Monday, January 30, 2006

answering questions

Paul (and anybody else who has questions)

I'll try to answer some of your questions. Incidentally, I really glad to hear someone say that the posts I've written here were helpful. That makes this writing seem much more worthwhile.

As far as the extent to which psychosis may or may not be caused or worsened by outside events, I have to say that ai realy do not know a definite answer to that question. I know that, in my case, I have a chemical imbalance in my brain that I believe is relsponsible for my hallucinations and delusions. I say this for several reasons, one of which is that there are numerous people who have had the exact same delusional thoughts in this world. For example, thinking one is being followed by a government agency such as the CIA, thinking one is embodying Jesus Christ, hearing voices telling one to kill her or his self - these are all really common eventts that frequently are found in people with schizophrenia. I know that questions about these types of symptoms are on psychological tests, such as the MMPI test which you may or may not be familiar with, but that's a psychological test that is commonly used in the mental health field.

On the other hand, I have had many delusions which I don't thiuk are very common, and what has caused some of them relates, in part, to events in my life, I think. Without going into to much detail, because that would be very difficult to do at this time, I will give an example. I was raised in a Christian school and frequently went to Christian churches as a child and I doubt that someone who had not been raised that way would end up having very many delusions involving doctines of Chritianity. For a while one of my delusions was that my father had to be the antichrist, and I was channeling or representing Jesus Christ. And when I was growing up, to explain this, my father never went to church and was not the one who wnated me in any Christian school - my mother was. Maybe this will help explain a tiny bit.

As far as how much the delusions and hallucinations are worsened or are triggered by outside events, I do believe they are worsened for me at times by an overload of stress in my life. Also, simply going into a crowd of people is difficult for me, as at times, in a shopping mall or some other place with crowds, I will hear people in the crowed talking (secretively) to me in double speak and that becomes very frightening. It makes me avoid crowds. Other things, for example having no place to live and having little support from other people, and having financial problems, as you mentioned, I'm sure have not helped at all with the illness, but they may or may not have made the illness worse. I honestly am not sure about the answer to that. I have read that Schizophrneis worsens under such stress.

One thing is definite to me now, and that is that taking mediations for this illness really changes the amount and the severity of the delusions and hallucinations, and it allows me to sit here typing about them, which I never would have been able to do when I was not on these medications. So for me, unfortunately, medication seems to be the key. However, the medications do not completely stop any of these problems, and I do not really know that they ever will. At leasat one doctor has totd me that I may never get rid of some of these delusions as long as I live, and that's a rather frightening prospect for me.

I think what you said about the concentrattion camps and Jews was interesting, and sounds logcial, but I have to say that I have tried that approach in my mind and it has not helped to stop the delusional thoughts. I think that the reason I developed those delusions was partly in that I felt so sympathetic towards Jewish people who went through the horrors of the Halocaust was somewhat related toward developing that delusino. Also I think that books I've read about that horror helped to contribute to my knowledge of it, and therefore are part of the reason for those types of delusions developing in my mind. Obviuosly, if I didn't know, in my mind, anything about it, I wouldn't be able to develop a fear of it happening again now, or of it having continued to happen in secrecy after our world ssid it ended.

One thing that is kind of difficult to explain is how these delusions all develop a life of their own and create havoc in my sense of reality by morphng themselves. What I mean is, as soon as I can tell myself that this logically is not happening, I seem to have developed instantly another, related, delusion that seems very real.

I live very near one of the main centers in the world for Scientology, and it is hard to explain this but the delusions of being called a Jew and the camps also changed in a related way towards thinking that the Scientologist were part of a "new world order" that was taking over the planet, and for a while I believed that I was in some sort of spiritual warfare as Jesus Christ in opposition to L. Ron Hubbard (the creator or scientology),. Then, in a morphing of this horrible delusion, I thought I was the spirit of L. Ron Hubbard (who died in 1986).

What I am trying to say here, basically, is that these delusions become so bizarre, it is really imposibble to swith my thinking by using rational, logical thoughts. I was not able to so that at all without medication, and it is still difficult now, when I'm on a great deal of medications. I can say though that for right now, I don't believe any of the above delusions were more than a delusion. I might not be feeling as strong in the reality of the rest of the world, though, even an hour from now when I will ahve at least a partial belief in them. It's hard to even disclose this information here, actually, because I do have that partial belief much of the time.

I'm not sure if I'm explaining things very well, and, unfortunately, because of the blurry vision caused by one of my medications, I can't read my own typing right now, so I aplogize if this post was full of typing errors.

Anyway, as far as auditry hallucinations go, I do constantly say to myself, upon hearing them, "no that is nto really what that person said, and here is what that person really said, and that is all they said". And I do argue all the time with the delusonal thoughts ni my mind. If I could stop them, of course, that would be much easier.

One thing I have tried, shich I should probably do more often, is making lists. For example, a list of what the delusion is comapared to the reality that exposes it as a delusion, that was something I did in the hospital a bit. I made lists of positive things in my life, lists of reasons not to kill myself, lists of good qualities I possess, etc. Mostly I've done that while in hospitals, and they were helpful to a degree. I suppose that is something I should try more often. Trying to argue with yourself inside your mind really becomes tiring.
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If anyone is reading this who has schizophrenia or a related condition, or who knows someone who has such a disorder, the above is one thing I can recommend trying.

On an old post here I made a list of some of my favorite things. That was a good thing to do for myself, if only because so much of the time my mind is corroded with negative thoughts. One other thing that I've heard people recmmend is wearing a rubber band around your writst, and snapping it every time an unwanted thought occurs. I really don't think I can do that at this time, because I have so many different delusional thoughts I would have to snap the thing continuously all day long, but it sounds like a practice worth trying.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

auditory hallucinations

Thanks, Octave Ocean for your response to the last post.

So, I think I will try to explain here what auditory hallucinations are like. My reason for doing this right now is mostly because it may help me to put this information down and call it a hallucination, since I am having a great deal of difficulty lately with believing that they are not "real".

The way that I "hear things" is not the same as with some other people. I don't hear words being said very often by people who are not visible. I generally hear things being said by real people, who are really talking.

What happens is that there is a kind of double, or triple "speak" that goes on, and I hear what they said in the one-dimensional sort of "real world", as well as hearing them say other, generally frightening words, at the same time.

For example, a mother in a shopping mall might say to her child, "don't cry now", and I might look and see that this is a mother, saying this to her child. At the same time I might also look, and hear this woman saying to me, "go die now".

Generally what I hear that is an "auditory hallucination" is rhyming with something the person really is saying. Sometimes I also hear people who aren't there saying things, or hear people calling my name to taunt me, but most often it's like this.

A person might say, "would you give me your telephone number", and I would hear, "would Jew get herself out of here?"

The word "Jew" comes up a lot, because in some way my mind got very connected to delusions about being called Jewish in a taunting, harassing way, which coincides with delusional thoughts I have about concentration camps and death.

Whenever, for example, someone says, "You're welcome", to me, I hear them saying, "You'll walk home."

That happens several times a day, every single day, because I always thank people for things, and people almost always say those words. The meaning to them might only make sense to me, but it comes from a delusional belief in the eventual long walk people will have to make in the state that I live in to get to concentration camps, at the time when we are forced to go there.

Bear in mind here that not that long ago in history, in another part of the world, real people who really were Jewish, really did get forced to walk to death camps, and so did some real people who really were mentally or physically ill or disabled. So there is some sense of reality, to me anyway, in these "delusions", because I know that it is not just a belief in something that never really happened in the history of mankind. It did happen. I didn't make that up. Where do you start to draw the line, though, between what is real, and what your mine created? And for another example, just when I typed that sentence, my mind flashed to "Israel" as the same sound that comes from the words "is real", because this also fits into the delusional belief system I've got in my head.

I'm only putting a snapshot of a much larger picture here, because it would be very difficult and time-consuming to explain in further detail how the auditory hallucinations work, but if you read the last post, and then this one, I think it might give you some idea of what this experience is like. I think people who imagine that their minds played tricks on them constantly, and very insidiously, all day long, every single day of their lives, might better understand a desire to end their lives just to get out of this nightmare.

Thanks for listening.

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.

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