“Delusions” once understood can help people heal and grow

Benedict Carey is doing a series called Lives Restored in the New York Times, which has been sharing the successful lives of some people who have been labeled with severe mental illness. Another post about a woman from the series is here.

From today’s article I’m taking a small excerpt from a much longer article.

Finding Purpose After Living With Delusion

Doctors generally consider the delusional beliefs of schizophrenia to be just that — delusional — and any attempt to indulge them to be an exercise in reckless collusion that could make matters worse. There is no point, they say, in trying to explain the psychological significance of someone’s belief that the C.I.A. is spying through the TV; it has no basis, other than psychosis.

Yet people who have had such experiences often disagree, arguing that delusions have their origin not solely in the illness, but also in fears, longings and psychological wounds that, once understood, can help people sustain recovery after they receive treatment. 

Now, these psychiatric veterans are coming together in increasing numbers, at meetings and conferences, and they are writing up their own case histories, developing their own theories of psychosis, with the benefit of far more data than they have ever had before: one another’s stories. (rest of article here)

From Jung’s Red Book

I’ve often thought of delusions as a sort of personal mythology that needs to be interpreted and understood, integrated and transcended. Certainly that’s true of my own experience of psychosis from many years ago. Those early experiences have given meaning and enriched my life in numerous ways and continue to do so. I do not regret having had them at all. What I do regret is having been forcibly shut down and made gravely physically ill by the gross over-medication that they called treatment for such. It’s a deep shame that it’s still widely believed among those who purport to treat those with psychosis that the delusions should never be engaged. I am by no means alone in having come to appreciate my “delusions.” Once put in their right place they have no power to hurt and can indeed be a great source of healing and growth.

Lots of recovery stories from extreme states here.

Hearing Voices network is an organizations whose members work together to come to understand their voices.

And I’ll share a story written by a reader and a therapist/psychologist, about her own transformative (psychotic) journey: The heroines journey—a young woman finds her way through her psychosis with the help of Jung and Campbell’s literature.

One last thought about delusions that my husband just said to me. “The thing about delusions is that most people have the delusion that delusions are uncommon. What are uncommon are exotic delusions — others, like “I’m a good father”, are so commonplace they go unseen.”

And yes, we all have delusions. Some of us who’ve had the exotic variety actually get very good at rooting out the not so exotic variety which in some instances make us able to see better that which the typical “normal” human being may not see at all!

More posts on voice hearing and that which are often called delusions on Beyond Meds:

Websites with more info:

For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page.  

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