Reality According to Whom? Listening to My Wife—and The Problems with ‘Psychosis’

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The following is an adapted excerpt from Healing Companions, a book by the MIA author Sam Ruck (his pen name) that describes his life with, and love for, his wife and her “alters.” 

My wife and I had been married for 20 years when she started to experience some extreme stuff, to put it mildly: panic attacks, flashbacks, comatose episodes, extreme dissociation, hearing voices, mini-seizures, and more. And beyond that, seven dissociated parts of my wife, often called ‘alters,’ slowly began to join our relationship and family over the next six years.

At first, each one was completely separated from the others, and this exponentially complicated the healing journey for usbecause I initially had to help them feel safe, and then I had to help them reconnect to the others so they could begin to work toward a healthy life of wholeness. 

But those things didn’t change my opinion of my wife: she wasn’t “crazy” or “mad” as those terms are used in reference to this subject. And, so, what about “psychosis?” I hear that word thrown all around. It was ignorantly thrown at my wife by a pastor with whom I shared just a little of our situation at the beginning of our journey. But until I began to frequent the Mad in America website, I didn’t realize just how big of a concern psychosis is to most people.

Again, what is “psychosis,” and why do I object to it so casually being used to describe people experiencing various mental health struggles? (Caveat: I’m not talking about physiologically or chemically induced psychosis, but that which is associated with mental trauma and dissociation.) If you do a quick search on the internet, it becomes readily apparent that the most basic understanding is that psychosis is when people lose some contact with reality.

My first issue with the relative ease with which “psychosis” is used and thrown around is: losing contact with reality according to whom? Who gets to decide what is real and what isn’t? Often perspective is a key ingredient to this question that is ignored. Our entire culture is wrapped up in a culture war that breaks my heart as I see both sides ripping our nation apart. Accusations by one side about the other side spewing misinformation and disinformation and believing conspiracy theories about COVID, the elections, BLM, critical race theory, this, that and the other abound. And yet as I watch this war, it is apparent that so few people really quiet their internal arguments long enough to hear what the other side is saying and experiencing. 

Instead, we judge what another is saying according to our perspective and diminish their take on “reality.” We are right back to the analogy of the six blind men and the elephant as each of us fights and argues about our perception of reality and disputes with anyone who would disagree.

Fortunately, I was so desperate not to abandon the one and only woman I ever have loved and to keep our marriage intact that I listened to her! And as I did, all those things she was saying and experiencing slowly began to make sense to me. It was a matter of perspective and of my learning to see things from her perspective and not judge them according to my own.

Let’s begin with a few basics. For a start, trauma: my wife’s was extreme, rooted in her early childhood. It occurred when she was barely 2 years old at the hands of a neighborhood boy. Sadly, her own parents were also trauma victims, and so, they not only didn’t protect their daughter, but they exacerbated the problem because her mom was emotionally abusive and her dad was emotionally distant. Thus, her parents never had the personal resources to help their daughter heal from that early abuse. Even decades later, when I asked them to help my wifetheir daughterat the start of our healing journey, they were at a loss how to help as they had never healed from their own trauma.

Now, any trauma that causes significant fear or pain is sequestered (i.e., dissociated, like an infectious COVID patient) by the human mind, whether its source is physical, emotional, mental, or otherwise. If the person has the ability to self-heal and cope with the associated pain and/or fear from that trauma, then the sequester ends. 

But if the trauma and subsequent fear and pain is of such magnitude that outside help is required for healing to occur, the sequester will continue until such help is attained. A broken limb usually requires a doctor to set it and then physical therapy to restore full use of the limb once the break itself has healed. If the trauma includes severe mental or emotional fear/pain associated with it, then attachment theory suggests that the person best equipped to help the victim is a stable and secure attachment figure using the tools of proximity maintenance, safe haven, and affect regulation to help the person through the pain and fear.

If that is not done, the sequester (i.e., dissociation) will continue indefinitely as the human system tries to continue functioning as normally as possible. Unfortunately, each time a sequester occurs, personality traits and mental abilities seem to get scooped up in that sequestration as well. And thus, the person is left with diminishing capacity to deal with any future trauma.

Now, all that is to say, as my wife began to heal, the various mental sequestrations she had experienced during her childhood were slowly lifted. But it was a process. And it took time, as I had to work with each of her parts one by one with compassion to help each one feel the safety and love she had never known.

The Rip Van Winkle Effect

For example: A couple years into our healing journey,  I was engaged with Shellie, one part of my wife, while we were out on our weekly errands. Shellie is an utterly delightful part who presents as a 5-year old with zero self-confidence and blames herself for every ill that befalls the family, and yet I always think of her as a magical zephyr that can instantly calm me and our son if we are agitated. 

On our errand run, I had found her hidden under a clothing rack at our local Macy’s because she had become overwhelmed by her new surroundings. She remarked how different everything looked than the last time she had been out. 

See, from her perspective, she was like Rip VanWinkle. When the trauma happened during her early childhood, she was put into a deep sleep (sequestered to minimize the pain and terror to the rest of my wife). And when she awoke, it was 40 years later! A lot had happened and changed in America from the late 1960’s/early 1970’s, when this part of my wife had been put to “sleep,” until she awoke in the 2010’s.

She was disoriented! And it was scary to her, as she had lost everything familiar to her: her house, her parents, her toys, and now she was living with some strange man (me!). So, she hadn’t lost touch with reality. Her reality had completely changed according to her perspective, and nothing looked familiar to her. She wasn’t the only part of my wife to describe the dissociation in a similar manner. Once I proved myself to be a safe person for her and willing to respond to the needs she expressed, then I was positioned to help her reorient to the current circumstances in which she found herself.

As my wife and I continued on the journey, I realized that other things she experienced also fell into this category that I call the Rip Van Winkle effect: the natural disorientation that occurs after decades of deep sleep because of the dissociation various parts of my wife had experienced. Flashbacks seemed to be her mind’s attempt to bring these long-dissociated memories of pain and fear back “online,” so to speak. But the process is messy at best. It is disorienting to the person as past trauma memories flood the overall person and overwhelm the current experiences.

Again, my wife wasn’t psychotic per se. These other parts of her were in a time warp, essentially, so it was always a little bit confusing. And then to make it worse, when she experienced flashbacks and other “extreme states,” her past memories and present circumstances were mixing and clashing and overwhelming her. But as I learned to apply the attachment concepts I mentioned above, I could help her and calm her and sometimes literally carry her through the chaos until her mind could make sense of these renewed memories and put them in an acceptable position within her current, personal narrative.

My second issue with us using the term “psychosis” is it makes us lazy. If I say that my wife is psychotic, i.e. she isn’t living in commonly-accepted reality, then what would be the point of making any attempt at understanding what she is experiencing? I can guilt-free call her crazy, mad, or “reality challenged” if I want to be charitable. If she’s psychotic, I don’t have to do any of the hard work to get inside her experience and figure out what’s going on internally so that I can help her calm the chaos. It pains me anytime I hear someone use the term. I know most of us family, spouses and significant others aren’t trying to be mean or cruel. We are just parroting our culture and the experts who ought to know better.

I’m not going to whitewash this. Walking with my wife on this healing journey is the most exhausting thing I have ever done. I don’t consider myself a saint or “wonderful,” as some have suggested. Part of me wants to quit! Part of me wants to be lazy! Part of me just wants to go and have a normal, healthy, easy relationship! I hate Valentine’s Day and all the damn cards which speak of an easy, satisfying love that I’ve never known! But as I desperately wrote in my daily journal, 10,000 pages later, I know that the only way I can live with myself and be true to myself is to walk with the only woman I still love toward our happily-ever-after ending…no matter how hard it is.

So, I truly do understand why we choose the easy path. I long for it myself. I have found so few companions to walk the one I’m on with me. It’s lonely, and I’m treated like an ignorant buffoon everywhere I go, but I try to be true to myself no matter how much it hurts.

But lastly, lest I end this on a down note, it’s not all bad. No, I don’t find the term “psychosis” to be very helpful. I know my wife isn’t crazy or mad. She never had a “break from reality.” More correctly, I believe she was experiencing a reality caused by the messy chaos of integrating her past dissociated trauma into her personal narrative today. And because I chose to walk with her through the exhaustion of constant extreme states those first five years of our journey, we got to see some amazing things happen. I got to witness parts of her wake from their deep, forced sleep to a new life. I got to be there with each of them and help breathe life and stability into them. 

Despite the fear and trauma many of them had been forced to hold all those decades, they still had a magical perspective, a childlike innocence toward life. As I helped each one release the fear and pain she had held for decades, I got to see each grow and connect to the others and lend the traits and abilities she controlled to my greater wife’s personality as she became enriched and whole in a way neither of us had witnessed before.

And I learned about myself along the way, too. Her experience taught me how to become healthier and integrated, as well.

A complete copy of  Healing Companions can be downloaded from Ruck’s website.

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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

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27 COMMENTS

  1. SAM RUCK! OK, fine, it’s a “pen name”. But once you start reading his story of his marriage with his wife, you’ll see why the anonymity is so important. I have been reading Sam’s accounts of his work with his wife for many years here at MadinAmerica. He’s a true pioneer. Sam Ruck blazes trails through wildernesses that the mainstream “mental health” industry doesn’t even know exist. And most shrinks are too incompetent to follow. And too transhumanistic. Because the 1 quality that shines through Sam Ruck’s writing, is his obvious love for his wife. We need more LOVE in the world, and nowhere is it needed so badly, as in the “mental health industrial complex”….

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  2. Well, the old theory about psychosis, recently upholded or resurrected by a KOL was that psychosis started with hallucinations, real ones, not the usual solilloquy everyone has, and in an attempt to explain them, congruous with one’s beliefs, delusions started and became prominent.

    As an attempt to explain the perceptions that are unique to the person having real hallucinations. Further along the line, after incongrous, uninterpretable feedback comes, delusions become bizarre. No amount of reasoning can explain random intrusive thoughts that come to consciousness as hallucinations.

    Except that: they are expressions of the subconscious mind. At times they appear to make sense, because they are tiggered by what is on one’s mind, perceived or just thought.

    Yeah, that’s what draws hallucinations out, into consciousness, the association of their content, and what is actually being perceived and thought. An associated memory that appears relevant only by loose associations. That’s why loose association search in early psychoanalysis triggered psychosis in some.

    Such hallucinations at the beggining kind of make sense, after a while, when info from the outside is useless, they start to make no sense at all. They loose the looseness.

    That was the classic description of schizophrenia. And it explains why some folks thought hallucinations might make sense, and others always call them meaningless: It depends.

    Hallucinations preceded delusions, and delusions were an attempt to explain them.

    There was another unacknowledged route to psychosis: torture. When an individual is exposed to the expectation of random punishment, particular when in severe isolation, with no interpretive grounding, delusions preceded hallucinations, and expecting something, anything, in normal people and some animal experimental settings, just the fearfull expectation, can give rise to false positives of “hallucinations”.

    In this later case, false beliefs and false positive expectations, gave rise to delusions and hallucinations, i.e. psychosis, indistinguishable from the hallucinations of the first kind narrated here.

    That’s why gaslightning, mobbing and cognitive isolation, paired with expectations that psychosis is a real organic disease, in conditions now not considered torture can induce psychosis in healthy individuals, in non “tortous” conditions.

    The difference now is expectations. If people expect psychosis to be a real thing, they become prone to it. The usual: “I am losing my mind!” kind of rethoric, that, apparently paradoxically, renders oneself prone to it. Or to be labeled with it.

    Like black magic, if you believe in it, you might loose more than your sanity, not because it works, because you expect it to work. The power of belief and expectation, under duresss, lack of explanation and isolation.

    Nowadays, saddly, a third way into psychosis is available:

    Medication. Some medications induce delusions and hallucinations. And the withdrawal from them can induce it too.

    Same learning, expectations and interpreation search, i.e. meaning is at play. More dangerous when such medications is used in minors. With the added of positive reinforcement by the family or the community:

    “It is normal!”, “we believe in dream communition or telepathy!”. “We are special! we can know things no one else knows!” “We can guess the future!”, “there is an alternate reality to the world!”, “satan is trying to get us!”, “the end is nigh!”, “spirits can speak to you!, they can make you think things!”, that kind of “special”, delusion prone rethoric.

    Ideology… false beliefs with loose empirical testing grounding, just like psychiatry…

    And the lack of grounding that objectivity and rationality usualy provide.

    Or else the opposite: “granma ended up on an institution!”. “It runs in families!”, “it is genetical!”, “it is incurable!”, “it’s like diabetes! it requires insulin!”, “it’s excess dopamine!”.

    Like the brain in normal or even abnormal conditions is going to “allow” excess neurochemicals, somehow, or meassured excessive how?. Are there non-tumorous conditions that allows excess norepinephrine? Excess serotonine?. Excess dopamine?.

    Those conditions are caused, as far as I know, by neuroendocrine tumors: chromafine tumors, or related diseases. Not disorders, spectrums of invented disorders, per the DSM.

    Well, dopamine keeps you searching, keeps you engaged, keeps you coming back. And strong serotonergic stuff makes one hallucinate. So 1+1=2. Loosely.

    Dopamine block does not address the cause, it tries to break the reinforcement cycle, but anuls the person. Cure the disease by trying to “rid” of the person…

    Fear, expectation, incentives, ill treatment, torture and lack of rational explanation.

    Rational in the sense that can explain what is perceived, believed and thought. Not the practitioner, not the family, not the community. Rational for the person having unique ways to perceive the world, that in search for meaning reaches into delusional ways to find meaning, and above all peace.

    Psychosis does not make one lazy, it makes one frenetic in search for meaning.

    Which in the first case, will be difficult to do. Since hallucinations, if persisten will be unexplained. They can be integrated, but modern, occidental culture will object to that.

    Except, mercury, lead, antimony, fungal toxins, callomel, etc. The works! of chemicals now partially described as neurotoxic were way too common in food, paint, drinking water, etc., to be ignored as that: hallucinations inducing.

    Before neuroleptics. A good, too parallel to today is the “madness” of King George. He ate too much fish, and was given callomel to cure his ails…

    So, before neuroleptics, the most reasonable explainer for hallucinations was not mental illness, it was TOXICOLOGY.

    Granted, not everyone developed it when exposed to the same amount, under the same conditions, at the same age, etc.

    But happily for my “theory”, and saddly for everyone else, there is demonstrated variability on grounds of genetics, biochemical, molecular biolgy, etc., to explain the variable susceptibility to exogenous chemicals, as part of diversity driving, or responding to evolution. When it comes to neurotoxicity.

    We, somehow, changed one group of toxins for designed neurotoxins, under cultural conditions that leave no place to exotic beliefs or normative bioorganic psychiatry.

    And I am not denying being special, different, ill, disordered, etc., just trying to add my two worths sense.

    And I am not saying kindness, love, compassion, science, belief and even ideology can’t improve things. There is Soteria after all. It’s just for me, better see a critical fuller picture…

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    • Hi, thanks for reading and commenting and sharing your perspective. I’m not claiming to have it all figured out, but hopefully our experiences might help others question this tendency to so quickly label others ‘psychotic’. I readily admit there may be various root causes of ‘psychosis’ and I hope this might help others consider one that is often overlooked and dismissed because of the biomedical model of mental health being the prevailing perspective and how it even affects the Mad in America community who is trying to change things.
      Sam

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      • After several days, I am still unclear about “one that is often overlooked and dismissed”.

        Intruding and apologizing: What do you mean?.

        Neurochemical disorder caused by excess dopamine that is not caused by exogenous chemicals?.

        You know: mercury, serotonergic, LSD-like, lead, neuroleptics, etc.

        Because if the caveat to the exogenous chemical induction of hallucinations that lead to delusions is that neither of those chemicals, except neuroleptics, has not been proven to cause hallucinations, except LSD-like, then I can tell that alone they might have not. In myriad combinations it is likely.

        Just read critically the medical history of Kind George III, and that might be illuminating. There is a village in Japan that had mercury poisoning I think, and the symptoms were diverse.

        I speculate because precisely different chemicals do cause variegated response, on top of different ways of reacting to them, even if they fall on “typical” and averages.

        And I am not denying different ways of seeing or perceiving the world, withou chemicals, there are lamas after all, Saint Therese of Avila and Saint Francis of Assisi. There is Saint Paul, etc…

        I am just trying to stay close to you narrative stated here.

        So, again: What do you mean? with “one that is often overlooked and dismissed”.

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      • I have noticed seeing three real images in a window of a house or a bus. So I see the person as having another reality. It is an addition not a missing or subtraction. Takes a lot of time to hear what the image in the glass looks like if the normal person can’t see it.
        If you are in the position where your windows are full if you can find some of the normal window you need to back up your brain with what makes you feel better. One person’s help may be video games or talking to a friend. For me the quieting is online shopping. I need from tea to soap to soup so phone and I keep busy. My Doctor said, Now if we could get Medicare to pay for it. I do what I can but it gets difficult to not pay attention to , the talking. Keep going focus if you can. Take a nap eat something good for you. News it may take ten things to get to your quiet place. I once did a work of art five hours with tons going on , when I finished it was quiet. Thankfully. It was a fish ocean scene on a sheet that I used as a curtain. Find a hobby that helps.
        Schizaffective disorder Start 1995 It is helpful to have BA Socialogy including Research Methods class .The Google mind helps. On meds.

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    • Hi, thanks for reading and commenting and sharing your perspective. I’m not claiming to have it all figured out, but hopefully our experiences might help others question this tendency to so quickly label others ‘psychotic’. I readily admit there may be various root causes of ‘psychosis’ and I hope this might help others consider one that is often overlooked and dismissed because of the biomedical model of mental health being the prevailing perspective and how it even affects the Mad in America community who is trying to change things.
      Sam

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    • “the most reasonable explainer for hallucinations was not mental illness, it was TOXICOLOGY.”

      As in anticonvulsants causing psychosis

      “But happily for my “theory”, and saddly for everyone else, there is demonstrated variability on grounds of genetics, biochemical, molecular biolgy, etc.”

      People with MTHFR C677T homozygous have impaired ability to detoxify, impaired methylation cycle and low Vitamin D which can also cause psychosis.

      As a matter of fact, here’s a case on someone who developed multiple personalities and psychosis and they were reversed

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6689870/?fbclid=IwAR04mBvkhASTEZO3x5BpzriKlAXA_PyjDb0mzQDtLiDH-6nDmhIWef96rek

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      • I don’t believe that multiple personality disorder exists, not even as a DSM category, in the invalid type of diagnosis as ALL DSM diagnoses are. Not even as that.

        I’ve met a person that passed as that, and had, apparently a fixation with the character Sybil.

        For her/his multiples were congrous and cognizant of his/her past behaviour, that on top, was more narcicistic/psychopatic than Sybillic. And this individual also fabricated past aggressions, that were harmfull for his/her victims.

        That was not dissociation, it was covert agression, a form of mobbing: recluting agression from others by passing as a victim, not with false memories, but with very deliberate ones.

        So, there was a gain for this individual to fake it, convincingly. And there was benzos addiction to be gained, not as beneficial to treat “anixety”* according to:

        https://www.madinamerica.com/2023/11/only-one-of-five-key-xanax-trials-deemed-positive-by-f-d-a/

        But!, because like alcohol, marijuana and stimulants, the benzos quenched the transitory anxiety, Raskolnikovian, of being caught in potential crimes as: forgery, fraud, accessory to theft, and murder attempt. Benzos were an accesory, a promoter, a tool, of this individual’s agression.

        Literaly, I met this person, some of his/her psych providers, his/her deeds, and the opinion and testimony of people who knew of the things I said. Beyond what I saw…

        And curiously, the multiples disorder was very popularized by women in jail.

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  3. i’m repostin this ’cause something happened with it the first time i did. not sure what.

    as someone who’s a system/has DID, i’m gonna be real, readin through your stuff made me deeply uncomfortable for a lot of reasons. i did read beyond this post – went to your blog and checked out some of your entries to see if there were any good resources, so i got a pretty good idea of how you talk and present things. if there’s any entries where you do state the answers to anything posed here, bare with me – you got a lot of stuff and going through all of it when it’s so uncomfortable to read is not something i’m able to do at this time.

    first, did you and do you get your wife’s permission to talk about her trauma so bluntly on such an open forum? do you ask her – not once, but ongoing – if things are alright to post when talkin about details? have y’all attempted to reach out to therapists on a consistent, reliable schedule so you can get professional help navigating all of her trauma? if the answer is ‘no’ to any of these, you got some real adjusting to do.

    it sounds like you think that the mental health industry is pretty bunk and that ain’t a healthy mindset to have when you’re trying to support someone going through it. if you truly support someone’s mental health and their healing from trauma, you support them trying ANYTHING. medication, therapy, spiritual growth, whatever. the way you talk about it makes it sound like you’re actively discouraging these things ’cause of the language you use. it’s thinly-veiled disdain and disapproval, and if she has to deal with that and isn’t actually of the same mindset, i feel really bad for her. as an aside: some people really don’t need medication, or can’t take it for any number of reasons, but talkin about it like you do is very dangerous and could lead to people suffering through things they don’t need to be suffering from.

    and, y’know, if y’all started this journey when you’ve made it clear you don’t like medication (and therapy it sounds like from everything you said) she might not actually be comfortable telling you that she wants to try any of it. as a general rule, if someone who’s gone through trauma perceives someone else as unsafe to talk to about certain things, they aren’t gonna. they’re gonna mask it and they’re gonna just agree with that person or deflect ’cause – again – that person isn’t safe. what is safe in a situation like that? agreeing. deflecting. avoiding. you don’t sound like, from everything i’ve read, someone who’s made themselves into a safe place to talk about things. you sound like someone who shuts down and talks over the voices of people who are actually experiencing this struggle ’cause your opinions on these things are more important than their healing.

    which brings me to my next issue with how you talk about her and her DID.

    it really seems like you’re tryin to co-opt her trauma so you can gain attention from it, and that, my man, is really weird. i went and read through a number of your blog posts and you seem more upset at how things are affecting you rather than the fact that she is the one with DID, she is the one who has to deal with this trauma, and she is the one who lives with her brain in that state every single day. when it comes right down to it, you do not sound like a very supportive partner because you’re too focused on yourself.

    i mean, for cryin’ out loud, you complain about lack of engagement on your blog. why is that even close to important? if it’s a good resource, people will spread it around by word of mouth. complaining about engagement really shows you’re more focused on getting attention yourself rather than bringing awareness.

    on top of that, it’s really – and i mean really really – weird how you talk about intimacy and how her littles are affecting it. yeah, bein locked off from intimacy is difficult, but have you talked with her about it in a way that doesn’t come off as ‘i want to have sex with you and we need to figure out how to make that happen’? maybe there’s a reason you ain’t privy to outside of ‘trying to get someone used to you’.

    there’s also somethin kinda red-flag-y about your description of her alters and how they relate to you romantically/intimately…. ‘she started out at age 2 and now she’s 20-something and we’re engaged!!!’ – like, i dunno. the body is of age, yeah, but judgin from everything you’ve talked about, her and her system’s been kinda cut off from professional therapeutical resources outside of you and the internet and that reads to me like you’re tryin to control how she heals to best suit what you want. to put it bluntly, it sounds like groomer talk.

    there’s a reason people don’t wanna listen to your voice. there’s also a reason your wife doesn’t wanna give you that golden thumbs-up in those communities. there’s a reason those folx pulled their sponsorship from you. maybe you should think about that, and think about why that might be, without going to someone and essentially saying ‘you don’t think i’m [thing here], right?’ because that’s leading and leaves less room for honest conversation.

    you got a lot of learning to do if you wanna be a truly healthy partner for her and until then, it really comes off like you’re acting in your own best interests instead of hers first when it comes to her mental health.

    also, for the record – i am in a relationship with someone who has their own set of traumas/issues and i would never in a million years talk about them like you do (OR vice-versa) ’cause the level of disrespect that you put forth in your phrasing, how you talk about things, and what you talk about is way more overt than you think it is. it’s probably a contributing factor as to why your content isn’t more popular and why you’re ostracized from groups. people who’ve been traumatized see people talk like how you talk and don’t wanna touch it with a ten-foot pole. people who have a healthy open-minded grasp about mental health and how to navigate it see how you talk and more than likely don’t think you’d be someone who would bring positive opinions into those spaces.

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    • High V,
      Yes, I do have my wife’s ‘permission’ to tell MY story of walking with her on the healing journey these last 16 years. I am sorry you are so cynical about everything you have read of mine, but your criticism is not an accurate reflection of the relationship I have with or the healing journey I have been on with my wife.

      I do wish you and your partner the best for your own journey.
      Sam

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      • Sam,

        I’m curious as to why you would put the word permission in quotation marks. Do you think it’s silly for people to be concerned about the issue of consent to reveal so much personal information about another?

        You are free to tell YOUR story, as we all are, but maybe some of us would like to hear HER story, in her words. I would use her name here but I only know her as your wife.

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        • KateL,
          I truly am sorry you seem intent on ascribing to me ill intent with regard to my wife. My book is MY story about how I radically changed to become the man she needed so that I could walk with her on this healing journey, as equals, never transgressing her agency, never considering her ‘mad’ or ‘crazy’ or ‘psychotic’ or any of the other things that most people who have experienced what she has experienced would be considered.

          I’m sorry you simply seem unable to believe that.
          I do wish you the best.
          Sam

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    • With respect.

      I don’t think you are neither cynical nor shameless.

      I think you did research your statement and your claims stand, eventhough I am not checking your sources 😉

      Just, I do want to ask you a favor. I do have an issue with permission, can you please read my comment in reply to SR, that starts with: “I did have a similar story…”. Assuming it passes the bot or boot, whatever…

      And give me your opinion?. I admit I biased the thing, but any flaw or bad thing on my part I would appreciate comming from you. Or anyone else, except, I can’t ask openly anyone else.

      I don’t want possitive feedback. I want what I did wrong in that comment. Obviously my narrative is that, a narrative, and very likely you can relate, but can’t correct the narrative…

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  4. Hi Sam,
    I noticed the critical comments about your article. I just wanted to say I didn’t have this reaction at all. I was diagnosed with schizophrenia more than 50 years ago and it has been a long uphill but overall winning battle for me.

    I don’t know if it is ever possible to be “healed”. I guess it depends on the underlying issues or problem. Psychosis seems to be such a wide ranging term and one that often seems to be completely misunderstood, even by many mental health professionals. In my own case I would say that I have been able, over a long period of time, to significantly improve the way I self manage my condition. It remains an ongoing work in progress.

    Most of the useful help I have received over the years has been from family and friends but even that hasn’t always been positive or consistent. They say that the hardest thing to deal with in mental health is the stigma and vilification. Many people can’t tolerate someone who is somewhat different. They either want to “fix” them or move them out of sight and out of mind. This often leads to someone either trying to ram their own often inadequate or inappropriate solutions down your throat or alternatively subjecting you to abuse and discrimination including physical violence. This of course just adds to the trauma load. Again in my experience, some of the worst abusers and fix-er-uppers are the mental health professionals.

    What I can say from my own experience is that no matter what you do, someone will feel threatened and uncomfortable about it and are likely to respond in a negative and destructive way. Finding a person who has empathy and understanding and is willing to listen seem to be increasingly rare these days .

    So we do our best both to help ourselves and others in similar situations, knowing that whatever you do, someone somewhere will find fault with it and often go out of their way to make life just that much harder for you.

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    • To kinda reiterate, I can relate, and that feeling, I perceive in your comment, without claiming it is true, a fact, seems like a feeling of persecution.

      I can relate, and I can say part of what psychiatry does is intended to cause that kind of feeling.

      It’s part of mobbing, and mobbing, “acoso moral”, does not always need to be coordinated. It’s enough enough folks react similarly enough.

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  5. I agree with you, except about the mental health system, which in my experience is extremely retraumatizing (I had significant trauma but despite years of money, time and energy that I put into treatment, the trauma was never addressed. I got a borderline diagnosis and brain damage from psych drugs that also ruined my physical health, but no trauma treatment, after 3.5 decades).

    I agree with everything else you said.

    “And so, the group pulled their sponsorship over concerns that my wife’s perspective wasn’t adequately represented, sigh.”

    Hey, maybe they have a point!

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    • KateL,
      I’m sorry no one ever helped you address the trauma. That is a travesty.

      And I’m sorry you seem to embrace the antagonism between family members and survivors that NAMI and others have promoted. My wife chooses not to make her voice heard. I don’t suppress it, ever. In fact, if you were a fly on the walls of our house, you would hear me pleading with her to ‘come out’ and speak up, that she has so much to share. You would hear my frustration with her…because of people like you who assume the worst of me because I’m ‘family’…and so they diminish how hard I worked to become a “Healing Companion” for my wife…even at the expense of some of my own hopes and dreams and needs…but I chose to walk with my wife, the only woman I have ever loved, ‘in sickness and in health, for better and for worse’…just like, now that I have cancer, she has chosen to do the same for me.
      Sam

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  6. I left a response to your comment at my blog on the RADRA study but am also leaving one here in case you missed that one.
    I am sorry it has taken me awhile to respond.
    My blog was meant to address the RADAR study and its implications regarding those who have been prescribed antipsychotic drugs as well as to describe my own approach to prescribing them.
    It was not intending, however, to address the full meaning of psychosis. I admittedly used some medical terms but I agree that what falls into the category of psychosis is broad and I also agree that there are other approaches that can be helpful. I also would like to see more people given the option of working through these kinds of extreme states without taking the drugs.
    I wish you, your wife the best.

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    • Sandy,
      thanks for taking the time to comment, and also thanks for doing it both places. I really don’t like the new way they do comments because I no longer get notified if someone responds. I wish they would go back to the old way.
      I appreciate you taking the time to read, and understand your article had a different focus. I wish you the best.
      Sam

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  7. In reply to Sam Ruck October 27, 2023 at 5:31 am
    to KateL.

    I did have a similar story, except, she never talked explicitly about it, her ideas and special perceptions.

    That oddly, now, decades after seem spookely accurate. Halloween and all that. Really, I am not exaggerating…

    And I never pushed her, never labeled her, and never really changed my way of thinking about that way of her. Why would I?, she was charming and caring as she was. Even though I never shared the paranormal beliefs, never explicitly stated, but I could imagine…

    So, I can relate partially. I guess I was lucky since a young age to be around very diverse people.

    Saddly, apparently, for some reason, she did betrayed me, not in a “delusional” way of doing or accusing her. But she did, and I still stood by her and be with her, share the road, until she found someone she apparently loved more than me.

    That went with at least a hiccup, but she lost her caring, so to speak, probably med induced. Newspapers, court orders, arrest, that kind of thing for her with her then husband, the man she loved more than me. And that someone who saw them “fall inlove”, said they found each other. I guess it takes a pair to walk safely through life, not without bruises though.

    And her betrayal was, at least one of them, what one might call despicable, and another very callous, even hatefully rubbed against me by her (she apparently then was on fluoxetine).

    And still, I never pushed her on the first one to come clean, and neither someone else who also betrayed me with her, apparently several times, despite he did owed me a lot. And I mean a lot, personaly, not financially. Even his family owed me personaly. I guess he had to try to match me up, put his big boy pants.

    Funny, but in doing so, he did lost a touch with reality, so to speak, and them some. And I helped him with that too!.

    I guess she must have laughed at his manliness, he did got what they call coming from the uterus in the 19th century, and then some!.

    So, again, I can relate, and without impinging or meddling, I guess on that you seem luckier than me. And I don’t speak with envy. And aware I didn’t face overt “psychosis”, just “pecularities”, that I never tried to investigate, question, understand, etc., just respect. And even appreciate 🙂

    Part of a whole beautifull she was, as Rick Astley sang: “Wonderfull you”. Which was a favorite for both of us. She called herself as Garfield a bombom, among regular cookies. She really was a bombom…

    Even today, although, now facing certain but at uncertain date demise for me, for medical reasons not cancer related, I remember more sour than sweet. The process of grieving for oneself before someone else does, affairs in order, all that…

    I hope it returns to the mean, she really was a great person, otherwise for me to be proud to have been with her for several years. And bested all her “cheats”, that I know, hehe.

    Talk about ego boost against almost manly macho types. See?, why would I feel threatened by them?. Fluffs, it takes, excuse me for the expression, at least a pair. And a little stamina, endurance, courage and love…

    With her, if I fell to be with her it would have been still great. And once I almost did: brigants. And she did put her personal safety more than me for us to be together. This was, and is the bronco Mexico. And a bombom walking…

    And even rationally she was a great gal, and her family was too!, her mother welcomed me with more than love!. And the mother was a great cook, I know that might pass as mysoginist, but on my defense, she was executive for a top honcho of industrial Mexico back then. So much so, my GF then asked me not to talk about her mother’s job. I guess it is safe now to hint at it…

    And as a kid, I did experience hunger…

    I just since a young age had the thought that within reason, “if someone had fun at the party, it was worth having”. And I wasn’t thinking about me…

    And I stood by both of my close betrayers, for some reason, I guess I wasn’t expecting their betrayal and hoped they’d come clean. Never did. And I did not repress/dissociate or any psycho babble. Just hoped they appreciated me enough to go the extra mile, for all sakes.

    So, retrospectively, I guess they didn’t even appreciated themselves enough, and selves enough. And despite that, I did both of them…

    So, thanks for your story, again. I can relate partially.

    PS: I do have a pretty good idea why and how I am going to have my final journey, I have data, quantifiable, it’s just the time is a little bit uncertain. And I am not trying or hoping to shorten the wait, just to relate to your narrative. I am having issues with the “One step beyond!”, tararara, tararara…

    By Madness(TD).

    And maybe, just in passing, I’ll say proper goodbye to one of the most extraordinary beings I have ever met, not her though, but, among all drama, that being was taller and more solid than the Himalayas. And that will be just for me. Magical too, and her, the one I narrated, saw something that might have corroborated her way of seeing the world. Really, I am looking forward to it, just not yet, not yet…

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    • I would not buy it nor read it.

      There are enough convincing arguments from the MIA commenters to make believable the arguments of paternalistic behaviour, normalizing of psychiatry behaviour, etc., by the author. Even selfishness in the sexual arena.

      So kinda of a not that good example in some respects as to how to support an individual with “psychosis”, that is one’s lifetime partner. Some commenters did go into SR’s blog.

      Respectfully, and aware what SR narrated here, and in other MIA comments of his.

      But as testimony of an attempt for years/decades to live with “psychosis” SR’s book might be valuable, I understand that. Just the “issue” is a complex and complicated one.

      What was not commented I think sufficiently is the counterintuitiveness of SR being some sort of therapist/psychiatrist partnered with a person with “psychosis”.

      That sounds suspicious and prone to abuse given practitioners, according at least to MIA comments do abuse their patients. So reformulating: the power imbalance against SR’s partner was not clearly stated in the comments, I think.

      In other fields, having a cardiologist partner when one is a cardio patient might seem good, but definitively not in the psy disciplines: they are ripe and full of abuse in non-partner situations.

      And there are allegations of abuse against trainees as in:

      https://www.madinamerica.com/2023/06/the-dividing-line-experience-of-psychiatric-violence/

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      • Opinions are like the anus. Everyone’s got one. We live in a world full of hardship and information. Just being able to express how you feel can be stigmatized as selfish and labeled as the opposite of being supportive by people who

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