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Sunday, November 18, 2018

The journey to recovery from ‘severe mental illness’

In this post I am addressing the concept of ‘psychosis’, or the assumption that it’s an illness.
Psychosis is usually defined as a ‘loss of touch with reality, accompanied by voices and hallucinations’. There are no tests or proper physical examination to medically evaluate the person  when the person comes to the hospital in a state that they call ‘psychosis’. From all possible literature that I read on the issue (in the field of psychiatry and medical science), they don’t understand what psychosis is. They simply assume that it’s an illness. They tell you it’s an illness, basing it all on ‘observation’. Behind explanation of psychosis, is a very bad, highly biased and flawed qualitative research. What they did was to conduct some trial studies (and calling it quantitative research), see that something is happening in the brain in some cases, and conclude that there is an illness, by projecting a few case studies on the rest of the humans who come under the radar of psychiatric services in a vulnerable state. As a result, what they currently do is to put actively labels on people and reassure them that they are ill. It isn’t research, it isn’t science, and it isn’t medicine, since medicine is supposed to heal, not to make you ill, by saying that you are ill and by putting you on medication they don't understand themselves.
Psychosis is a real event. It can be extremely distressing and challenging for the person experiencing it. If psychosis is triggered by drugs, it does need urgent intervention, as well as help with substance abuse. However, in all other cases, psychosis is a healing reaction of the body and mind to either something traumatic in one’s life, or being vulnerable in life in general when something really bad happens. Psychosis is a reaction, but it isn’t an illness. Illness (or rather mental distress) is what precedes the psychosis, such as extreme stress, insomnia or difficulty to cope with real bad things in life, such as extreme poverty, struggle with identity, struggle with debt.  In the state of ‘psychosis’ one does need urgent help, just not the help from the psychiatrists who damage the person by telling the person that he or she is ill, severely ill.
Psychosis is an altered state of consciousness. The person in psychosis does indeed enter into a parallel reality, which in shamanism is a necessary journey in order to self-heal. Voices and hallucinations are projections from that parallel reality. The psychiatrist doesn’t believe in parallel reality, but the person in the altered state of consciousness is in that reality. In other words, it is the psychiatrist who is wrong. He suffers from ‘the normality’ syndrome, from ill-judgement, lack of compassion, and lack of understanding of spirituality. As a result, instead of helping the person to process the experience, and look at what caused the distress in the first place, the psychiatrist inflicts further damage on the person by naming him as ill and by putting him on medication which harms, kills emotions in the person, and ends abruptly the state of altered consciousness, where real healing was taking place. The psychiatrist looks at manifestation, not the cause.
Once the person emerges from the hospital, he is damaged by what happened to him in the hospital, not by his ‘illness’. Psychosis might come back because it was simply interrupted in a very abrupt way. It isn’t ‘psychosis’ which is the problem, the problem is how it is treated and managed by the current mental health system. It actively destroys the individual by denying him the ‘truth’ of his journey in altered state of consciousness, such as not agreeing with the person that his visions and voices were real. It denies the person his spirituality and a journey of self-discovery. It inflicts extreme damage on the person by proclaiming him as ‘sick’, as a person suffering from ‘severe mental illness’. It stigmatises the person for the rest of his life.
Your journey to recovery starts from reclaiming your identity, from reclaiming who you are. You have to drop the diagnosis, and start believing in the magic of what you saw or heard in your psychosis. Your journey towards recovery starts from stopping believing the psychiatrists who tell you that you are ill. Your journey to recovery starts from believing in yourself and your own personal journey.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Madness can be fun

Behind the system of diagnoses, and the dangerous trend to put the mental distress into a disease of the brain domain, into the domain of ‘sickness’, lies the concealment of the fact that madness can be fun for the person experiencing it.
Psychosis, which is referred to as ‘severe mental illness’ is often not an illness, and it often involves direct communication of the ‘patient’ with interesting entities, such as angels, god himself, the devil, and so on. It is the psychiatrist who is the most boring element in the dialogue of the patient with his or her ‘entities’. The psychiatrist doesn’t see or hear them, the patient does. Does it mean that the patient is wrong? No, because for the patient these experiences are real, and upon getting him out of the parallel reality, back into boring, ‘normal’, and monotone world, he should be congratulated and clapped for his extra-abilities. Meeting with angels? Hearing the voice of God? These are supernatural, deeply spiritual experiences that our ‘normal’ world doesn’t want to recognise, because it is run by boring people who think they are normal.
And so, the patient gets a diagnosis and is put on drugs (making him dependent on them), sometimes with the reassurance that his condition is chronic and that he should take medication for the rest of his life. This is a tactic to keep psychiatry as a legitimate medical science (while in reality it is an institution for social control), while it denies people the possibility to recover. Yes, you can recover from psychosis, even if you have it several times, and it doesn’t mean that you have a ‘chronic condition’. You can have psychosis every couple of years, and lead a happy, fulfilled life in between. It is the psychiatry who doesn’t want you to have a happy and fulfilled life, because a happy psychotic person defies all their assumptions of a science which doesn’t exist. If you are happy in psychosis, then you can’t be sick, and it shouldn’t be then looked upon as disease.
But they say it is an illness. How do they measure it? They measure it purely on what you say and how you behave. THEY DON’T do any medical tests such as examining your brain upon your arrival at the hospital, because they can’t and hopefully, never will. Do they test you for dopamine and serotonin (their biological explanations for the existence of mental illness)? No, because if they did, then they should focus on correcting some real ‘misbalance’ via legitimate means, rather then declare you as mentally sick, because you think differently. They should then look at specific misbalance in each individual person, and have individual approach to each person. They don’t do it. They can’t.
But let’s move back to the fun bit. Yes, you can be a happy mad person and you should fight for this right to be happy while being labelled as ‘mad’. Their new current awareness campaigns are run by the companies directly supported by the government, which is not interested to hear about madness, happiness and your right to flexible approach in life. They raise the awareness which encourages you to talk as if something is wrong with you, which actually reinforces stigma and discrimination. Yes, people should seek help when they struggle with mental health (there are real cases of mental distress), but they shouldn’t then be labelled and discarded back as ‘invalids' and encouraged to be sad for the rest of their lives because of their condition. Being bipolar, schizophrenic, survivor, person with disability, crazy person, mad person (whatever you prefer as your self-identity policy) doesn’t mean that you can’t be happy, work, enjoy all that life has to offer, think about yourself instead of your doctor, while having all the rights that a ‘disability’ should assure. Such as flexible work, benefits, respect of human rights. Do they do it for ‘mad’ people? No, the current policy of the government actively takes attention from the fact that discrimination against ‘mad’ people is increasing, and not vice versa. It is an active penetration of a hegemony that everyone should be normal, or rather the same, while not really helping to deal with mental distress in real life.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The marketing of ‘mental illness’ in a world gone mad

The current system of diagnoses presented under the umbrella term of ‘mental health’ says that mental illness is like any other physical illness. This is a huge marketing campaign aimed to tell us all that ‘it is ok to seek help when you experience mental distress’, while it is still NOT ok to be actually ill. Behind its slogan of ‘seeking parity’ of esteem, is a very smart selling technique. It sells the diagnoses.
Let’s look at what is happening in practice. A young woman enters the university. She has to take huge debt in order to study, her family is poor, and therefore, in addition to studying, she also needs to work. So, she goes everyday to university to study, which is already taking all her time, but in the evenings, she has to work in a bar. As a young woman, who is a student, she also wants to enjoy her time with friends, socialize and have fun. But if she has to work everyday she has no time left for fun.
At some point she becomes stressed. All sorts of worries enter her head. She has little money, she struggles at her studies because she is all the time tired, she stops enjoying them because her grades start reflecting her problem with time, she is stressed thinking that her life is going to be like this from that moment on. Constantly working to pay off the debt, with no time left for other enjoyable activities.
At some point all these problems and worries take its toll and she stops sleeping. Sleep is a major reflection of how stressed one is. Almost all problems can be resolved through healthy, deep, profound sleep. But one can’t sleep properly with too much stress and worries on one’s mind. They disrupt sleep.
The young woman becomes agitated and even more stressed. Her worries don’t leave her mind. All this is a natural reaction to the problems in her life and what she is facing in life, as a young woman who should enjoy studying, have time to dance, watch the movies and read books for pleasure. But no one tells her this, instead when she starts exploring what might be wrong, she is presented with the marketing of ‘mental illness’. She goes to the doctor to seek help, and gets the diagnosis of ‘anxiety’. She is prescribed medication to treat the ‘reaction’ to her problems but not the cause. She still needs to work in the bar and think about how to pay off her debt. All her problems are still there. But next to that she gets a diagnosis of ‘mental illness’. She gets a label.
Now, the current ‘mental health’ campaign says that it is ok to be ill. No, it isn’t ok to be ‘ill’. The emphasis on ‘mental health’ hides the fact that it still talks about ‘mental illness’ and ‘diagnoses’. It hides the fact that the current system of diagnoses is a way to regulate the societal distress as a whole. Poor and struggling to get on in life? Anxiety syndrome. Grieving because someone died or thinking too much about our world? Depression. Loosing one’s mind because of too much stress? Psychosis, or no wait, let’s rebrand it into ‘bipolar’ and ‘schizophrenia’. There are cases of real mental distress, but they shouldn't be diagnosed. Does society as a whole accept ‘mental illness’ and looks at it as something positive? No.
Mental health is becoming a tool to regulate normal cases of distress, and takes our attention from real problems. Such as poverty, class segregation, loss of spirituality, wars, greed, and loss of moral qualities of the humanity, such as kindness, empathy, and compassion. It gives diagnoses to the problems of the society, where more and more individuals aren’t resilient enough to think that it is ok that there is bullying on Twitter and Facebook, that people are dying at wars, that our children have to think of grades from the age of six instead of enjoying studying and learning, and that some people have no food to eat, and sleep rough on the streets.
Mental distress is not an illness, it is a reaction of people who still care about the world in the world gone mad.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

When I was Jesus

I was Jesus once, when I was in a psychiatric hospital. I knew that psychosis was coming and called emergency services because there was no one else to call. Mental health services are struggling, there is no coordinated effort, there is no place to go, if you need a safe place.
So, the hospital it was. But in order to reach the hospital, I had to spend twenty-four hours in the emergency department. By the time the psychiatric services came to assess me, I was in full-blown revelation phase. I was in the middle of human misery. I was Jesus.
I didn’t have to do anything apart from saying that I was Jesus to the psychiatrist, I was immediately put under a section of Mental Health Act, deriving me effectively of my freedom. It was astonishing because I was the one asking for help. Instead of help, I was sent to ‘prison’.
Arguing with psychiatrists that I was Jesus once in the hospital wasn’t that good, they tried to change medication three times, by adjusting the dose of each new medication. It lasted two months. It stopped only when I finally realised that saying that I am Jesus to a psychiatrist was a suicide on my part. I shut up. I still thought I was Jesus.
But what is exactly happening when someone says that he or she is Jesus? I am not the first patient and definitely not the last to say so, and I read many articles which describe more or less the same experience. Someone believes he is a Messiah, another believes she is Buddha.
All these experiences are nothing else than a search for spiritual truth, it is a spiritual awakening, which is always accompanied by some sort of distress when one actually sees God or other manifestations of other reality. When someone says that she or he is Jesus, unless it is real Jesus, one has to sit down with this person and explain that he or she is going through a stage of discovering faith, that it is a natural process of coming in contact with the knowledge that God is there, that there is something out there, and that Jesus is in everyone. Thus, saying that ‘I am Jesus’, shouldn’t lead to labelling it as ‘delusion’ but to delegating it to spiritual and religious domain.
But the psychiatry actively negates any existence of God, because it labels psychosis as severe mental illness. Psychosis is an experience of meeting directly with the other reality, but the psychiatry doesn’t believe in the other reality. It diagnoses it, and denies that spiritual awakening is possible. All those who hear voices or ‘see’ things are reassured that these are hallucinations. But voices and seeing things are real for the patient. These are manifestations of deep religious truth. The patient is much more advanced than the psychiatrist on a spiritual level, but the psychiatrist has the power, and uses it to smash ‘out-of-there’ experiences. He also stops the individual spiritual journey of the person concerned, unless this individual is strong enough not to believe the psychiatrist and the whole power of the institution of the psychiatry behind. It becomes a fight for survival from that moment on.

How to get some wine into a psychiatric hospital

Monday, November 5, 2018

What is exactly Psychosis?

The medical explanation for psychosis is that it is a loss of reality, accompanied by hallucinations or hearing voices. It is regarded as severe mental illness.
It is a pity that not that many psychiatrists have experienced psychosis themselves because it is definitely not an illness, and it can never be compared to physical illness. The medication which treats psychosis does make the patients effectively ill, and that’s why they have almost no chance to recover (that, if they do follow the prescribed dose). Some research has shown that anti-psychotic medication leads to reduction in brain volume in the long-term. But it isn’t just the medication which damages people who come under the radar of mental health services, it is the whole approach and attitude to the matter. Can you imagine that you do lose some touch with reality for a while, might have already a frightening experience, and then in addition to that, you are also told that you are ill, that it is severe and that it is the most severe type of mental illness. You are smashed and punished from the start by the institution of psychiatry, but even more so, by the stigma of our society. 
The problem of the doctors is that they argue that psychosis and other forms of mental illnesses have a physical cause. They base their arguments on a few studies that looked at some patients after they have become ill. But they don’t study all the patients who come into the hospital. There is nothing like doing a routine test on all patients to establish that they indeed have some sort of misbalance or something different in their brain (which shouldn’t lead to diagnosis in any case). No, they base their diagnosis purely on their own subjective view via an observation.
So, for instance, imagine a patient who comes into the hospital with psychosis. She is afraid because she sees a devil in her psychosis. The psychiatrist, however, will say that what she sees isn’t real, by reducing all her beliefs to the narrative of an illness. The patient will get medication, will start feeling awful about herself (how come that she saw the devil? What is wrong with her?), and will emerge from the hospital as an invalid, because the medication they prescribe makes functioning on a daily basis impossible, and her confidence about herself will be crashed. It will be even more damaging if the patient has some religious beliefs, because the psychiatry is an institution which makes all beliefs totally and absolutely impossible. You can either belief the psychiatry or you believe in something else. In fact, in case we took the psychiatry really seriously, we should also treat all religious manifestations with some drugs! How come that the Vatican is still functioning next to the idea that psychoses are cases of mental illness? Wasn’t Jesus psychotic???
And so, how can the psychiatrist or those who help him (nurses, etc) be sure that the devil isn’t real? What if the patient who sees the devil is right? How can we negate with absolute certainty manifestations of visions? True, the person who comes into the hospital is usually distressed about her visions, but this is the case of the majority of all spiritual awakening! Jesus was distressed when he was talking with the devil, of course, he was, but so were other saints and famous representatives from other religions. If you aren’t in outer reality, you can’t claim that you talked to God or devil or whatever, so why are we treating it then now?
This is due, of course, to the age of reasoning, that a famous scholar Foucault, famously debated in his writings. In other words, you can believe what you want as long as you remain silent and well-behaved. Jesus, even if he appeared right now from the sky wouldn’t stand a chance, because he would immediately be taken into a psychiatric hospital. I might be your Jesus, as far as I am concerned but was captured at some point and put into some weird reality show, called the psychiatry. I would be mad to think so, but see my point? And what if I am indeed Jesus who was captured??? Mhh? What exactly do we know with certainty???
And this is what I think is wrong with psychiatry but also with religious institutions (not religious beliefs themselves!) nowadays (as long as they silently tolerate the psychiatry). There is no opportunity anymore to be different, less alone experience any sort of spiritual awakening. You have to be like everyone else. And if you dare to be different, you get a diagnosis.
Something is really wrong with this world.