the different before humanity realizes that “reason” and being “right” as coming from “consensus group opinion of a shared vision” can never be LOVE.

        • It seems you will not be able to understand and/or accept what I am saying, as your response appears to again criticize without specifics, and does not seem to address what I see as the central conflict we are having. So I will choose to back out of this conversation. I would just appreciate it in the future if you do not accuse me of offensive behavior without giving a specific example and a specific reason, but if you do continue to make such nonspecific accusations, I will choose to ignore them.

          • You say…
            “An interesting fact you might want to know…”

            I say…
            In polite regard I have to say this is seeming a bit condescending of my knowledge. Few who have been reading MIA articles for over a year will not know that much.

            (I suspect you know that on balance I am not interested in apparent logical facts, logic eats its own tale)

            You say…
            “is that studies of voice-hearing people in cultures where hearing voices is accepted or viewed as a gift have their voices say a lot more positive things”.

            I say…
            The above quote does seem to suggest that you imply that treatment by society is all good. I will accept that you never said that all tribal cultures were winners at curing schizophrenia, but I respond to what you say not what you have also not yet said. I am able to some telepathy but not to the degree whre I can read what people have not thought or said. As for my being criticizing I say to all people it is easy to call an individual’s right to hold their own opinion an offence or criticism if you cannot tolerate their difference.

            You say….

            “There is excellent evidence from the WHO studies that people in developing countries have MUCH better long term outcomes, despite (or because of) using a lot less psychiatric drugs in the process.”

            I say….

            Is that the same slapstick carnival called the WHO, who took weeks and weeks to stuff the covid bon bons back in the torn paper bag? Nobody is happyclappy about how the WHO handled the global pandemic but do please pick through what they say and find a sweet “fact” or two. While there maybe tell them to get on with ending female genital mutilation and the amputation of albino children all in rural idylls.

            You say….

            “Culture and expectations apparently DO have a very significant impact on how “schizophrenia” is experienced.”

            No they dont.

            The studies miss out many key features.

            You say you like these studies because it will help you “approach someone who hears voices to get a better idea of what might be helpful”

            I have a much better idea….

            Why not leave the schizophrenic people to tell you what they find helpful? Probably they do not want “help” but “love”.

            You do not have schizophrenia so why are you busy at trying to help that which you cannot possibly fully experience?

            Doing so is not unlike cerrtain airs of psychiatry’s old approach. Their old idea of telling schizophrenic culture that they would look more well after being washed in an ice bath and made spick amd span was a similar way of NEVER ASKING the real schizophenic what THEY might find helpful. If indeed ANY help was wanted by them by them at all.

            The studies I have seen all seem to want to imply that environment impacts the illness. Woopeee!
            Environment affects everything and everyone. So What!

            It did not cure Keats of his tuberculosis. And many in diffrent countries are too scared to reveal what really goes on in their hallucinations and delusions lest they get sent packing in an environment where there are no community nurses of a neutral outlook there to do hand holding sympathy.

            I am in a psychiatric hospital being very well looked after.

            What the idea that schizophrenia CAN be helped does is it allows old and future bullies to say to schizophrenics who CANNOT CHANGE the miserable content of their disease that their continued suffering is ALL THEIR FAULT.

            It opens the door to calling schizophrenics cripples who can walk. It opens the door to stigmatizing schizophrenics who are “utopia-resistant”, as if they are “treatment resistant”.

            Utopia thinking DOES NOT CURE A BRAIN DISEASE OF INHERITED COMPLEXITY.

            See the SCHEMA STUDY into how many thousands of schizophrenics have nine or so genetic specifics. I am not for drug treatment unless it is to prevent suicide and drugs should only be used short term.. My ethos runs in tandem wih most in MIA. I am against bullying.

            I let the matter rest now. Do not reply. I am not needing a reply. Your position is clear. My positon is clear.

            Here comes the hospital dinner trolley. Hospital food is tastey these days. And I slept like a princess. Without this hospital place I would not be alive.

    • “I think some religions have no patience with mystical contenders. I think the mystical will be oppressed by the religious wing of a future regime in world government.”

      The mystical is already being oppressed by some religions. An ELCA psychologist called my dream query about what it means to be moved by the Holy Spirit a “Holy Spirit voice,” and “psychosis.” It was neither, it was a dream query. But such ELCA blasphemy of the Holy Spirit was written right in my medical records, over 20 years ago.

      I must say, given my experience with the staggeringly greedy, Holy Spirit blaspheming US “mental health” industry, I’m shocked you could even find ANY non-clinical voice hearers (NCVHs) in the United States.

      My expert-by-experience view is that anticholinergic toxidrome (antipsychotic) induced “voices” are evil, albeit they were the “voices” of real child abusing criminals I had the misfortune of knowing. My drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity manic “voices” were many, but also the “voices” of real people I’d known in my life, who wanted to help save me. They were easily, quickly, and kindly controllable, too. The only voices that did not seem to know me were the Holy Spirit blaspheming psychologists and psychiatrists, who in the end declared my entire real life to be a “credible fictional story.”

      I do so hope that psychologists and psychiatrists – who are “partners” with the mainstream, supposedly Triune God believing, religions – will some day get out of both the child abuse covering up and Holy Spirit blaspheming businesses.

      https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/04/heal-for-life/
      https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/23/18820633.php?fbclid=IwAR2-cgZPcEvbz7yFqMuUwneIuaqGleGiOzackY4N2sPeVXolwmEga5iKxdo
      https://books.google.com/books?id=xI01AlxH1uAC&printsec=
      frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

      Since the Holy Spirit is a benign and loving Spirit. But One who moves a person, more so than speaking to a person, in my experience.

  2. Dear All,
    I am not here to be “right”. I am here to BE HONEST.

    In my excruciating HONESTY I have to please you if my honest report backs up your view and I have to displease you if my honest report runs contrary to your view. I became an HONEST individual after leaving all obligations to “consensus opinion” to the masses.

    So now I want to be HONEST and as well as reporting that I have NEVER met an abusive psychiatrist or for that matter an abusive psychiatric nurse, if we mean abuse to mean deliberate exploitation or harm of an intentional sort, I DO want to call the system of psychiatry imperfect, flawed, and out of control by virtue of it being to vast and unweildy and too porous by infiltrations of bullies.

    I am not going to sugar coat psychiatry. I DO think mass drugging is appalling. MASS EVERYTHING is a bully’s gift. Bullies love a good mass instruction.

    I am writing this in a psychiatric hospital. I am moved and heartened by all the positive changes I see. Having a single room with en suite shower and having very nice food and a comfy matress and and and and. I am sure I would NOT be writing at all if I had not sought respite from my death wish of recent. Having proudly come off antipsychotics I was in no rush to ever ever ever go back on them. So the fact that I did so shows how gruelling my schizophrenia is. It is just about unliveable with. I had a choice between ending my life or trying antipsychotic nightmare drugs. I know they are next to useless. So is a bottle of whiskey. But when you are deciding on songs for your own funeral reception trying something useless for a while buys time to not quite quit living. I am aware of the power of placebo. I chose to allow myself to use antipsychotics in a bottle of rum placebo kind of a way. I fully intend to come off the bottle of antipsychotics as soon as I feel able to. Not that withdrawal is a dawdle.

    I have no regrets so far about coming into hospital. But in my HONESTY I have to be even handed and report that I have had my medication increased and increased again rather surreptitiously without MY AUTHORITY. It is as if I left my agency at the threshhold in this marriage between myself and medicine. I asked one of the nurses what dose I am on and she surprised me with the digits. I never agreed to that hike up of dose. What bothered me was the nurse’s flippant irritation at my pesky question. As if I was getting ideas above my station. I do have a legal document somewhere that asks all medical staff not to put me on ANY antipsychotics but try everything else first. Therapy. Buddhist chanting. Joss sticks. Holy water. A bottle of Scotch. Kind sentiments. But it as if the moment I said yes to antipsychotics I had said yes to the whole pharmaological cupboard. The blinkered view that antipsychotics are the only treatment simply HAS TO CHANGE. I am all for that change. I can hourly feel my poor brain trying to cope with turning into a chemical blancmange once again. I feel my sense of humour haemorraging out of my mind like I am bleeding out. I am becoming a drugged bore. I feel swimmy and swoony and giddy. The rapid rate of increase in medication is part of the problem. The unholy haste to turn around hospital beds means I have to be “treated” fast. Like these record breaking challenges in beach clubs where you gulp as many whiskeys as your drowning can down. I can feel a hissy fit coming on where I am going to be reprimanded as I ask to slow down the incremental jumps in doses. Woe betide anyone who thinks I am not Individual enough to spar with experts in “me”.

    But I say all of this, that does not have me looking “right”, because HONESTY is next to HOLINESS.

    All the animals are full of HONESTY.

    All the animals are full of HOLINESS.

    • I think it is unconscionable that they would increase your medication levels without so much as a “by your leave.” I wish I found it shocking. What is your best response to this? If you let them know your strenuous objections, are they responsive in backing off to where you were most comfortable? You are a voluntary patient – they ought to be consulting you at every turn in the road.

      • Coersion is joyous. Coersion is enchanting. Coersion is decent. Coersion said to me that its early days but we must get on top of the symptoms and no side effects are without other side effects and no side effects are like the symptoms you describe and its a well known medication and usually what we do with usual bodies that are factory bodies with indentical factory brains is we give it time lots of time your time their time everyone’s time and things settle down because that is the way of things oh sorry to hear it but try to see it is like that for you only because you think like you do but we can talk more about it in a week when the things the things you think are things are revealled to be either cleared up with the increased dose or are seen to be only your way of looking at the things yes uhuh hmm yes well we could maybe perhaps in a week see but….

        Ok just give me the increased pills.

      • Thank you Steve,
        I honour your faith, hope and charity style. I makes my mood warm.

        One angel keeps saying…

        “I will build a bridge…”

        I want to see a book on bridges. They are all over the planet. Mostly scary but rather fetching.

        I am drunk.

        Jaded on antipsychotics. Maybe I will make like the Elephant Man and build a bridge out of dotty dainty wooden matches. And dance around like a manniquin spun on a clockwork mechanism.

        Meet DW on medication. I am an altogether more subdued responder. Periodically check my pupils for signs of fixedness. The myth of the perpetually fixed person.

        I wrote poetry when on antipsychotics before. The poetical works were tenth rate. I could not rustle up any feelings for a starter. So the poems lacked former maelstroms of emotion. But sometimes a cliff drop does no favours to poetic winning lines either.

        On a separate topic I find myself wanting to go back in time to thank people who unknowingly set my life veering in a new direction. One young woman taught me a method of using diviining rods to locate water. It was a fun game but I took it home and built upon it and studied it and it got me pleasantly esoteric. Many years later and she does not know how significant her parlour party trick was to my life. I never thanked her. Partly that was because she and I ceased being friends. I found her irksomely whiney at a time when I was learning to be brave. But all these years hence I feel I should thank her. It makes you wonder if you can thank your enemies. We learn a lot more about ourselves through engaging with the “them”, than we do in engaging with the “us”. Often it is not a great thing that sets our life on a different deer track of destiny. Often it is as insignificant as the raising of a dessert spoon, the daub of yellow paint a friend suggests as a finale to our abstract painting. Small casual incidentals are almost embarrassingly profound in their lasting legacy. The unfortunate thing is that when we succeed through those nudges and gain an applause for our divining rod achievement, or our shiny spoon cutlery emporium achievement, or our decadent poetry collection achievement, or our philosophy achievement we seldom give a backward glance at “the other” who made that possible. We want it all to have come only from ourselves. An arn’t I the best. But no life does not have material and interwoven connectivity to other lives and weavings of inspiration. For some reason it feels easy to declare that the inspiration came from a woozy fussy dimension of inspiration or a cruise liner pick and mix buffet of inspiration than to be honest and say it came from the destitute girl with long dark hair or it came from the tall man with no home. It is easy to rip off the disposessed. Perhaps in Eastern cultures there is more of a sense that you owe gratitude to elders or anyone inspiring. It becomes a collective celebration. If a Nobel Prize is won, it gets celebrated as if everyone has won it.

  3. I do not have a diagnosis of schizophrenia.. psychiatrists say its bipolar unspecified because it doesn’t respond to treatment. I have medication damage. My whole life I’ve experienced things that no one can explain and people have witnessed it. I see things in a flash and it happens how I see it.. now it has more of a constant pattern. Also night terrors and hallucinations have happened in illness. So some good and bad experiences. My psychosis involved things that can’t be explained.. such as a person I hardly knew. 4 years I was sick and denied my paranoid psychosis based in reality except when I was able to stabilize and get back in touch with people one being unexplained in my situation. Well the worst started with two friends from youth ending their lives trying to manage a condition like mine. To find out the acquaintance I reconnected with lost her 14 year old son after one dose of a benzodiazapine suspected in giving him side effects.
    Though practicing my odd form of Christianity which is heavy on existentialism and science.. I’ve been skeptical of any worth to these episodes were metaphysical but thats likely not true based on my studies into evolutionary biology currently. A psychotic break occurred before a trip to a hotel that broke out with legionnaires disease and the one time medication worked in years.. even the trauma psychosis was purposeful to me because I understand more. Feeling terrified no longer has an effect but a sensation.
    Thoughts that are negative and intrusive happen due to the safety of someone else being in jeopardy or impulses to do the most ridiculous things that would harm myself. When I acknowledge it and redirect my mind it goes away and even faster if I laugh at what my brain is trying to come up with.
    Just recently I had the first dream in years. A shadow or invisible figure holds me down in a sleep paralysis that I learned even when I didn’t believe in anything would go away if I prayed.. that was annoying. When it returned all I said was El and it leaves immediately. And lights flicker on and off for me to get a flash of my terminally ill friend and her death.. and I before I could react a radio turned on and I knew the message was for me so I got up and listened. It was soothing and so comforting it gave me chills someone was with me.. I woke up tingling with chills. These dreams are lucid.. this one was in my room and I was asleep but it didn’t seem that way because it happened as I fell asleep. Until I woke I acted out the scene as if it was real. And it is.. because I know how that works now.
    In anycase the 4 year long psychosis also involved everyone getting sick with some disease and tortured by doctors in hospital settings. People know this.. I am not paranoid now and when the virus broke out I knew that was related.. and people are getting sick and damaged by the pharmaceutical industry. I have concerns. Its valid and doesn’t terrify me. The full circle of events leading up to my life now is everything I’ve ever wanted out of love and what propelled me to change and also be humbled by my own cognitive distortions for lack of a better term. So the purpose in all this with the negative was all helpful and valid. Practicing Buddhist techniques I meditate on my ancestors and family or friends who are not here in a physical way. And get great relief. Sometimes to the degree of when I listened to the radio in my dream.
    If these things I see in intrusive flashes happen as they occur in relation to the environment and people around me I can only conclude its not just me.. I am not special.. this doesn’t make me a better person than anyone and im not living my life as a psychic. Once I met a catatonic woman at a temporary residence before I went into college and she could hear and write but did not speak and all the home members insisted I play battleship with her. She loved the game. Not being a game person myself we did play out of my care for her to discover that she would only miss one or two pegs on the board. This went on for 4 games.. she couldn’t answer when I asked how she can see the ships? She had to pass me a note where to put my peg.. all she did was smile like the sunshine.
    Its just something that happens. The worst part is when people ignore what I say and suffer awful consequences as a result that also impacts my suffering to a degree. What I have seen come round full circle to being better is good and plenty of unexpected things happen.
    My grandmother in her 80’s has made a pact she would haunt me when she passes. I offered that she could rattle chains and creep me out and I would be happy. She said it won’t be like that. She would never try to scare me. Our discussions on these things make us both happy with our situation.. her alzheimers being related to my one condition made more severe by illness and medication damage. She does fear doctors but she has no fear of death at all. She never did fear death and I’ve had to learn that. thats is one of the most valuable things I’ve aquired.. urges to harm myself are rejected and fear of death is gone. That was my goal at 14. Made it this far going to make it all the way to the end.
    Thanks for reading

  4. What I experience are not ‘thought-like voices or voices that can be confused as a thought.’ They are voice-like thoughts or thoughts that can be confused as a voice.

    And I reject the idea of visual imagery as hallucination. I recognized a long time ago that this is one of the way my brain processes things. It’s not a vision. It’s not a hallucination. It’s thought. There is more than one way to think.

    The first time I experienced visual thinking I thought it was a vision. After a few times (over a period of years), it became clear that it had nothing to do with God and was just a way my subconscious presented things to my mind.

    There have also been times I’ve interpreted what you call thought-like voices as spiritual. But other times I interpreted them as psychosis and took heavy doses of medication to silence them (medication which also made me sleep, with all the mental benefits sufficient sleep offers). Over time I came to understand that fighting voice-like thoughts makes them more pervasive, invasive and unpleasant and I’m perfectly fine if I just accept that this is how my brain works.

    I interpreted what I experienced through the lenses my culture offered me, but the more experience I had the more I understood that what my culture offered me was incorrect and unhelpful. It’s been years since I viewed my experiences as either spiritual or psychotic. They are just a couple of the ways my brain happens to work. I can also turn off my verbal thoughts and think in non-verbal concepts, but that takes conscious effort and it’s hard to keep the language reflex from kicking in.

    I have never experienced these things sensorially. I do not confuse them with what’s happening in the real world. They are thoughts. There is nothing wrong or right with my ways of thinking and they do not require any more analysis than more common modes of thinking do.

LEAVE A REPLY