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Schizophrenia as Visionary state.

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Apotheosis

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Trials of the Visionary Mind.

(In response to the question – what do you believe a psychosis to be & secondly, what Schizophrenia is in particular?)

Dr John Weir Perry -

Acute psychosis is a state in which, as Jung has suggested, the dream takes the place of reality. That is, the sense of reality shifts from the outer to the inner world or stage of experience. This is brought about by the circumstance that the ego-consciousness has become overwhelmed by the archetypal affect–images of the unconsciousness; in the case of depression, by the affects, in the case of schizophrenia by the images. I cannot see this condition as arising out of a defence against reality, or any other defensive manoeuvre. It seems rather that the whole syndrome represents instead a shift of the energy so activating the unconscious psyche that it deprives the ego-consciousness of its usual charge. To me it appears that the more acute the psychotic state, the more are the defences overridden altogether.
I see the acute “schizophrenic” episode, after working with it for over 20 years, as a high arousal state in which the lower centres & functions are activated at the cost of the higher. It is more realistically viewed as an altered state of consciousness than as a play of psycho–pathology. A comparison of it phenomenology with parallels in the altered states that are culturally accepted in various societies leads me to call it a “visionary state.”
This hyperactivation of the unconscious functions also appears in the phenomenology as emerging from the affect–image that represents itself as the centre, the archetypal image described by Jung as the self, which I prefer to call the “central archetype.” The highly dynamic process that this centre undergoes robs the higher structures & functions of their customary energy, leaving both the ego consciousness & the autonomous complexes in a state of fragmentation, & giving rise to the characteristic earmarks of the syndrome, the “thought disorder” and the apparent “dulling of the affect.”
The intent of the activation of the archetypal Centre is observable if one follows the mental content with care. It shows itself to be the psyche’s effort to refashion & renew its cultural orientation, value system, & world–image, that is, its entire structure of values, meanings & design of life. Hence the acute process is so comparable with prophetic & messianic visionary states in rapid culture change as to be indistinguishable.

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

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Spiritual Recovery

... from the point of view of a man alienated from his source, creation arises from despair and ends in failure. But such a man has not trodden the path to the end of time, the end of space, the end of darkness, and the end of light. He does not know that where it all ends, there it all begins...

The Politics of Experience - R.D. Laing
 
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ramboghettouk

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I can view myself as visionary mystic etc but that doesn't really get me anywhere, it doesn't make my life easier, remember one psychiatrist saying "Been a catholic martyr gives you a sense of purpose" another calling me an entrenched victim psychiatrists words like that don't solve anything and are attacking me if anything
 
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Apotheosis

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I can view myself as visionary mystic etc but that doesn't really get me anywhere,
I see your point Rambo. For me it isn't about identification as this or that - but in finding a meaningful frame of reference to my experiences. Jung, Perry & others have done very successful work with severely mental ill people, & genuinely helped them. Their paradigm; especially in relation to ego loss & the archetypes of the unconscious resonate with me on a personal level. It is the "you have a chemical imbalance - take these pills" attitude which doesn't help or wash with me; but it's horses for courses.
 
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ramboghettouk

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What if i said, on the pills i can't work, as a result i'm in social housing, as a result i have problem neighbours, as a result of the problem neighbours and poverty exacerbating things i'm dependent on pills and would probably have a crisis and get locked up if i came off them.

Their all connected, how's that for making sense of my existence
 
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Apotheosis

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What if i said, on the pills i can't work, as a result i'm in social housing, as a result i have problem neighbours, as a result of the problem neighbours and poverty exacerbating things i'm dependent on pills and would probably have a crisis and get locked up if i came off them.

Their all connected, how's that for making sense of my existence
I sympathise Rambo. Very similar to the position I am in - & countless others. I accept that I will likely be on pills the rest of life, & never be able to work a regular job again; & have a load of difficulties that I personally believe need not have been the case if I had been given the proper care, support & help in the first place; which everyone should be entitled to. Which is why I have spent so much time & energy looking for what does actually help the lasting recovery of the mentally ill; & there are things which do. While we are obviously not living in Utopia - but something more akin to a dystopian nightmare; if something gives someone a little hope, or helps them look at other avenues which they were not previously aware - then it is worth making what little little change I can by speaking my mind on a MH forum. But I do relate to what you are saying. I continue to try to find meaning & recovery in my life as best I can; to better deal with the experiences of mental illness & have hope for the future. Sometimes all it is; is just hope. What do we do? precisely! what do we do?
 
Bluemoon

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Acute psychosis is a state in which, as Jung has suggested, the dream takes the place of reality. That is, the sense of reality shifts from the outer to the inner world or stage of experience. This is brought about by the circumstance that the ego-consciousness has become overwhelmed by the archetypal affect–images of the unconsciousness. . .
This bit hits a chord with me (y).

I've told my family and some of those involved in my care that I feel like I've been living in a dream, or some times a nightmare, since my illness began in 1997. I do remember how it all began and it was kind of like putting myself in to a trance or hypnotic state and then being stuck in that state ever since. It's hard to say if I actually snapped in to or out of my normal state but I do recall the exact time when it happened and that's what it felt like. After that, I gradually found myself overwhelmed with all sorts of ideas that I had been reading about over the years amongst other things. At one stage my brother actually shook me hard and yelled at me to "snap out of it !" - and I wished that I could've done !

The strange thing is, many of my dreams feel more real than my waking life does at this point and that's the scary part. In these dreams I feel alert, well and suffer no effects of my illness - I don't even hear voices in these dreams.

During one episode though, I was having visions ( like a video playing in the centre of my mind or field of view ) of hell amongst other things. When I looked at my curtains I could see warped skulls and faces changing shape on them - at one stage even on the wall paper in the kitchen. Someone told me not to worry though as he experiences that on occasion and sees anything from those skulls to Bill Murry on his curtains and wallpaper :LOL:. However, aside from that, I knew they weren't real because they had this gold-ish light to them - maybe the gold-ish light is a good indicator that the mind is superimposing imagery on to the scene in front of me or a sign that it was just an hallucination.

I just hope I'm making sense, anyway - I'll shut up now :).
 
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Starbright

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You are making sense. I always had that thing about thinking I see things on the wall paper well before I ever got psychotic
 
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Apotheosis

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I've told my family and some of those involved in my care that I feel like I've been living in a dream, or some times a nightmare, since my illness began in 1997. I do remember how it all began and it was kind of like putting myself in to a trance or hypnotic state and then being stuck in that state ever since. It's hard to say if I actually snapped in to or out of my normal state but I do recall the exact time when it happened and that's what it felt like. After that, I gradually found myself overwhelmed with all sorts of ideas that I had been reading about over the years amongst other things. At one stage my brother actually shook me hard and yelled at me to "snap out of it !" - and I wished that I could've done !
I had a very similar thing in 1990 when I first had a severe psychotic break. I had been taking street drugs in the years leading up this event; but I was quite sober when it happened. On the evening I became ill, I became very euphoric & believed that everyone was going to heaven. I felt like I was on the verge of discovering some great truth, of working everything out & becoming enlightened. I remember trying really hard to work stuff out - then I heard a scream inside of myself which felt like it was disappearing from me, I thought that was my soul & I panicked. My vision went really bizarre & I felt so out of it; that it was far more powerful than any drug, it kind of felt like I was in hell. Before this happened I had been reading up a lot on the occult & about the mind (hypnosis, programming the subconscious). During that one experience I went into a very altered state & have been dealing with it ever since. I'm not bothered by what happened any more very much. I did end up sectioned, & things were very unreal or different for a long time. The experience totally changed the way my mind worked. It has often felt like I have been brainwashed, or hypnotised in some way over the years since.

The strange thing is, many of my dreams feel more real than my waking life does at this point and that's the scary part. In these dreams I feel alert, well and suffer no effects of my illness - I don't even hear voices in these dreams.
I have always had very vivid dreams. After I was first ill; I started having lucid dreams, which seemed more real; or as real as waking life. Almost every night I have very vivid dreams, in full colour & detail, like I am inside a film. Often bad nightmares, & I go through phases of lucid dreams. These lucid dreams usually involve me having dreamt that I have woken up, sometimes I know I'm asleep & other times I don't. Sometimes they are nightmarish, & sometimes not so bad. It is strange; it is very rare that I have a "good" dream. I don't really know if I do have good dreams - they are either very bizarre or nightmarish.

During one episode though, I was having visions ( like a video playing in the centre of my mind or field of view ) of hell amongst other things. When I looked at my curtains I could see warped skulls and faces changing shape on them - at one stage even on the wall paper in the kitchen. Someone told me not to worry though as he experiences that on occasion and sees anything from those skulls to Bill Murry on his curtains and wallpaper :LOL:. However, aside from that, I knew they weren't real because they had this gold-ish light to them - maybe the gold-ish light is a good indicator that the mind is superimposing imagery on to the scene in front of me or a sign that it was just an hallucination.
"Gold light" from a healing or spiritual perspective is very protective, healing & advanced.
I have had "visions" which I am experiencing inside of myself - that are so real, it is as if they are projected into the outside world. They become tangible. When I have experienced them during psychosis to all intent & purpose they are real. One time my grans old house was a gateway to the centre of creation, it passed through the centre of the lower realms & back out the other side, also through the centre of the earth. I "saw" demons flying out the top of the chimney. Another time I saw a very scary vision which was with me for days - it felt like it absorbed me & its energy seeped into everything. It was a rusted wreck of a large ship, sinking in a very deep ocean, everything in my life, my possessions, & people in my life were manacled, concreted & chained to this wreck & sinking into the depths. It scared the life out of me at the time, but I do have an angle on it as to what it meant.

I just hope I'm making sense, anyway - I'll shut up now :).
You are making sense BlueMoon. Personally I think it is good to chat about such things. I think that there is a wealth of meaning within the content of the "psychotic" & in such experiences, & at the least a framework of meaning can be applied to such things.
 
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Bluemoon

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You are making sense. I always had that thing about thinking I see things on the wall paper well before I ever got psychotic
When I look at my carpet, I can make out faces and other things so I know what your saying there - but it's not the same. What I saw when I was unwell was somewhat more intense, skulls animated with mouths opening and closing along with distorted demonic bone features. Right now, when I look at the carpet again, that golden light is not present either.
 
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I felt like I was on the verge of discovering some great truth, of working everything out & becoming enlightened.
That's what happened to me - like solving some great mystery of the universe and understanding everything about life, the cosmos etc. All my negative feelings and how I felt about past bad experiences began to go away and I was able to see things from other peoples' point of view. I guess you could call it enlightening but it only lasted for a couple of days. I remember waking up after those couple of days and those feelings had gone away. What I was left with was a feeling of emptiness and sense of loss - I couldn't do my course work nor socialise properly and that's when I realized something bad had happened.

I have always had very vivid dreams <snip>. These lucid dreams usually involve me having dreamt that I have woken up <snip>.
It varies with me, I get a roller coaster ride with the frequency of vivid dreams. Recalling them is some times quite easy and at others very hard. Mostly, I'm just left with some images and events from them and I find myself thinking about certain dreams every now and again.

Dreaming that you have woken up is a very weird experience as that has happened to me on occasion. You wake up in a dream and start to carry on as usual and then you really wake up - it's a very strange and even confusing experience.

"Gold light" from a healing or spiritual perspective is very protective, healing & advanced.
I've read about that, what I mostly know about it is using golden light to build a shell around your body to protect you from negativity and the like. I do find it odd though why demonic bones and skulls would show up in golden light but then it could be because the curtains were also golden. Also, remembering the similar experience with the wall paper, I think they showed up as the same colour as the white patches but I'm not 100% about that.

I have had "visions" which I am experiencing inside of myself - that are so real, it is as if they are projected into the outside world. . .
Interesting descriptions there - very metaphorical in nature. I guess that's how the sub-concious mind operates, with symbols and things - especially in a spiritual way.

It's also quite common for people who are unwell to have experiences with their TV sets and thinking they are being filmed for a movie when out and about ( or even in their homes ). I've had this myself and I've imagined seeing camera men in the back of other people's cars and hiding at the sides of the roads - I even heard a clapper board shutting behind our car when driving down one road. I was constantly arguing with myself that it was all just fantasy and imagination, but it was in a strange way quite a pleasant experience and part of me just couldn't let go of it. At one stage, when I was watching TV, I actually saw myself on my computer and also asleep in my room during adverts which didn't really help much either. I'm sure it was caused with watching too many movies and TV at the time though :D.

You are making sense BlueMoon. Personally I think it is good to chat about such things. I think that there is a wealth of meaning within the content of the "psychotic" & in such experiences, & at the least a framework of meaning can be applied to such things.
It is good to share these things, especially with those that can relate to it (y).
 
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Apotheosis

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That's what happened to me - like solving some great mystery of the universe and understanding everything about life, the cosmos etc. All my negative feelings and how I felt about past bad experiences began to go away and I was able to see things from other peoples' point of view. I guess you could call it enlightening but it only lasted for a couple of days. I remember waking up after those couple of days and those feelings had gone away. What I was left with was a feeling of emptiness and sense of loss - I couldn't do my course work nor socialise properly and that's when I realized something bad had happened.
As described in the original post - & there has been a wealth of study & exploration of this subject - especially in relation to "schizophrenia & shamanism" (Googleling this brings up a lot of interesting results). How much of these experiences; which do show very strong parallels to mystical experience, are genuine & meaningful happenings, & not simply the "delusions" of a miss-functioning mind? I'd wager that far more is going on here in the majority, but not all cases, than Doctors would like to think, or admit. These experiences are not just simply nonsense, far from it.

It varies with me, I get a roller coaster ride with the frequency of vivid dreams. Recalling them is some times quite easy and at others very hard. Mostly, I'm just left with some images and events from them and I find myself thinking about certain dreams every now and again.
Everyday occurrences often trigger my recall of dreams, sometimes dreams which I have dreamt years ago. My dreams when I recall them often seem as real as "real life" memories. Maybe that is telling me something about the nature of wakeful "reality"? I get deja Vu a lot, quite often it is as if I have dreamt the thing I am having deja vu about. Is this simply a trick of mind? It is like a hazy recollection of having previously dreamed future events.

I've read about that, what I mostly know about it is using golden light to build a shell around your body to protect you from negativity and the like. I do find it odd though why demonic bones and skulls would show up in golden light but then it could be because the curtains were also golden. Also, remembering the similar experience with the wall paper, I think they showed up as the same colour as the white patches but I'm not 100% about that.
I liked the film "Jacobs Ladder" - in the film the demons are really showing Jacob the way to salvation & are actually angels, it is based on perspective. I do however think that there are both good & bad forces or energies out there, whatever they are referred to as; but our mind gives them form in interpreting them. I honestly think that my first psychotic break was largely as the result of a very "negative" energy attaching itself to me. I know how some people will see this; but it makes sense to me. I do not think it explains all psychotic experience - but such things can & do happen I believe.

I once hallucinated a skull when I ingested a large amount of alcohol & cannabis. I had eaten close to a couple of ounces of cannabis soap bar, it was very silly to have done so, I was very ill from it.
Skulls can also have healing & spiritual properties. There is the famous story of the "crystal skulls".
http://www.world-mysteries.com/sar_6_1.htm

Skulls also represent transformation, & spiritual regeneration & do not necessarily represent "evil" or need to have any negative connotation. Often a demonic "face" can be shocking the individual into becoming more awake, spiritually aware & alive. From the perspective of some religious viewpoints & understandings of God - all things fall within the Creation - God created the Angels as well the Demons - all things are from God.
Look at the celebrations involved with the Mexican "day of the Dead", as one example of a celebration of the skull & the "dead/death". It is our Westernised taboos & sanitisation of death which is more the problem than these things themselves.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_the_Dead

Interesting descriptions there - very metaphorical in nature. I guess that's how the sub-concious mind operates, with symbols and things - especially in a spiritual way.
Yes, very much so I think.

It's also quite common for people who are unwell to have experiences with their TV sets and thinking they are being filmed for a movie when out and about ( or even in their homes ). I've had this myself and I've imagined seeing camera men in the back of other people's cars and hiding at the sides of the roads - I even heard a clapper board shutting behind our car when driving down one road. I was constantly arguing with myself that it was all just fantasy and imagination, but it was in a strange way quite a pleasant experience and part of me just couldn't let go of it. At one stage, when I was watching TV, I actually saw myself on my computer and also asleep in my room during adverts which didn't really help much either. I'm sure it was caused with watching too many movies and TV at the time though :D.
During one psychosis, shortly before a section; I was convinced that everything on the TV was about me, & an entire episode of the Bill was about me & telling me very important messages about my life. I kept seeing myself on the TV throughout that program. I have numerous times believed that messages are being communicated to me personally through TV, Radio, & sometimes newspapers, books & magazines, films, & from strangers when I have overheard snippets of conversations. Sometimes the messages have been from "God". I have at certain times got very paranoid that everything has been bugged with micro devices, & that spying satellites were tracking me. I have seen people in the street taking into hidden mic's in their clothes when "they" have had me under surveillance. Thankfully these experiences have never gone on a long time, & usually are only intense for a few weeks.

It is good to share these things, especially with those that can relate to it (y).
Although the orthodox line is that discussing the content of psychotic experience apparently feeds it & adds to the "illness", or is unhealthy - I have to strongly disagree. When I did finally start chatting to people in the past, especially when in hospital - I was relieved, comforted & helped by knowing that I was not as alone as I had previously thought & that these experiences are common in a minority of people. I have found a big therapeutic help in chatting with non judgemental people in trusting relationships about the content & details of psychotic experience.
 
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Although the orthodox line is that discussing the content of psychotic experience apparently feeds it & adds to the "illness", or is unhealthy - I have to strongly disagree.
I'm just wondering - is this still true nowadays? I came across a blog entry entitled "Learn first aid for psychosis" (http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2007/09/learn_first_aid_for_.html), where a reference was made to "the medical journal Schizophrenia Bulletin", which the tips are apparently based on (the abstract is here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=17768307).
The guidelines (for first aid at least) say that people should encourag discussion of the content of the experience. From the blog entry:

"Approaching someone who might be experiencing psychosis

People experiencing the early stages of psychosis may be worried, and may be concerned about discussing their experiences because of what others might think. Also, the experiences might be frightening in themselves.

The key is to be caring, gentle and non-judgemental...

Ask the person what will help them feel safe and in control, and allow them to talk about their experiences at their own pace, even if they seem quite unusual to you. Let them know that help is available, and if they don't want to talk, they're welcome to talk at a later time."

I only studied psychology at undergraduate level, but even then, we were encouraged to look at phenomenological perspectives (i.e. first-hand accounts of psychosis). Just wondering if there has been a sea change with regards to discussing the content of psychotic experience. From my experience, I sort of doubt that (in clinical psychology at least) discussing this content would be discouraged :confused:.
 
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