• Welcome! It’s great to see you.

    If you'd like to talk with people who know what it's like

    Our forum members are people, maybe like yourself, who experience mental health difficulties or who have had them at some point in their life.

The purpose of psychosis — Al Galves

A

Apotheosis

Guest
The health of psychosis:

What about psychosis, the most extreme and bizarre of “mental illnesses”? The key symptoms of psychosis are hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech and bizarre behavior such as talking to people who don’t appear to be there. What could be the value of that?

I believe that psychosis is a protective and life-affirming move of the psyche in response to extreme desperation, fear, terror about the prospect of having to live in the real world with real human beings. I’m not the only one. Psychologist John Weir Perry spent lots of time with many people who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He came to see that state of being as a deeply motivated move by the psyche to reconstitute itself. All of the people he came to know had suffered a severe blow to their self-concept and were experiencing a severe sense of negative self-image. The symptoms of psychosis were a compensating move. In an effort to compensate for a severely debased self-image, the psyche took on the persona of an exalted, powerful figure. Although it can be seen as healthy in the sense that it is more life-affirming than killing oneself or hurting someone else, the discrepancy between the negative self-image in the real world and the exalted figure in the imaginary world sets up an unstable psychic situation full of a sense of unreality and anxiety. Here is Perry’s insight:

“It seems that when the psyche cannot progress further into the next steps of experience so encumbered by this very negative self-image – especially at times of great crises of ebullient falling in love or hurtful falling into rejection – a change is initiated.”

The person’s psychic energy is attracted to the exalted, powerful, capable but unreal, imaginary persona and leaves the higher level, the rational part of the psyche stripped of its usual energy and hence in a state of disorganization.

Perry spent lots of time with a large number (50 or more) of people diagnosed with schizophrenia. He found that their delusions, hallucinations and fantasies had similar themes. People see themselves at the center of things, in a central role, involved in some kind of cosmic conflict, a battle between good and evil, God and the Devil, communism and democracy. They see themselves as having been elevated to divine status, perhaps involved in a sacred marriage with God or spirit. They often feel as if they are being reborn and are participating in the creation of a new society. If they are helped to go through the process, they often find themselves in a more complete, balanced, whole world and are able to come out of it more balanced and whole themselves. Here is Perry again:

“The pre-psychotic make-up, with its assumption of unlovability,…suffers a difficult combination of feelings of crushing insignificance and or superlative prestige-hunger. In other words, the initial tendency of the (exalted, powerful persona) is to prompt the ego to seek out a balm for unacceptability in the form of some absolute mastery. The psychotic process habitually puts this power-oriented form of the self through a transformation that awakens the potentials for relationship and gives them their rightful place in the structure of the personality and in the style of life.”

This makes sense to me. I believe that psychosis is the psyche’s way of protecting itself from having to live in a world full of toxic human beings, a way of avoiding the impossibility of living up to the expectations that have been thrust upon one and of taking on the responsibilities of an adulthood that is way too scary to enter. I’m reminded of psychologist Alice Miller’s dictum that all you have to do create a mentally ill person is two things: first, don’t let them be who they are and, second, when they get angry about that, don’t let them be angry.

Unable and unwilling to live in the real world of real people, the psyche creates its own world and enters into a process of seeking safety, health and wholeness in that imaginary world. I don’t believe people choose this experience. Rather, it is driven by a part of themselves that is much deeper and smarter than their rational side. If they could only use their rational sides, they might kill themselves or others.

I believe all persons who are diagnosed with schizophrenia have been abused, neglected, discounted, dismissed, in some way traumatized in their early lives. It’s significant that the first psychotic break typically occurs just as the person is having to take on the burdens and expectations of adulthood. They are not prepared to do that, are terrified by the prospect, and find a creative way of avoiding it.

Read the rest here.....

http://bipolarblast.wordpress.com/2009/09/14/psychosis-purpose/
 
R

rasselas

Guest
intriguing

interesting post. conjures up memories of reading r.d. laing.

i havent learnt yet how to grab quotes, but have set time aside for this coming sunday to get to grips with it all.

the part about suffering abuses makes a great deal of sense. any attempt to try and 'decode' the phenomena of psychotic conditions outside of reductionist brain hypotheses are always more than welcome in my skulbox.(y)

i'll come back and contribute more about this and share some of the ideas, hypotheses and theories which interest me soon.

thanks again apotheosis for sharing this. it's good to keep on thinking in constructive ways.

its 2am here and ive broken a golden rule so must to bed, perchance to snore...

(y)
 
D

diddypinks

ACCOUNT CLOSED
Joined
Jun 7, 2009
Messages
1,946
i agree

i agree its at that delicate age 16 17 18 and A LOT OF SHIT went on my parents split up friendship troubles mum being depressed dad being alcoholic and feeling like the parent having to move from the house lived in all my life then move around 30 times back and forth between parents ending up with me not having any new friends where i lived smoking pot taking drugs. my stupid ex boyfriend moved into the house got me AND MY 2 BEST FRIENDS pregnant one of them a childhood friend a bit like a sister.I had an abortion he told me i was a heartless cow because his mum had him at 16 then my best friends baby died and she hated me then worse stuff homlessness more drug and alcohol abuse sexual assault and physical assault and humilation living in a bedsit with a phycopath who would come into my room and watch my tv hen i asnt there i could go on and on and on ended up in hospital or jail many many times i could go on and on and on
i however was ALWAYS a sensitive child also my older and younger sisters had more resiliance to everything what hurt the most tho was being sarcastically verbally abused for being crap or useless bums for as long as i can remember i know ive actually had it better than A LOT of people but i still managed to create this fantasy world for my self where no body can hurt me.
 
guggy

guggy

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 13, 2009
Messages
93
Location
Spain
I find the idea that you can consciously become psychotic as a defense mechanism simply hilarious. Personally I rate psychology close to voodoo in their approach to the human being (sorry, Freudian slip).

I find news stories like the one below more interesting. Hopefully we will see some significant breakthroughs into the understanding of the causes and treatment options during our lifetimes:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090701131303.htm
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
I find the idea that you can consciously become psychotic as a defense mechanism simply hilarious.
That isn't what it says.

It's talking about in simplistic terms - the overwhelming of the conscious mind by the content of the unconscious; as a defence mechanism; & nothing to do with conscious processes.

It's talking about the 'loss' of ego, & the fragmenting of the self. Would you say guppy; that your sense of self & personal identity was strong when you were in psychosis?

~ Interesting.
 
Last edited:
guggy

guggy

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 13, 2009
Messages
93
Location
Spain
In my particular case there was no defense mechanism involved, I'm sure. I thought deeply about a particular subject, went with little sleep for days and I finally came crashing down. Yes, I had delusions, but at the same time I was aware that they may not be easily accepted by other people, so I was somewhat aware of the situation. I couldn't cook, and I therefore went out to restaurants to eat. When I was going shopping, I would forget where I had left my basket and then started over. At a given point in time my memory problems were so bad that I decided to go to the doctor and asked to be interned in a mental institution. I didn't feel my ego was fragmented in any meaningful way, my psyche being threatened and responding to outside stimuli that way, I simply could barely function as a human being and I needed help.
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
Then maybe something else was happening in your case Guppy?

It works both ways - the common misconception, & unproven views that MH issues are predominantly biological in nature; I find frighteningly hilarious.
 
guggy

guggy

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 13, 2009
Messages
93
Location
Spain
I respect your point of view, but I cannot really relate to it from my personal standpoint. I was initially diagnosed with cycloid psychosis and afterwards with bipolar i, maybe there are differences between the psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia and in these other illnesses. I'd be glad to hear about your personal experiences while psychotic if you care to share.
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
I respect your point of view, but I cannot really relate to it from my personal standpoint. I was initially diagnosed with cycloid psychosis and afterwards with bipolar i, maybe there are differences between the psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia and in these other illnesses. I'd be glad to hear about your personal experiences while psychotic if you care to share.
Some of it is here (links) & scattered around the site - but it would take a book, or a series of books to truly impart some kind of comprehensive descriptions of what has gone on.

A brief outline -

http://www.mentalhealthforum.net/forum/showthread.php?t=2183

Details of one aspect of the last psychosis.

http://www.mentalhealthforum.net/forum/showthread.php?t=742
 
S

spuntree

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 2, 2009
Messages
47
I may have read this wrong if but when I was psychotic I had almost no sense of self and personal identity. It's only since I have been recovering that a sense of self has started to come back, I have more idea who I am now than I did then, I certainly didn't give a toss how others saw me and often didn't recgonise how unwell I was.

Unsurprisingly I suffered some quite extreme trauma in my young years and I do agree that my MH problems have stemmed from this and I believe this to be true for many sufferers, but I also believe that there are biological factors.

Some people can experience trama and never suffer from mental illness, and some people can experience mental illness and never suffer trauma, so while links between the two can be made the true form of mental illness is still for many wildly misunderstood and so many people go without the right treatment because quite often the professionals can't agree what they are treating.
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
Some people can experience trama and never suffer from mental illness, and some people can experience mental illness and never suffer trauma, so while links between the two can be made the true form of mental illness is still for many wildly misunderstood and so many people go without the right treatment because quite often the professionals can't agree what they are treating.
The likelihood is that a MH condition is highly individual, highly complex, & incorporates a large number of influencing factors & potential causes.

Just for me personally, certain psychologically based ideas & paradigms have made a lot more sense to me than supposing that some chemicals in my head have gone awry - based on assumptions that are baseless, untested, & which are in reality; unproven. No one has studied my brain to measure these chemical levels/interactions. My understanding is that the physical brain is so mind bogglingly complex, that beyond some very basic notions; no one knows how individual chemical messengers combine with the other intricacies of brain structure to produce overall function - let alone what could potentially be going on in the brain at any kind of detail; especially when combined with a plethora of other influencing environmental factors.

Forgive me for not taking my psychiatrists word on this one - he no more understands the physical workings of my brain, as he does the psychological working of my mind - how could he?
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
Our Brains;

What Do We Really Know About How Our Brains Work?

Consider this extraordinary reality. The human brain has more individual cells (neurons) than there are stars in the sky. Billions! And each neuron may have 10,000 or more connections (synapses) to other brain cells, creating a network with trillions of interconnections. In fact, the brain is considered to be the most complex organ in the entire universe. With it's billions of neurons & trillions of synapses, it is more complex than the entire physical universe of planets, stars & galaxies.

Scientists have well-developed ideas about how the physical universe works. They posses mathematical formulae for describing the various forces that control the relationships among physical entities from black holes to subatomic particles. All these forces also affect the human brain. However, the living processes of the brain add complexities unknown in the physical universe. Those trillions of interconnections between brain cells, for example, are mediated by hundreds of chemical messengers (neurotransmitters), as well as by hormones, proteins, tiny ions such as sodium & potassium, & other substances. We have limited knowledge about how a few of these chemical messengers work, but little or no idea as to how they combine to produce brain function.

Quoted from "Your Drug May be Your Problem" by Peter R. Breggin
 
R

ramboghettouk

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2008
Messages
17,191
Location
london
when i think of peter breggin and his book your drug may be your problem i always think who is the you he's aiming the book at, seems to me he's selling his book to those on meds and IMHO it's dangerous to encourage people on drugs to come off them without support

As one friend put it doctors are in the pocket of the drug companys and thats not going to change, they're not likely to offer alternatives
 
guggy

guggy

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 13, 2009
Messages
93
Location
Spain
I would say his book serves a market need for the skepticals among us. He's as much in it for the money as the big pharmaceutical companies with their prescription drugs.
 

Similar threads

Top