Wednesday, January 11, 2006

hallucinations

Firstly, I'd like to thank the people who responded to my last (and rather depressing) post here. I honestly did not think a single person was reading this blog anymore, but since you are, I'll write again.

I want to try to explain something about the problems my brain has in a manner that might be comprehensible to the average person (though I do think the comments here are mostly from people perhaps more intelligent than the average person is), because I've never quite been able to do that, to explain it, even to my family or to doctors or anyone at all, through this whole ordeal of dealing with the brain in my head.

Because of time limitations, what I'll put here for now was an email I sent to an online friend of 8 or 9 years the other day, because I wanted to test out my ability to write a description as well as see what his response would be. But he did not respond yet. So I'll try here where people tend to write their insights and reactions sometimes in a manner I don't think most people I know would take the time to do.

Just as a clarification though, please understand that what I have are auditory hallucinations (for which I could write a better description sometime), and delusional thoughts, but not visual hallucinations. I found writing about the visual far more simple to explain, so here is a simplified explanation. I apologize if this sounds redundant, since, if you've read much of this blog, I've already explained some of this in greater detail, but most browsing folks would not have read those explanations.

So here is an attempt at a brief description of what the hallucinations and delusional thoughts of schizophrenia feel like:

Say you walk into a Burger King you go to a lot, or some other fast food establishment you are familiar with since they're all basically the same, and you notice that there is one table that is new, that is unlike anything you've ever seen in any other fast food place because it's glass and round and has room for six people, there's maybe a fancy fixture for lighting above it, the tables are lovely hard wood, polished, and it's just sitting there (and you're not in New York or some other city where this might actually happen).

Ok so, you look at this and you're kind of surprised but at the same time you notice something really odd. The people in the place are walking right through that table. You notice that they don't have to walk around it and you realize that it's there but somehow it's not there. These people aren't bumping into anything and yelling. Then you say to somebody, "You see that new table there?" And they say, "No, I don't see anything". And you point to it and ask another person because you're obviously looking right at an object that is there, and you just want to make sure that you're not crazy and hallucinating. The other person doesn't see it either.

You still see it. Then you notice something even more strange. The table has a reason for being there directly related to you. See, today you noticed a lot of people wearing the color yellow, which is a color you hate. Why do you hate yellow? Well, for the same reason you hate stars on clothng. They remind you of the Star of David people had to wear during the Holocaust.

Why do you care about the Holocaust? Because people have told you that you are a Jew, every day, several times a day, for about three years. You are not a Jew, but they call you one anyway.

At another point and sometimes even now you were convinced something supernatural was happening and you were also channeling Anne Frank. At other times you thought you were Jesus Christ. They were, of course, both Jews who met an unpleasant fate. You are sure, even though you never tell anyone this, that you are headed for some similar horrendous form of being murdered. You are also pretty sure that the world wants you to suffer, because, of course, you are a Jew, at least according to them.

The reason this all matters now is that there are yellow placemats with stars on them on the glass table in the middle of Burger King.

So you start to think.

You know, deep down, that you're not a Jew, that you're not channeling anybody and that nobody is realling calling you a Jew or telling you to die. Yet you know, at the same time, that all of this IS true, and you still hear it every day of your life. (Imagine now how hard it is to smile and hold conversations with people after you hear them say you're a Jew and you're going to die and you have to pretend you didn't hear it).

So you think, maybe the table is there but not really there like this other stuff. You walk over and touch the table. You sit at the table. This damn table is real. You are now feeling anxious and thinking that if you have to be crazy enough to see and hear and touch something not real, maybe you'd be better off dead.

You look around you and nobody seems to see the table. You say to the person you're with. Look, it's this table I'm sitting at here, this is what I meant. Obviously they must see it now.

They don't see it.

They tell you you seem to need more medication. They don't want to be around you now. They're a little bit afrraid of you now. They'd like to send you to a hospital now. They don't know what to say to you, and you having just blown your cover as a person with Schizophrenia disguisng her/himself as normal, are really trying to cover up again. You laugh. You say, hey I was just joking, I know there's nothing hear. Meanwhile, you're sitting there, touching this table, and it's real as anything to you. But you know that nobody else wants to say it is real (get that, Isreal), and they want you to cover it up too, because there's a secret reason as to why they are pretending it's not there.

Alternately, you know it might not be there at all.

You don't really feel like eating a cheeseburger now.

You want to leave. You want to go hide in your bed under blankets and think of ways to die. You want a gun to shoot yourself and end this insanity and misery immediately. You want to avoid the concentration camp everybody says you're going to end up in (you know, for sure, that this is real, you will end up there).

Seems like a good idea to shoot yourself now. You go to a gun store, you think about buying anoither 357 magnum to shoot yourself with before anybody can stop you. You don't buy the gun because, honestly, you don't really want to die all the time, not really.

You leave, put your fake smile back on, paste it to your face.

What to do now? You're already on enough medications to kill an elephant. Why bother with them anymore? After all, it's still possible that there's not any reason for you to need medications since, really, you don't imagine anything, and really, it's there but people just pretend it's not, and really, you know the truth.

At the same time you know you need medication because without it you felt more crazy than this, without it at all you would have thrown one of the chairs at the table against a wall and screamed like a banshee and tried to kill yourself, probably.

They say it's improvement when you know that what you know is not really true so you cannot really know it.

This might very well be improvement, but this is no way to have to live the rest of your life.

People with Schizophrenia kill themselves more often when they know that they're sick than when they are just too crazy to know it at all.

That's it.

2 comments:

Messanger Of God said...

My dear friend..

i have seen many people with the same problems as you do... and the ones i have gone back to visit have awesome lives because of one thing they did... you know what they did... they let Jesus be the lord of their lives... not just part of their life but all of there life... it has been a wonderful journey to see the power of christ and how he can bring a man the was clincally at deaths door had AIDs and was manic... he was not able to eat solid food for many years and had tried to kill himself 18 times... he had no home his family deserted him and he felt no love... i came and gave him a hug and called him my friend, his eyes light up and sat up to listen to me... i told him that somebody loves you very much his name is jesus.. and he died so you may live.. the man listen to all i said and lastly he accepted christ into his heart..a week later i came back in to see him and he had a job working in the hospital he was much better and was eating any thing he wanted... the doctor said it was like he never was sick... well after i came bac two years later he had pass on from an accident ... i was sad at first but i knew i would see him in heaven .. the doctor told me that he was going to church everyday and was tell all the patients about jesus and what he did for him... well i know you are in confusion but Jesus is not the author of confusion the devil is and he is controlling your life trying to do all that he can to keep you from the truth which is christ... if you want to know more write me ...take care my friend...

be with god..

with all my love and God's...

Paul’s Thoughts said...

Thank you for sharing your email with us, which for all purposes indented is a valiant attempt to describe your internal struggles. I thought using a visual analogy to describe what happens for you audibly was a good angle to take. It was really good. In saying this though, I did still have to try and translate the mentioned descriptions into your day to day context. You face much difficulty with your experiences, which have the appearance of reality, yet are in conflict with the rest of the world, which inadvertently and sometimes intentionally alienates you into a corner of self-destructive thoughts. This to say the least is crewel and unfair, that you would feel so much despair to think about death, fueled by pain, rejection, confusion and the erosion of hope, all entangled within a Beautiful Mind. Thank you again for posting your thoughts, because they are insightful, valuable, important and significant. Insightful, because you have tried to explain to me and others your experiences, to try and give me a look into what things are like for you. Valuable because the words you have written have come out of your soul. Important because each sentence moves the readers mind to accept that you are a person who has real feelings, a person whose life is just as important as anyone else’s. Significant because amongst all the pain, all the thoughts of death, there is a desire to live, because you “don’t really want to die all the time, not really”.

In your post, I noticed that your descriptions revolve around the nature of truth with respect to the internal world vs external reality. When speaking about real/unreal visual objects analogy or auditory sounds, you used such phrases as “Yet you know, at the same time, that all of this IS true, and you still hear it every day of your life” “so you think, maybe the table is there but not really there” …. “… and it’s real as anything to you. But you know that nobody else wants to say it is real (get that, is real), and they want you to cover it up too, because there’s a secret reason as to why they are pretending it’s not there. Alternatively, you know it might not be there at all”….”It’s there but people just pretend it’s not, and really, you know the truth” … “they say it’s improvement when you know that what you know is not really true so you cannot really know it.” The search for the nature of truth, what constitutes truth and how it can be derived, observed, deduced, obtained and verified has long been a debated topic. What is really real? Unfortunately, your auditory experiences greatly conflict with the external world, yet they are experiences that produce real internal reactions or feelings in you. I cannot imagine how difficult this must be. I’m just trying to understand what it is like for you, as you have gone to great lengths to explain it to people on your blog.

On the internal mind vs external reality, Robert Audi has this to say:

“Whether there is a green field before me is not a matter of states of my mind. It seems to be an objective matter independent of anyone’s mind and the green seems to be present or not regardless of whether we believe it is. Indeed, whether my belief is true is determined by whether the field is actually there; the truth of such observational beliefs depends on external reality, which does not in turn depend on what we believe.”

If my mind saw that the grass was blue for whatever reason, it would appear blue to me and I would ‘experience’ the grass as if it were blue. Unfortunately, the conundrum is that grass is in fact green, yet I experience it as blue. Given ‘grass is green’ is a descriptive ‘fact’ of an object occurring in reality, the internal interpretation of the mind experiencing grass as blue opposes reality or the truth of things. This experience is compounded when other minds with the exception of mine experience grass as green and even those who are colorblind agree. I am now put in a position where I must ignore my experience, no matter however vividly real to the eyes and reinterpret blue as green to be in agreement with others and more importantly with a fact about external reality. My thoughts in this paragraph are far from perfect, I’m just trying to understand.

I guess, at times you have had to reinterpret blue as green with respect to your auditory hallucinations. Not an essay ask, which I suspect is why a conspiracy theory arises, in that other people ‘cover up’ the true nature of things by pretending that grass is green when it is really blue, or that there is not a table really there in Burger King, or that they have not heard what you have heard.

I cannot be a nice feeling to have people say to you that you need more medication in conflicting moments when you need someone to care about you. Even harder to take is that people become “a little bit afraid of you” and stop treating you with respect and dignity in such moments.

You are valuable, important and significant. I say this because it is true. You are a person with feelings who has worth and substance. The God of the bible cares about you. “Messenger of God” wrote a comment on your Blog to demonstrate this. I write to you because you are worth the effort to write to, because I believe in God and that He cares about you. I write to you because you are valuable, important and significant to God.

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