Thursday, December 1, 2022

Comments by phoenix

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  • Just my two cents of causes of in my case psychosis: when I get stressed (many ordinary and non-ordinary life issues together) after a while I regress partly back to my child self of about seven or eight, a time where I watched and read many horror movies and books (thanks to my lovely older brothers). And I get so frightened (mostly unconsciousley) of wearwolves, poltergeists, steven kings clown, and so on, that I dare not to sleep in nighttime or dask and dawn. Which after some time does be a factor for mergence of psychosis… Strangely, it can be quite ordinary experience that result in so-called ‘mental illnesses’.

  • Julie, very clear cutted expressed. And Gabi, with Psychosis its a long long way to finally find out why you have it (have had it) but it is possible to heal. You just need to let go of too much burden in the inside and be less engaged with the often terrible things that have or have had or did happen. If you reach that platform, the worrying and panicking feelings do not overwhelm one anymore and one finally gets it and can creat their own healthy World in a strange place much too full of… hm…. slightly disconnected (“to whatever God or Wisdom) people that with their ignorance and sorry stupidiy engage in the emergence of a lot of dirty, ugly and unfortunately cruel things.

  • The most Ironie thing is that I now am dettained in state hospital, receiving Demeter, nozinan and zyprexa… But its allright, seems I might get the chance to be left alone with my issues soon enough (hopefully less than a week).

    And Steffen, if you or some who couldn’t understand that brutality is still Happening in this sovery modern hospitals with their Vision of awareness and so on… I was taken handcuffed to hospital and then fixated and force fully injected and came to my sense only three days later… Nice way to do with a frightened home alone female… Best wish es to All!

  • I felt the need to clarify one thing, maybe ‘mental illnesses’ do also apply to certain countries because of historic reasons. In Austria there is still much debate wether this country was the main reason for both World Wars to have started or especially in case of WWII if this country was the first victim invaded by Germans (in case of WWI it was the Austrian Archsomething that got murdered I think in Serbia or somewhere). To make you all understand my beef with Mr. Moritz more clearly, the German are finding it amusing that Austrians cling to Cordoba 78 in a ‘childish’ way as they interpret it. To use and quite freely quote Hans Krankl, who shot the goal, he answered “you say you can’t hear us talking and mentioning about it, but we won’t stop, you will hear it always and ever aand for good again, because to us it just was something beautifull, if you can understand it or you won’t, that doesn’t is much of a concern to us, really”. It might help some of you understand that there can arise trauma from being the perpetuator as well. Thank you, Küss die Hand!

  • Gabi, sorry to answer you on this thread, on the other one I couldn’t quickly find the ‘reply’ button. I do less know from my own relationship about those things but from history lessons I know a lot, very very huge massive things, about the roles of persecurer and victims and the difficulties that arise around the topic of forgiveness. I was further educated I think by Richard Lewis about how to forgive without nobody loosing face. I don’t know if its just a male thing really, but Richard mentioned something about cancelled debts… Maybe behave more like a business woman in that respect with your husband. In Chinese culture, wome traditionally cope with finances. My half-brother is married to a Chinese women he met at this work, he was working on construction sites there. Best wishes to you, may you receive the kismet you rightly deserve, and please, that was meant with greatest sincerity and no humour meant.

  • Dear Mr. Moritz, I am charmed that you felt the need to publicly announce our ‘Waffenstillstand’ – and sorry for that term of war but it ‘feels’ just right at the very moment – but please be so kind and let me make you understand some slight cognitive fallacies regarding my cultural background which does indeed possess some common shared principles but quite stern differences as well:

    (i) I am from a catholic country where the weekend still is ‘holy’ and you are very lucky indeed that its not Sunday yet
    (ii) you are for my feeling dangerably close to make us both loose or undermine credibility with your exposure of your interpretation of the kind of Email exchange we had… for spectators: Mr Moritz and I discussed an issue between our respective countries that happened took place in Cordoba, Argentina in the year 1978 in a soccer area. This exchange helped him to understand my way of sarcasm and humour. For the interested ones, I will provide a link, but please leave both of us, Mr Moritz and myself alone with history, because this Website here is about much different topics.

    This video helped Mr. Moritz to understand that we are in different teams but are still playing for the same goal – getting united to be able to have (sport) events together where we still wear national colours but where we do not start a war again like the last time an Austrian unsuccessfull painter went to Germany where he started something really cruel that quickly took over whole Europe. By the way, Alice Millers analysis of that painter guy is incredibly sharp sighted.

    (iii) I will not comment on your nice approaches to communicate in my language but will be so polite to explain to you that where I live every valley has its own dialect which might get you lost in interpretation rather quickly…

    (iv) I can now announce with absolute certainty that Mr Moritz is indeed the decent guy he presents himself, a great being even by German strict standards, “TÜV geprüft”, (oh, I found the “ä, ö, ü”s on my keyboard that I somehow missed in my first German approaches to greet Steffen and come to an understanding despite sharing a language that divides us)

  • Steffen, I just do not have so much spare time, I am working full-time and studying and have a family life. I know it may appear that I am bored and thats why engaged so much on this board over the last week, but thats not the case. I am in desperate need to leave MIA again for some while and turn to my own business. Enough debate on a subject that I already left behind, I am no longer suffering from mental illness and I have no business with psychiatrists or psychologists anymore. I now understand why everything hapoened the way it happened in my life and this massive opening up on my part and these many posts of mine actually make me ashamed a lot. But it felt necessary to me, I wanted to be of service. To all people who felt annoyed by my many comments I sincerely want to appologize. I am now leaving and might just come back from time to time like others do. Thank you all for reading and letting me talk freely about my various opinions on various subjects.

    And Steffen, I wrote you an email on your public email (the one) for you to ensure my identity and alliw for any more private questions you might have.

  • Just to keep English speaking followers of this conversation an update on artificial intelligence and the kind of humour it is capable of already displaying:

    This is the google translation of the German part of my talk with Mr. Moritz:

    Zu Deutsch wechseln
    We can also ‘fight’ this part in German, I come from Austria and Mr Moritz, you are certainly aware of certain cultural differences between our countries. I may well meet you with due courtesy, but the subtleties of both you and I would only be understood in our common mother tongue. I would never confront you in German in an important conversation with dialect terms and Austrian nonsense, but I would certainly observe certain social rules. I also understand the forms of dealing with different positions common to our culture, eg the difference between patient and doctor or patient and clinical psychologist. In this forum you are in the difficult position of being a professional, while I am on the side of (former) patients. I am well aware of these conditions. I hope you have now received sufficient framework from me to correctly interpret my actual intention and the nature of my humor.


    or thank you very much for your feedback and your efforts to at least consider my point of view of certain facts, that is, to think about whether I have found an important point in some matters that could help you to improve your approach. I remain curious with the best regards from your neighboring country.

  • Steffen, I haven’t read through your whole response yet but I already feel its going in the right direction. Please excuse my use of language and expressions that might sound very rude and emotional coloured to you at times.

    Wir können auch in Deutsch diesen Teil ‘ausfechten’, ich stamme aus Österreich und Herr Moritz, Sie sind sich den gewissen kulturellen Differenzen zwischen unseren Ländern sicher bewusst. Ich kann Ihnen sehr wohl auch mit der Ihnen gebührenden Höflichkeit begegnen, aber die Feinheiten würden sowohl Sie als auch ich nur in unserer gemeinsamen Muttersprache verstehen. Ich würde Sie auf Deutsch niemals in einer wichtigen Konversation mit Dialektbegriffen und österreichischem Schmäh konfrontieren, sondern sehr wohl gewisse gesellschaftliche Regeln beachten. Ich verstehe auch die unserer Kultur gemeinsamen Formen des Umgangs zwischen unterschiedlichen Positionen zB den Unterschied zwischen Patient und Arzt oder Patient und klinischem Psychologen. Sie sind hier in diesem Forum in der schwierigen Lage, dass Sie beruflich agieren, während ich auf der Seite der (ehemaligen) Patienten stehe. Mir sind diese Verhältnisse sehr wohl bewusst. Ich hoffe, Sie haben von mir nun genügend Rahmenbedingungen bekommen, um meine eigentliche Intention und auch die Art meines Humors korrekt deuten zu können.

    I would love to add more profile information on my part like a photo but I would hestitate to openly state my full name because of the stigma attached to being a former patient. It could severely damage my career especially because I am also a woman in her thirties which is difficult enough. Steffen, i think you can grasp the difficulties one has with being taken serious after having lost the mind especially in German speaking countries where rationalityn and being in firm control of ones emotions is valued so very high.

    This I felt like was needed to be stated rather quickly. Now I will enjoy reading through your comment with more focus. And by the way, I am very happy and relieved by your reply. Something I would never tell you in a coversation in German interestingly.

    Yours, phoenix

    bzw. ich danke Ihnen sehr für Ihre Rückmeldung und Ihre Bemühungen, meine Sichtweise gewisser Sachverhalte zumindest in Betracht zu ziehen, sprich darüber nachzudenken, ob ich in manchen Belangen einen wichtigen Punkt gefunden habe, der Ihnen bei der Verbesserung Ihres Ansatzes hilfreich sein könnte. Ich verbleibe neugierig mit den besten Grüßen aus Ihrem Nachbarland.

  • Psychopathy is a ‘descriptive’ term for (quite freely interpreted) someone who blinds out emotional/intuitive input or who doesn’t value emotional knowledge much but only relys on their (rational?) mind for reaching conclusions and making decision. Wether there is something in your system (or brain) that enables such a way of perception or its something you learn or ‘train’ your brain to do, isn’t the most important factor or it can be the most important one, depending on what topic you are on (try to think like a judge in law now who decides if somebody did it on purpose or for some – sound? – reason or couldn’t do else because of his nature).

  • So you test something against nothing… Thats always zero in my logic. If I have an effect of 10 and do minus 0 its still 10. And then the next drug would have effect 5 and I test it with minus 0, ah, effect 5. But because I don’t know the effect size because thats why I do the test… Well I have SSRI 1 with an unkown effect size and SSRI 2 with an unkown effect size. Thus the study was very expensive but did deliver no result at all. Can you elaborate on that??

  • Maybe a child can just not handle such an immensely focussed state? Childhood is about a dreamy safe place full of fairytales. Its hard enough to become an adult and fathom the way people treat each other in this world. Why force this type of consciousness state on children? Are adults today that wrecked that they cannot handle ‘unrational’ children anymore?

  • After a glimpse on your blog I ask myself how can a pill have a ‘placebo’ effect? I understand all that belief thing, but it makes no sense to me regarding the functionality itself. The pill has an effect on the brain, there is no debate on that if I am correct. So its something about Serotonin, but its not simply producing more but inhibiting uptake meaning in most systems it would cause…?… more production of Serotonin or whatever… So, its somehow usefull for those (now a psychologist would be of help) that need to get focused, like with a lense, but who can use that focusness. For many it might be too overwhelming to suddenly get a clear picture of their problem… Which might make the freak out in horror like you see the monster in front of you clearly for the first time – – > flee this reality, ergo psychosis… Others might get so excited with that clear sight that they get manic (but sort of forget to use this state of consciousness to solve their respective problem or they somehow can’t do it because of complexity or whatever)… So the brain constantly adapts and therefore no chemical can stay functioning for long, but there are various SSRI therefore one could cheat the brain for a while by switching the SSRI.. But never forget the other bodily systems that get influenced and the longer the mor compkex the issues…. I came to that conclusion because of the ‘shame’ in pillshaming especially in case of antidepressant… So the root cause of depression is shame? Someone’s shame within the system of the patient not necessary him- or herself… An ‘antipsychotic’ is different in its effect… We psychotics talk very angry about the suppression and oppression. That we received. We were silenced. By society and/or ourselves. For what?… See, a bit of calm reasoning can maybe lead somewhere?? Or is it bullsh**?

  • Mr. MacFarlane, I am trying to think what I would do if I in good intention write a code that would turn out a virus and harm many systems, some of them life-supporting, around the Inet connected world. How would I safe my face, because if as a woman I would just start crying and pledge for forgiveness, I would be out of business forever and my voice lost… Allthough I am still the capable programmer I am. Therefore, nobody is helped and my talent lost. Maybe I would contribute a brilliant idea how to solve the issue I myself started… Is there any such brilliant psychiatrist available? Or could we start a contest with good money for the prize (technicions like getting paid well) that gives psychiatrist a motivation to figure out something helpful? While psycholigists get the time they need to study maths and whatever they need? Sorry for this maybe weak idea but I very much like to get psychiatrists on board to finally end all this immense suffering…

  • I think, Rachel, there is more than only a James Dean type rebell. Don’t you know the silent or charming ones in Western movies? They appear to be so harmless but they are the fastest and most precise shooters if challenged. They just take time for inner reasoning while they ‘behave’… Sort of… Haven’t watched a true western for some time now. But I like The good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I used to watch it with my older brothers and afterwards we would play along its lines and if course I had to be the Ugly and they were laughing… But now I get it, ‘the Ugly’ is the coolest and most dangerous nickname of all… Good and bad is so boring and used up…

  • I can feel your pain. Please keep letting it out. Don’t isolate yourself too much again though if it is somehow possible. With that I mean that forum you mentioned. Its good to have a place, a community, where you can rejuvenate but this discussion needs you and your experience and the knowledge and the wisdom, an inert knowledge of the heart, it hopefully facilitates or even generates in those who are ready to finally understand….

  • Mr. MacFarlane, my dearest Thanks for your correction, I do now understand it slightly better. I understand that the UK has very high standards on many matters. May I ask if you have an opinion on the concept which was introduced by registeredforthissite? Because the generation Y would very much like to contribute to further development in society with sharing economy principles that we proudly invented based on the availability of new technology, but that seem to come amiss with well established taxing laws and so on? It could very well clarify some further difficulties that I have regarding your slightly conservative approach, doesn’t it?

  • Just to clarify, with working class I mean everybody that works. Whatever kind of work. Those, who do some work. Because those would know about hardship, even if they work in a privileged position. I so much like how the company I work in feels like a big family also, with the cleaning ladies, the technicions, the “upper class” of people in leading positions, the kitchen staff… And all wear differently styled clothes and there is a certain code in behaviour, just in the smoking area its an equal footing sort of. Because there we are not in job positions but its about the general society rules, like while sitting in the office, the cleaning lady would knock and gently ask if she is allowed to come in and when I am rushing through the corridors often the kitchen staff will let me pass through first (allthough they are carrying something heavy), but in the smoking area when I speak e. g. with a cleaning lady that is older than me, I have to be the polite one and let her choose her seat first, etc.

    But that is the way, the current cultural thing in my country, I would be very interested in an US concept of society…?

  • Richard, its always the working class that “ends all forms of oppression, including patriarchy and all forms of child abuse” 🙂 … I know that by heart because I am from a country where a working man’s party did the most to establish a very healthy sort of social network system. And of course my mother is a sort of diehard working class party member, she even switched to straight out voting for communism when she got fed up with everything. But now she is changing political views again, still she hasn’t truly told me about her reasons… I’m still figuring what’s going on in her mind… women?!? ^^

  • Uh, an engineer, what do you think, is there a difference between a technicion and an engineer?

    Regarding beliefs… Don’t you think there is an ultimate truth out there regardless of belief? There is only one physics, as an engineer you cannot craft something that is impossible by physical laws. And yes, physics is also currently getting updated, but some laws are already proven to be true. Further, there is mathematics, queen of all sciences (hey, a feminine term), and mathematics is strict, it doesn’t allow for imprecision.

    Thus I think its wrong to claim that it is all about beliefs only. Beliefs only influence the entity who holds them, sort of if you are a telephone or (to go with a more modern principle) the Internet, you need ports and protocols to make communication possible. You also need standards and everything, like file formats, otherwise information cannot be exchanged but it stays incomprehensible. Shamans in my opinion are experimenting in a still poorly understood field to the best ability they can. And it seems that communicating to the ‘other realms’ is something quite difficult that holds many possibilities that can go wrong because of lack of meaningful communication which can lead to much confusion and misunderstanding and subsequently conflict.

    What do you think, greggieboy?

  • Another thought on that concept of seperating the fields, you know, that is the very sound approach of democracy, seperation of powers, and it is a very intelligent concept that is used in nature and the body very well. You have highly specialized departments but you also need a communication system and so on.

    I think the problem psychiatrits face is a kind of being overworked. A technicion should never be allowed to have too much power because technicions forget everything when they are testing out some funcionality. I know it from myself, I get lost in programming because I want to find a working solution. Well, I work with machines, thus I have less troubles causing them pain (as long as they do not reach some sort of consciousness, anybody out there watching the series Westworld?). But psychiatrists work with people and in their technical way of thinking they also are doing, are sort of forced to, do experiments and there it goes wrong so often.

    They are in need of a working theoretical concept, which should be brought along by a science. Scientists again needs restrictions which should ideally come by laws, as we have experienced with history e. g. the atomic bomb. Because again scientists are prone to loose reality when they are figuring out something new and forget about consequences for society. Can anybody follow what I am sort of on to?

  • I got it wrong, psychiatrists are not needed to “understand” consciousness and awareness, that would be the psychologist’s task, well, interestingly, as I just think about it… these professions got the roles confused somehow … the scientist should be the ‘chief’ because he comes up with knowledge, therefore, its very wrong for the psychologist to be sort of an advisor to psychiatrists it feels to me … psychiatrists are medical technicians, who should be very well paid as technicians always are because they do a very complicated job, but hold little power because they are merely technicians, meaning they offer solutions for the body to get back into its respective balancy… so in fact, Mr. Hickey and Mr. MacFarlane, don’t you agree that it is quite funny that its the psychologist who carry the blame, because they are really lousy scientists in modern times having too little hard scientific education (maths, chemistry, physics) and therefore we are still stuck with the old philosophical based concepts of behaviour and therefore psychiatrists get it wrong and society as a whole…

    Or am I following the wrong train of thought here?

  • Thank you Mr. Hickey,

    the precribing privileges are a problem indeed, one of my therapists also talked about wanting to get the right to prescribe and you know, she merely had that psychotherapy education and no academia background. In my opinion you need to have a profound education in medicine (how the human body works) to dare to do that. Although I also somehow get the idea of registeredforthissite above who wants to have pharmacists handle the thing completely on their own. I think that is fine for a certain kind of people but not everybody is able to handle so much independence and freedom (as to get the right medical and pharmaceutical consultants and come to their own conclusions and so on). Maybe thats where Mr. MacFarlane’s social control comes in… What do you do as a society with people who have a so-called ‘self-destructive’ behaviour (which is of course subject to a certain viewpoint because ‘self-destructive’ is already a judgement) and seemingly have troubles to deal with so much freedom?

    Psychology to me is a science, different to medicine (aka psychiatry). Medicine is a more technical thing, they work with and on the body. Therefore, they should stay where they are needed, to understand consciousness and awareness. And finally dare to learn some scientific methods, refrain from isolating themselves by merely philosophizing about things but educate themselves in maths and statistics and physics and biology and IT (artificial intelligence) to get a working model of what consciousness (and subsequently behaviour and so on) is. I really liked Freud’s thinking, allthough he got many things messed up also because of society’s beliefs at that time and limited scientific knowledge, but he had a very natural science and technical viewpoint and I think that is desperately needed in the field of psychology. But psychology in my opinion needs to establish their own reputation as scientists and keep off the territory of medicine and also off social worker. Those social scientists (and yes, I reckon social studies to be a field of their own) need to find ways to deal with society’s issues in cooperation with the law to find solutions and acceptable means for the social control thing…

    I so much know without even telling me that you were the kind of psychologist that would listen. Its in the vibe you are giving in everything you do. Its so thoughtful, you know and so gentle.

    Best wishes to you!

  • Mr MacFarlane, I would like to grasp the point you’d like to make and I think I get the sometimes sarcastic tone of your writing, because I reckon that’s just a British way to communicate. British humour is just such a dark but great ‘in a nutshell’ thing.

    The problem I have is that your very eloquent and elaborate use of English language and scientific/philosophic/political concepts makes it quite difficult for me to follow. Could you possibly lower your high standards of communication a little bit for me and specify what you mean with “a medicalised ‘social control role’”?

    And wouldn’t you think that there are quite some dangers involved when people mess around with things (i.e. consciousness, awareness, mood) that are not very well understood yet? Especially in a biologic way? Medication does have its merits but as the so very educated thinker you are you can surly grasp the point psychiatric survivors make about forced treatment and coercion. Thus how would you deal with the serious power imbalance issues when some people get the authority to enforce social control?

    And which blog do you mean, where can I find that?

  • Hi again binra, see, I feel that there is much wisdom and thinking and feeling in your writing, but at the same time to me it feels like so very difficult to ‘get’ what is your message. The most difficult thing in science is to break down one’s own reasoning into basic words and concepts that can be understood by all. Thats what Steffen did with this MTC treatment, he broke down complicated things into material that can be used by anyone and convey the most important concepts. I would love to start resonating with you but I am still not I am afraid… There are so many highly complex words, you know, and I need to read it slowly and slowly again and still not really grasp it. Best wishes!

  • Hi JanCarol, I read through your reply because I am also so much feeling for Mike and his mother. I really like how you engage and help, I just want to give my impression as well. Interestingly, to me the “I asked her wouldn’t it be great if she would stop hearing the voices and become thin again ? ” felt exactly the right thing to do because to me it felt not like pressure but like some sort of help by giving her a goal (he wrote it like a question, not something he forced on her). To me it was helpful while experiencing psychosis that I also was challenged from time to time and not constantly sheltered.

    I think the best Mike can do is follow his gut instincts which the way he presents himself and because he still is so young (and sorry Mike, if I talk about you in third person by the way) might function quite well and lead the way. Mike, whenever you feel some sort of excitement that’s normally a good thing pointing to the right direction. Just understand, that nobody knows how long this situation will take and where your mother is heading. Don’t let yourself become too disappointed if there is no immediate improvement or if the situation improves and then worsens again. This is a natural process with ups and downs and despite its difficulties it can be a great learning experience for you and something that makes you bond with your mother in an even deeper way. Because of your youth just try at times to calm down and understand that illness and that what we call ‘negative’ things are part of our life and that what seems to be something bad can turn out to be something beautifull but also the other way round.

    Regarding ‘paranormal’ thought, I very much know what JanCarol talks about, strange things can happen while in the state of psychosis. I had visions of a certain kind in one of my episodes and when they had already subsided two days afterwards and I was in hospital another patient came to me and described to me exactly the things I had envisioned before. I never talked about it and there was no way she could know because I had just arrived at the hospital about an hour ago. In my experience the best you can do is to listen to her but and believe her but keep your rational mind as well. There is a physical practical explanation for everything, merely science isn’t as far advanced as to can deliver it yet. Therefore, we can only use the sort of ‘spiritual’ or ‘paranormal’ language at this point in time. Psychosis seems to open up human perception to a hightened awareness because several (sensible and useful) limitations break down. That makes it being a very overwhelming experience which naturally leads to a confused state because there is so much input. I remembered it felt like the sun would be way too bright, if you get the analogy. Thus it might make sense if you envision some sort of shielding field around her, like an umbrella against too much sunshine. Again, I cannot explain to you why, but consciousness and awareness is still so little understood and like with praying human focused thought can make some difference especially in such a situation.

    The voices asking for money I personally find somehow amusing although it terrifies your mother. See, that’s where you can of great help to her. Do not be tempted to connect with her too much because remember, you are her anchor. Try to de-escalate situations that scare her, see it with very grounded and basic humour. These voices are asking for millions, so maybe you just practically start to ask them what they need the money for and why they expect to get it from your mother. And then, according to the feeling you get, you either sternly tell them to leave your mother alone or if they feel friendly you could maybe bargain them down to some cents and like in a ritual put them somewhere, like burry them in the garden or throw them into a river or lake. Keep a grounded centered nothing can shake you attitude because as you understood yourself there is no real threat to your family, its all just in the current perception of your mother. The root causes are something real, some real pain and hurtful things that your mother has felt at some point in her life and for some reason she is now processing them in this way.

    Regarding the way she describes the voices, well I experienced it the same way, it was my voice but it felt like I had a chat with various people or entities. It’s very wise of you not to freak out because it’s nothing to be scared of just because we still don’t understand what exactly is happening. But from my experience I was quite happy when my awareness restrictions were up and functioning again because it’s so very nice to have your privacy back in your own mind. Compared to the painfully bright sunlight it was like getting your shades back on, very relaxing. And the way you decribed your mother as an extremely intelligent and sensitive woman, she very much would need the privacy in her mind. That’s why I emphasize the shielding and the anchoring.

    Maybe it calms you down to know that this is a very individual journey and there is no truly “right” way, also regarding food and vitamins and medicine. You have to very much rely on your feeling and your heart while carefully observing and listening to your mother – which as far as I can tell from what you write you are already doing a fine job of. Whenever you feel strong feelings like something moves you to tears or makes you laugh or feeling exciting, this is a good sign, it means you are processing something. For the other part I think JanCarol offers you very good help.

  • To very freely quote Jung’s approach of interconnectedness, probably one of my sewage pipes is somehow going across the ocean and connects to your system [you would have to read some of my other comments somewhere on this website to get this joke]. It’s just a familiarity to your view on the world that enables me to sort of ‘get’ what you mean. Nothing extraordinary really, if you break it down to basic thinking.

  • Hi Eric, I will soon contact you, I am just a bit stressed at the moment but it will be within the next days. There is so much more, I know, but many things I would never dare to talk about openly because of the threat of being taken behind closed gates again. I still experience so much fear of being misunderstood, confined and forced to comply again… you would know. Its the way the ‘wrong’ people react when faced with ‘enlightening’ stuff. Its their own subconscious fears that try to silence and even crash the messenger. Greetings to you!

  • 🙂 very true Steve, as with all personal and emotional matters, they can cloud the objectiveness and lead to some sort of cognitive fallacy that lets one respond in a rather emotional and heated way. I hope Rachel will be able to be a bit lenient for that…

  • A mother usually does the best she can because its just in her nature to do literally everything for her child to prosper. Naturally, because life is immensely difficult at times, the decision she HAS to make because a child per definition cannot make decisions for itself can be wrong, but its way better of a mother if she dares to make a decision even if it could be the wrong one than for her not daring to do anything and just criticizing other people instead. I would never dare to make fun out of ‘mama grizzlies’ because everyone knows of what a mother can do if she feels the need to protect a child. Even every male grizzly would quickly withdraw in such a situation, I can assure you of that. And I am a mother grizzly who has to care for a son who lives out of my immediate watch and I have to sort myself out to be able to ensure him being able to be loved and love another woman who is his mother now. And it hurts, I can tell you, it hurts a lot. So please, do not talk about things that you have no understanding of and stick to the topics where you have experienced. I enjoyed your comment on ward staff, that was really good. And you have a great sense of humour also, just do not stretch it too much, please. Thank you.

  • Regarding my birth experience I have to say although my boyfriend and I very much tried to get a natural water-aided birth it didn’t work out and I was very happy when the male doctor took over sort of very seriously and firmly suggested to me that its enough suffering and time for needles and asssistence. The midwives at that point felt quite annoying with their approach of “you have to let the baby come out, cutvthe inner bonds, feel the vibe of your body”…

    I am also quite happy that we now have the means for alternatives to breast-feeding and abortion that I think are also a result of abondoning this motherly viewpoint of everything must be ‘natural’ and everything ‘artificial’ is somehow bad. I think a patriarchal viewpoint aways comes with the accompanying patriarchal-wife’s perspective, thus blaming it all on men is not the thing we want.

    As an emancipated woman I need an accompanying emancipated man, where I no longer am reduced to the traditional female ways but he also steps out of traditionally male roles but without loosing his masculinity. And what I sort of felt when reading your comment is that uncertainty many males feel when talking about sort of ‘female issues’. Men are enabled to share their view on certain female topics and I am sure that if males would be the ones to become pregnant, abortion wouldn’t be such a difficult topic and you would get the means freely with some clear laws on what is accepted and what is not (e. g. until what time and what circumstances an abortion is sensible). Patriarchy is something very different to masculinity.

  • I am totally with registeredforthissite (also because of that unparalleled nickname) and one of the things my father tought me that helped me a lot was “if somebody tells you, he wants to die, give him a rope”. Highly politically incorrect but he challenged me with such seemingly rude and harsh statements all the time. How can any professional build up himself as the one who decides for an adult being what is best in their interest? I know, suicide is a very difficult topic on many levels, and I do not say that I have already reached a certain viewpoint on it, but I will treasure my father’s statement because by giving me a hard wall to crash against with my teenager mind he enabled my critical thinking because I had to find ways to counter his sometimes quite …. simple and harsh statements… and in retrospect I now even have to understand that he deliberately made me angry and questioned my well-meaning liberal attitudes…

    And this comment targets the ‘but if we don’t help people with depression they might kill themselves’.

  • Hi, a candle for you it will be then. I just have time for a short comment (I am really lucky that typing and looking on a computer screen is always translated into work in case of an IT worker), but to me it seems like you somehow have it the wrong way. It’s not that she felt apart through the trauma, that simply cannot happen in my technical viewpoint, because if that happens, you die. We are not machines that somehow developed a seperate entity, emerging out of the brain organ because of increasing complexity, thats just rubbish.

    A human being is a human being, always, no brain needed. Consciousness is there in some form, it doesn’t need higher brain functions even as you can see with ‘lower’ animals. Consciousness as in ‘awareness’. The higher brain functions are just that, higher functions, more sophisticated ways of this awareness. Thus you are dealing with one single human being. The idea of ‘shattering’ most likely emerged from the original idea of human beings having a ‘soul’, which is wrong from a biological-physical viewpoint. I am not debating spirituality here, I am on Earth, and here each of us is ONE being. So religion and spirituality is dealing with a higher dimensional thing where we very well could have more than one life or whatever, but with psychology and psychiatric conditions, this doesn’t help much in most cases. As a technicion you first and foremost check the most basic level and then go upwards. The famous first level support question: ‘Is your computer turned on?’ and ‘Please shut it down and try restarting it!’.

    Ok, so its only your wife that you are dealing with and she is still conscious and always was. But she was so deeply wounded that she came up with this immensely creative way to cope which is that she somehow figured out to withdraw. Parts of the brain or the mind or the psyche (that are just different levels like hardware, operating system, programs) can operate autonomously and I told you to me it seems like they somehow have the ability to create ghosts in the machine. These ghosts do keep you quite busy as it seems and I am sure your wife is somewhere behind the curtains and chuckling and watching and hoping and what have you. I also get the feeling her creativity in hiding herself (or maybe it was mere chance because she was running and running and trying to find a place of hiding and suddenly ended up behind the stage)… ok, so she sort of is hiding behind the stage and on the stage certain processes of her psyche are playing out, autonomously, but still its her. Hm, thats difficult to explain, but I think you will sort of get it. You do not know her main personality, its not one of her alters, that is all mascerade. You have never seen ‘her’ on stage because she has long gone…. Or did you know her before her d.i.d emerged? I don’t know…

    Anyways, she is always there, you now haven’t had intimacy for some time, well, it’s just like in any marriage, maybe she got mad at you for some trivial reason or just got issues with her attractiveness or hormones or whatever… Now to you it communicates in an extremely creative way through personas and that all, but basically you are still in a very normal relationship.

    So I think the most important message I can give you, is, that there is nothing that you have to repair, no puzzle, that is just like it appears from the front seat row. You need to find a way behind stage and find your frightened and hurt wife. She is whole, you know, but still wounded. Try to feel her while you are playing along her beautifull mascerade game, maybe you can catch her at times. She will of course be scared and startled and naturally pull out all stops to avoid being discovered and you have to be extremely carefully that she doesn’t go into even further hiding. Maybe it helps if you sometimes focus with much intention and say in your mind: “[your wife’s name], I can see you, I will not hurt you, I know you are there, but I will not forcibly try to drag you out of your hiding, still, I can see you”…

    See, I wanted to only write two or three lines, now its again a bit more. But its so fascinating from a technical view…. Best wishes and much luck!

  • Sam, I just visited your blog and I am truly astonished by the amount of love it vibrates off. I will read into it because its very fascinating. I am also truly impressed by your description of the girls personalities and in that by your wife’s creativity. To me after this short view on it it seems like she is flirting and testing you albeit in a subconscious way. Somehow to me it feels like its her soul. But of course the goal would be to get to know the earthly person, thats where I feel all the pain coming through. How tragic for such a beautiful woman to have been damaged that severly. On the other hand, how amazing that you found her, being such a engaging and deliberate man with so much stamina to hold on. Life truly writes the most fascinating story, I hope that at some point a gifted writer will encounter your story and craft it into a good and thoughtfull movie that reaches many people. I also see your wife as a teacher because in a way she offers you the possibility to do your great deeds. Did you know that in former times beggars were seen as a necessary important part of society for the wealthy ones to be able to show humility and grace? The technician in me still feels the need to emphasize that you should not buy into the illusion of there being seperate personalities or that you somehow need to forge the parts into one. The personalities are ghosts in the machine, they just appear to be intelligent, to have needs and so on, its like artificial intelligence appears to be conscious but it is not because it is only mimicking it. This still appears to be a defending mechanism invented by your wife’s psyche or some sort of default behaviour and she herself is hiding behind. She is there, in every one of the girls, she is even maturing as you can see when a new personality comes to the front. And I also feel like she does know, this is some sort of mascarade on a deep level. The human brain is fascinating in the way that it is able to cheat on itself as you can see from all the elaborated kind of human bias, we are so much capable of betray others and ourselves as well. That I think is the root of ‘dissociate behaviour’. We cut links and form patterns that cover up the deeper stuff. Therefore, again, its not really something that you can actively do, its your wife’s ultimate decision if she can come forward finally. This will be a painfull process I think, like stretching long unused limbs. But what would made her trying it out, hm? If all your love is not enough, what could it possibly be that makes her slowly crawl out of that deep hole? Do you have any idea?

  • And a word to family members supporting a loved one in distress. Like with medical decisions e. g. regarding life support for somebody unconscious, you of course are in the ufortunate position to make decisions like hospitalizing your loved ones. But when the loved one comes out of his or her distressing state and is angry because of what treatment they received you have to step into your responsability and explain yourself without refraining from this by hiding behind ‘there has been no other means,we had no chance’. The latter mentality, when nobody ever stands by his or her deeds, the blame just moves along from person to person and destroys everything. Explain your reasons, try to understand the one accusing you as having been wrong, defend your action if you feel the need to do so, but never give away your autonomy by claiming it on ‘circumstances’. For someone labeled incapable of making decisions for himself but simultaneously being blamed for his behaviour its just unbearable that he is shut up of assessing what happened and that everybody just says, ‘there has been no other option’. Haven’t we learned from WWII that by refusing to take responsability for our individual actions and blaming it on a certain authority leads to unspeakable horrible things happening? If nobody feels to be holding responsability nothing can be changed. Why are we again getting so afraid in the last years to stand by the erroneous decisions we sometimes inevitably make? Who prompted us to forget that being human does not translate to being perfect but to be of failure from that we can learn and grow?

  • Offering some sort of support like a consultant does is very different from a sort of ‘educational’ approach of supervising or even the need to ‘control’ things and forcing a singular solution strategy on somebody. When being in your subjective distressed and confused state nobody should ever force something on you but merely offer several strategies that have been evaluated by professionals according their successfullness. But every technical approach is constantly upgraded and even changed as new insights are reached and further knowledge and experimental data has been gathered. This approach explained so well and in much detail by Phil who does a fantastic job indeed is of high value, but it still doesn’t address the distorted roots of psychiatry and psychology where it is believed that they have to ‘correct’ a certain behavior or thinking. It’s simply none of their business. When I as a IT technician get a job to fix something for a company, they tell me what they want to acchieve and I tell the of the state of the art and all necessary facts but they decide what they ultimately want and it’s my job to implement their needs and tell them if first I can do that and second decide if I want that to do for or with them.

    If they decide to use some strategy that I am not fond of I simply tell them, no, I am not the right consultant for you, I’m sorry. But psychiatry takes away your rights and psychology does the same but in a more subtle and seemingly ‘kind’ way to then force a solution on you. That’s wrong and it stems from psychiatry and psychology never having addressed and processed its very dubious history.

  • Hi ‘wing-man’ knaps, I call you that because I sort of thought about getting a link to that specific article on this thread but hestitated because I also start to feel sort of “I hope Steffen will not be overwhelmed by all that strong headwind”.

    Steffen, we need you keep on your feet because “Last man standing” is no fun if there is a severe power imbalance, ok? Thus I think it’s good that you are on holiday and hopefully come back in real good shape, ready to take it on with this insubordinate MIA crowd…

    About that article about authority, having seen the current dynamics in Academia where everyone fights for research money and publishing papers is a constant must, I can understand why there are so little challenging new thoughts coming through. Especially in psychology, I get the feeling that psychologists are so very much afraid to do some straight talking and therefore they hide behind these annoying phrases that registeredforthissite described. They are afraid of raw emotions and so very much try to stay objective and neutral, but hey, this is simply impossible because what more subjective thing is there than human perception? To me it feels like psychologists sort of try to stay out of the dirty waters while trying to analyse them, but you can never understand what you haven’t grasp fully yourself. There needs to be a re-strengthening of “experimental psychology” where scientists go and immerse themselves in certain experiments and then record their SUBJECTIVE reaction. I find it so very funny that especially scientists from the so-called “soft” sciences interpret statistics the way like it would somehow translate to “normal” and further to “real”… In most hard sciences outliers are the most interesting thing to receive an understanding because in the extremes you can see the process behind because of its nature of being an extreme version. See, when there is no contrast nothing can be observed (Have you ever looked at white circles painted on a white sheet of paper? Must have been an interesting experience full of new insights I reckon.). By only ever trying to define the ‘normal’ thing you destroy contrast and you end up with white noise where everything evens out to a constant signal and nothing can be distinguished anymore.

    In my opinion, Psychology so much needs the courage to allow for subjectiveness and see itself not as a judging authority, not even a sort of referee, but merely as a consultant, something like a technical advisor who points out the functioning and the consequences that each possible behaviour or cognitive STRATEGY (nb: not fallacy) has. Thus I think, to be utterly politically uncorrect, Psychology is in deep need of masculine rational and technical thinking combined with a masculine way of emphathy which in my experience is so very refreshing. To explain what I mean I again have to tell a personal story and I hope I do not annoy too many people who are reading this. I never planned to be that open on this board but well, maybe it is of some help, I go by my gut feeling. My father had dementia and died two years ago in a retirement home because we couldn’t keep caring for him on our home. Before, he also came into contact with psychiatry because that’s how they assess his mental abilities. I found it extremely cruel how they made him aware of his fallacies like the test where they ask him to name the date and read the time on a clock. Things he couldn’t do any longer and you see, my father was an exceptional analytical thinker, a chess player and strategist, and for him to experience not being able to read the clock correctly was unbelievable distressing. I will never forget the look in his eyes because he still did understand what was happening, he did consciously experience his slow declining mental abilities and how it is to become weaker and weaker and less able to defend himself. And the treatment that many well-meaning nurses subjected him to, sadly, often felt like they were assessing a child. But interestingly the male nurses in most cases had a different approach. They still treated him along the lines of a silverback gorilla (he actually had a lot of grey hair on his back) who just simply needed help in certain aspects of his daily life. And that was so soothing for him…

    So I would be very interested in the new modern male viewpoint of Psychology, how would you guys assess it without being like the patriarchal fathers of this field but also not just replicating the female views that probably your mothers implanted in your heads (they did so for a good reason, because you were young and still boys and please don’t forget, no mother is responsible for her son to become an adult male, she only needs to let go but he has to find his place in this world, as I reckon that is a very masculine thing to do… but I could be wrong, I don’t know)?

  • Gabi, it’s also a pleasure for me to have this exchange with you. I so much like how you dare to speak out your mind straight and I learn a lot through your viewpoints.

    So I won’t light a candle then 🙂 And you are right, I very much would like to finally have children with my boyfriend and I hope it will be possible within the next 3-4 years. I think, we are well on our way to dare it now that we have solved so many issues together. It will be quite a modern way of parenting because I am the one who earns more and wants to keep on working full-time while he is doing many tasks at home that have long been considered to be the woman’s duties. Still he is “the man” in that he provides stability and … well, I don’t know how to describe, but maybe it’s interesting for you, that the focus on balancing and healing the male and female characteristics did help a lot with our relationship and the development of our respective qualities. There were many issues with the mother-son-bond that my boyfriend faced. I also do not like that ‘blaming the mother’ or ‘blaming anyone in specific’ part, but on the other hand, as you pointed out so clearly above, it is very much needed to clearly address right and wrong. That is something that is very much missed in modern spiritual approaches to life I think. People somehow take it the wrong way because of the blaming thing. We are all prone to do something wrong even while being well-meaning. It’s not about blame, it’s about learning how to deal with each other where everybody has different needs and we need to communicate to find solutions and keep adapting our behaviour. I found your example with the murderer and his victim so very interesting. And it was a very important part of my journey with my boyfriend that he took full responsability of him being the offender and me being the victim in that particular case that allowed for healing. As well as for the psychosis and mania part that I understood how difficult it was for him and my family to cope with my behaviour. On another blog I told in a comment that it was only possible for me to reach healing by accepting my emotions of shame and express me feeling sorry for my exaggerated behaviour without blaming it on any ‘illness’. It’s a bit like when being drunk you let it all out and finally express all the anger or disappointment of what has bothered you for a long time already. It’s not about blame, it’s about sorting things out, putting them into context and right measurement. Many conflicts with my mother were addressed while I was psychotic in a way exaggerated way, but it forced us to come clean. I am thinking, maybe mental illness is some way to address the fakeness that creeps into human relationships after a while, where too much conflict is hidden underneath a polished and shiney politeness and political correctness. Conflicts need to be addressed and discussed and sorted out. If we do not clean out the sewer system from time to time we will get a dangerous blockage and all the dirty stuff will re-emerge concentrated at someone’s outlet. And that unfortunate being not only gets the discharge of his or her own garbage but all the stuff that was flushed down the toilet by everybody else connected to that sewerage.

    Thus, Gabi, I also found it quite brave that you called your husband’s parents “schizo something enabling” (I forgot the term you used) because it’s so much against the modern thinking of “nobody is to blame at all”. It made me chuckling. You are clearly a fighter, a feminine fighter.

    My boyfriend had to cut his mother-son-bond and find his way into a healthy sense of being male. The other task was to re-evaluate his father’s position, understand his weaknesses but also start to see his good sides (that were partly undercut by his mother constantly warning him to become like his father). See, solving the conflict in such family systems is difficult work and it’s never the blame that is sought but it’s solving. My boyfriend and his mother are currently in a very beautiful process to establish a very healthy adult son and mother relationship. Sadly, this was also enforced by my father-in-law having died just some weeks ago. But the grief opened up all our hearts and there was so much healing between my mother-in-law and her husband posthumously. There was love between them, it just got so much covered up with the conflict they faced. And that conflict stemmed from much social circumstances like being over-worked, having too much stress, no time for serious talking, society’s expected roles and so on. Interestingly, death can be a catalyst to open up to the true emotions underneath. But it would be better if we as humans find a way to reach this deep honesty while alive.

    There are many things that I learned from Mb18 (I think that was the name) on a different thread, where it was discussed how middle- and upper-class families are seen as being somehow more ‘perfect’ and where no abuse can happen. Home-birthing and being more family-orientated was addressed and I get where this comes from, in our modern society we sort of lost the so important basic knowing of bonding and how to get along as an inter-connected community.

    I know exactly what you mean with “we as woman use our powers in very different ways”. I agree, because I find it kind of funny how my male coworkers always stress how they like my way of technical approach. It’s slightley different to how they reach their conclusions but it complements in that we stimulate each other with our respective ways.

    I can also understand what you mean that with same sex partnerships it’s a totally different dynamic, again, a very interesting one because of the immenent equality. I am fascinated by the way their relationships play out, it’s like different forms of dancing, you know, who would ever be able to say which kind of dance, Salsa or Waltz, is ‘better’? It’s so much about personal preferences.

    Saluting you too, Gabi, what an inspiring conversation indeed.

  • Its so very fascinating, Sam, also for my technical mind, I just ask myself how that is possible what you explain about the various girls, haha, the 2 millenials, how sweet, it’s like that keeps you young, it’s just feels so very creative and also sort of charming and humorous on your wife’s part. I wish I had more time but tomorrow I am back to work. If I find some spare time maybe I can read into your blog.

    That you do not force anything on her sounds like the right thing to do. I find it especially interesting that one girl essentially wants to leave and have her own body. From my technical viewpoint I try to get what the brain tries to tell you. See, as I understand it your wife, or the host, possibly somehow retreated and so there was space in the brain to develop or.. hm… to give way for the emergence of semi-autonomous personas… They do hold parts… or have access to some of your wife’s memories or functions, but in essence they are little more than ghosts in the machine… Holding up the functionality of the brain until the true master has gathered back her strength… Like you would talk to sub-routines that sort of have to work on their own in absence of the chief program and somehow developed the ability to ‘speak’.. Hm, I don’t know, if that made any sense at all… But thank you for telling your very fascinating observations!

    Thanks for the wishes for my relationship. We just expierenced a wonderful day at a spa at a beautifull lake with the still snowcovered mountains around. I love nature, it was so very grounding.

  • Knaps, yes, of course there are much worse and much more challenging experiences where material issues and/or extremely harsh or abusive relationships or circumstances like war come into play. But I wasn’t assessing that but… hm… emotional challenge (which can drive one crazy as well as ‘true’ ‘diehard’ trauma, you know, like poison versus a sledge hammer)…

    It sort of felt in your words that you very much appreciate your father. And being on opposite sides of a worldview while deep down loving and respecting each other (subconsciously) – that can be tough, regardless of privilege. But tough like in mastering climbing routes, not like in surviving extreme traumatic situations.

  • Sam, I sort of know how hard this all must be for you, but the way you tell about your daily life made me smile as well. What an interesting life you have with your wife’s alters, I mean, it must be fascinating to be part of this healing journey of hers. I get, that you must be extremely disappointed that no professionell takes your accounts serious because I sort of get from your words that you gathered huge insights.

    Many things you tell about I do know also but to a lesser degree and severity. I told you that I do some sort of role-playing with my boyfriend where I re-parent his inner child and whatever or better said whomever we find. Now I think this is something very human to be able to break yourself apart in pieces, sorry, I don’t know how better to describe it. Therapists use this technique too to a certain degree.

    So I know very little about d. I. d. and I agree about Hollywood movies, but well, its Hollywood, you know. How is it with the girls, does your wife understand what is going on, does she understand that these are likely parts of herself or does she feel like thy are somehow foreign? I mean, I found it interesting that you explained that first she thought she would hear external voices but then with some work with you she grasped it as inner states of her own, right? What is her own opinion on that what is happening with her? Does she consciously know about the trauma in childhood? How fast can she change states?

    Best wishes to you and your wife dancing through life!

  • “My mom was very beautiful and a fair skinned lady. Very thin as well. […] She was very intelligent and was a very popular teacher who used to help her students achieve very high grades. […] She was such a fine lady.. […] She’s very cute and gentle”

    There is so much love in your description. Hold that essence of your mother with all your strength deep in your heart, no matter what happens. It is like an anchor, you know. That is the greatest gift you can give her, even if she cannot return from her confusion. I am sure on a deep level she knows about your grieving her deteriorated state and it helps so much if there is somebody who shares this grief because while going through mental illness, a distorted version of yourself, one is griefing about what one has become. You are doing a fine job of accompanying her while she walks her way through a dark but invisible valley. How nice to do of a son for his mother. I wish your family much strength!

  • Thank you, McB18, for explaining. I think there is some difference between the US and Central Europe in that there is still some sort of difference in class attitudes with less sharp borders because of the social system. People are somehow more connected because of higher taxes that go to the social security net and therefore it’s less of an individual pursue of happiness and more of we are all in it together. If well-off people are sort of ‘outside’ of the community because they can afford to do everything by themselves without depending on anyone and if they are also not having to pay much taxes and just can decide freely if and when and to whom they give charity, they are not subject to the community anymore. In Central Europe we have gaps between income and wealth but all are subject to the same basic facilities like common health facilities and schools and so on. There is still less seperation because of less private means. But this system is severely under attack, and in some points for good reason. As much as I value the US individual independence as much I appreciate the sort of belonging to a huge family feeling which is still present in European countries. There is less racism I would say but a lot more open xenophobism.

  • Sam, I do not feel you carrying a martyr energy. I just always think when I read your comments, “what is it that he so desperatly seeks?” You describe with so much detail and love everything you do right. You even know so much more than any professional person I have read so far. So sometimes I thought, “maybe he is a bit unsure and needs validation?”. “Or is he still seeking for some missing point?” By now I sort of get that you likely want to reach some end point where the illness finally vanishes I guess.

    And I so much can relate to that because I finally reached a place in my partnership where it feels like we have come to the other side of a long and dark tunnel full of creepy ugly and extremely difficult things. And that only started at the beginning of this year and I am so happy, silently happy, on one side and scared as hell on the other because I am afraid of the hard times return or me falling back into mania or psychosis and again some psychiatric or well-meaning psychologist destroys the alternative view on mental illness, that I have finally conveyed to my family and the healthy maturing and healing my boyfriend and his family is on.

    The question is, where are you heading? As being in the leading role – and I absolutely agree, it doesn’t need to be 50-50, please ignore psychologist’s rules, they are doing a very difficult job because they try to verbalize subconscious knowledge which is multidimensional and holistic and speech is linear and therefore it’s complicated to figure out meaningful concepts without too much reduction – you are the one figuring out the route to take. You have a lot of responsability because you must assess what is possible and healthy for your wife without underestimating her abilities but still, see, its like a dance, and a good friend of mine, a gay dancing instructor, told me, that although he is not a conservative thinker he has to firmly state that in a dance it just looks silly, if the woman is leading all the time. And I agree. And thats why I gave Gabi a totally different answer than I did to you. She is facing an even more complex task (or maybe I just say that because I can more easily identify with her roles) of leading without offending the male pride of her husband. It may sound old-school, but while it is tremendously important to cherish the modern way of freedom regardless of gender, it is still also important to cherish the basic male and female qualities as they are and do not attempt to change them. I hope I get my point across. So your task is way different, you are a sensitive man but still a man and in your traditional role of leadership. You do a beautifull job by leading in a modern male way with a lit of thoughtfulness and tenderness bu also honor your male strength. Your wife probably needs to experience her female side of beeing attractive even if she has so many troubles.

    Its funny that you tell about her little ones, because maybe she stays so much in that alters because its “safe”. You are acting like a father which is beautifull (and again, I do play the same roles at times with my boyfriend when we access his troublesome childhood, I re-play the mother figure and then we also have the bothered teenager son who desperatly needs a challenging authority, a father energy, and I act as it as good as possible… And still we have to cope with the fact, that we both also want to live our adult partnership and here I want to be in my female energy and he needs to be an adult male… you get the idea, the complexity of it).
    Well, with my boyfriend we slowly catch up with the maturing of these wounded younger parts of him until it is no longer needed. Now with your wife I would reckon that you need to get from daughter-father to adult woman and men which is especially difficult if exactly that part is her most wounded one. How would you dance her into womanhood as a father? Giving her the strength to let her go to make her experience partnership? And then you must learn to abandon that fatherly protecting role, if possible and not too much of a difficulty for your wounded wife, and invent yourself as the male partner who is protecting also but in a passionate way without overstepping her boundaries and be too intrusive…

    I wish you well on your dancing skills but I am a bit worried for Gabi because hers is a very dangerous dance because from experience I know how difficult it is being around a male who is not in full healthy contact with his aggressiveness and natural position of power.

  • And Sam, I dare to be honest, and I am speaking from my own experience, and I am sure Gabi might somehow relate too… I also was always looked at with disbelief and people asked me, what my reason for staying with a violent partner could possiply be. And when I tried to express it, that it simply was some… uhm… love, faith, standing by my values, just… yeah, you two would know… Well, I was also described as beeing co-dependent and with me falling into mental illness that made it especially clear for psychologists and therapists that I must have a certain pattern to have chosen such an abusive partner and worse the psychiatrists didn’t take my description of domestic violence seriously because to them it naturally must have been my behaviour causing my boyfriend to be pushed to his limits and get violent, poor fellow. By assessing it that way, they made my grace and my faith look like delusions and they took away his only way to redeem himself and finally step into his male energy and take responsability. Thus I dare to ask how you plan to deal with the actual imbalance of your respective relationships? You both give so much, as did I, but how can your partner ever reach an equal footing again? That was always the biggest puzzle for me. Well, in my case I fell so low that my partner and my roles got turned around. Is that in any way possible in your cases? And please understand, I know your troubles, I know how it feels to be the strong, the leading partner…

  • Sam, I always read your posts, but it is such a great and gracefull thing that you do, that it simply makes it difficult to say something meaningfull. You are figuring it all out by yourself, you lead the way. So much grace is intimidating and I know, you don’t want to be gracefull and you don’t even see it that wayI know a little bit both sides because my boyfriend struggles with deep issues too and was violent at times, just I wasn’t as strong as Gabi and you, I fell deep and suddenly foundmyself on the other side. What a twist indeed. Keep telling your story, the time is still not quite right for your accumulated knowledge, but you are a true pioneer!

  • I am really impressed by yourself, Gabi. I so much hope for your faith to… how to say… maybe like in “that your faith comes true”, that you get the rewarding finale that you so much deserve.. The bittersweet happy-end when finally it turns out to have been the right thing to have dared to follow your heart. Although I know you are not doing it for the reward but for the cause. I truly hope your husband will somehow “get” it, but I see the problem in that male beings have great troubles to overcome a weakness by insight into their weakness because they so much struggle with shame. It’s so much harder for them to confess that they have been crazy and having been burdensome. Its against their most basic energy, the desire to be the one who protects, you know. And its so very difficult for the woman to make them understand that we don’t care but love them because we know their core being that is this beautifull caring energy that we so much want to lean on, we just need it for some little time to get back some strength to carry on and fight along until he is finally back on his feet… Gabi, I will pray for you and your situation, I left catholic church but I still go to church sometimes. In the back there is always a small table where you can take a small whitecandle and lit it (for 2€, because the Pope is a poor man, you know :)). I will do that for you, and only if it gives you some soothing.

  • Binra, for me personally it’s quite difficult to reach an understanding of what it is excatly that youwish to get accross especially because English is not my native language. I get, that it is some spiritual concept and I can tell you, I see some value in that kind of approach to the world, as very often it feels to me like scouting the still unknown and unexplored fields of knowledge and expressing the first blueprints of whats out there.

    Still, I am favoring the scientific approach because in my opinion science is something open to all people, not only to some enlightened special ones that are exclusively able to channel or float out of their body into parallel or ‘higher’ dimensions of more delicate and probably advanced spheres. Do you understand a little what I mean? Channeled material can be an interesting read but I treat it like scouted information, it’s coming from one or two or three individuals that are giving their impression of what they have seen. The way it is currently done in many New Age schools is more like treating this information as some exquisite material for some selected higher evolved beings that are kind of worshipped for their exceptional nature. Now, scouting is a very applaudably activity that needs a lot of special abilities but its nothing really sacred or something that makes you god-like. And I think thats even often stated by channlers or mediums themselves.

    Regarding my preference to the scientific approach: it can be taught and comprended in a straight forward way so that everybody can fathom it, even if there still are levels. But even with ‘lower IQ’ (again, I am just lazy to find more appropriate words) you could train yourself and it needs much more effort but it is manageable to reach some form of understanding. Therefore, the knowledge accumulated can be discussed and evaluated by a huge group of people and thus there is way more opportunity to distinguish between fact and fiction so to say.

    But thank you, I do like the concept of synchronicity (see Jung) but I think we will still have to get a way better understanding of physics to truly make sense out of it and in particular understand why its sometimes showing itself and sometimes its not,if you sort of understand what I mean.

    The course of miracles I haven’t done or read but I think it is something like law of attraction and as much as I would enjoy my universal order of a profound lottery win being soon delievered, with a background degree and exclusive initiation in psychosis I have lived experience of the pitfalls of magical thinking 🙂 hope you get my friendly meant bitter irony. I am not making fun out of you as I hope I could get accross, I just like to also put spiritual knowledge into context and try to grasp its natural place.

  • Gabi,

    regarding pre-birth trauma and trauma in general, in my opinion there is no way to inhibit traumatic experiences because human beings like everything in nature are not ‘perfect’ and never will be. For every troublesome issue we sort of ‘solve’, new challenges arise. That’s an intrinsic part of life’s comlexity.

    Thus there never can be a ‘perfect’ solutions that benefits all. Like the debate about abortion, well, there is no simple answer. The most sensible thing to do in my opinion is to try to ‘understand’ people and their respective decision as well as establish certain ‘guidelines’ that reflect current state of the art knowledge and laws for the more serious issues. Naturally, as human insight changes (hopefully increases), guidelines and laws will change. We simply do not know enough about consciousness at the time being and because you came up with pre-birth trauma, well, we certainly do not know enough about spirituality or the ‘soul’, whatever that may be.

    A ‘perfect’ environment where every human being is happy and thriving is an utopia that gives me the creeps. There would be absoutely none opportunities to grow. There would be no minor in music compositions, nothing that touches us deeply and moves us to tears. The powerful and gripping feeling of people overcoming a painful experience, the forgiveness and moments of shared emotion after a long time of conflict, everything that moves us to the bones and inspires to strive for a better tomorrow would seize to exist. Nobody’s view would ever broaden because in an already perfect world there is n need for further grow, at least not that kind of growth that comes up with totally new ideas and solutions. As Einstein said, “no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it”. First, problems are needed, second, to truly solve it you need to jump into the unknown and be open for a broader understanding.

    I became pregnant at a stage in my life where I was just not ready to become a mother. It was before my troublesome mental illness time and it was about financial issues because I was still a student and I was seperated from my boyfriend who had ill-treated me. I didn’t want our child to have to grow up with me being a single parent, maybe unhappy because I would secretly think I had to pull back from my studying and active life and wouldn’t be able to make a career, and with a ‘bad-ass’ father who had been violent and still couldn’t take responsibility because he had not matured enough yet. See, I was not in a really severe situation, I could have handled being a single parent, but I didn’t want to. If you feel to judge me and call me egoistic, that’s fine. To a certain degree that is true, because I wanted my freedom. But I didn’t abort because I was still very self-assured and felt like tempting fate and somehow decided to let fate decide. If the fetus would abort naturally, fine, if not I would have to deal with it. The challenge was, to find a way that I could live with and fully stand by without having to sacrifize myself, as woman often are expected to do (the nurturing motherly being who unselfishly steps back for her family, especially for her children but also for her husband etc., devoting her life to support others and still radiate joy and happiness and be content in that ever-serving position). Well, my belly grew and thus I had to finally face it. I confronted my boyfriend and I can tell you, that was the beginning of a very, very tough journey, but it was a beautiful one. He reacted very sweet and we finally felt like Bonny and Clyde, because we both decided to give our little one up for adoption. And we went through the later part of the pregnancy together with much love, and some fights also because his deep psychological wounds were still present but in mostly pushed in the background because of our deep wish to give that baby a loving entry into this world. It’s an open adoption and I can tell you thats a very difficult thing to handle. It has beauty and pain combined and one needs a lot of maturity to handle such a situation with grace.

    I got pregnant a second time after that and if you ask yourself if I haven’t figured out by now how babies are made 🙂 I can tell you that I prefer natural contraception because I am really not into drugs much and that pregnancy was a true miracle because my boyfriends little super-swimmers somehow survived my period and 14 days afterwards in my body. Still there were no signs of mental illness present but it was a year after adoption and in the middle of the intensive domestic violence time where I had decided that love would conquere anything and I heroically tried to make it through the tunnel together with my boyfriend. At that timeit was an incredible relief to be able to have an abortion. And I do nit have any regrets to that. I am sure, if there was a ‘soul’, although it didn’t feel like that, it happily sits somewhere on a cloud and waves at me right niw with understanding and even thumps up for me being tough and brave enough to reach my own decisions and follow them through – regardless of their outcome, because any decision can be the wrong one, as I said before, this is not a perfect world and was never meant to be. There are consequences, as you rightly pointed out, but that abortion did feel right for me.

    Concerning pregnancy and mental illness, I am quite sure the bodily changes influenced my vulnerability to psychosis. I could feel my body becoming softer and myself being more open and absorbing and, well, just the awakening of that female qualities that made it harder to cope with the continous attacks that I was receiving (and provoking, because I thought I could do confrontation therapy with my boyfriend). And half a year later I succumbed to psychosis.

    Regarding feminism, see, I am a woman working in a traditional male field, geoinformatics, and I am very happy about the things that feminists have acchieved. Of course there are differences between man and women, but, well, lets face it, you are very intelligent as one can see from your posts. May I ask why you are so angry about that topic? Is there something specific that bothers you? Do you think feminine qualities like the mentioned willingness to sacrifize theirselves for the greater good of their family are valued too little these days or even smiled upon?

    For me its not the intrinsic qualities of male or feminine energy that I would dispute, but I very much want to decide myself which qualities I want to express at every moment in time. I do not want to be put in boxes, wether because I have this or that gender or wheter I am from this or that class or race or wether or not I have a certain psychological ‘vulnerability’ (= sensitivity which can be also seen as a strength, depending on viewpoint and situation). I pretty much value my freedom and prefer not to be constrained more than necessary by certain features of my being. Like in nature there is just so much leeway in almost anything we encounter.

    Therefore, that trauma thing I sort of understand because indeed abortion or adoption or keeping a baby under difficult circumstances comes with a great potential of generating or intensifying ‘trauma’. Although as I see it, thats part of life and we will never be able to prevent all traumatic experiences. Its more about how we handle it when it has happened, thats important in my opinion. The feminism part I do not fully grasp what poibt you are trying to make?

  • Oh, and knaps, about that that feeling of continual wounding… When I was hospitalized the last time, with still having to deal with that seemingly endless fight to get my view across to these well-meaning so self-assured offenders, I was (in tears on the inside but with the need to appear ‘normal’ and agreeing and stable on the outside to get away from their need to make me comply) watching this video all the time. It is an analogy how it felt to me, having to calmly navigate through a perceived battlefield always watching my back and being highly focussed and concentrate on how I react to their attempts to ‘normalize’ me and adhere to their thinking while still holding on to my truth and my knowledge of who and what I truly am.

  • Very true everything that you expressed, especially the last paragraph of your second response.

    Congrats to that highly complex climbing route (= life quest) with having a medical authority as a father and struggling with mental illness. If you manage to get to the top of that route, chapeau! Its an ABO route I reckon, see the following definition:

    TD (tres difficile): Very hard. Years of training technically and physically, but you could do it if you dedicated yourself to your goal.
    ED (extremement difficile): Extremely hard. Requires lots of dedication and long periods of climbing (i.e no job).
    ABO (abominable-abominable): No job or family or very very disciplined over many years.

  • Knaps, we seem to have had a quiet similar experience. I am with you in seeing it as a transformative quest where I as well gained a “much deeper understanding of our family systems, and other social systems” and I can relate to much of what Eric Coates writes about. I am just very happy that I am not subject to any AOT and managed to escape psychiatry and also got my family to mostly understand my point of view and refrain from forcing me to accept the mainstream interpretation and treatment methods of my condition. If you read my answer to Gabi above I tell a bit more about what insights and treatment helped me.

    I also sincerely hope that Steffen and others without lived experience get the point what I so much try to get across, that we patients are not somehow intrinsically impaired but that there is deep meaning and transformative power involved for family systems and social systems as a whole. I am very impressed with the Open Dialgue analogy of an electrical switch falling or a burnt fuse in a house where there is some electrical stuff going wrong. If you focus only on the broken fuse, nothing will be truly solved. It was just the weakest part that broke but in reality there is something wrong in the house’s overall electrical wiring which needs to be addressed.

    Being a high risk taker like you as well describe yourself you certainly know how humiliating it feels when the ‘well-meaning ones” come along and start talking about that vulnerability model. It put me off totally and made me very much want to kick them into their testicals to educate them about their own intrinsic vulnerability. One so very helpful clinical psychologist started to explain to me that we are all boats floating on water and that some boats just aren’t build so well and therefore cannot tolerate a storm so well. I watched in awe as he felt himself to be so very empathetic and sensitive while essentially telling me that he is a better build boat than I am but if I accept some fixing I would eventually match his superior built and be as capable as him. And you see, I have experienced people so sure of themselves tremble on steep mountain ridges and outright refuse in childish manner to go any step further or panick in two meters depth while diving down because they got some salty water into their nose. But I would have been an extremely poor guide if I had started to educate these people along the lines that they are faulty mountaineers or faulty divers. It never ocurred to me to put measurements on their ability to tolerate heights or whatever because I simply know that often the most frightened ones in the beginning exceeded all others later because their fear made them extremely cautious but also alert and they learned better and faster – if they didn’t loose motivation and quitt early.

    For me personally I remember how empowering it felt once I left these damn labels and psychiatric descriptions behind that in such a dismissive way described my apparent (cognitive and affective) shortcomings. When I went on via ferrata, fixed-rope routes, again after two years of psychosis treatment, I was shaking and full of anxiety and I just had little confidence to cross even a quiet simple route. I stood there and cried and my boyfriend helplessly tried to comfort me. You know it was me who once showed him this sport and built his confidence. But with the psychiatric label and psychiatric treatment having crushed my self-confidence I had a blockage in my mind and so much fear. After a while I put myself together and trembling and sweating and shaking (making the rope wobble and wobble) I somehow managed to cross and then I had to laugh still in tears because my former self came back and was so very amused how intimidated the once so self-assured risk-enjoying me was at that point. I discovered a very new bit of myself, a soft and very feminine quality and it was tremendously healthy for my relationship to finally experience my boyfriend being the guide who cares for me, secures my steps, is patient and motivates me. Therefore, he discovered his healthy male energy which was wounded because of his childhood experience with an at times drunken and violent father.

    You see, there is beauty in challenging situations and I think you experienced the same with your partner. It can be a deep and very meaningful thing but it is extremely demanding and sadly mainstream psychiatric and clinical psycholigical thinking can severely slow down or even inhibit this transformation because they hold you back with their closed mind interpretation and ‘conservativeness’. No risks. Niente. Nada. None of that. Behave! And think of your vulnerable filthy build boat! Stay at shallow waters and close to the shore. No sailing for you, I am sorry.

    Nice that we found each other on this board and thumps up to your path and keep on climbing, it is worth to get to the peak. But also remember: “There are many ways to the top, but the beautiful view is the same for all.” With this I mean that its also ok to sometimes just take the cableway up, especially after having dealt with so much adversity and having had to fight so much.

  • Hi Gabi, my apologies for the phrasing ‘woman with psychotic husband” which may sound rude in English I guess although it was just the easiest description that came to my mind. I couldn’t remember your name and didn’t find your post and was already a bit tired.

    Well, yes it can be sort of “more comfortable” to hold on to beliefs instead of confronting them, especially if there is some pain covered underneath them. Thats where MCT comes into play and can be very helpful because it is a technique that doesn’t confront openly but through ‘the backdoor’ which can be a good thing because you don’t feel attacked right away but are able to follow the explanations of cognitive bias and discover them for yourself in your own thinking. Thus probably the material provided by Steffen could be of help in your case but I reckon your husband won’t accept them through you. Not because he is suffering from his condition but rather because its always difficult to accept help from your partner. Maybe it helps you to consider the large amount of shame and guilt that awaits him as soon as he leaves his delusions and explanations behind? I can tell you from my own experience that disillusionment felt crashing. And its a very personal thing because psychosis confronts you with your innermost desires and weaknesses. Thats very likely hidden under his strange beliefs, they are protecting something vulnerable that he feels like he cannot face. At least that was it in my case.

    I totally understand your frustration with your husband’s condition and that it is frightening from time to time. And I think it’s great how you try to get a broader understanding by reading on this website. It shows your commitment and your love!

    Non-drug options, oh my, it’s very difficult in my experience to be reached while psychotic because you just don’t trust and the delusions feel so very real. I can only opt for a safe and non-intrusive environment with neutral people that do not judge… Something like soteria or Open Dialogue. For me it would have been a lot about being able to fully trust somebody, to calm me down and make me sleep and regain sanity, but nobody around me could offer that. All were confused because of the medical babble they were given and I could feel their fear and confusion and helplessness and sadness even when they tried to be there for me and to feel that from loved ones upset and burdened me even more and reinforced my psychosis. You have to understand that a psychotic person feels an tremendous amount about the people around them. It appears to be distorted when they try to talk about it but it’s really not. While being “out of your mind” (whatever caused it, I tried to give an example with the panickingg on the high line above an abyss before to make it understandable how it feels if the mind is in an extreme state) funnily the perception of basic things is very present and accurate. You get raw impressions of the other person, their movements, their facial expression, the tone of their voice, it’s a bit like a young child experiences the world. Basic information but no access to higher forms of reasoning. So if your doctor has had a quarrel with his wife at home and is tense, you immediatly get this but most likely you attribute it to something related to yourself or integrate it into your psychotic storyline.

    What helps is for the non-psychotic people to be extremely honest and tell straight about their feelings of fear, of confusion, of aversion and annoyance because of lack of understanding and having to cope with a freaked out person that embarrasses them. Do not try to follow general adult behaviour codex and hide your personal emotional state. That makes everything worse. Tell the patient everything that you feel in plain honesty. That’s a very interesting thing, I reckon, because in the current system, people try to be polite and forgiving, because they assume the psychotic person to be somehow impaired like “he doesn’t know what he is doing, poor fellow, he is controlled by a mysterious illness”. I am with Szazs on this, mental illness is a myth in that you do know on a very basic level what you are doing and there are motives and so on (you do understand when you are hurting someone or behave stubborn or rebellious) but of course you might think you have a very good (delusional) reason for that and you get totally mixed up and project old emotional distress and traumatic feelings onto the wrong situation or the wrong person. You are re-living some emotional scheme that gets projected onto the current real situation happening around you and your helpless brain just trys to do it’s job in making sense of it all.

    The reasoning mind is a translator, a story-teller. It gets the input of your old emotional scheme and tries to somehow connect it to the current reality and because there are little matches it comes up with fantastic storylines because otherwise the strong emotions that you genuinely feel would have no basis. But the raw mind cannot fathom time, it’s not capable to make higher assessments like “oh, this strong emotions originate in my childhood trauma or in my boyfriend’s attacking me ten months ago” but it only feels the rage or anger or feeling of being watched and ordered around by parents or bullied by someone that happened someday in the past and finds a storyline that makes it possible for this feelings to have emerged in the current situation. And there you have the bizarre realities and distorted perception of real events that the psychotic person experiences.

    I think there is some evidence that people experiencing psychosis (and sorry, I use all that wording because it would be quite difficult for me to find synonyms) process things in a more “bottom-up” way, meaning that their perception is raw and gets interpreted afterwards instead of the usual way where the brain makes use of your previous experience and interpret the perception before jumping to conclusions. See the hollow-mask-illusion. And for me it’s quite fascinating that everyone experiences psychotic symptoms when sleep-deprivated etc. Your perception gets switched and you no longer use certain (costly?) higher functions. You are sort of in survival mode.

    Now in psychosis it’s a perceived threat, a past traumatic situation that emerges. Maybe thats why before psychosis many experience overwhelming feelings, almost spiritual, where you are connected to everything and it feels so magical. Probably higher rational brain functions get disrupted and your perception switches from top-down to bottom-up. Of course you withdraw because it’s so fantastic, well, if you ever tried some weed you probably understand.

    If it is true that for some reason (maybe because the trauma pushes through with utter urgency to finally be recognized and processed) your higher brain functions get sort of reduced (I mean the rational part, the top-down approach), then there you have the explanation for the mysterious change in personality before visible onset of psychosis.

    And to explain it more technically again how psychosis feels for the one experiencing it: It’s like a photo with many filters and layers above, a distorted reality indeed, but you cannot see it because that is impossible for anyone if you only have this photo and none without the filters and layers. That would be needed from the therapist, to help you identify the filters and layers, something that Steffen tries to do with much passion, but unfortunately still under the premise that the filters and layers are meaningless and some kind of illness. What may help at the moment, when the patient get rid of filter and layers (maybe only to a certain degree like with Gabis husband) and can see the real undistorted photo that all others see too. But the problem is, filter and layers (trauma) still exist in the patient’s subconscious and will come through again to color the next actual photo and again the patient develops ‘delusions’ meaning his story-telling brain (see studies of Damasio) tries to connect emotional scheme with current surroundings. That’s why the content of psychosis can change but the emotional theme might stay quite the same and involve some kibd of perceived threat because again, the root of psychosis seems to be some form of abuse.

    What it is that troubles and bothers your husband subconsciously I am sorry I cannot tell you. It may be related to childhood upbringing. And you must understand that it is still his decision if he feels the urge to confront it and start the most likely difficult and hard way of healing or if he prefers to stay with his symptoms and just focus on dealing with them in the best way possible, accepting himself as mentally ill. And now I may say something unpopular, but please don’t fall in the trap to make yourself a victim because you so much wish to be a good person or stand to your values or hope that love will conquere everything. I did make myself a victim because of thinking along these lines. My boyfriend was very abusive and I did go through hell with him. It did work out in the end but it took it’s heavy toll on me. Please care for yourself and don’t risk becoming burned out and bitter because you give too much and receive little back. A ‘mentally ill’ person can only heal if he or she decides to do the work. This is again a difficult thing to grasp because its always some form of abuse or negative experience that causes symptoms of mental illness, but its like when you slip on a banana, shit happens, and yes the banana being there on your way is damn unfair especially if someone put it there to make you slip, but you need to want to get back on your feet to solve the whole situation and hold to account the banana offender. Of course, it could be that you got your leg broken while slipping and you need support in healing and getting up, but what I want to convey is that it’s the same with mental illness as with any other obstacle, the patient has to want to change the situation.

    But please on the other hand never forget how immensely difficult it is for people labeled mentally ill to free themselves from all the brain-washing and oppression and outright force to have ‘insight into their chronic illness’ and accept their condition the way the psychiatric establishment decided it has to be. So you see it’s a very tricky and entrenched situation that we are all in that had been in contact with psychiatry and clinical psychology.

    What helped me most in my life and my recovery? Well, it is difficult to explain because it’s a combination of many things. But lately it was a therapist who rarely used cognitive methods but fully concentrated on feeling certain emotions inside my body and made me describe them. And then he wouldn’t allow me to rationalize and also he wouldn’t try to put it into context or find some meaning. Instead he would sit with me and share the feeling. He would ask and ask for detailed description until he understood the feeling for himself and then we would both be there and feel my feelings, my pain, my fear, my panicking, my humilation, my desperation. Without any judgement. That was something so very empathetic of him, because all time long through this so very difficult years being threatened by my boyfriend so often and simultaneousley threatened by psychiaty who wouldn’t take my accounts of domestic abuse serious even when my boyfriend finally started to come out of the closet and admit it I was so lonely with my experience and I so much needed human empathy. But how should you receive that in a therapeutic setting without loosing that healthy distance? And there he surprised me with a great thing… We were feeling some of my very dark and sad emotions and I was so in need of an embrace although I wouldn’t show because I hate showing neediness. And suddenly he took a blanket and gave it to me and told me to put it around my body tightly because as he feels the same what I feel he can readily understand that I needed to feel being supported and warmth. So I did that and I cried and he just was there with me enduring my pain together for about ten to fifteen minutes. Then everything lifted and we drank some tea and changed subject. To me this felt tremedously respectful. It never crossed the line to be too emotionally, I was allowed to keep my dignity while opening up so much. But still he didn’t leave me alone but tried hard to grasp what I was going through to feel and share it with me, validating it.

    Greetings Gabi and much strength and good luck on your way! Take care of yourself and thank you for being open to listen to others and dare to start a debate.

  • One last comment, Steffen, and Fiachra, I would not be so quickly to buy into the seemingly empowering approach of this ‘thinking about one’ s thinking’ approach.

    I read through one of your case studies about the unlucky 44 year old IT phd guy. First of all, my full respect goes to him regarding being able to complete his phd and work in IT despite his schizophrenia diagnosis. But hold on, its not with regards to his proclaimed ‘severe mental illness’ but the fact that he managed to do this while receiving risperidone injections twice a month for five years. I still cannot understand how people are able to perform well while being on antipsychotics. The only explanation I have is that he got a lot of support from his surroundings, so that he could fully focus on studying and working, without having to deal much with household chores or administrative tasks or other day-by-day requirements.

    But well, here we have a high functional ‘schizophrenic’ that unfortunately relapses from time to time. Described as a sad feature of his mental condition. Now he receives MCT+ which after having read the description for this case sounds more like brainwashing to me. I give you some examples:

    This patient is described as having the feeling of being a disappointment to others, particularly to his father in the first psychotic episodes but for the current one it targeted his workplace, collegues and boss. He feared loosing his job and developed ‘delusions’ of his colleagues sort of mobbing him to make him ill again and to ultimately get rid of him. Therapy tried to slowly get him to understand that he might exaggerate the situation by showing him examples of biased thinking.

    “Again, the aim was rather to sow doubt, while working on cognitive
    biases rather than confront the patient with the fallibility of his personal beliefs.” – But see, rather than taking his core perception serious and trying to find out what prompted him to see himself as a disappointment and help him finding the root to his slightly paranoid thinking, there was no validation but only the focus of making him adhere what your team decided to be the true situation. You believe that you know what the situation is in reality but you only rely on the assessment of his family members presumably. Thats the difference to the Open Dialogue approach where they try to bring all involved people together and discuss the situation on an equal footing.

    Maybe his colleagues were talking about him, have you ever thought about that possibility, Steffen? Maybe his family was disappointed and he could feel that even if they tried hard not to show him because they learned it is not his fault as he has an illness that makes him behave a certain way. I am only guessing here, but being on antipsychotics slows you down, make you less socially capable and maybe he got a bit overweighted or his colleagues knew about his diagnosis and, hey, of course as the kind person you are, Steffen, you assume that they will deal with it in a nice way as long as the patient demonstrates self-confidence and acceptance about his illness, but in reality this rarely takes place. People are people and they will ‘talk’ about any unusual thing they encounter, especially if they again read in the newspaper about some violent deed of somebody with alleged mental illness. Therefore, it is very possible that there was some sort of truth to his feelings. Also the disappointment bit is understandable because having been labeled ‘schizophrenic’ takes its toll and fearing loosing his job is also not something weird taking into account how difficult everything feels while being sedated, having your Dopamine system and other neurotransmitters disrupted severely (i am talking about antipsychotics). Especially in IT, where you need to constantly stay educated on the last developments, having to solve complex tasks. Of course he exaggerated everything but what else do you do if nobody takes your feelings seriously and you are seen as some kind of poor weirdo??

    “With the help of different exercises the message is conveyed
    that hasty decisions often lead to errors.” – Must have been a tremendous insight for someone who has acchieved a phd in a (presumably) technical subject working in IT.

    “Several studies show that patients with schizophrenia tend to stick to their conviction even
    when confronted with strong counter-arguments” – Thats because the core nature of psychosis is a symbolic representation of some REAL issue and its the task of the therapist to help the patient figuring out his way to leave this complex maze. Think about it, here you have a highly intelligent person with a phd and still he does not accept strong arguments that any child would understand… uhm… what a mysterious illness indeed. I can tell you from my own experience that the patient has a very good reason for holding onto his ‘delusions’ – its because you FEEL that there is some important message in your psychotic symptoms but its so very basic that it feels near to impossible to explain other than by attributation or jumping to associations and so on. It is symbolic for gods sake and you haven’t figured out the message yet, otherwise you wouldn’t be psychotic. Delusions can die within a minute if you figure them out. Interestingly, thats the goal of your MCT intervention…. Oh my, I hope your so very rational mind can comprehend its fallacy…

    “Patients are taught to collect information from different sources (e.g.
    contextual information, prior knowledge) and to decrease their level of confidence in case
    information is incomplete or ambiguous.” – Again, we are talking about someone who has a phd and had to write scientific papers. Fair enough, it’s about “identify facial expressions and underlying emotional
    states” but in my opinion this patient most likely didn’t have much difficulties with those things as long as he wasn’t taken over by psychosis which happened because of some underlying unsolved deep and painful issue.

    I give you an easy to understand example, Steffen. Just imagine I take you on a high line (I sincerely hope you are like most people not used to be in great heights and therefore a bit afraid of standing on a wobbly line above a 200 m abyss). Calm down, I put you into safe gear and nothing will happen when you slip. I take you to the middle of the line (there is one line where you walk on and one for your hands to balance yourself). Then I jump a little to make it more exciting. At that point most untrained people would be in an extreme state and feeling quite desperate and anxious. Then I would do these exercises with you. Assessing facial expressions and talk about your delusions. You seriously think that you are about to die? Are you joking? I told you you are completely safe, don’t you see your safety gear? What? I am a sadistic bitch because I tried to scared the hell out of you by making the rope wobble even more by jumping up an down? Come on, you are jumping to conclusions and your information is incomplete… I am used to heights for me it is great fun, I just wanted to give you the feeling of great excitement. My intention was completely benevolent. So you should really think about your way of thinking right now! It needs to be corrected, my dear friend. Don’t you see how you have a tendency to blame others for
    up to 100% for your negative experience?

    Do you now understand how patronizing and degrading your approach is? I gave you the analogy with being on a rope high above the ground to give you an impression of how psychosis feels. It is an extreme state and that is as little or as much a delusion as is your panicking on the rope while being completely safe in reality because of all the safety equipment. Do you finally get it?? Its a highly SUBJECTIVE experience and it’s most likely only true for your patient but what you do when you belittle his experience and try to make him become rational and get back to calm reasoning is in fact violent behaviour. You force him away from his current reality. And I tell you from my own experience that this very simply feels like torture to the patient.

    Somewhere in a comment above you say that you tell staff to treat the patients like they would treat a relative. But I disagree. It is a seemingly well-intended and kind idea but it is as superficial and sadly hypocritical as your whole approach. Again you distance yourself and your staff from the patient because if you really follow through a thoroughly well-intended approach you have to treat them as you would like be treated yourself if you were in their position. For that to be viable you would need to truly empathise with your patient what is only possible when you try to understand and gather unbiased insight into their state without declaring it a disorder or ‘abnormal’. There are more cognitive fallacies in your answers. One was pointed out by knaps2 where you kind of overreacted and described your delusional perception of being addressed like some minion of a nazi organisation…uhm… I wouldn’t dare to use such a ‘funny’ analogy while being in hospital. I know, its all about context but just saying. The other is you proudly talking about your decent manners in dealing with patients, stating that the client is always king… Well, as long as they follow your rules that is. They are allowed to choose a little bit which of your modules they like best. They are even allowed to disagree a little but if you decide their disagreement makes no sense or that they are outright refusing your treatment I am sure you write things like ‘no signs of compliance’, ‘poor insight to his illness’ and so on. So you are giving him a ‘bad rating’ which will result in more pressure on your patient. I cannot see a true ‘client is king’ attitude which is further outlined in your good cop bad cop left/right hand video. You try to be on the patient’s side but still feel the need to patronize him. Congratulations to your dissociate behaviour. Could you please make up your mind?

    Back to the case study, where it even gets worse.
    “The patient reported memory problems but did not agree that there would be a connection
    between the psychotic symptoms and his increased forgetfulness. He would rather ascribe
    those problems to the increased dosage of antipsychotics he was receiving.” – No comment on that… but nice wording, indeed. Very ‘neutral’.

    I think there is no point discussing this case study any further. Maybe you understand by now or maybe you do not. And again: yes, your approach has value it just needs to be presented in a different view and psychiatric personnel should get these lessons too with examples how they constantly misinterpret patient behaviour and statements. Are you ready to part from the disease model and respect the patient’s root causes of some form of abuse? If real or only perceived isn’t the important thing because it was real for them and they first abd foremost need understanding and empathy.

    As I hope you understood from my example of walking on the high line, perception is highly subjective and in essence it is true that only the patient knows even if you didn’t get the meaning of it. He and his delusions are the key to some unprocessed pain. I think with depression its very often some kind of surpressed aggression and so on. But that can be totally wrong as well. I just wanted to convey why a psychotic exhibits a certain behaviour. This goes to the lady with the psychotic husband as well as for all who cannot understand their beloved psychotic.

    Of course a psychotic person is highly uncomftable to have around. But put yourself into his shoes, in his reality he IS watched and put under surveilance and threatened and whatsoever. It feels very real to him like with the example of being on a high line most people would perceive themselves of being in a highly dangerous situation regardless of how often their mountaneer guide would assure them that nothing can happen because they are wearing safety equipment. Just ask yourself how you would behave if for some reason you get convinced that you are about to get murdered or contacted by aliens. Don’t be so arrogant to think it could never happen to you. Just read Eric Coates recent blog post. After psychosis we ‘schizosomething’ or bipolar people ask ourselves with astonishment how it could have been possible for us to have such a convincing experience of something utterly illogical…It is truly fascinating but it also makes one a little bit more humble and cracks the ego. I always thought I am invincible and with my highly analytical and rational mind I smiled about emotional colored assessments of others. Nobody would have ever thought that I could develop delusions but it happened. Therefore, Steffen, I would be happy if I have broadened your understanding a little bit.

    And please accept my apologies if sometimes I crossed the lines of politeness a little bit because for me it is still difficult to join into a discussion with psychiatric personnel because it triggers so much pain that I experienced from their hands. And this is not some wrongfull identification of facial expressions but comes from the very fact that I understood very early that these people truly think they would help me by exhibiting all sorts of hurtful behaviour and I could simply not make them understan because of their stubborn view and closed minds.

    “Force is needed to make you accept your illness” , and that ‘force’ came explicitely with forceful injections and restrains as well as more subtle like your “back-door” approach (like you ironically call it yourself in that paper) of brainwashing.

  • Eric, I can relate to many of your questions. I encountered the devil and demons and aliens and several conspiracies and one very interesting storyline was that I thought I had uncovered the very most evil thing on earth, which in my case was the uncanny realization, that movie-makers nowadays found a very awkward and horrible way to make their series and movies becoming as real as possible by promising poor and desperate homeless people or drug-abusers (in short the most vulnerable ones) money and fame, if they participate in their movies. But all the violence on-screen would be real and these poor people would essentially be used and slaughtered (e. g. for Games of Thrones).

    I think I was processing the feeling of utter injustice and abuse and powerlessness in a very creative way. And it was influenced by all the things I had seen on TV or read somewhere on the Internet or in books. There always was a true core, in that I mean I was dealing with some sort of emotional experience that I had felt myself and I was reliving it in an exaggerated form.

    Maybe you experienced violence (something felt like murder to you or how you would imagine murder) and you sort of externalized it, saw your own vulnerability in others, and wanted to save them and so on… to give you some pseudopsychological babble…

    Anyways, I know how strange and confusing many psychotic experiences feel afterwards, but you know, at least you see what heroic impulses live in your psyche, regarding the saving the prisoners part. And you familiarized yourself with your easy-going a bit rebellious part, where you just had enough of hospital and decided to take a piss and relax smoking a cigarette. Psychosis in my opinion gives you insight on your very raw personality traits by putting you in a complex story where you cannot think straight but very much act on your spontaneous impulses.

    And yes, it also feels like being fooled into displaying your innermost self in ways that feel like mocking and beeing ridiculed. It might often start as something beautiful like an almost spiritual happening, but in the end it often feels like having been abused by a trickery a**hole demon.

    I personally don’t think psychosis is a ‘good’ thing as I see it as a reaction to something painful. Therefore, it has its place and is something like a last resort for your psyche to avoid deeper damage but it is a desperate reaction and subsequently to look for deeper thoroughly ‘good’ meaning is just not leading anywhere. If your wound discharges pus it is a necessary process but the pus is still rather disgusting. Many things in life that ultimately help (like going to toilet e. g. with cramps) are not pleasureable in its nature. I once called psychosis psychological vomitting, everything came out in a bizarre mixture, some parts still recognizable others mixed up totally.

    But we survived, didn’t we?

  • Greetings to you, slayer of dragons, I dutifully followed your recommendations and read some things by and about Szas to finally get that ‘myth of mental illness’ thing. I now get some of this semantics stuff and what is defined as illness and so on… Now, I told you I am not so much into debating semantics, I rather like to get a grasp of where you are heading with your ideas. I totally get the degree of horrible wrongness that is generated by the field of psychiatry and even worse by its way of reasoning. But what is your approach to… uhm… please be so lenient and let me use ‘mental illness symptoms’ for the sake of simplicity of wording? I was very psychotic more than once and it stemmed from some deep psychological wounds or call it trauma. So I could live by calling it ‘I got ill in my heart and my mind reacted to that’. And I had to recognize this ‘illness’ to understand I need some rest, some hot tea and chicken soup – you get what I’m trying to convey? I needed help in some way. So how would you assess this situation?

  • McB18, “since white middle and upper-class people are, by definition, good parents in this country, the explanation for any depression, anxiety, etc., on their part must be something other than childhood trauma”

    This is a very important point indeed. A good example for common cognitive bias, I would say.

    I am familiar with Alice Miller and I think she made extremely sharp observations and described many psychological dynamics very well. But I do not fully agree with your attempt to create a perfect, peaceful and happy society through again making rules for how certain things ‘should’ be (like homebirthing, homeschooling, abolish religion, etc). You cannot force people to live their life a certain way and expect all of them to be happy. People are different and should be allowed to have different styles and different opinions. Of course, this will mean troubles if two opinions are opposed or if a certain way of life is harmfull to somebody else, especially if that somebody is a person with little power like a child who is dependent. Thats why I fully support your notion that social workers are needed for middle and upper class as well. But in a world where money means power (e. g. through lawyers or buying politicians) this will be hard to put into practise.

    In your specific case I find it a bit confusing why you assume that in general people think well-off educated people must be good parents by definition. From my own experience everybody knows by gut feeling that money cannot buy love or emotional warmth and a higher social status makes it even more difficult to have close relationships because money corrupts and status isolates and puts a lot of pressure on you to hold it (to present yourself according to a certain standard in a quite competitive environment that is only looking for weaknesses and faults to exploit). I hope you sort of get my point, its difficult to find the right words in English for me. Of course this common knowledge is not known in the psychiatric and clinical psychology fields as you stated above and even looked down to as urban myths.

    Regarding Alice Miller, what I never understood is why she didn’t like forgiveness and reconsiliation. I mean, I understood why she fought against it, because the first and most important thing is to recognize abuse and to differentiate clearly between the offender and the victim and refrain from any kind of victim blaming. And the victim needs to be heard and feel his/her anger and rage etc. But from my own experience the only real way to healing as a victim, meaning to find back into one’s strength and to become independent and free again (or for the first time in your life), is to settle the case and reach some sort of acceptance. If not, one is prone to become that what one hated in their offender. Its a vicious cycle.

    Thus I appreciate you pointing out the vulnerability of children regardless of class and the special danger for middle and higher class children because they are way less protected by society as a whole because money and status means that most people feel they have no way to challenge these people without risking negative consequences and therefore turn around and look the other way. And I am interested what would soothe your anger? Would it be that your parents are exposed for their bigotery and your experience validated? Thats very much the same what psychiatric survivors want for their psychiatrists or clinical psychologists or mainstream therapists. What in short every victim wants regarding their respective offender.

    Richard, by the way, I truly enjoyed reading through your very first blog. Many deep insights, thank you.

  • To summarize my two comments above, I think your approach has value but you are still ‘only’ teaching coping strategies for symptoms which is a little more empowering than administering sedating drugs, but also ‘just’ that. You do not dare to assess the simple truth: that most if not all of your patients are some sort of victim in the sense that something uncomftable or outright horrible has happened to them what very often they cannot consciously access or describe in a sensible way. It could very well be some perceived injustice or something that you would see as something completely trivial. But as I said before, probably, if you dig deeper, you’ll find some sort of severe and REAL! pain.

    I would ask you to sincerely consider to view your patients truly as much as a capable person as yourself. Capable in the sense of awareness and being a fully sentient being. You may be surprised why I feel the need to say that but as a patient it was always the feeling I got from the well-meaning medical personnel like you present yourself. They just didn’t get how patronizing and disempowering they felt to me through their kindness and ‘thoughtfulness’ for my ‘vulnerability’. I am lacking the words to fully describe what I mean…. uhm… To help you understand I will give a final shot in trying to explain, and sorry to those who consider it bragging, but I consider it usefull here and now:

    I never ever had had anything to do with psychiatric disorders or mental illnesses until I was 31. I was considered a high achiever because everything in life came easy to me. My childhood had the usual troubles, my parents had some issues in their relationship and money was always short, but all in all it was good. School was easy, university was easy, I did my master in earthsciences and was on my way to a phd. I always worked (so much stress for somebody so vulnerable?!) to have some additional money and I travelled the world twice for 8 month with a backpack as a woman on my own. I was only barely 20 the first time and I got raped but coped well with that ‘difficult life stressor’ despite being somewhere in Indonesia without much help. I love hiking in high altitude including some climbing, due to my studies I had to crawl through narrow caves, I am a scuba diver as well with training for high risk cave diving and I always have been known for my calm behaviour and keeping a clear head in difficult situations. I have guided diving teams. I am also a very optimistic and sociable person who takes things rather easy. I rarely had any troubles with people and could de-escalate any situation quickly mainly because of my charming personality. Now, I fell in love with a guy with a very difficult background, a violent upbringing. I thought I could handle the situation but I was wrong. At some point I got psychosis and foolishly decided to go to hospital for help. It took me five years and many relapses to fully recover from the brainwashing i received. And I had to work through my and my boyfriend’s psychological wounds and troubles mostly by myself with the help of many good reads (many inspired by this website). I am finally through this crisis, still together with my boyfriend, back in a well-paid job and challenging activities.

    I tell you this personal information about myself because I’d like you to imagine how your material would feel to someone like me? Thats why I called it kindergarden level. Most of the things that are mentioned I knew by intuition because I had to assess people and their behaviour correctly in risky situations. But I have to admit, being trapped and heavily drugged and intimidated back in hospital, I would be glad for something that easy with some jolly phrases and funny pictures that I am still capable to comprehend at that low point in my life. I was mostly like all the other patients, docile and happy about every bit of kindness and positive attention and distraction from the fact that I am in psychiatry that I could get.

    Steffen, you cannot trust whatsoever positive feedback your patients give you. As a mental illness patient you get trained to give the right answer and you are pressured into the feeling of being intrinsically inferior. Everything you do, the way you feel and think, is permanently critizised allthough you are simultaneously told its not really your fault. Your subjective experience is downplayed and given little value. You get so hungry for human appreciation that you end up behaving like a dog to those who give you a litlle bit of warmth. Being labeled something that implicates psychosis is the worst stigma there is. It doesn’t really help that you state that a certain amount of cognitive bias or delusions is considered ‘normal’. What helps is to clearly address the pain that has driven one crazy and that made you exhibit such crazy behaviour and unusual thoughtpaths. That helped me. And that helped my boyfriend overcome his ‘domestic violence disorder’.

    A psychologist would have given us cognitive strategies that stay on the surface only, like somebody above stated about the polished floor that soon gets dirty again. It’s NOT thought patterns that make you crazy or depressed, its real situations that make you feel a certain uncomfable way and that you don’t deal with appropiately. Thought patterns can be artificially changed quite quickly. If you don’t believe it just give it a try and take some antipsychotics mixed with two or three other mood stabilizer for about four weeks while being admitted to a closed ward somewhere where nobody knows you and with fake medical files that give you a schizophrenic label. Well, but as long as you yourself know that this is just a fake situation and you can still redeem yourself its not the same really because that knowledge protects you. It must crash your self-concept completely to be viable.

    So, again, I appreciate your approach in a certain way but I think you still would have to travel a long way to reach the ability to really ‘help’ people by allowing for a chance to completely heal. And for that you would have to understand the real cause for the troubled behaviour that your patients show. And truly grasp the truth that lies in your own statement that EVERY human being has this cognitive biases because it is a normal feature of human cognition. Therefore everybody has the capability to develop signs of anxiety or psychosis or depression or suicide. But psychological trauma has much to do with individual assessment of a situation. Therefore, the surer you are of yourself for whatsoever reason there is the more stressors you can handle. Another way for you to practically understand could be to bring yourself in a situation where you are completely out of control for a while. I am sure you would be astonished how your thought patterns change and you suddenly exhibit many exaggerated biases.

    That’s why I think the first approach for troubled people should be a calming and soothing, safe environment and as much help as possible with practial issues (social workers with concrete solutions for whatever bothers you instead of lengthy talk therapy, the latter can be done as soon as your immediate circumstances are safe and you feel at peace again.) Thus they get the chance to calm down and become their normal balanced self again. And then it can be assessed if this person needs any coping strategies or it he or she has just been out of their mind a little. Do you understand? Your approach as well is a one category fits all aporoach. In the studies you cite it is stated, ‘schizophrenics tend to know where the coloured ball is from after only one guess’ – see, I am trained in probability theory but in hospital or while I was completely crashed by the diagnosis and still taking drugs the chances would have been very high I would have reacted exactly the same. You are behaving according to diagnosis after diagnosis and that works in a very subtle way as you as apsychologist should know best. Don’t you know about studies e.g. regarding Maths tests where people had to state in the beginning of being male or female which subsequently influenced their capabilities? Think about it, my friend.

    English is also not my first language and therefore I hope my ideas came across more or less comprehensible. Gruesse nach Deutschland, lieber Steffen!

  • Following my comment above, I first want to tell you that I can see why patients do respond positively to your approach.

    From my own stays in hospitals I know that many patients come from a background where they have never been taught certain coping streategies to handle their emotions or more difficult social situations like human dispute. First, there is just way more opportunity to accumulate pain (trauma) when you are born into less favourable conditions meaning that it is more likely to experience stressors and therefore end up with some sort of disorder or mental illness symptoms, second, if you have been identified as mentally ill from a young age, in many cases you were not expected to be able to acquire such skills or you simply could not do it because you were zombified by drugs. Therefore, of course you feel some sort of validation of your experience and you are given an explanation and some power and hope for a better future. Additionally, most people will benefit being educated about ‘the fallibility of human cognition in general’ and will feel some sort of release if they are told that everybody experiences these biases. That’s all fine and that’s certainly not what I am criticising.

    Steffen, I would like to open your eyes to ‘learned helplessness’ and the very root of many of these issues you are trying to address through adjustment of the reasoning
    mind. You seem to be fully convinced that the exaggerated biases are an intrinsic part of the patient’s cognition. After all, that is the reason why they are your patients and why they have been given their respective disorder or mentall illness label, right? And exactly there lies your bias from my point of view. I know about the condition of mental illness from my own experience. I have lived experience of mania, full-blown psychosis and medication-induced anxiety as well as medication-induced depression including suicidal thoughts. I have experienced how medication changed my inner state and my thought patterns within days and how it feels to loose your usual pattern of thinking and your very feeling ofwhat it means being yourself.

    Some of this I told about in comments to a blog of Lawrence K. who commented to your blog above. I find his train of thought regarding learned helplessness and impact of psychiatric treatment and administration of neuroleptics quite intriguing.

    Anyways, what I would very much like to convey to you is my observation of how my cognitive experience very quickly and very situation-related changed. It is true, that in psychosis all these cognitive fallacies in their exaggerated form were present, like jumping to conclusions and attributation and so on, but not the whole time, it was switching back and forth. Also, when regaining my ‘normal’ balanced state, I am as ‘normal’ maybe even more rational and less jumping into conclusions than most others. Even more interestingly, when I was heavily drugged with a combination of three to four medications, I developed completely foreign ways of thinking, extremely self-critical thoughts, highly fearfull thoughts, expecting negative outcomes, etc., very similar to what is typical for people prone to develop depression. And I watched in horror and awe how this could be even possible. I am a very self-confident and optimistic person with high self-worth. In the beginning I was completely aware, that this catastrophic and disempowering thinking was very unusual for me. It felt totally alien but I sort of got accustomed to it more and more and soon it felt like I had been this way all my life. I started to reinterpret my memories according to the new thinking and I forgot how it felt being me. And I tried hard to get back to my former self, but it was not quite possible until I got off this horrible drugs.

    I am not an all-out oponent of drugs, but they should be used with extreme caution. Initially, they where fine to calm me down from my psychosis but they did not – and I feel the need to stress that – change the crazy content of my thoughts! They completely knocked me out, which at least gave me some rest. I came to terms afterwards because I slowly understood (with horror and lots of shame) that I am in psychiatry and not just minutes away from the fullfillment of all my deepest desires and wildest dreams provided that I just figure out this damn so very complex but divinely inspired mysterious puzzle where I have to dare to do unusual things for accomplishing certain secret tasks that unfortunately by the time being only I could truly fathom but soon I would not only get all this rewards but also quietly had saved the world and ensured the emergence of a new cosmic time of peace and happiness.. You sort of get the grand scheme of my exciting first psychosis I reckon. It is very true that apart from serious traumatic happenings with my boyfriend which caused me to flee reality, I was also bored with my life at that time because he also isolated me from friends and the ongoing trouble and violence were incredibly tiring which made me refraining from my usually very active life. As is stated somewhere in the material you offer, I was quite susceptible to psychosis (such an adventurous cosmic story taking place with myself as the key actor in it). Therefore, all the strategies you are mentioning in your therapy approach are valuable to a certain degree and have their place, but they can never cure anybody. You hold people in a category of being a ‘vulnerably’ person and in that way you take away their capability to grow out of their issues and overcome their ‘disorder’ or ‘illness’.

    From my experience all the patients I got to know are avoiding some sort of pain. They carry around some thing, or some things, that hurt them so much that they would do anything to never have to feel it again. Psychosis has a lot to do with survival mode, you know. Probably you would give the argument that not every of your patients has experienced truly traumatic events. Well, who can claim the right to put a scale measurement on the degree of pain felt in a certain situation? And who would distinguish people along their ability to endure a certain degree of pain? As with physical pain, your endurance can vary from day to day and is dependent on many factors. It is the same with your ability to cope with psychological pain. Thus, as I currently understand it, psychiatric disorders and mental illnesses are nothing more than certain inner states that are accessed e.g. as a reaction to a painful experience (to avoid some sort of painful realization or having no other (perceived) choice to distance oneself from a painful reality) or for other reasons, that are accompanied by a certain way of thinking (a certain vulnerability to specific exaggerated cognitive biases). Temper and social background account for a certain variety. People get used to this states and spiral down through the mechanisms you address. It is subsequently useful to train them to get out of this cognitive patterns or be e. g. critical when they catch themselves figuring out highly implausible explanations for certain situations they experience. But in the end your approach still teaches your patients to see themselves as faulty and as having to be on the watch all life long.

    I know from my own experience that the latter generates much stress in oneself and this stress is added with the need of having to deal with ‘well-meaning’, ‘helpful’ family members and friends that readily try to assist you in reminding of your ‘vulnerability’ as soon as you start having some fun or just want to stay home and sleep a whole day or just f** do something a little weird or unexpected. You get treated like a child and at the same time everybody wants to cheer you up and assure you that you are still a worthy and capable person, just uhm.. ‘vulnerable’ – ‘but that doesn’t imply weakness or impairment’ – ‘you could even be a genius, just, uhm, without a meaningful employment and, uhm, yeah, just take it easy, everything is good… Still taking your meds?’. See next post below for more.

  • Steffen, to me it seems like you are operating in a kind of ‘dogooder’s bubble’. I get that you genuinely try to help people who experience(d) psychosis but I see a lot of subtle problems with your so very ‘kind’ approach. You fully target the reasoning power of the mind by attempting to support people in handling day-by-day situations with common sense. Indeed, the level is very basic, at times it feels very much like being back in kindergarden. It’s the very structuring that gives a feeling of being taught instead of being understood and assisted in finding an individual coping strategy. You show pictures and use them to point out cognitive bias. This is fine for everyday situations but how does it help with severe issues or traumatic experiences?

    See, as I understand it, you still adhere to the illness model. You see it as a sort of ‘vulnerability’ that some people carry which is triggered by certain life stressors and so on. Irrespective of whether that is true or not and despite you, being the kind and jolly good person as you prefer to come across, stressing that this shouldn’t be seen as a weakness at all – hey, even great artists and other famous (often very creative) people have/had ‘it’ – the way you interpret mental illness is not so much different to the bio-bio-bio worldview alltogether. You believe in different sets of people which are determined by their genetics, their temper, and their childhood upbringing – by reaching adulthood their brain has formed and certain behavioural and cognitive patterns have been developed. One set of people are prone to develop psychiatric disorders when facing difficult but nevertheless everyday life situations like broken hearts, job loss, failed exams, death of a loved one, etc. The second set of people do suffer facing such situations but because they do not carry this alluded vulnerability they can mostly cope without help or self-assess when they need help and arrange for it accordingly and soon are able to carry on with their life.

    As your group designed the material such that it addresses certain cognitive biases that have been observed being exaggerated in people who ‘have’ psychosis or schizowhatever, I believe you somehow concluded that people of category ‘vulnerable’ have a certain wiring in their brain that makes them vulnerable to interpret many day-to-day situations dangerably wrong which is giving them so much stress that finally they overreact and freak out or draw back and lie in bed all day or go looking for the final relief of all. But because modern-day science has already advanced so far that it acknowledges that the brain does have the lifelong ability to learn and adapt, you do not fully support the bio-bio-bio chronical disease bit but heroically offer psychoeducation to help set ‘vulnerable’ to understand their vulnerable cognitive patterns and learn new strategies, ‘normal’ strategies, to correct their thinking and avoid further mental illness.

    Of course at the same time you argue that in theory ‘everyone’ can develop a mental illness. Maybe you see it the way that there can be a kind of temporal vulnerability (??) maybe related to having slept little or malnutrition that messes with cognitive brain patterns by temporally disrupting certain pathways but I rather think you mean it the way that a more robust person would need to face larger amounts of stressors to develop symptoms of mental illness and maybe they would more easily recover because of their inherent more robust nature.

    Could you see yourself becoming mentally ill? Severely depressed maybe, suicidal? Or, god behold, straight out manic, jumping out of your bathtube in excitement and running through the rain to the bar full of happiness but stark naked. You seem to be quite a reasonable person thus mania would probably free all your deep cravings to finally just let it all hang out for one day.

    I ask you these questions because to me it seems that you try to be nice to patients – or, to be polite and respectfull, lets call them clients – but you still draw a visible line between yourself and ‘them’… also because you don’t like ‘buddy psychiatry’ and I reckon you fear that if psychosis or mental illness symptoms in general are seen as something ‘normal’ clients would be left alone and deteriorate and senselessly suffer run-down and unkempt in some street’s corner and finally die tragically, having been a burden to their family and to society while alive and still giving them a bad feeling of not quite fathomable guilt posthumously. Instead if clients would just understand their natural vulnerability to certain cognitive biases, they could address this condition and maybe with the right cognitive strategies to interpret social situations ‘correctly’, avoiding stressors, adhering to a healthy lifestyle, not too much aspirations in life (getting to know their ‘healthy’ boundaries and limitations because of their ‘vulnerability’) and in some cases a little bit of drugging to restrict the most rebellious ones by inhibiting their pathways to their bothersome wild emotions and higher brain-personal weirdness (i. e. making them just a little impaired), these clients could lead a near-to-normal ‘functioning’ life due to the right management of their condition.

    Steffen, like someone said above I also think you are a decent guy and it’s great that you have made it to this website and are interested in alternative views and the opinion of your patients. I believe everything you claimed in your blog, your whole intention of helping people. That’s why I would very much love to open your eyes to some subtle but very important things that people labeled as mentally ill or even only having a disorder of some sort face. One of these things is severe devaluation and degradation and this is also felt when being confronted with your approach. From your comments I got the feeling that you cannot quite understand why (former) patients speak of being in ‘prison’ or having been ‘tortured’ or their lives have been destroyed and they got further traumatized. You even tackle this views in some of your material, where you address ‘perceived threats or insults’ due to the cognitive bias of the patient where they assess certain behaviour and certain comments from the medical personnel wrongly or exaggerated’. You also state that the situation in German hospitals is certainly different and there is rarely any forced medication there. I think you must be very blind. And being blind to injustice and outright abuse especially if it is done in the name of righteousness is very dangerous as you should know from history. I am not so far away from Germany and I know about the situation. Yes, psychotherapy is on the rise as is mindfullness techniques and awareness of medication side-effects. But as I tried to outline above, it is still the same line of thinking, just hidden under more socially accepted methods and a softer, reasoning shell. People rarely ‘heal’, instead they get by as second class citizens with an ‘ok’ life – if they are lucky. I will address this issue in my second post following below.

  • Dragonslayer: cant find the reply button on your comment, but cheers mate ^^

    One comment to purpose and effect and result and damage because you seem so very keen on words and interpretation: I was trained in natural science and now technical domains and mathematics… Where precise and objective thinking is a requirement, being sloppy is not working when programming machines that have no leeway of interpreting syntax and meaning. Its very human to fight over (political) interpretation and wording, but when working in a technical field you need to understand the concept and not debate about everything because it needs to work. You immediatly see if something was true or false because it functions or it does not. ‘damage’ in many cases is prone to your point of view, because if I break connections or dwlete files it could also be a necessary process although it interupts functionality. Damage for me means senseless destruction. At least this wasn’t on the minds of those who ‘treated’ me. They were convinced of something thus it was wrong but not senseless. It gets harder considering ECT for instance but I am tired of discussing semantics. Maybe you sort of get what I mean…

  • May i ask you what “mental illness” is for you then? Because as for me I clearly know that I had a very strange reaction, a psychosis, and although the experience had a lot of value hidden in its symbology I would still call it an illness. Even in shaman cultures where psychosis is seen as a sign for a shamanic talent, the initial confused state is seen as a sickness that needs to be overcome to develop the talent. When you write that the drugs cause the illness, what about the first episodes of depression or mania or psychosis or whatever? Do you have the opinion that mental illness do not exist and are some form of discrimination? Which is plausible in some cases like it was with homosexuality which is not a mental illness. And I agree, that it is a very difficult thing to determine what is just normal and what is not. Oh, and please don’t look to critical on my writing and usage of terminology because English is not my mother tongue and it is difficult to find words that truly convey what I want to say and also hit the right tone because I do not know about subtleties of wording.

    For me if I take your view it would feel as if I tried to mask my original struggles, my psychotic thinking and exaggerated behaviour. I do feel ashamed that I lost control but I want this feeling as long as it is in a right measure/degree. It is needed for me to develop myself so that it will never happen again. I never ever want to get psychotic again. And if I do not own my experience I will never become independent I feel. That doesn’t mean that I am totally responsible for my reaction, it was caused by many outside factors, but it also happened because I was inexperienced how to cope with these outside factors in a functional way. I should have left the abusive relationship and come back only after my partner accepted therapy. But I was naive. And thought I am invincible. So maybe you could explain to me how you see mental illness.

  • I would add again from a technical perspective and my experience that anxiety, nervousness, this akathisia feeling, has a lot to do with setting the nervous system out of balance. On the uppermost level of my experience, the conscious part, I freaked out because due to the sedatives I couldn’t access certain attitudes that normally belong to my person. Like calming myself, finding humour even in difficult situations, reaching a hopeful inner state or at least some sarcasm… The insidious thing was that I consciously knew (sort of remembered) how I “should” react but it didn’t happen. The familiar reaction, the feeling, didn’t come whilst being in that zombie state. Much of what I have learned through experience, healthy reactions that I had build up through life, were blocked. Therefore, I got anxious and scared and exhausted and even panicked. I remember sitting in front of a supermarket in my car and going in to shop some grocery seemed to be impossible. I tried to logically understand what happened but I found no reason. I became afraid of ordinary things although I have never been easily frightened. On one occasion I bursted into tears because I was afraid to drive to my mother’s home (ok, that was 350 km away, but a trip that I had done fairly regularly so far). It was just so confusing, what has happened to me that brought forward such feelings. And with the prevailing culture of bio-psychiatry you are very inclined to start to believe the doctors that it is a sign of a mental illness that finally broke through. Especially, as you desperately try to explain that you are completely different normally and they just look at you calmingly with a soothing smile but utter disbelief in their eyes, telling you that your self-perception and -assessment is not to be taken seriously. Thus, jumping on the train of Lawrence way of thinking, the drugs disrupted certain pathways and therefore I couldn’t access my natural coping strategies. And I could have very well have forgotten them and developed a completely new personality according to the new situation – which would have been a very deteriorated version of myself. I know that I struggled very hard to “remember” how it felt being me.

    The physical side-effects were still real and a burden, sweating, feeling bloated, eyesight problems, sleeping issues, and so on, but having no coping strategies and much functionality of my brain not available, dealing with these difficulties brought me down to my knees. See, with pain, lets say headaches, I often practised to just endure it and focus my mind to be able to bear it to learn strengthening the mind. I couldn’t do that for many of the last years although I practised it in the years befor “mental illness”. So if nobody reminds you of the things that Lawrence tries to point out (that humans have great capabilities and are not just biological robots), then you decline and get more and more dependent … and sad and frustrated.

    And I also find it important to remind of the original causes that lead to smptoms of mental illness. They developed because of failure to find a functioning way of dealing with whatever issues there were. With no guilt or fault attached for the one who couldn’t cope. As I said before, there are many reasons why somebody breaks down and he or she could very well be a total victim of some social condition or whatever. As somebody that experienced symptoms of mental illness, there has been something that was an illness, caused by something. If this is never adressed it most likely will stay and cause further deterioration. Combine this with all the detrimental and burdening experiences caused by hospitalization and drugging and a person is very easily “broken”, but not biologically broken (which is much more irreversible), but psychologically broken.

    And there is one more thing: As I have been rediscovering my original self, I felt not only rage but also shame. It brought me to tears how I reacted and thought in the last years because of my lost connection to my inner self. I have been weak and submissive and anxious and conformist and begging for warmth and attention. This is not easy to bear to see myself from my original perspective. It is thus tempting to not go this painful way of self-re-discovery. I also am still horrified that this could happen although I felt so centered and strong-willed and full of self-confidence. And at the same time I am afraid of that psychotic overcompensation where I thought I am the world’s next saviour… How to recover and become healthy again, that is the big question and it feels as being a psychological one. It also has much to do with learning about attitudes and beliefs that caused me to have a breakdown. And modifying them to be better prepared in the future to prevent a reaction like this. For me trying to figure out who is guilty of what happened to me feels hindering my recovery. But at the same time the most important realization was understanding how much I was hurt by several things and people and truly feel and accept that pain. I am still working on that.

    I really hope, that psychiatry will change to offer a safe and warm environment without blame that just gives support and wise guiding to let people figure out whats wrong with them or the situation that they are in. No therapist, no psychologist, and no psychiatrist can do this for you because the only one that knows what made you mad or depressed or manic or agitated is yourself. It could be as simple as mal-nutrition or as complicated as several traumatic events coupled with toxic effects of something physical. Psychiatrist should see themselves more as detectives that have to figure out a crime. The perpetrator causes the mental illness symptoms but who is he or she? Is it something biological like hormones or gut imbalances or individual psychological problems or social things or a combination.

  • Technically, I would understand it the way that its not related to total nerve damage/destruction but the way Lawrence describes it, there is disruption to the original functionality, communication error and misfiring and probably too much traffic on other pathways to cope with the dirsupted ones, leading to overload, triggering other functionalities to misfunction. That too means damage, I think Lawrence is not really arguing about all the detrimental effects of neuroleptica. In my view he rather tries to discuss the idea, that malfunction resulting from an outbalanced, disrupted system can be restored, even if it means much work and in severe cases much creativity. This is very different from real permanent destruction because of dead brain cells.

    See, if somebody takes the computer that hosts my webserver and takes a hammer to destroy its harddisk, there is no way I could repair it. But if he or she only introduces a virus or deletes some files or overwrites some connections, there still is a way to get the system working again. The decisive aspect of this issue is how much work, knowledge, ressources, and effort it takes to acchieve this. Thus, as I interpret his blog post by now, he tried to make us understand, that if we insist on permanent damage done, this is similar to the bio-psychiatrist’s approach of explaining the original “malfunctioning” by a given brain illness caused by malformed genes – a sort of construction error. Thats like jumping out of the frying pan into fire. Before you were deemed having a broken brain from birth and afterwards you are told that your brain was fine but unfortunately now its not anymore. Instead we should focus on repairing the disrupted system by finding the causes for original malfunctioning, that could very well be (partly) physiological (hormones, gut bacteria, what have you…) or due to social causes (that influence the physiological system). Then, we need to find out, how the psychiatric treatment further caused damage, but it is very important to understand what kind of damage we are talking about. Irreversible damage like destruction is a tough subject, like the completely destroyed hard disk, where there is nothing you can do anymore but buy a new one and try to rewrite everything that was on that hard disk. But if its ‘only’ wiring and “overwritten or outdated files” and connection pathways, hope still exists. You can retrieve much data even from a very corrupted hard disk, repair the disk and make it work again, as long as it is not torn into peaces completely. And then you can reestablish the original system, allthough it might be much effort and not always possible due to missing resources or expert knowledge.

    Of course, as a concerned person who has been harmed by the psychiatric system, it is not easy to listen to this concept because there is so much anger – or as someone framed it above, even fury and rage like in Inglorious Bastards, a feeling I know – about what has been done to us. So much shaming and degrading and taken away what comes so naturally to brainwise “healthy” people. As Julie tells in her many posts, it is just so unfair what a person labeled as mentally ill has to go through in terms of humiliation and difficulties regarding things that are perfectly normal and a given to others. We get treated like we are stupid and incapable just related to just about everything. We are not allowed to have mood swings or just be grumpy or high on a good feeling. We are watched with suspicion on just about every thing that we do. And the worst thing is, that we ourselves adapt this attitude which makes it hard to relax and let yourself be the way you are. This gives way to an awefull lot of frustration and I think Lawrence got his share of that frustration as a reaction to the perceived insensitivity of his idea. As far as I can see, it just hurts that he spotted that by passively remaining in the victim-role nobody of us “mental patients” will ever get back to being healthy and capable of thriving (in comparison to merely functioning or getting by while still grieving what happened to us and complaining of how hard it is for us). As I said in another comment above, what happened to us is incredibly unfair but most of the world doesn’t care and never will. And even if they did, it wouldn’t completely help us. Because it cannot make undone what humilation and damaging treatment we had to endure and it will defenitely not be a solution for the original problems that caused our “mad” reaction. Yes, we needed help and were further burdened and even made disfunctional, intensifying and prolonging our suffering. The ideal treatment would most probably be a secure and relaxed atmosphere that would allow for “getting back on our feet and getting back to normal” by providing a safe but not a restricting environment as long as it takes to make the symptoms of mental illness subside. A pause, to become strong again, and afterwards help and support in coping with whatever situation we failed to get by in a constructive manner before the symptoms showed up.

    Often when I read comments from other survivors of psychiatry on this board I can hear and feel the pain they carry. Its a pain about having been rejected for whatever struggle they had. I know about this pain, there is nothing worse than be deemed a second class human because there is something not quite ok with your brain. This humiliation goes so unbelievable deep and it may well be the primary reason for deterioration. In my opinion, there will never be a true “mad pride”, because becoming mad is nothing to be proud of. It is a severe reaction to traumatic events, things that hurt you so much, that you were not able to function anymore. It is also not something to be ashamed about or that can be attributed to individual fault. Very often the trauma is within a social construct and its just a combination of various factors that lets one individual of that social construct break down. The one who is the most vulnerable at that moment or the one who happens to be on that part of that social construct that experiences the most pressure… It is something that needs to be seen and treated. It is pointless for me, to celebrate my breakdown, rather I am celebrating overcoming it. We don’t need mad pride, we need a well-thought-out way to recovery. Is there a “cancer-pride” movement? No. We need the shame in experiencing a mental illness to stop, but it is still an illness. It doesn’t help to identify oneself with being mad, even if we try to describe it as “special” or “having my own mind” or “being different, more sensitive”, whatever. This in my opinion is just a reaction of having been rejected by society. The pain makes us react with a sort of “ok, you don’t like me, so I pretend to be happy without you!”. I like exotic people, but it should come from the heart and the core of your being rather than stem from having been hurt and discriminated.

    And with all that I think Lawrence wanted to show that it is very important to leave the victim position and focus on total recovery instead. Although I am feeling the same rage and want to voice the unfair treatment I received to just about anyone to get the much needed human attention and warmth (which is the opposite to beeing stigmatised and shunned by society), this again would mean to rely on the reaction and perspective of other people. If I would always stress the unfair treatment I received in the last 7 years, the hardship, the difficulties, the setbacks, I would stay a very lonely and isolated person that has no chance to truly be accepted back as a fully capable person. I would stay the victim. And thats not beccause people out there are all bad. Complaining and lamenting doesn’t help in everyday life, as hard as it is, especially when it was so much unfair treatment that one received. I identify as a psychiatric survivor and I could see a “psychiatric survivor pride”-movement. Therefore, I think we should get financial compensation for the medical error that lead to so much suffering (social stigma, social decline related to job chances and lost years of “unconsciousness” including all kinds of physiological problems from side-effects of heavy drugging). But we need to stop the bitter tone. Subconscious guilt of psychiatrist might be a factor in their behavour of denial, but nobody will ever listen if we come full of anger presenting as a victim. We are heard when we present ourselves as balanced, clearheaded, calm and coherent. Not forgiving but also without bitter judgement. I am sorry, if I offended anyone with my opinion. My intention is to find a way of strength. I am done with feeling belittled and humiliated. And I very much want the world to know about the medical errors of psychiatry. And I don’t want them – the psychiatric personnel, the police officers that dragged me away, the family members and friends that tried to get me to comply with standard treatment, etc. – to be humiliated or tortured themselves, no, I simply want them to pay. By law. Its none of my business, what opinion they individually have and if they believe in a broken brain or not. If the treatment that is given today is legally accepted as a severe medical error and if I would get compensation for the lost years and immense suffering I had to endure, I would just shrug my shoulders and go on and catch up with life. It would be official that I was treated wrong and nobody would ever try to do it to me again. So I would be freed from the constant fear to be locked up again.

  • I can only speak based on my experience but recovery does actually feel a bit like ‘stretching a long forgotten limb’, so your concept makes sense to me. After having been forced to take a mix of neuroleptics I first only felt very irritated and surprised when I discovered their power to influence and distort my perception and awareness but then I got terrified because I experienced states of being that are completely alien for me (inner tension, anxiety, panic attacks, very critical, cataclysmic and judgemental thinking, powerlessness and so on). Interestingly, psychosis was different. It was also a distortion of my perception and awareness, but it felt personal and not foreign, it was MY way of distortion and therefore I felt control of it on some level (allthough overwhelmed at the moment it felt that with some help and guidance or time I would be able to figure it out). This zombie feeling very well feels like you are robbed of inner pathways like you cannot access certain parts of the brain. Have you ever seen a website only displaying its basic structure without styling, images or any higher functionality like fancy animation? Its still working to a certain degree but only if you care to read the text will you recognise that it is the original website because it has lost much of its appearence. Styling and functionality is usually seperated in additional files that the basic html template of the website has to load when you call it. If there is a connection problem the basic html structured content is still displayed but in its raw state having lost much functionality. Anyways, the necessary files still exist. If the website does not load these for say many months or even years, these file do not corrupt but they are not maintained, not adapted to the html that changes over time and not updated with new findings of technology. If you finally reestablish connection you could very well have a whole system crash or nothing happens at all because of missing comparability. From a technical point of view Lawrence approach is very valuable because he tries to figure out and understand the underlying process that is leaving so-called mentally ill people so disfunctional and often degrading. I could even see the former popular various kind of shock treatment leading to a similar kind of disruption of certain brain pathways because either they truly physically get damaged as with ECT or the patient is ‘tortured’ as long as it needs for him or her to learn to give up a certain thinking or behaviour, psychologically inhibiting the pathway until it is weakened and lost. Or overwritten as it happens if you delete something on your computer. It is not lost immediatly its space in memory is just freed for other content. So your original thinking and behaviour gets replaced by whats psychiatry deems right for you. To recover as it feels to me I have very well to reestablish connection to my original sense of being – sense of a healthy and capable being. And when I reach connection to all this parts I have to update, adapt and modify them to be tailored to my current being who has advanced (and sadly declined), has changed, which means work and often creative solutions because I need to understand the old configuration as well as my new level and needs and then figure out a way to make this work.

  • Thank you for telling your story. Very brave of you. I wish you strength for finding peace in your life. Clearly, your son is guiding you from the other side. He now knows everything that is in your heart… When you will be united again, there will be much love. I know psychosis and thus I understand how very real your delusions were and how you truly thought you needed to do what you did. It is such a terrible misleading thing and to get out of psychosis and fathom the reality – oh my, how aweful what you had to go through and what feelings you had to bear. Have faith!

  • Well, I do like Lawrence idea of overcoming brain-damage allthough I also think, he underestimates how difficult it is in reality and that there are potential physical limits to what degree of healing can be acchieved. Anyways, what I think he truly gets is the importance of your inner state. Humans do possess a lot of potential self-healing ability which in case of permanent damage is often rooted in creativity by finding new ways of accomplishing a specific functionality. As an example, if one has lost a limb they might find a way to compensate, say if you loose your hand that did the writing you could teach yourself to write with the other hand. Maybe there are similar ways to circumvent the original connection between lower and higher brain functions and form a new one? I find the Neurofeedback method quite intriguing. Still, this usually means a lot of work and time for practise as well as the necessaty of a positive plausible expectation (something you can fathom and believe, a model how you will be after reaching that goal) that gives you the motivation and provides the much needed strength.

    Now, think about today’s situation in the realm of psychiatry. They take all these abilities away from you. Blocking Dopamine (motivation) is one thing but they also brainwash you into becoming helpless and disabled. As for me, I was told countless times to stop working in my field (IT) because its too stressfull and demands too much complex thinking – with my ‘mental condition’ its not suitable for me. Better do some easy part-time job where I do what somebody else tells me to do step by step. They also told me, I cannot trust my moods and should regularly check my thinking and better listen to the appraisels of others. I was diagnosed as schizoaffective by the way. That left me highly doubting myself and put me on the way of becoming a rather typical example of a ‘mentally ill person’. And it inhibited my emotional recovery because it prevented me from assessing in depth the traumatic situation that had caused my psychosis. I doubted the trauma because I was told that I couldn’t trust my senses and therefore I thought that I had wrongly interpreted the whole situation (partnership violence, which now after my partner sought out therapy he validated my experience, where the physical violence was always clear but the more subtle psychological controlling part was less apparent but even more damaging). Reminding myself of who I was before hospitalisation brought me back on the road to recovery. But it didn’t come easy and I was rehospitalised five times after my initial episode. Short time only and I quit the drugs every time as soon as I left the hospital. Now I am stable since two years and back working full-time while completing my second degree. I would certainly not be able to do this on drugs.

    Why am I telling this personal story? Well, Lawrence is right that in addition to quitting the drugs one must also quitt being a victim – allthough one is a victim, I would add. The world as it is today doesn’t have much to offer for any victim in general. It only gives you pity and charity but that rarely equals true life quality. I know how bitter this is because to this day I wait for the warm and empathic embrace of people out there who get what I have been through. I long for the safe environment to lay down and rest, lick my wounds and receive all the time and other ressources I would need to regain my full strength. But it simply doesn’t happen that way (but hopefully some time in the future it will), as the current situation with psychiatry is, most people don’t only have to get on their feets on their own, they even have to find of what little strength they have left to fight psychiatry and their devastating message and escape it. So there you are, burdened with the original difficulties that prompted your mental illness symptoms for which you most likely still don’t have a solution, added by the devastating message of having a chronically malfunctioning brain, confused and overwhelmed by the symptoms itself, impaired and drowsy by the sedating drugs that they forced into your body, decoupled from your inner sense of being yourself, scared of police and medical personnel that will lock you up at the slightest hint you changed from their prescribed treatment on basis of your medical record, therefore scared of quitting your drugs and all-alone with any withdrawal-signs you experience once you do (which you have to hide from the outside world), carrying a heavy stigma because of your diagnosis that make people being highly sceptical and cautious of your person. By complying to be a victim, wether of a brain illness or the damaging result of the treatment, you will initially be endowed with what you crave so desperatly: a little bit of human attention and maybe even warmth. And you will even be allowed to voice a little bit of your angry and hurt feelings when you complain about the burden of carrying such a mean illness or having experienced damaging treatment. I know how tempting that is. Still, as Lawrence pointed out, such a victim-role will inhibit true recovery in the long-term. I am currently in the process myself to leave this role behind. What I have gone through is very unfair – and thats it. If I ever get compensated for that (which could be eg in the form of insight by one or two of those who subjected me to that kind of treatment I forcefully received) I will welcome it and it will give me a burst in healing, but I freed myself of being depended on it – which is not easy and I still struggle with it.

    Now, as I said before in another post, I am still lucky because I got into the claws of psychiatry quite late and only short time, having already had many years of well-functioning. But for those who have no ‘healthy self’ that they remember it will be close to impossible to leave the victim-role without a huge amound of support and adaquate ressources, be it money for psychotherapy or any activities that support building their self-awareness or people who help and trust them gaining or regaining their autonomy in all areas of daily life. It is a lonely road because autonomy means leaving the pity and charity and it means you are prone to fail and fall back, where psychiatrist await you as living proof of biological caused chronic mental illness or where your bitter self full of anger and despairing hopelessness reawakens and you see yourself damaged for life. Society needs to pave a way to make it easier to leave these traps because for many its just not possible to leave by themselves. And that is also heavily influenced by outside factors, if you get alternative information, what kind of drugs and how many of them you receive, howmuch you depend on money like disability and so on…

    To give you two examples of learned helplessness of friends I got to know from hospital:
    One is a fifty year old mother whose children quitt any contact to her after her last psychosis. Though she is heavily zombified by Haldol she still feels sad about that situation. Her doctor told her to get ECT against her depression and told her, that it is very normal for bipolar people to be abandoned by their family because of their behaviour. How will this woman ever find the strength to free herself from her victim-role and face all the challenges I mentioned above after being so humiliated for and made so afraid of her symptoms that she will never risk lowering the dose?
    The other is a forty year old male who was diagnosed with 17. He never got a regular job and never developed a truly adult personality. Everyone always treated him as a second-class disabled person. Independent thinking is seen as a sign of illness in him. Some weeks ago he went to a rehabilitation center after more or less sitting at home alone day and night. Of course he needed time to adapt to the new conditions, getting up early, being around many people, doing various activities all day long, etc. He therefore became tired after the first days and often went to his room early and simply was exhausted. His doctor immediatly wanted to add a drug for depression instead of just assessing the obvious causes of him being overwhelmed by all that sudden action. How should he ever learn to cope with his being and inner states if he is always just seen as the illness he has? He never learned about normal mood changes let alone how to cope with them other than chemically surpress them. Who would take the time to coach him out of his learned helplessness? Who will be there when he trips and falls over and needs support and motivation?

    I think Lawrence raised a very important point in addressing this subject of deterioration independent of actual brain-damage allthough his wording was a bit unfortunate. Brains can recover maybe not fully but much of the declined life quality is also to be found in being stuck in the victim-role. But worse than this is victim-blaming! Therefore, it is so very difficult to talk about this topic. Its not the victim that wants to be a victim. He or she is a victim because somebody else or some situation or whatever put him or her in that role. Per definition it says that a victim had no choice. Whoever wants to help with that needs to help shape a way for the victim to get out of that dark hole. And if the victim seems to not want to come out then do not blame him or her, it just means, that he or she is still not able to. The trauma sits to deep still, it paralyses him or her, or he or she cannot believe that this way out is not just a trap leading to even more suffering…. It could be many things, why the victim remains in its helpless and dependent role and to give him or her a ‘healthy slap in the face’ must only be done with a lot of prethinking and special care.

    Sorry for the long comment, it poured out of me somehow.

  • Thank you, MIA with all its information has been a great help to regain a well-functioning brain. I probably will write a blog once I have progressed enough with my anger-management that I can write without all the heavy emotions about the kind of treatment I received resurfacing. With all your comments explaining your idea further I now get what you wanted to convey with this blog post. As a former patient I can tell you that at first glance it sounded a bit like ‘stop being a victim and get on your feet again!’. Which is not something that most can bear after having been degraded so heavily by psychiatry. I would prefer something like ‘yes, you are a victim, yes, this drugs did harm you, but still there is a way to get on your feets again because there is a high probability that it needn’t to be permanent damage. Still, this most likely will be a difficult process and you should get a lot of support because thats not something that is done easily or comes naturally. Don’t be ashamed if it takes time!’. But as you can see, your quite straight-forward approach did its job to steer people up. Thank you for that.