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Has anyone ever denied symptoms and then later acknowledged them?

V

vnc2009

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Mar 9, 2009
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I have just found this forum and I have been reading some of the posts. I am grateful of the things you have shared and I wonder if anyone might be able to help.

A relative unfortunately suffers from some unpleasant experiences which the doctors diagnosed as Schizophrenia several years ago. I could go in to more detail if that's helpful.. He does not accept the diagnosis though and believes the symptoms to be real occurrences. He thinks the doctors are against him and the medication is harmful.

I wondered, is denial of symptoms a fairly common thing?

Does anyone know how a person may come to acknowledge that the unpleasant experiences are not real?

Do you have any ideas how I may help?

Thanks.
 
D

Dollit

Guest
I think with any mental health problem denial is common. I was told to look upon the diagnosis of my illness as the start of a grieving process and denial is one of the stages.

I don't have a diagnosis of schizophrenia though there are people here that do and one of them may be able to offer you some help.

In the meantime on the front page of the forum is a tab called "Getting Help" and there are several very good links there you could try.
 
D

Danage

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22AM, welcome to the forums.

I think Dollit is right, denial of symptoms being symptoms is common. I had that. I believed that my experiences were G-d, or Jesus of Nazareth, or the Holy Spirit (this is what cau8sed me to convert to Judeao-Christianity). When I finally came to the full realisation that it was most likely a mental illness my illness had forced Christian beliefs on me, declared me a prophet (which was revoked about a week later) and even predicted my future.

Now, I see it most likely to be a mental illness, especially since Saturday, because G-d doesn't work on Saturday, hence my experiences cannot be the Almighty G-d, Eloah.

Now I am of the opinion that it is a mental illness (about 66%), and not a parallel universe (34%), or G-d (which now stands at zero).
 
R

ramboghettouk

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I used to argue i didn't have symptoms and was stabilised on meds, very convenient for a lot of people who could then save resources by denying me care, now i tend to argue the symptom side, seems now the whole welfare system requires proving illness

I hear people talking about me in public places, last psychiatrist said "if you do make yourself noticed you will be talked about" yrs ago it would have immediately be a symptom and the onus would be on me to disprove it

Whether symptom or not it is the persons experience, i think a book by Laing was called "the politics of experience"
 
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Apotheosis

Guest
He thinks the doctors are against him and the medication is harmful.
It can be very well argued that medication is harmful & that most Doctors aren't much help - that aside -

Does anyone know how a person may come to acknowledge that the unpleasant experiences are not real?
To the person experiencing such things; they are real. These things are real to them. They are not generally 'objectively' real. Practitioners who have pioneered comprehensive & effective psychological methods of treatment; have worked on the basis that these 'subjective' experiences are very meaningful psychological processes; that given an environment of trust; & when allowed the space & opportunity to be worked through - such states; when approached therapeutically, & validated, can often lead to healing & a resolution. Sadly the opportunity for such recoveries is denied to most people.

Is it fair to say that other 'accepted' experiences are 'not real'? When someone experiences depression, or anxiety, or is mourning? We acknowledge other emotional & mental states - why are these other more extreme states not acknowledged? If anything they are more real.

Do you have any ideas how I may help?
The best help I have had has come from people who are willing to respectfully acknowledge my experiences as being 'genuine' & 'real' for me. People who have made an effort to respectfully listen to me, & make effort to understand my inner world, thoughts & feelings, & why I may be having such experiences. People have genuinely helped; who have helped me get an 'angle' on certain experiences that are generally considered - not the 'norm'.

What hasn't helped has been reactions of fear, panic & control, denial of what I am experiencing, & having such experiences treated as being invalid & 'nonsense', & being treated with forced incarceration, coercion & forced meds. In fact such things have caused me great damage in the past. Such 'reactions' compounded my problems & drove things deeper; they taught me to not trust others or open up. All the meds ever did is mask certain things - they have never been a solution.

I hope that helps.
 
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Nefertiti

Guest
Denial?

My cpn said when i told her that people didnt believe me, was that she accepted my experiences and beliefs were 'real' to me.
And they were/are i am apparently still in denial. When you can see hear smell and taste things are they real to you? Well that is how it is for a person experiencing severe enduring illness REAL and the sense of isolation only increases as you realise you are being told you are ill, and not being taken seriously. Being treated with respect, listened to, and supported through an often cruel and frightening experience would go a long way to easing the burden of MI . The press loves to talk of this or that SZ who murdered or decapitated the latest victim. The truth is very few are violent and theres more risk of suicide. Thats real.
 
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Apotheosis

Guest
Being treated with respect, listened to, and supported through an often cruel and frightening experience would go a long way to easing the burden of MI . The press loves to talk of this or that SZ who murdered or decapitated the latest victim. The truth is very few are violent and theres more risk of suicide. Thats real.
Well said. :)
 
V

vnc2009

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I hope I haven't offended anyone and I would like to apologise for my clumsy use of the word "real". I think it was very ignorant of me to put it that way.

I am trying to help my cousin and I take heart in the things written above and thank you for all and any replies/links. I have been reading as much as I can for the last 2 years about MI,SZ,CASL,HVN etc all of which I have some understanding of and I hope I can stay on the learning curve and find a way to help.

When I had visions and heard voices myself, it took me a few months but I eventually came round to an idea that whilst they were real experiences, they may not have been as external as I first thought and that they may have been quite internal some how. Can you help me out with this? I would like to learn a good way to term it. Is external/internal a good way to say it? or would it be better to call it inexplicable or paranormal or something else?

Psychiatry seems to call it Psychosis but I think that is as equally offensive as saying its not real or SZ. It certainly puts a mental health spin on something that might not even be related to mental health. The HVN I thought was helpful and my understanding from them was that experiences could also be down to external things such as ghosts, telepathy, clairvoyancey or mod experiments for example.

That said, I think there are some occasions when experiences can be said to be symptomatic of psychological problems such as PTSD or? In my cousins case though, I can go into detail if it helps but he sometimes becomes consumed to total distraction by unpleasant and intrusive thoughts and it would seem to be clear that they are mostly some how internal. He seems to be in complete denial of the possibility the experience could be more internal than external though and this I think is holding back his recovery.

Perhaps like Apotheosis said, it would be good to find a practitioner who has experience of pioneering psychological methods of treatment. Does anyone know of any in the UK or perhaps a good book on that kind of practice?
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
I hope I haven't offended anyone and I would like to apologise for my clumsy use of the word "real". I think it was very ignorant of me to put it that way.
Don't worry. I don't think you have offended. many of us are treated in a way that we are not listened to; our experiences invalidated & such experiences assumed to be nonsense. Certain responses can be a 'knee jerk' reaction - I know that certain phrases; attitudes, & ideas, can trigger a reaction in me - rightly or wrongly.

I am trying to help my cousin and I take heart in the things written above and thank you for all and any replies/links. I have been reading as much as I can for the last 2 years about MI,SZ,CASL,HVN etc all of which I have some understanding of and I hope I can stay on the learning curve and find a way to help.
It sounds like you have good intentions; which makes a huge difference. CASL (Campaign to Abolish the Schizophrenia Label), & HVN (Hearing Voices Network) - are subjects which interest me too. Rufus May's web site is good.

We are all on a learning curve.

When I had visions and heard voices myself, it took me a few months but I eventually came round to an idea that whilst they were real experiences, they may not have been as external as I first thought and that they may have been quite internal some how. Can you help me out with this? I would like to learn a good way to term it. Is external/internal a good way to say it? or would it be better to call it inexplicable or paranormal or something else?
This is something I have a bit of struggle with too - what language do we use to describe these 'type' of experience, when so many words used to describe such things, are so loaded with certain varied meanings & connotation?
The term - the 'Numinous' is a good term, & descriptive word to describe certain elements to these experiences. But it is not a word in common understanding & usage.
Internal/External - relates to the subjective & objective Worlds, & I personally prefer to use the latter descriptions.

From certain understandings & philosophical reasoning - it can be argued that 'Reality' is wholly subjective.

Psychiatry seems to call it Psychosis but I think that is as equally offensive as saying its not real or SZ. It certainly puts a mental health spin on something that might not even be related to mental health. The HVN I thought was helpful and my understanding from them was that experiences could also be down to external things such as ghosts, telepathy, clairvoyancey or mod experiments for example.
Yes I agree. Psychosis is probably a better term than schizophrenia - but psychosis is still offensive, like you say, & is associated too much with 'psycho' by most people. These 'Orthodox' terms are very much umbrella terms - & imo, are inaccurate & ambiguous. Some people think it best to just drop out the entire framework of pathological language in relation to these experiences.
I suppose that whatever language or terms we use; the importance is about the deeper level of direct experience & empathic understanding; & in that sense words do not matter as much.
The framework of understanding, or paradigm in which these experiences are addressed, does however appear to effect prognosis. From pathologising such things with the Bio-Medical model - to approaching things in more holistic & 'natural' ways; at the other end of the scale.

It is difficult to know exact causes - I do think that there are elements of truth in many potential causes - form the 'supernatural' to Ministry of Defence 'Experiments' - but I don't think that knowing exact cause is always critical - rather the importance is what can best help & alleviate suffering. People are so different & individual - that there may be many different causes in each individual case. I personally tend to learn primarily to environmental (circumstances/trauma ect) & psychogenic (predominantly psychological) factors to be main cause.

That said, I think there are some occasions when experiences can be said to be symptomatic of psychological problems such as PTSD or? In my cousins case though, I can go into detail if it helps but he sometimes becomes consumed to total distraction by unpleasant and intrusive thoughts and it would seem to be clear that they are mostly some how internal. He seems to be in complete denial of the possibility the experience could be more internal than external though and this I think is holding back his recovery.
How do some people gain 'Insight' & others don't? I'm unsure exactly. During times of very acute 'psychosis' I have had no insight whatsoever - but that hasn't lasted long; & I start to question what may or may not be happening - I can start to gain some perspective & question fixed beliefs & ideas. I start to think - this may be real & happening; but maybe 'this' different thing is happening, or something else entirely could be going on here. I have spoken to many people - that even after 'episodes' & when stable - there is a lack of insight into the experiences & certain 'fixed beliefs' remain.

People feeling safe & being able to trust others & their environment; to be able to open up & discus openly their experiences; I do think is of great help, & those opportunities have certainly helped me. It took many years to talk about certain things however. For 4 years after I was initially 'ill' I was very quiet & hardly spoke to anyone about anything. Starting to talk about things was a gradual thing, & is an ongoing process. It also helps if people listening have some insight into these experiences themselves; or an angle into things. Like anything - a non-judgemental, open minded approach seems best. I have recently had the opportunity to see an NHS psychologist - they haven't been in the severely altered states that I have; they disagree with certain of my ideas; but they have listened openly & remained impartial to my experiences. They have given perspectives onto things which I hadn't considered; perspectives that have helped cushion things, & allowed a 'healing space' in my mind. Is a part of an ongoing recovery.

For a number of reasons; it has been incredibly difficult to talk with close family about such things in the same way. I do think it is often better to chat about such things with - well meaning strangers.

Perhaps like Apotheosis said, it would be good to find a practitioner who has experience of pioneering psychological methods of treatment. Does anyone know of any in the UK or perhaps a good book on that kind of practice?
Different things help different people. Alternative healing I have found very helpful - especially Reiki. Personally I have found 12 step recovery groups to have been of some help, & following certain 'spiritual' practices - in a practical way - like basic meditation, the simpler the better. I have been trying to focus as well more recently on the 'physical' - routine, exercise, healthy living & eating - things which are enjoyable, certering, grounding & calming.

Some things are unanswerable; & some things are best left alone.

I don't know what to specifically suggest as to what may best help your cousin. Have you chatted to them about what they think may help? For some people the orthodox viewpoints, & treatments appear effective & satisfactory. Some people find the idea that genetics & awry chemicals in the brain; have caused the condition, & it is simply a case of finding the right meds; that supplies the best solution. Maybe that is the best solution for the majority of people? I don't know.
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
it would be good to find a practitioner who has experience of pioneering psychological methods of treatment. Does anyone know of any in the UK or perhaps a good book on that kind of practice?
Finding a good practitioner can be hard & very individual -

There is the British Psychological Society -

http://www.bps.org.uk/

Or try some Google searches.

I have found John Weir Perry's books to be insightful & intelligently written -
Especially 'Trials of the Visionary Mind' & the 'Far Side of Madness'

http://spiritualrecoveries.blogspot.com/2006/05/dr-john-weir-perry-diabasis.html

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/70089.John_Weir_Perry

http://www.global-vision.org/papers/JWP.pdf

http://www.tygersofwrath.com/psychosis.htm

“In times of change, of Zeitgeist, when the accompanying need for new orientation to new conditions the psyche is stunned into activity- Sensitive souls receive the impact of these activities from the psychic depths”
- John Weir Perry
 
V

vnc2009

Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2009
Messages
5
Thanks Apotheosis, impressive posts! I'm going to have a good read and learn as much as I can.
 
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