Annie_30

Psychosis

40 posts in this topic

Psychosis

Here is my question to Teal, if anyone has any advice for me I'd be really grateful.  I'm also interested to hear about people's opinions on the pros and cons of anti-psychotic medication.  Thank you.

 

I have a question about psychosis.  I would like your advice about how to use a possible predisposition or tendency towards entering psychotic states in a positive way, and and how to prevent going into a full psychosis that is dangerous.  

I'm 30 and recently experienced a psychotic episode for the first time after completing a training to become an art psychotherapist.  The loss of ego identity and all conscious control of my body and behaviour was a terrifying experience, but it was also one of the most profoundly spiritual experiences in my life.  

I believe what led to the experience was related to inter-generational trauma, and a desperation to know and understand my father who suffered severely from bipolar disorder from the age of 17 when he tried to hang himself during a psychotic episode.  My father was emotionally absent as I grew up, and died when I was 17, and I believe on an unconscious level I invited my psychotic experience as it helped me to see and gain some understanding of my father's pain, which has helped to heal the relationship.  The experience has also taught me a huge amount about what psychosis is and the spiritual side of this, the stigma of mental illness and the flaws in the psychiatric system including the very disturbing power dynamics and scapegoating that takes place in psychiatric hospitals.  

Though I view what happened as a mostly positive learning experience, I have been left feeling traumatised and with a fear that it could happen again.  Please could you help me understand more about the spiritual side of psychosis, how to use this in a positive way but also how to prevent it becoming dangerous?  I do not want to ever enter such a deep psychotic state again, not only because of my own fear but because of the fear it caused the people I love.

Thank you so much.

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Hi Annie_30,

I went through something that could be described as a psychotic break (or maybe a spiritual awakening) about 2 years ago.  

Here is where I try to explain what happened (you can decide whether my experience is an actual psychotic break, or whether my experience was similar to yours):

I had pneumonia but my doctor thought I had the flu and prescribed Tamiflu.  The usual course for the drug is 10 pills over 5 days.   After 3 pills (1 day and a half), I thought if I stayed on the stuff, I would end up psychotic so I stopped taking them.  During part of the "psychosis", it was like the two hemispheres of my mind were not in sync.  It seemed like every few minutes, my consciousness switched from one hemisphere to the other, and because the two sides were not in sync, I would forget what had been happening.  I could be watching TV but then forget lose track of the storyline because my mind "switched".  Or , if I was talking to someone, I would lose track of what they were saying part way.  I don't recall if I would lose track of what  *I* was saying (can't remember)   Because of my cold/pneumonia I was coughing up phlegm (due to pneumonia, not the flu) and as the phlegm came out, it felt like I was getting the poison I had accumulated in my soul out.  At a number of "high" points (pun intended), I fervently believe that all my intuitions were true.  It was as if secrets of the universe had been revealed to me in my "enlightened" state.  Later, I felt a strong desire to describe everything in figurative (poetic) terms.  As I started to get back to normal, I felt that I had managed to shun the frumious bandersnatch, but I never felt that I had slayed the jabberwock.  Even today, the jabberwock is still out there, waiting but I am really not afraid of him.  If I fall down the rabbit hole again, my jabberwock is still there.  In figurative terms, maybe we can never slay our jabberwocks, but when necessary we can shun our frumious bandersnatches.  (After all, what can you do with bandersnatches other than shun them?)

Here is my objective thinking:

I think psychosis is when the usual barrier between our conscious minds and subconscious minds gets thinner.  The subconscious mind deals with images and symbols, and those symbols don't necessarily make sense to our objective minds and maybe don't make a lot of sense to anyone else.  Some people take ayahuasca.  I think ayahuasca makes the barrier between the conscious and subconscious thinner, and also makes you throw up. So it seems to your subconscious that you are getting your accumulated poison out of your soul.  Apparently Carl Jung actually intentionally induced his own psychotic episode (I assume he wanted to get closer to his subconscious and see the contents of his shadow.)

As far as a way forward:

I believe that getting in touch with the contents of our subconscious is actually a good thing.  Meditation is a much gentler way (but some people do go for the ayahuasca).  Spirituality, meditation, being more in touch with feelings, being more open and connecting with all that is, and each other is a good thing.  But when you open yourself up to spirituality, meditation etc... you open yourself up to believing all sorts of silly intuitions and run the risk of falling down rabbit holes.

 

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Thank you for sharing your experience Scot.  Yes it does sound like a similar experience to mine, particularly the feeling of the secrets of the universe being revealed to me.  It felt as though in some ways this was actually happening, but my conscious ego was unable to comprehend so much information and so became confused and delusional and I lost my conscious sense of self. 

The large difference between our experiences though appears to be the onset, since yours seemed to have been triggered by a physical illness, and once your body was 'purged' as you put it you became mentally well again.  For me I believe the experience was triggered by several things, one being trauma and guilt after a patient I had been working with took his life, which I feel also triggered much earlier childhood feelings relating to my father's illness and the knowledge of his attempt to take his life at a similar age.  Though I do not mean to separate physical and psychological illness in such a black and white way, the 'root' cause does seem to be different, and there's also the question of the genetic link and inter-generational trauma, and the concern for me now is that I have a fear it could happen again.  I am interested to learn about ways to prevent this happening, perhaps 'grounding/mindfulness' exercises or ways to recognise when things are slipping too far in that direction. I agree with your belief that psychosis is related to a thinning of the barrier between the conscious and unconscious mind, and the experience in many ways felt like a nightmare that I experienced whilst awake and confused with 'everyday reality'.  I'm also a huge fan of Carl Jung's ideas on this.

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I was hospitalized during my "episode".  I was in a general care ward for 3 nights.  (Probably should have been put into the psychiatric ward).   But I was advised by a psychiatrist in the hospital that I am very sensitive and I should seek out a "psychiatric pharmacologist".   Modern psychiatrists prescribe a lot of drugs but a psychiatric pharmacologist has more knowledge about drugs and their effects.

Personally, I did not find a psychiatric pharmacologist.  What I did find was a psychiatric nurse practitioner who works in an office that has pharmacologists in the same office.   The "psychosis" ended up not being a problem.  But the ongoing problem I had had with depression is really what we worked on.  I have not needed any anti-psychotic medications nor anti-depressants so I can't tell you anything about those drugs.

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I was sent to a psychiatric ward for a week, which was an awful experience so I really don't want that to happen again.  They started me on a low dose of an anti-psychotic drug and I've been told it's recommended that I stay on it for 6 months to a year to prevent a relapse.  The side effects are very uncomfortable though, I feel restless all the time, have difficulty sleeping and I'm having difficulty concentrating.  But I'm scared to reduce the dose or come off it and risk a relapse.  So I'm desperate to find out if there are any natural ways I can prevent myself from relapsing. I'm sorry to hear you've also suffered from depression.

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Do you have any talk therapy with a psychologist or therapist?

spiritually oriented people might call a psychotic break to be a spiritual awakening.  As far as I know, they consider depression to be a precursor.,A necessary phase to go through on the way to a spiritual awakening.

I am not so sure what is a “spiritual awakening” and what is “psychosis”.  My wife says my episode was a manic episode and my father-in-law is a psychiatrist.  He says it takes a long time to recover from mania.  

I do know that part of my path to healing was to let go of trying to figure everything out for myself, get myself out of the way and trust the doctors to do their job.  On of my big problems was believing that I knew what was best for me, but what I believed was very wrong.

”a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client”

well...

”a person who is not a doctor, who tries to be his own doctor while going through psychosis, has a fool for a patient”

Edited by Scot

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Did you find that you felt pretty normal during the day?  But started to get nervous energy and get tingling in your arms and legs during the evening?  

My wife tells me that it’s called “sundowning” and that I suffered from that.

for me it was like my body wanted to get high and my body felt nervous energy build up in the evenings. Sometimes a hot bath soothed the nervous energy.  I couple of times I watched a Pink Floyd music video (Learning to Fly). That song and video helped me turn the nervous energy into calmness.  Another trippy album that helped me was called “Time” but E.L.O.  I am convinced that the Pink Floyd song and the ELO were high when they wrote those albums and they are meant to listen to when you are trippin’. 

I needed Ativan to help me sleep.  But for sure I did not want to get hooked on Ativan.  

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Hi Annie, and Scot. I was in a psychiatric ward for 4 weeks. I was pretty depressed and totally sleep deprived for 3 days and nights. Sleep deprivation is absolute shit, cause it does feel like "end of sanity" as Teal put it. As horrible as it was, i also felt like belonging there. I missed genuine ppl, ppl who do feel they are wrong, according to today's society, not good, sick, and all that. What was the most horrible was the whole medication experience during and afterwards. And also, psychiatry is the only discipline in medicine where they exclude your opinion and/or consent, or rather refusal and disagreement. I wasn't allowed to leave when I wanted, and my agitated anxious reaction was then considered even more psychotic so, not until I was drugged enough that I consented with everything, was disciplined, "rational", that they considered me ready to leave. Psychotic drugs are worse of worst, I don't know how to put this. I was already psychic, but knowing stuff my guru then didn't reveal to me, made me go pretty psychotic. Anti psychotic drugs are the most horrible thing a person can subject to. I didn't feel, couldn't think, lost my voice ( was singing before) , lost the whole depth i had inside, actually I myself wanted to erase everything because I was very depressed. I didn't feel, felt like I was completely, completely not myself. Every action I took was because "I should ". The most horrible experience in my life, for 10 months, and I was afraid to let them go because of relapse, specially with the insomnia. It was a very, very tough journey, very. 

Psychiatry is an industry of death, for real, there's a documentary called the same. Doctors in general give no meaning, importance, to spiritual, they do not integrate it, they are so intellectual, that it seems powerful. But it's not. They don't know better, don't know anything actually, don't know much, just seem authorative because you give them the right, possibility to do. Read Teals blog on mental health care system too... 

According to @Scots first post, I am pretty psychotic :)))

But... it is sometimes that way, or it starts that way, but if you let your subconscious and conscious express, if you have your own health, integration, knowing of onseself, as the first most important most important most relevant priority in the life, you will integrate easily, at least be more aware of who you are and what you need and want. In our natural state, we are all psychic. They try to supress this. Because it means you got the power, to yourself, for yourself, and the world around. 

***...

Edited by Mai-da

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10 hours ago, Annie_30 said:

So I'm desperate to find out if there are any natural ways I can prevent myself from relapsing. 

Natural way is health. Healthy food, healthy expression, healthy treatment to yourself, healthy surroundings, healthy commitment... 

The pills all cause the shit in first place. They make the state worse. I got lot more suicidal on the pills, very. Even Teal says it, people that get off pills, the suddenly get better, wow, miracle. 

It's all a lie, ALL A LIE. It's in you, everything you need to know, do, be. Worrying is resistance. I know it's very hard not to , after so much bad experience, but yeah, just follow Teal, she talks about everything of this. And calms us :) our nervous system :) 

Best,

Edited by Mai-da

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If the whole chakra model works (and I understand it), a person needs grounding before trying to reach higher spiritual heights.

i have an app on my iphone called “Insight Timer”.  It gives me access to thousands of guided meditations and it is all free.  Today I plan on trying a grounding meditation for myself.  

I haven’t been feeling full on “lost touch with reality” but I have been feeling a tiny bit like I am in a dream (it isn’t bad.  It’s only very slight.  But in the light of our conversation about psychosis I want to see if I can get a bit more grounded) 

....

the grounding meditation (root chakra) that I just tried was more about making your inner child feel safe so you can be more creative.  I honestly do not know whether meditating on your root chakra will help keep a person “grounded”.

My meditation teacher said when she became a vegetarian she felt “ungrounded” and by that I can only guess that she meant “feeling like she loses touch with reality”.  Anyway, she says she still eats meat because it seems to help keep her grounded.

maybe working on your root chakra will help but I honestly do not have the expertise to know.

 

Edited by Scot

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Who are you talking to Scot? Me or Annie? 

I don't understand how can a meditation teacher eat meat. Feeling ungrounded is just at the beginning of the diet, and btw i dont think its the right word for the state, feelings she experienced. And there is vegetarian, vegan diet that makes you super grounded. Potatoes and all. Actually, meat doesnt do that, its an illusion. It just makes you feel less. In addition, how can meat make me connect better ? Weird, weird 

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Hi Mai-da.  I was trying to talk to Annie and pass on the little I have heard about being “grounded”.

But Mai-da,  I will ask you a couple of questions (on Annie’s behalf):

do you sometimes feel like you are losing your grip on reality? 

What do you do to maintain your grip on reality?

is “maintaining a grip on reality” what is generally meant by “grounded”?

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Hi Mai-da, thanks for joining the conversation.  I agree with you about medication, the side effects are awful and I've very reluctant to take it but I've been advised by everyone I know to continue with it and because I'm worried about relapsing I'm scared to go against their advice.  I also agree about how awful lack of sleep can be to mental health, and one of the side effects of the medication I'm on has been difficulty sleeping.

To Scot - Yes I have been feeling extremely restless but again I think that's a side effect of the medication.  If I take the medication later in the day I feel calm up until that point.  Taking a bath and listening to music sounds like good advice, thank you.  It makes sense as I think both of those things would focus attention on the body rather than the mind so I can see how that could 'slow down' the mind and any racing thoughts.  Root chakra meditation also sounds like a good idea for the same reason.

Thanks for both your comments, it's good to hear about other people's experiences.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Mai-da said:

 

I don't understand how can a meditation teacher eat meat. Feeling ungrounded is just at the beginning of the diet, and btw i dont think its the right word for the state, feelings she experienced. And there is vegetarian, vegan diet that makes you super grounded. Potatoes and all. Actually, meat doesnt do that, its an illusion. It just makes you feel less. In addition, how can meat make me connect better ? Weird, weird 

I maybe wrong but I feel that those who say that about meat experience grounding through pain. After all.... if you feel pain you know for sure you are alive.

Also grounding through diet isn't what is grounding us. It is going deeper into the experience of the food you are eating : seeing it, smelling ,  tasting and stretching the time as you eat. 

Interesting that every restaurant plays music. I know that music can affect the taste and even the texture if the food. I 've always loved having picnics or eat outdoors because of how much difference it makes in the overal food experience )

 

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