Thursday, June 4, 2020

Comments by knaps

Showing 12 of 12 comments.

  • I think Steffen you are missing a core point. You can humanize yourself all you possibly can and yet you are in a position of mainstream authority and these commenters here are not.

    Sadly you are repeating the trauma of our experience with the mental health authority, whose own still unresolved ‘stuff’ gets in the way of being able to hold the emotional pain of the client. Underneath the anger stemming from this oppression there is real feedback about your approach here.

  • Thanks phoenix… I do appreciate the validation around it being a tough struggle. Lucky for me I have a very hefty amount of privilege. Without that, I would never have had the foundation to bring myself to healing; I’d be like many people without social support and means to sustain themselves, facing this medical system without any resources to advocate for myself. Those people are the true ABO climbers 🙂 I see them on the streets and do not envy their difficult journeys.

    I very much enjoyed the video, thank you for sharing! I can see how it would resonate with you during that time… and I will be bookmarking it for the future.

  • And yes, I definitely agree about reaction to the vulnerability model. Authority and the presumed superiority, even if subtle, has been a huge continual wounding for me throughout this process. Originally from hospital staff – doctors and psychiatrists in particular – and in an ongoing basis from family, particularly relevant with my father who is a medical authority. I still feel pain and resentment towards the psychiatrist who worked with me at that time back in 2007, a well-published research psychiatrist and head of the department for a large medical group in the US. He’s a friend of my family, and lives in my parents’ neighborhood, so it made the pain hit even more “close to home” figuratively and literally. It’s a terrible thing and as you go into detail about, can have an enormous lasting impairment on functioning. It did for me. I feel like I’m only in the past couple years finally getting on with my life, in a self-led way.

    I won’t argue that temperament plays a role: making one more susceptible to trauma, more susceptible to expressing that trauma as psychosis. Yet I view those temperamental traits as neutral, not negative. The same trait that causes these negative outcomes in the contexts like my life can also cause positive outcomes, and in fact I’m sure they have (sensitivity and intellect -> reading complex situations better -> more power and potential impact in the world)

  • I’m amazed by your writing, so open, funny, expressive! Yes, I think I can take your last bit of advice to heart. What a beautiful analogy. I’m a rock climber, but in recent years as I’ve faced a lot of the roots of my psychological issues, have naturally been doing less roped climbing, certainly less risky alpine/adventure climbing. Funny how for me, the symbolic life expresses itself in my interests and desires in the physical world. Not so different from psychosis, yet much less intensity. I’m enjoying the scrambling and cable routes much more these days 🙂
    Your description of your trembling traverse and the growth for you and your boyfriend is amazing to me, and I’m happy for you to have made it through so much of these struggles to the other end of the tunnel.

    Thank you for the encouragement! And same to you: congrats on your journey so far and may it continue taking you higher and higher.

  • Hi gabi, I thought I’d chime in and offer a couple ideas. We keep talking about trauma for good reason. Even trauma that occurred before we could speak words or develop memories has a lasting impact, actually developmentally probably a bigger impact, and I believe “complex PTSD” or similar is at the core of my struggles with psychosis. So some of the modalities that focus on surfacing and resolving trauma could be a help to your husband, as they were for me. In particular, I had some breakthroughs with Brainspotting (similar to EMDR), although the practitioner didn’t do a good job supporting me with grounding skills. Without the grounding, I was unearthing old trauma and not being able to hold it and take care of myself, which kind of launched me into more semi-psychotic experiences. I learned more about some of these skills (body awareness, emotional state awareness, combining those into my mindfulness/meditation practice, self care routines, spiritual techniques from Buddhism and New Age practices and similar). After a lot of healing, I’ve found myself drawn to Jungian analysis and working with dreams.

    For trauma treatment, I found an interesting overview called The Trauma Treatment Handbook by Robin Shapiro. It’s written for practitioners but was easily understood. Also another overview book, The Body Keeps the Score by van der Kolk.

    Finally, your own awareness practices and self-development could be a huge aid to recovery of your husband. We choose our partners for a reason; based on my own experiences, I found that patterns played out with my partner reflected unresolved family/childhood conflict. Being more aware of yourself and your relationships, and responding to triggers with more intentionality, could only help.

    Good luck!

  • phoenix, I’d like to thank you for the extremely detailed, lucid posts, that reflect a lot of my own experiences and conclusions as well (but put it much clearer than I’d be able to). Like you I’m a high-functioning, very analytical person, with one major destructive psychosis and a couple more manageable others; found a relationship with a very troubled person and walked through Hell with her for both of us to transform (including a much deeper understanding of our family systems, and other social systems); a risk taker. My relationship with my family, including my father who is a hospital president, is likely forever wounded because of the lack of proper treatment and healing during the psychosis (medication + CBT). I too look to Open Dialog as the best chance of healing for those undergoing psychosis, as it’s a model that addresses the entire system surrounding the Identified Patient at once, rather than treating the symptoms as an individual brain anomaly.

    I can hear the emotion behind your words and hope that the message comes through to Steffen and others who read this – not that they should abandon their work, but that they should attempt to reorient their understanding of the fundamental causes of psychosis, and their relationship to their clients. It feels to me a little like this thread is symbolically much bigger than one clinician interacting with a couple mental health consumers… I feel some hope and suspense that this could be a transformative and healing moment. At this point in my life I still harbor some anger, but much more than retribution, I want change.

    Finally- not bad for English as a second language 😉 Thanks again for all your writing.

  • Steffen,
    I can see that you mean well and I applaud you rolling with the many punches you’re receiving here in the comments.

    In a way, as you might tell, you’ve really poked the hornets nest with the well-meaning delivery of this study here. At the core of MIA is a wounding by authority: somebody who isn’t me says that I’m wrong to think what I’m thinking and feel what I’m feeling. That authority wields the power of the mainstream, and in some cases brings with it forced restraint, forced drugging, forced ECT, many times for the “patient” simply being in disagreement with those in authority around them (family, government, etc.). Perhaps your treatment could be of help, but I (and others here) have a hard time getting past the resistance against being told that I’m “delusional.”

    You do not like being spoken to as a “naive lackey of some kind of nazi organization.” I’m only using the comparison here because you summoned the imagery. Yes, you are naive, to not understand the history of this forum and community and to not address the issues that to me seem obvious with offering an authority-based, “correct your bad thinking” approach to treating psychosis here. And in some ways, you are a lackey, because you’re serving as an extension of an “organization” that has harmed many of us in the name of “helping.” This doesn’t make you bad, it just makes you human. Remember that you are a representative of medical authority, with your PhD and your research support and university sponsorship, and this negative feeling you’re experiencing here is an important lesson for you as you live within this role. If you want to deepen your ability to help those who have legitimate issues with the way they’ve been treated by mainstream medicine, you should sit with these feelings of pain, and reflect on what trauma would lead someone to inflict it on you. On one hand you are another human, and you must take care of yourself and your emotions and have a right to react to attack. On the other, you are the voice of power in our world, and to do right you must humble yourself and sit with the pain shared by those of us responding to you here.

    To understand and fit your work in the context of those who need it most, you must learn. Read Will Hall’s Outside Mental Health. Read Anatomy of an Epidemic by Whithaker (founder of MIA). Read some Laing, perhaps Politics of Experience. Take some other recommendations from these forum members. You’re being given an amazing Continuing Education opportunity by these commenters here- your impact in the communities you seek to help most will massively multiply if you choose to accept this course of study!

    Good luck to you and may your work help heal many.