Tuesday, 30 December 2008

The Psychotic Love Affairs of Ally McBeal

The central character Ally McBeal, from the American comedy series of the same name, is a pretext character, for a mostly hopeless and useless plot, that says very little about the causes of her alienation and madness, nor the causes of the madness she comes up against in society; reflected through her imaginary dialogues, where her fears, wishes, desires, and fantasies, get increasingly blurred with reality, into parody and emotional turmoil.

All this leaves us, the viewer, as a witness of a dialogue and plot, where reality and fantasy become increasingly indistinguishable and somewhat absurd, but this gives us an opportunity to have some idea of what she might be experiencing, imagining, or perceiving. We can then understand and admire her as a character, and empathize and relate to her struggles for love, and for meaningful relationships, and she’s a rebel without a pause who certainly has a place in my heart.

Some of her imaginary ridicule, of the petty-bourgeoisie and their delusional superiority, is intense, astute, very funny, and highly amusing, as it reveals both her repulsion at the society she lives within, and her tendency to day-dream about affairs that are not even started yet, or that don’t exist at all in reality.

Ally’s emotional obsessions, even get displaced and focused upon some of the other female characters, and which perhaps reveals a hidden subtext of meanings, but her mind also wanders into thoughts of sexual deviation and sexual fantasy about men, which makes her a very unique and human character for me.

What is so relevant about the character and series to me, is that it looks at the ways that the whole idea of relationships can be distorted out of all proportion, and how many people these days no longer really want to get to know other people properly, before they enter into any kind of relationship with them, even within their work and everyday environments. In this respect, Ally McBeal is a very poignant piece of social commentary on modern-day loss of love, and alienation.

In the storming, norming, and forming process of relationships, Ally gets stuck in the first stage, of storming (her mind is a mass of endless regurgitated ideas and information), and most of her relationships are over or fail miserably, because they never really get started in the first place.

She has a socially imposed image her self, and in some ways she allows others to negatively impact upon her, as her thoughts and feelings seem to operate within an interpersonal and social vacuum, without really focusing on the real social skills of open communication, shared interests, partnership and friendship.

Ally McBeal is not attractive as such, but she has great character in appearance (which I think is much more important than simplistic beauty), and what I admire about her as a character, is that she is never happy with the mediocrity, or merely content with very mundane relationships, and her sentimentalism and creativity refuses to be emotionally repressed, by the petty-bourgeoisie who misunderstand her, and who she has a very healthy mistrust of.

Ally McBeal, I love you, if no one else will.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Children and Insanity

"Lost in a Roman, wilderness of pain, and all the children are insane"

Taken from the song The End, by The Doors

According to some radical psychiatric patients rights groups, like Mindfreedom, there is a huge recent increase in psychiatrists forcibly drugging children, with anti-psychotic drugs, and with amphetamine drugs like Ritalin for hyperactivity. MindFreedom, say that the reason for this, is that the psychiatrists who do this, are making huge amounts of money, out of the pharmaceutical industry. This may be the case, but it’s hard to know to what extent this is happening, and the main protest points that MindFreedom make, do not look into the whole grey areas of the nature of children, as sane or insane human beings.

One thing that needs to be realised and understood about all of this, and which is pivitol fact, is that by nature, children are more insane than adults, in a positive and a natural sense, and not including disturbing symptoms that children may experience, such as nightmares or hallucinations, as a result of being bullied by other children or abused by adults. If a child does experience these negative symptoms, then we have to investigate what is happening in their lives socially, at school and home, and do something to change any bad or harmful social influences, rather than forcibly drugging them.

Children are less inhibited than adults, their thoughts and emotions, are less socially structured or connected, and they think and act more spontaneously and imaginatively. All of this, makes them sort of insane in a way, and which proves that insanity is something somewhat natural, but which is conditioned out of as adults, in order to fit into so-called sane society. Fitting into sane society, means that we are supposed to tolerate some abuse, exploitation, and bullying, and suppress our natural and spontaneous emotions, and our freedom of thoughts and imagination.

The point here, is that some insanity is a natural and good thing, in children and adults, and the psychiatric drugging of it, is due to a misunderstanding of children, and to some extent a very cynical and misanthropic view of human beings. This needs to change, along with accepting the unique culture and values that diagnosed and non-diagnosed mad people have, and which is important that those values remain both separate, and yet part of the similar altruistic values of society.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Madness Ethics and Morality

Throughout history, and to some extent in modern times, so-called madness has been seen by others as moral weakness, failing, or depravity. Whilst there is, or can be, an immoral or violent aspect to madness, the vast majority of diagnosed or non-diagnosed mad people, are not immoral, unethical, or violent. What is also true, is that madness can be something which has its own morality and ethics, and which is separate from the morality and ethics of so-called sane society, but is potentially valid, as part of a moral and ethical consensus within, or as part of society.

Diagnosed and non-diagnosed mad people, often disagree or act against the immorality and violence of so-called sane society, or of the so-called sane world, which is seen by us, as justifying the worst aspects of capitalism or communism, exploitation, bullying, racism and other such isms, imperialism, and war. This difference of approach or opinion, of mad people, gets labelled as deviation or non-conformism, by so-called sane society, in order to discredit it and us, as something which is completely opposed, to the culture, values, and society of a region, country, or world.

Sometimes mad people rebel and act, against the false or hypocritical morality of society in bad ways, but overall, sane society violates and goes against our morality and ethics, by inflicting terrorism, violence or the threat of violence, and coercion upon us, whilst mad morality and ethics, are all for the good of ourselves, society, and the world at large. The bad ways that mad people rebel and act, against the true or false morality of sane society and the world, cannot be understood adequately or completely, without also understanding the ways that sane society, violates and goes against our separate but interrelated morality, values, and ethics.

It's not necessarily a matter of competition or comparison, but I personally believe that the morality, values, and ethics of mad people, are overall better than the morality, values, and ethics of sane society or people, who try to force their values upon us and destroy our own. This is what I call mental health imperialism.

However, where a lot of diagnosed, and non-diagnosed mad people, do fail morally and ethically, is in the whole area of disclosing, understanding, and sharing knowledge and information, about the causes of mental health problems. This is because the psychiatric and mental health system - falsely claiming that they are very much part of sane values and society - encourages people with mental health problems, to be very selfish and private about the causes of madness - sometimes with the threat of invading our privacy, terrorising us, and taking away our rights as citizens, if we want and choose to disclose, understand, and share this knowledge and information. This is the point or place where the morality, values, and ethics, of the psychiatric service user, and psychiatric survivor model and approach, meet and connect to the values of sane society, in the form of altruistic values.

What is very much needed and required by sane society and the sane world, is to liberate, protect, nurture, and develop the unique and separate morality, values, and ethics of madness, to discourage violations of the genuine and valid values on both sides, and to form a conscious consensus of where all our values meet, conjoin, and coexist together.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

An Analysis of Developmental Theories of Mental Health Problems in Society

A while ago, I had a very brief conversation, with a person called Peter, who came round my friend Luke's flat with another friend. We got on to the subject of mental health, and I expressed my view to him, that I didn't believe that people with mental health problems, were biologically or genetically inferior, but that it was possible that we were in some ways genetically unique, and genetically superior in some ways, compared to so-called sane people, because we can have higher creative abilities, and higher senses of experience, observation, and awareness.

He thought that what I said was interesting, and he sort of agreed with me, but he said that he believed that all mental health problems were developmental problems. I couldn't really agree with his rather simple and extreme statement, as I realised that there are all different kinds of meanings, and terms, surrounding the phrase "developmental problems", but he was not in the mood to discuss such complexities, and he replied to me that he was "just thick".

I've done some recent research, into modern psychological developmental theory, and unlike the old deterministic developmental theory, that sees us as conditioned by our social environment and surroundings, and seeks to change society, the emphasis now is on total freewill, saying that individuals create their own environments. This is the neo-liberal agenda, but it is obvious, that children and poor people, do not primarily choose their home or social environments, and that there is still a need to change society to benefit people, rather than the other way round.

My other criticism of developmental theory, is that society often has a problem with people who are very highly developed intellectually, emotionally, or politically, and who don't fit into the general mediocrity of culture and society. Some things about human beings, should not be developed out of us, such as some goodness arising from some innocence, whist other things are naturally and socially developed, too far for society to accept or understand.

There is also the very important matter, of how far society or services are developed. Society, and health and mental health services, also need to be developed to a high degree or good quality level, for people or persons to benefit from an overall and widespread developmental approach. Then there is the matter, of whether development is self-development, or development by others. For children, some development by others is necessary, but for adults self-development is far more ethical and important, individually or collectively, whilst wider social integration and support are important too. I believe in a developmental approach, which does not individualise people too much, but takes account of individual rights and freedom, but also offers the choice of working together and co-operative environments.

Developmental approaches should not also just focus around work, or physical or academic labour, as the mind also needs casual time to relax and develop, within the creative process, and what is needed are a choice of different activities, in order to develop satisfactory social skills and creative imagination. One danger of developmental psychology, is that it can appeal to very radical or political extremists, because it seems ideologically cool or sound, when in reality, they know absolutely nothing about it, in terms of past and present theory or application.

Developmental psychology, tends not to take into account spiritual or mental development, as like psychiatry, it tends to be very physical, biological, and materialistic. The progress of the mind is not purely linear, but it progresses and learns through some ebbs and flows, regressions and progressions, towards some sort of progressive outcome. There can be no rigid planning for the development of people or persons, in terms of an ultimate end product, as it has to be realised that time moves in both directions, backwards and forwards at the same time, towards some achievements and goals.

We need to realise that developmental theory and practise is very valid, if it doesn't treat people as cogs in a machine, but as democratic participants, who can affect, influence, and have a say, on how society operates, influences, and functions, instead of saying that society just belongs to one class or elite group. Society belongs to all of us, and we all have a right to have a say, and an influence on how it works and operates. A developmental approach which does not take this into account, is totalitarian, and which is why totalitarian societies put a lot of emphasis on developmental approaches, to formulate a very compliant character, that will accept propaganda and indoctrination.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Madness and Innocence

There is a common held belief, amongst some of the public and psychiatrists, that diagnosed-mad people are in some ways more child-like and innocent than other people. In my experience of other diagnosed-mad people, I think there is some truth in this, whilst at the same time I realise that it can also be a part of infantilisation (treating adults as children) in order to take away our freedoms, rights, and responsibility as adults. Some innocence is very important though, and I reject the religious concept of original sin. We all have a parent-child-adult within us, and it's important to retain and nurture the child inside us, whilst being wise and knowledgeable as parents or adults.

I recently had an email conversation, with a nice Russian woman, who was a kindergarten teacher. She said that she went to the cinema, watched a fairy story with the children, and communicated and interacted with them. She said that children speak the truth in a way, and say some very intelligent things, and I added that they can be very intuitive, and sense pain or sadness in another child or adult, much more than an adult can in a way. In a way, children have a higher form of consciousness than adults do, although their logical faculties aren't fully developed

I agreed with her point, about installing good principles in children at an early age, and to give them some good analogies and examples of good, love, and kindness triumphing over evil. As long as the child, is also allowed to develop his or her own individual and social values as they get older, and are not having very specific dogmatic values, like political propaganda, imposed upon them in an authoritarian way, then this is fine and all good. The whole matter of morality/principles/ethics and preserved innocence, is a very important point she made, and one that very much interests me.

The big problem we had under the Conservative regime in this country, and which I very much opposed as a Labour party voter, is that children were taught to have respect for very authoritarian teachers at school, who used and misused the cane (corporal punishment). The children were encouraged to be very competitive against each other, at the expense of co-operation and some mutual learning, and which encouraged and created some aggression, and bullying, in the children towards each other. The children were only taught to respect adult authority figures, but were not also encouraged to have respect for each other. The old very bad culture of learning and schooling has somewhat changed under the Labour government for the better, and they will continue to get my vote.

I was abused throughout my childhood and early teens, and had most of my innocence beaten or tormented out of me, and so I had to re-capture and re-create it in a way as an adult. My older brother, was encouraged to often be evil towards me as a child, but he also had to do this in order to survive and escape from the abuse himself, although he was still abused at times. I do very much agree with the Russian woman, that innocence and morality/principles/ethics, can co-exist together, and that the preservation of innocence, is a very good and a healthy thing in children. I would even go so far as to say, that the preservation of innocence, is a good thing in adults too, as it is a part of their intense and sensitive imagination and creativity, their compassion, and again a part of their morality/principles/ethics.

This is why I am very fond of some developmental practice, and theory, in mental health and society, but I think that it is wrong and counter-productive to crush and destroy, all aspects of an adult person's innocence, to make them more realistic, or to wise them up about the world, but this is what some people in authority in social work, society, and mental health, try to do to us. We can be more than wise about other people and the world, without having our innocence beaten, oppressed, terrorised, or crushed out of us. Preserving ones innocence and the child aspect of ones personality as an adult, does not make a person less of an adult or parent, it just makes the adult aspect more holistically integrated, and also able to relate to children more easily, imaginatively, creatively, compassionately, and effectively.

Because my brother encouraged my mother to abuse me, and because I was bullied at secondary school for two years by other children, I developed a fear of children as an adult, and found it very hard to relate and interact with them. I now have a four year old niece though, my older brother's daughter, Jasmine. She is a very good natured child, and I have learnt how to relate to her, both as a child myself, and as an adult. My dad is a full grown man, who is usually a very serious person, but he is a bit silly, and like a little boy when he plays with Jasmine. I could say that he's making a fool out of himself, but I also realise that he has a gift in a way. My mum is very good with Jasmine too, is very kind towards her, and knows how to play with her and entertain her.

I agreed with the Russian woman that children should not see or watch violence on TV. On the other hand, adults should watch violent films, if they are social realism, because it's about awareness and changing society for the better. Otherwise we would all live in a dream world, full of roses and flowers. I tend to dislike gratuitous or unnecessary violence on TV though, although that's a tricky one, because many people argue that it's also therapeutic and cathartic for some adult people, and about freedom of expression, and artistic freedom.

Hearing Voices and so-called Delusions of Telepathy in Others

Many voice hearers, have experiences or perceptions of telepathy, that they can hear other people's thoughts criticising them, or more commonly, that others can hear what they are thinking. A friend of mine, said that it was like when he was a child, and taught that everything he thought was naughty and bad, but he couldn't stop his thoughts from appearing.

He said that he will often think something, that he would not normally say, such as a very irreverent or rude comment, and then get scolded or threatened for it by the voice, and that this is what makes his telepathy voice hearing experience so unpleasant. He added, that it was like being on msn messenger, but you can't control what you type, and you are typing silly or rude things, that you don't really want to say, and you can't close the program, so that the conversation is forced upon you. You get forced into a conversation that you can't get out of. He said that these voices are always people that he knows, and that they can hear his thoughts, but he can't hear their voices, but he experiences them in his mind.

I recently spoke to a voice hearer, who said that other people - some he knows and some he doesn't know- can read or hear his thoughts, but that he can only barely hear their thoughts, as if they are being filtered, but certain voices come through and tell him that he has cancer. This to me represents the predominant view in our culture that mental health problems are diseases, when they are not diseases, but they can sometimes be understood or experienced as such, by the voice hearer.

I then asked him if he'd ever been abused or bullied, to which he replied that he has been bullied as a teenager in college for about two years, but that it triggers the voices if he talks about it, and he doesn't like to talk about it. I assured him that this was fine, if he didn't want to talk about it, but I told him that sooner or later, he might have to deal with that issue with his young psychotherapist, who had just come out of college, and never heard voices.

When voice hearers have so-called delusions of telepathy in others, the voice hearer usually has either been abused or bullied, and has their privacy invaded, and their personal boundaries violated, and which is why they experience telepathy in others. It can also stem from people imposing ideas about us that are not true, and making stereotypical opinions and prejudiced judgements about us.

From my own experience with hearing voices, I also sometimes experience the voices reading my thoughts, and so I try to talk nonsense, or think irrationally, and which sometimes works.. It's very hard to stop the thoughts or stop the voices from hearing the thoughts, because when the voices hear the thoughts, is it is immediate, and there is no time to block, distract, or interrupt the process.. There are some coping strategies though. I've thought and had voices singing silly songs before, and in that way prevented them from attacking me for my thoughts. I've also read their minds, showing that I have as much magical ability, social predictability, and power as them.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Candour, Duplicity, Betrayal, and Authenticity

There's a view that some radical people and others have, that candour, or being very honest and open in communication, involves aggression, suppressing the other persons opinions, free thoughts and actions, and betrayal. This is sometimes the view of radical people on the liberal or left of politics, but also the view of some of the conservatives, as exploitative power and betrayal were actually openly endorsed by Margaret Thatcher in her "Lion's strength" speech.

No one is as pure as the snow, and in some ways, as Orwell said in his novel 1984, we all betray each other. What is important, is that we don't betray ourselves, meaning our conscience. The only time I will betray anyone, is if there is a very good ethical or moral reason to, and then I will avoid naming the person.

I was recently told by a family member, that another family member, had phoned his four year daughter and pretended not to be her dad. I was told, that his daughter supposedly got the sick joke, and responded by saying that she was someone else as well. I was concerned by this, that such a "joke" to play on a four year old, is inappropriate, because it is teaching the child that betrayal and deceit are something humorous, when we should be teaching children values like loyalty and love, and not imposing our screwed-up ways of relating, from when we were children towards other children, and by our parents or parent towards us.

Betrayal, is also sometimes seen by people as being authentic, or showing their true selves, whilst it is in fact showing a false or evil self. There are many ways that a person can be aware of the false or evil side of themselves, by introspecting, and without imposing it upon others.

I have consistently spoken out against authoritarianism and abuse, but some social workers have terrorised me with some of the Police, which they continue to do to poor and powerless people in my local area, and I get nothing but ill-will from these people, when all I want is a better society and what is good for everyone. This is obviously an evil town, where corrupt and oppressive people are rewarded, and where any kind of uniqueness and goodness is suppressed, distorted, or destroyed.

When some of the Police terrorised me with others, with choc-a-block traffic, threatening to run me over if I tried to cross the road, and shouting hatred and insults at me, like hate-week from Orwell's novel 1984, my family and what I thought were my friends at the time, joined in with those Police against me. Despite their cowardice, I have continued to love and support my family, as they have been good to me since, and I understand their backgrounds as to why they behaved towards me as such. I now have much better friends too.

If a person has mental health problems in my local area, and which are mostly just problems with living, then their lives are made deliberately harder by others, because people just want to use themselves against others, and push others to extremes, where they have to go into psychiatric hospital, because the oppressive people want to perpetuate the very hierarchical class system that operates here.

Also, the kind of solidarity that operates here in my local area, is very sectarian, and excludes people with less money and power. The far-left also treat others as inferior in this way, and they have the same out-dated oppressive and distorted psychiatric opinions about people with mental health problems, and which is why I will never trust or support them.

It's also a fact, that any kind of libertarian and new social findings about mental health, tend to get distorted and misused by the state, when state power is not the issue, the issues are democracy, solidarity, freedom of association, and individual freedom. The label of psychotic and deluded, is sometimes misused to terrorise and torture people with mental health problems, and to abuse us, and for others and society get away with doing this. People with mental health problems must organise in some way, and fight against this abuse, and defend and protect those who are subjected to this harm and injustice.

I will never fully recover, from the abuse I have suffered as a child and adult, and I cannot go on silently without speaking out about what is till happening to others. Some of the abuse I suffered as a child, has happened to me in some ways as an adult: the threat of violence, confinement, verbal abuse, and threat of abduction. This makes me wonder if my abuser when I was a child, was subjected to this by some of the Police in some ways too, and was projecting that onto me. Child abuse, and abuse by Police state power, are two separate things, but I wonder if the two things are in some ways connected. Intelligent common sense tell me that in some ways they are.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Analysis of Demon song in Context to Hearing Voices

Don´t break the Circle

Don´t break the circle
Don´t break the circle
I´m your contact link across the great divide
Many voices in my ear
Hold on I think there´s something coming through
From the other side.
It´s for all those who believe
The chain is stronger if the lifeline is unbroken
So beware the presence of The Unexpected Guest
Don´t break the circle
Don´t break the circle
Many things we thought were lost may come to light
On a higher plain in the spirit world
Where only a few of us possess the second sight
Now the messenger awaits
The chain is stronger if the lifeline is unbroken
So beware the presence of The Unexpected Guest
Don´t break the circle
Don´t break the circle.
The circle must keep going on and on
But wait
Is there one amongst us here who believes?
A stranger to the sign
Take care, for all the things you fear
May be revealed
Within the forces of the night
The chain is stronger if the lifeline is unbroken
So beware the presence of The Unexpected Guest
Don´t break the circle
Don´t break the circle
Don´t break the circle
Don´t break the circle
The circle must keep going on and on
The circle must keep going on and on

By Demon, from the album The Unexpected Guest

In the early 80’s in the UK, there was a creation of a certain type of heavy metal - influenced by punk, with much faster and heavier sounds than previous heavy metal bands - called NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal). The 80’s were a time of social division, conflict, and inner and outer struggles, with good becoming evil, and evil becoming, or being seen as good, and some of the songs of this musical genre reflect this. Some of these NWOBHM bands, like Demon, and Samson, were very unique and ahead of their time, as they paved the way for the more experimental, and hard-core metal bands, of the 90’s and the present time.

The Unexpected Guest, by Demon, is in my opinion one of the greatest rock albums for its time, and in some ways very unique. This song, Don’t break the Circle, in particular, is a very good simple analogy for hearing voices, as it draws upon a spiritualist perspective and understanding, but which can be decoded as to its social, material, and human meanings.

First of all the song says concentrate. I very much have to concentrate to hear my voices, and which is like tuning in to a radio station, and a focusing out and in. I am your contact link across the great divide, for me means a spiritual, another material world, or place, but it also means things like class and gender divisions in society. The line the unexpected guest, for me refers to intrusive voices, and which can be both positive or negative, although for me they are overall very positive. The voices themselves are the messenger.

A stranger to the sign, means those in society incapable of a much higher semiotic awareness and understanding socially and politically. The circle itself is our social connections with each other creatively, emotionally, intellectually, and in terms of the creative imagination. The circle must keep going on and on, means that we must continue, our social connections and interactions with one another.

As music speaks louder than words, I urge you all to buy or download this album, and which is in some ways a musical masterpiece.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

The need for Changes for more Effective and Humane Treatment of Mania/Schizophrenia, Depression, Anxiety, and Psychotic Breakdown

My present psychiatric diagnosis, is schizophrenia (due to hearing voices and so-called social withdrawal) with occasional depression. This diagnosis is somewhat incomplete, as I also sometimes suffer from mania, where I get very elated, have racing thoughts, and occasionally can't sleep for a whole night. Very occasionally, I don't sleep for two whole nights and days, and on these occasions, I get a burn-out effect of severe depression causing anxiety, and where the anxiety and stress again prevents me from sleeping. Then the severe depression and anxiety, co-exist alongside each other, with one exasperating the other, and thus making me more depressed and more manic or anxious.

On these occasions, I am both very mentally alert and anxious, and yet very tired at the same time, as the severe depression and anxiety, overlap at different times, although the mania or anxiety still seems to be the overall overriding factor. As a result of all of this, psychosis can arise, as the mental alertness and anxiety resides in my sleep, and the sleep or dream-state of mind, starts to manifest itself in my waking consciousness. It is on these occasions, that I find it very hard to sleep much at all, and it is then, that I sometimes experience negative and intrusive hearing voices, and some delusions.

On these occasions, when I am very depressed and anxious at the same time, I need to get short durations of rest or sleep during the day, and gradually increase the durations, and then go to sleep fairly early at night, and sleep more or less right the way through until the morning. I need to get an hour to three hours sleep during the day, to make up for some of the lost sleep at night. I have had manic-depressive, schizophrenic, or schizo-affective psychotic breakdowns before, in 1991, and in 2000, when on both occasions I was first admitted, and then went freely into psychiatric hospital, roughly for a few weeks on each occasion. I have also seen another patient, in 2000, in psychiatric hospital, who was going through very similar experiences to me, and who I tried to help.

The second time I had a breakdown and was hospitalised, I was sedated by 10 mg of Olanzapine, and which decreased the mania, anxiety, stress, and negative and intrusive hearing voices, and which also helped me sleep, but the first time I was in psychiatric hospital, I was not sedated, as I was just on a fairly low dose of 8 mg of Stelazine, and which wasn't a very strong sedative. As a result of this, and as a result of being made to stay awake all day, I had to undergo a lot of unnecessary suffering, and which could very easily have been prevented and avoided, if I was treated more effectively, appropriately, and humanely.

Psychiatrists need to realise, that people who are suffering from a manic-depressive, schizophrenic, or schizo-affective psychotic breakdown, are in great pain, distress, anxiety, and stress, and need an anti-psychotic drug which also sedates them, or a sedative along with their anti-psychotic medication. Psychiatrists also need to realise that these patients, very much need short and increased durations, of rest and sleep during the day, in order to reverse the manic-depressive, schizophrenic, or schizo-affective psychosis - to make up for lost sleep - and to ease their way back into a sound and well-balanced sleep pattern. Most psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses, now realise this, when a patient is admitted to psychiatric hospital, for the first few days, but sometimes these patients are prevented from short durations of rest or sleep during the day, and from the moment they arrive, and which slows down the recovery process and good sleep patterning, and which also prolongs the psychosis. .

My present psychiatric medication is 3 mg of Risperdal a day for hearing voices. Risperdal is fine for hearing voices, but in any dosage, it is not an effective sedative for the mania or anxiety I sometimes experience. I was taking Olanzapine before I was changed onto Risperdal, and which did sedate the occasional mania, anxiety, or stress, and help me sleep, as it is a strong sedative, but I had to come off of Olanzapine, because it can cause or increase diabetes and weight gain.

I very much need my psychiatrist, to make a prescription for me, for a sedative, so I can take it when the need arises, and to arrange this with my GP, to be added onto my regular prescription, so I can put a tick next to it, and collect it from the chemist as the need arises. I have requested this twice before, but all that has happened is that my Risperdal dosage was increased, as it was still believed by two separate psychiatrists, that I was experiencing stress and anxiety due to schizophrenia. This also means, that the psychiatrists need to add to my current diagnosis, from schizophrenia with some depression, to schizo-affective, and so I am treated and medicated humanely and properly.

I saw my psychiatrist recently, and gave him a letter explaining the main points of all of this. His first response, was to say that I was not schizo-affective or experiencing mania, and that he had seen no signs of these symptoms in me. I commented that when I am manic, he isn't there with me to see me, and that he would have to live with me, or experience what I do, to see signs or symptoms of mania. He said that I wasn't manic, because mania has three main aspects to it: 1. Motor movement symptoms, 2. Mood symptoms, and 3. Thought symptoms. I explained to him that I did have racing thoughts, elation, and restlessness when I am manic, and when I can't sleep for a whole night or nights, but he said that I don't have manic motor movements, and that the racing thoughts, elation, and restlessness were caused by the Risperdal that I take, and that I still didn't have all three components to mania.

My psychiatrist then said, that I suffer from neither classic manic depression disorder nor classic schizophrenia, because I had a lot of insight into my mental health problems, and that most manic-depressives and schizophrenics have no insight into their own mental health problems. He said that I was suffering from a mental illness because I hear voices, and that I also suffer from stress, and from the side-effects of the Risperdal anti-psychotic medication that I take. In response to my request, he has now prescribed me a sedative (1 mg of Lorazepam), to be added onto my repeat prescription, and to be used as the need arises, and he suggested that he doubled the strength of my sleeping tablets, and which I have agreed to.

So it is the case that me and my psychiatrist, have a fundamental disagreement about my diagnosis. I say I sometimes suffer from mania, and he says that I don't, but that I suffer from a mental illness and stress. One criticism I have of some of what he said, is that he is taking a very textbook, extreme, black and white thinking view, of what is mania and what isn't, because there are various degrees of it, but I think that I do get the occasional manic episodes or cycles. I am prepared to admit that I could be wrong, or that the mania is actually something different, like stress, as he suggests, but he never says that he doesn't know, or that he could be wrong. He is a bit of a know-all, and always thinks that he is right. He can also never seem to agree to differ with me, but instead seems to militate against what I say, if it is different from his own opinions and explanations.

The other main criticism I have, of some of what my psychiatrist said, in our latest session, is that I don't have classic manic-depression or schizophrenia, because I have a lot of insight into my own mental health problems. I agree with him, that I have a lot of insight into my own mental health problems, but it is not just insight about my own mental health problems, but also based upon my observations and interactions with other psychiatric-diagnosed people. I am also able to be receptive, to the mental health problems of others, and internalise their thinking-patterns or similar experiences, so I can learn about this, teach others about it, and understand and help them.

The other point, is that there are reasons why most psychiatric-diagnosed people do not have insight into their own mental health problems, as they are discouraged from doing so by most psychiatry, social work, and the mental health system. The rule of confidentiality, is often misused to prevent people from seeking the causes or influences to their mental health problems, and for finding solutions, and from sharing their experiences, and learning and teaching with others. Most psychiatric-diagnosed people, are encouraged to be very selfish about their mental health problems, and to remain very ignorant and secretive about it, including many of those diagnosed people, who see themselves as outspoken users of services, or psychiatric survivors.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

My Most Recent Mystical Experience

For me, a mystical experience does not necessarily mean a religious one, but rather a revelation of a deeper, extended, or more hidden aspect of social reality. There are certain types of music, which induce deep, spiritual, mystical experiences in me. One such CD, is called Milk and Kisses, by The Cocteau Twins. It is not my favourite album by The Cocteau Twins, as Treasure is my favourite album by them, followed by Blue Bell Knoll, but it's the one album which has the most spiritual and profoundest effect upon me. It's also an album which I have to play over and over again, for it to have the full effect.

The last time I listened to Milk and Kisses, I listened to it for about three hours, whilst in a very receptive and meditative state of mind, and I fell into a kind of trance, and into a state of mind inbetween sleeping and waking. With my eyes closed, and being half-asleep, I saw people I knew, in the room, and very briefly conversed with them, even though they weren't really there, and the whole experience was very pleasant and reassuring. One person I saw was an old woman, who I'd not seen before and didn't know, and who said she had been occasionally watching over me.

What occurred to me about all of this, was that it opened my mind up to a reality which exists beneath sleep, and is a set of weavings of our connections with known and unknown others. It is the internalisation of reality, and a basis of another kind of social reality, internalised into our experience and mind.

I used to drink and socialise with an half-Irish friend, and because I was with him in both experience and mind, in the ways I related and connected to him, I was able to absorb and internalise his thoughts, emotions, and experiences, through a kind of transference, and now I know what it was like when he used to talk, shout at, and see people who weren't there. I now have a deeper and wider understanding of this, that there is much more of an aware and active state of mind beneath sleep, but which we only partially become aware of by experiencing dreams whilst we sleep.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Thinking Allowed: Hearing Voices

The Radio 4 programme, Thinking Allowed, linked on the Intervoicewebsite, looked at new sociological research on hearing voices. Theprogramme started off with an extract from Woman's Hour, of a womanwho heard the negative voice of her stepfather, who died when she was three.

Julie Arthur-Kirby was the guest speaker on the ThinkingAllowed programme, and senior lecturer, in the department of socialand psychological science, at Edgehill University, and author of apaper called Natural Body, Social Mind,: An Experience of VoiceHearing. I thought it was an excellent programme, which said many things whichI had discovered from my own experiences, observations, and findings,and had written about in my articles. I agree with the speaker, JulieKirby, that people in supportive social environments, experience supportive voices, whereas people in disruptive or unsupportive environments, experience disruptive and unsupportive voices. I now live in a supportive environment, and I hear positive and supportive female voices (mostly when and where I want to hear them), but if mycircumstances ever changed for the worse, or a bad or negative event triggered me, it could very easily bring the negative and intrusive voices back.

It was also mentioned in the programme, that the negative voices canchange to positive voices, if the person's social circumstances changed, and as they meet new people, and then the voices take upon the characteristic of those new people. This has been very true for me, as I have internalised the positive and supportive voices, of female psychotherapists, I have had therapeutic relationships with in the past, and who were both very good to me.

I'm glad it was mentioned in the programme, that voices can be caused by or due to over-socialisation. This often occurs, when psychiatric-diagnosed people, are forced to socialise against our consent or will, and when our privacy is violated and invaded. Social interaction is very important, but it's also important that it isn't forced upon us, and that our privacy is also safeguarded, respected,and protected.

Speaking in Tongues, Mumbling Out Loud, and Incoherent Speech (Part III)

As a psychiatric-diagnosed person, I realise that all kinds of different people, have all kinds of different responses towards myself and other diagnosed people. There are also some common trends and behaviours amongst non psychiatric-diagnosed people though, especially where mentalism is concerned.

There are some people in society, who will try to provoke mad, irrational, and disruptive responses in psychiatric diagnosed people, by acting provocative and crazy, and because they have issues with their own mental health problems, and which remain unexplored and unresolved. I also find that many people in authority, have communication problems and personality disorders, in that they can't enter into any kind of mutual discussion and debate, are very easily irritated, and lose their concentration very quickly.

Some people will also project their communication problems, onto psychiatric diagnosed people, to say we have a communication problem,and that we can't conform to normal, mutual, or structured conversation, when the communication problems are theirs and not ours. These people usually have problems with their own identity, and with integrating into society in some way.

In my previous two articles on incoherent speech, I looked at the nature of such speech and language in context to the social and interpersonal causes or influences. I feel it's important here, to again mention that incoherent speech is not a disruptive thing, which is trying to fragment, destroy, or divide mutual conversation, although it is usually a response to some conflict and fragmentation by others, in that it seeks a wider or a mutual consensus.

When psychiatric-diagnosed people, make what seem like strange statements, this is to a great extent, because they are imagining a statement, that would be referred back to their thoughts or commentsabout something. They are also imagining a statement, of something referred back to them in agreement or recognition, and which again, is part of a common consensus. The consensus in society, of ordinary everyday speech, then becomes internalised within the person, who then releases this, in order to experience and externalise it.

I was also saying, in my first article on incoherent speech, that psychiatric-diagnosed people often talk seemingly incoherently, as a way of avoiding the rational thought-control of the voices or of other people, because if the psychiatric-diagnosed person speaks in meaningless statements, this can disrupt the voices rational dominance and control, and fragment or distract the voices from the conscious mind.

I realise that for some people reading this, they may think that therefore psychiatric-diagnosed people, are opposed to all rational thought-control, as in the context of normal relating, or transactions, and everyday conversation and speech. This was not what I was saying, because I was referring specifically to hearing negative and/or intrusive voices, and talking about very negative and critical one-sided inquisition.

There may be some psychiatric-diagnosed people, who are indeed opposed to all rational thought-control by other people socially, and that has to be taken into consideration, and realised that there are all kinds of reasons why they are like that, but that in many ways, it is a reasonable stance to take. On the other hand, most diagnosed-people, are not opposed to actual rational free-thinking and communication,and very much value the importance of rational thinking and logic, in context to sound thought and communication, and in context to safe and sound mental health.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

This Voice (poem)

Oh, this voice
Would sound like a miraculous mountain
Of truth and wisdom.
Like an evolving sphere of conscious continuum
If only you could hear this voice.
Like a band practise at it best,
And like an unteachable test,
A message of determination and choice,
If only you could hear this voice

A resume of the book "Stigma - Notes on the management of spoiled identity" by Erving Goffman

Erving Goffman defines stigma as something which extensively discredits and disqualifies the individual from social acceptance and limits life-chances. Overall and throughout, he reviews some popular work on stigma, and then at the end of the book clarifies the relation of stigma to the subject matter of deviance.

He begins by explaining that the Greeks originated the term stigma to refer to bodily signs which were cut or burnt into the body, and which were designed to expose something unusual or bad about the person, that a religious term stigma was then used to describe blemishes upon the flesh claimed to be from holy grace, and that then a medical term stigma was used to describe bodily symptoms of physical disorder. Now in the present day, the term stigma is used much in the original sense, but to refer to the stigma itself rather than to bodily signs of it.

He says that there are demands made upon a person by others through ritual interaction, but that these demands become righteously presented demands. He also says that these demands are made in effect, meaning that we don't realise what these demands are until they are looked back upon in retrospect. He therefore makes a distinction between what he calls a virtual identity and an actual social identity, meaning that the virtual is what is imagined or unconsciously anticipated, and that the actual is what is actually revealed and realised about the person. In this way, he describes stigma as a special kind of relationship between attribute and stereotype, and with a discrepancy between a persons virtual and actual identity.

A stigma is something which discredits a person from normal everyday acceptance, and he describes it as something which only looks at a part of a person, rather than looking at the whole person. A stigma regards a person as not quite human by definition, can rationalise an animosity based upon social class, and create a whole range of imperfections based upon the original one. He also says that a stigma can involve double-standards, of an expectation or demand made about another person that does not apply to the person themselves who is making the demand.

He talks about a gestalt of disability, meaning that the stigmatised person who has a failing in one area might be automatically assumed by others that he is disabled in other unrelated areas, and he describes how a split may occur between self and self-demands, with the self turning against itself in not accepting itself as others may not accept it.

He then says that having a stigma can make a person very self-conscious about what others are thinking, by having to calculate the impression he or she is making. He says that minor feats of ability of the stigmatised can be seen as extraordinary things by the non-stigmatised (or normals), and that minor failings can be seen as part of stigmatised differentness. He says that a show of emotion can be held back by ex-psychiatric patients, as the person may be afraid that this may be taken as a sign of his disability, and that he may feel exposed because some people may have a morbid curiosity about his condition.

He also says of the psychiatric patient that whilst hospitalised, and while he is with adult members of his own family, that he is faced with being treated tactfully as if he were sane when there is known to be some doubt, even though he may not have any; or he is treated as insane, when he knows this is not just.

He then talks about the own and the wise. The own means those who have the same stigma, and the wise are those who have become knowledgeable about stigmatisation, and to some extent share the burden of the stigma, and who are friends, relatives, or representatives of the stigmatised; and he talks about group formation of the own and the wise, mentioning that the wise must not only be offered but also accepted by the own. Representative groups may differ or even be at competition with each other on the matter of management by the own or by the wise.

Moral career

is described as when the stigmatised adopts the standpoint of the normal, acquires the identity beliefs of the wider society, and has a general idea of what it would be like to posses a particular stigma. The stigmatised learns that he has a particular stigma, and this time the consequence of possessing it. The timing and interplay of these two initial phases form important patterns, and establish the foundation for later development and distinguishing among the moral careers available.

A turning point of a moral career, or a radical reorganising of ones past, is when the stigmatised accepts his own group of stigmatised people as full-fledged human beings, removes his own prejudices from the past, and questions the prejudices of his pre-stigma acquaintances.

In the chapter on information control and personal identity, he says of social information, that it is about the more or less abiding characteristics of a person, as opposed to the moods, feelings, or intents that he might have a particular moment, that it is conveyed by the very person it is about, and conveyed through bodily expression in the immediate presence of those who receive the expression. Some signs that convey social information may be frequently and steadily available, and routinely sought and received, and these signs he calls symbols.

Prestige symbols can be contrasted to stigma symbols, namely, signs which are especially effective in drawing attention to a debasing identity discrepancy, breaking up what would otherwise be a coherent and overall picture with a consequent reduction in our valuation of the individual. By intention or in effect the ex-mental patient conceals information about his real social identity, receiving and accepting treatment based upon false assumptions concerning himself.

Gffman describes three phases in the learning process of the stigmatised as: 1. Learning the normal point of view and learning that he is disqualified according to it. 2. The next phase consists of his learning to cope with the way others treat the kind of person he can be shown to be. 3. Learning to pass (i.e. hiding or concealing social and personal information about a disability).

He says that what are routine for normals can be difficult situations in managing information to the stigmatised, and that a person with a secret failing must be alive to the social situation as a scanner of possibilities, and is therefore likely to be alienated from the simpler world of which those around him apparently dwell.

Goffman uses a threefold typology of social identity (what can be actually known about the person from their abiding characteristics), personal identity (documentation or group of facts known about the person), and ego identity (that which the individual feels about stigma and its management).

He writes that identity ambivalence (to his own group) might be felt by the stigmatised when he sees his own acting in a stereotypical way, flamboyantly or pitifully acting out, and that he may feel normal in comparison to those more stigmatised than him.

He also says that professionals will help out, sometimes of telling how they handled a difficult situation, and he goes on to describe what he calls professional presentations. He says that a disclosure etiquette develops, meaning that the stigmatised is told to reveal discrediting information about himself in a matter-of-fact way, at an appropriate time, and calmly. (Breaking the ice and humour may also be used by the stigmatised to disclose information about a disability.)

He says that advise about personal conduct sometimes stimulates the individual into becoming a critic of the social scene, an observer of human relations. The stigmatised can become 'situation conscious' while normals present are spontaneously involved within the situation itself constituting for these normals a background of unattended matters.

Professionals in their presentations both encourage the stigmatised person to be a part of his own group and different, whilst also (contradictorily) encouraging him or her to identify with normals and the wider society they constitute. Of these professional presentations are warnings against attempting to pass (hide stigma) completely, and against fully accepting as his own the negative attitudes of others around him. The stigmatised individual is also warned against minstrelisation (foolishly acting out bad qualities imputed to him) and normification (pretending to be very normal).

He says that an 'adjustment model' is presented and that the individual is told he must not be ashamed of his difference and try not to conceal it. And because normals have their troubles too, the stigmatised individual should not feel bitter, resentful, or self-pitying. A cheerful, outgoing manner should be cultivated. Normals really mean no harm; when they do, it is because they don't know any better. Normals should therefore be tactfully helped to act nicely. Snubs, slights, and untactful remarks should not be answered in kind, but the normal must be re-educated, point for point, and with delicacy showing that in spite of appearances the stigmatised individual is a fully human being. The stigmatised are to be gentlemanly and not to push their luck; they should not test the limits of the acceptance shown them, nor make it the basis for still further demands.

The tolerance of normals is advocated as part of a bargain of which is the 'adjustment model', but which is really a one-sided agreement. The nature of a 'good adjustment' requires that the stigmatised individual cheerfully and un-self-cosnciously accept himself as essentially the same as normals. Since the good adjustment line is presented by those who take the standpoint of the wider society, one must ask what the following of it by the stigmatised means to normals. It means that the unfairness and pain of having to carry a stigma will never be presented to them; it means that normals will not have to admit to themselves how limited their tactfulness and tolerance is; and it means that normals can remain relatively uncontaminated by intimate contact with the stigmatised, relatively unthreatened in their identity beliefs.

Of the difference encouraged by professionals, Goffman says that this differentness itself derives from society, and that before a difference can matter much, it must be conceptualised collectively by the society as a whole. Thus, even while the stigmatised individual is told that he is a human being like everyone else, he is being told that it would be unwise to pass or let down his own stigmatised group. In brief, he is told that he is like everyone else and that he isn't. The individual is also asked to regard the acceptance normals have of him as if it is complete acceptance when it isn't. Thus a phantom acceptance is allowed to provide the basis for a phantom normalcy.

On deviation Goffman looks at ordinary deviations, saying that the playing of the stigmatised role and normal are both required to be accepted as part of ones own and the wider society. He then goes on to look at deviations in high and lower society as groups, except for the group-isolate individual who remains isolated. He points out that whilst there are iatrogenic treatments which can cause illnesses, so there are iatrogenic labels which students create in order to study people.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Speaking in Tongues, Mumbling Out Loud, and Incoherent Speech (Part II)

After reading my first article on Speaking in Tongues, Mumbling Out Loud, and Incoherent Speech a few times, I imaginatively empathised with the readers, and thought I should say more on the matter, and on other related issues. Plus, I have had some new experiences of speaking seemingly incoherently, both in terms of the social and interpersonal causes or influences, and in dealing with, and understanding, people's various reactions and responses.
I want to say more about so-called talking in tongues, as I didn't mention this much in my first article on the matter. I sometimes talk in tongues, when I am brainstorming for thoughts or ideas, or after a long day or evening of conversation, and which is the residue thoughts, emotions, and conversation from the day or evening, going through my mind, and releasing itself. This has the same or a similar affect to Buddhist, Hindu, or other religious chanting, as a kind of meditating for re-charging or emptying the mind. Talking in tongues, can also be a way of dealing with overwhelming creativity, imagination, or emotional passion.
In my first article, on seemingly incoherent speech, I mentioned that this can be similar to the way, that a person takes notes in studying, as thematic reminders, and are therefore condensed elements of details and huge chunks of information. A good example of this, was some years ago when I was in a pub, and I used to sit and drink and write lots of notes in my writing pad, on my forthcoming articles. One of the bar staff, who asked to read my notes (without asking that they were indeed just notes), asked me if I minded her showing them to her colleague, to show her colleague what she described as disorganised, rambling, and crazy nonsense. This is the same with some incoherent speech, that if the other person or people, don't attempt to acknowledge or unravel the symbolic and condensed details, and huge chunks of information behind it, then it will indeed seem incoherent and like crazy nonsense.
It's important to look at some other people's defensive, ignorant, and prejudiced reactions, responses, and assumptions, towards seemingly incoherent speech. The other person or people, might think that the psychiatric diagnosed person who is speaking seemingly incoherently, is taking the Mickey out of them, or deliberately trying to confuse or annoy them. Other assumptions, are that the person is either crazy and irrational, or that they are being arrogant to expect others to go through all the effort of decoding, and that the person is also lazy, because they can't be bothered to explain their ideas to others, who have different interests and emphasis, and who might need clarification. This view is intolerant to what seems like crazy nonsense, insisting that there are plenty of other people out there, who will be seen as talking actual mutual meanings, instead of what is seen as cryptic doggerel.
There may be some people who for various reasons, can't moderate or translate their seemingly mad language, and so I see my role as defending or speaking out for them, as I also sometimes mumble out loud, speak seemingly incoherently, and speak in tongues, but I have the insight, experience, and observation to understand and explain it, and know how to relate, connect, and respond to it. Also, in my articles I try and move to the level of others, very much share in mutual meanings, and I try to imagine the level of the other people's understanding, and move to a position where I can speak in their terms.
One of the reasons psychiatric diagnosed people, speak seemingly incoherently or ramblingly, is because they don't want to be pinned down to restricting specifics, and because they do not agree with the over-riding superstructure, fixed, narrow, or rigid agenda of the conversation. Psychiatric diagnosed people , have much more of a tendency, to talk seemingly incoherently in a group, when there is a lack of democracy, and when there is one or more people dominating or controlling the conversation, and not least because they want to change the subject or shift the agenda.
Sometimes a psychiatric diagnosed person will say something, that seems like it is out-of-context, but is actually some line out of a poem, song, or film they have seen, or some other idea which occurs to them, and which takes on a new humorous meaning, when mentioned in context to the conversation, although it's not always mentioned where the term or phrase originates from. This is quite common amongst some people, and not necessarily done by psychiatric diagnosed people.
One very strong assumption and myth, about some people who sometimes speak seemingly incoherently, is that they are trying to fragment or disrupt a conversation, and are thinking or operating through a process of disconnected or disorganised thoughts, emotions, and ideas. It is also seen as a very subjective way of thinking and relating to others. Very critical, negative, and judgmental responses and reactions, can cause the psychiatric diagnosed person to retreat from the narrow or usual mutual meanings, speak seeming nonsense, and talk what seems like metaphysical thought and speech. In actual fact, when a psychiatric diagnosed person does this, it can be due to connecting themes or parts, and not disconnecting them, but to change the nature of the conversation from very critical, negative, or judgmental, towards some kind of wider shared meaning and consensus, and in order to avoid conflict. It is a way of the psychiatric diagnosed person, sorting this out in their own mind, and trying to change other people's way of communicating. This puts the subjective themes or ideas of both individuals or groups, into a new meaning and context, and into a more objective point of shared compassion and agreement.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Musical Silences

I saw a live jazz band last night, and which were quite good. Parts of the improvisation, especially on the double-bass, made me realise that the gaps, or longish spaces, in between a stream of notes, or scales, are very important too, because it connects different phrases or streams, in surprising, unpredictable, and unusual ways, and the spaces also leave thought for the imagination.

This also seems to occur, when there is a key change of some sort, and maybe this is similar to the spaces inbetween words in speech, when the conversation subtly shifts or changes.

I've been listening to the saxophonist Paul Desmond lately, and he doesn't use the spaces method of streaming, but it's a technique that John Coltrane uses quite a bit.

Music helps me to understand communication and speech, and vice versa.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Speaking in Tongues, Mumbling Out Loud, and Incoherent Speech

Some fun and stereotyping, by some comedians and the public, is made out of the fact that some psychiatric diagnosed people, sometimes speak or shout to themselves or others incoherently, mumble out loud, or speak in tongues. These matters are very little understood by psychiatrists, other mental health professionals, and the public, from experience, and from sensitive and subtle interaction, introspection, and observation. I sometimes speak or mumble out loud to myself or others, things that seem incoherent, or speak in very abstract, metaphorical, language or tongues, but there are very important and clear reasons behind why I and others do this.

A while ago, I was round a friend's flat, and he asked me a few questions about emotions and thoughts. I did have the immediate answers to his questions, but I didn't want to articulate them in a usual or normal way, partly because I wanted him to also think for himself, and to engage and connect with me in that process. I gave him some suggestions and subtle pointers, but at the time, and on this occasion, he didn't respond to, connect, or pick up on them.

Often when psychiatric diagnosed people speak seemingly incoherently, they are wanting others to respond or connect to the suggestions and subtle pointers they are making, and part of both understanding and interacting with their communication, acquires an awareness or basic skill in connecting to and improvising upon this. Much of the thinking and communication of psychiatric diagnosed people, when they seem to think or speak incoherently, is similar to the way that a person takes notes in studying, as thematic reminders, and are therefore condensed elements of details and huge chunks of information.

So as a way of thinking through the questions out loud, and expressing the answers to my friend, I went through a series of ideas and metaphors in my speech, which sort of answered his questions, but in a very creative, roundabout, or seemingly abstract way. The next day, he commented that I was talking nonsense that evening (although he apologised afterwards for saying so), but I was very aware of what I was saying and what it meant, at the time and afterwards, although I admit that the creative, imaginative, or emotional passion, took over a more logical, or purely rational, way of communicating or reasoning.

It's often assumed by psychiatrists, mental health professionals, and the public, that if speech seems very incoherent, then it must therefore be unstructured, disjointed, rambling, and fragmented, and without logical connection and meaning, but sometimes the seemingly incoherent speech, can be due to an over-fluidity, and over-structuring of thoughts and emotions; without articulating and focusing on one thought, statement, or feeling at a time. It's also the case, that just because a person's thoughts or speech lack logical connection and meaning, this doesn't mean that their emotions are disorganised and disconnected, as there may well be a lot of emotional congruity and connectivity, as sentient and feeling beings.

It's also assumed, that because a person is speaking seemingly incoherently, that this must be due to a so-called thought disorder, when there may actually be a lot of content and structure of thought behind the speech, although the person has a communication problem, or chooses to communicate it in a different way. Seemingly incoherent speech, is therefore more of a problem or deviation of communication, rather than it being an actual thought disorder, and which can be rectified by communication and social skills.

Speaking in tongues, mumbling out loud, and speaking seemingly incoherently, are often secondary mental health problems, or rather, ways of coping with primary mental health problems. Sometimes this can involve talking or having a dialogue with oneself, or with hearing voices, but it can also be a way of avoiding the rational thought-control of the voices or of other people, because if the psychiatric diagnosed person speaks in meaningless statements, this can disrupt the voices rational dominance and control, and fragment or distract the voices from the conscious mind. Speaking in this way, can also be a strategy in trying to avoid or escape from being observed, objectified, controlled, exploited, and manipulated by one-sided inquisition.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Paranoia, the Creative Dialectical Method, and Recovery

I present here, from my own experiences, observations, findings, and ideas, and from using paranoia and recovery as an example in this article, the Creative Dialectical Method. This method uses creativity to unite opposing factors, in order to create a synthesis and a new thesis, and by integrating both the subjective and objective experiences of the person, with regard and respect for the person's privacy and confidentiality.

I don't claim to have invented this method or approach completely, as it has been used by others up to a point, such as The Hearing Voices Network, but I have built upon that foundation of new knowledge, and added my own contributions to it. The Creative Dialectical Method may not be suitable for everyone, but it does have some overall value and use, for people diagnosed with mental health problems, and it very much describes my own mind, and my own way of thinking, feeling, and healing.

Certain things can induce paranoia deliberately, and then shun the responses, by covering up, denying, or hiding the root cause of it, and then labelling it as mental illness. Paranoia is caused by many factors, but largely by others distorting or misrepresenting reality, usually as part of some bullying, mistreatment, or abuse. Abusers set up different-versions-of-reality, that the person who has been bullied, mistreated, or abused, wanted or deserved the abuse, and this can make the person feel that they are under further attack from others. The way that abusers tell their victims that they are very bad people, can be internalised and projected onto others, in that others are seen as very bad, the way that the person themselves was seen and treated in that way.

Not all paranoia should be prevented, as some paranoia is a good thing. It's a good thing, if it is something which is wary of violence and extremism, because it's about protection, care, and concern for ones self and others. It's also a good thing if there is a process to it, of eventually integrating the facts, with the concerns of ones own and others well-being and welfare.
Sometimes the end-factor in this process, can be a political or social critique, or asserting and expressing one's feelings and thoughts with others, on a more personal or interpersonal level. This is a process of creativity and some recovery, and there are many different ways to achieve this, but it involves flexibility, ordering, structuring, and some randomness, and fluidity with the facts, and both rational and imaginative thinking.

Very rarely, paranoia can lead to the paranoid person threatening or committing violence, but on the whole, paranoid psychiatric-diagnosed people, are not a threat or violent in any way. The so-called sane fear of other people's paranoia, depends on which way you look at it. So-called sane people are sometimes frightened, that psychiatric-diagnosed people will become arbitrary, irrational, and that some anarchy and violence will resort from this. Some psychiatric diagnosed people, see sane society, and psychiatry as abusive, violent, and arbitrary in its labelling and bad treatment. The paranoid person, fears that harm or violence will be done to them, and sometimes acts in terms of avoidance, or what they see as self-defence.

It may not be a good idea, to label people as paranoid in the first place, although I appreciate that psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals, have to label people up to a point, in order to assess, diagnose, and treat them. I am critical and concerned, about the way we treat people who are labelled as paranoid though. I think we need to get some kind of balance between relating to them, and in a way believing what they say, whilst at the same time, looking for other causes and reasons, why they believe that others, or strange forces, are out to harm them, if this is not always or overall the case. What isn't helpful, is to militate against the person's so-called paranoid delusions, by just telling them that it isn't true, and that they are simply mad, paranoid, and deluded.

This is the crux of the matter here, that we relate to the person's concerns and fears, with our own experiences, observations, or examples of that, even though their fears may be based upon some false assumptions. This humanises the paranoid person's fears and concerns, and does not polarise their fears and concerns, as being totally different or opposed to the fears and concerns of people in general. This can involve a process, of not rejecting or denying the paranoid delusions, but of working through their wider meanings, and integrating them with a more rational way of thinking. This is a dialectical process, that leads to more rational thinking, knowledge, and understanding, whilst at the same time, it does not try to totally separate the opposing factors, of delusion and rational reality, but seeks instead to create some kind of synthesis and new thesis.

When I have been deluded, in the throes of a mental breakdown, in psychiatric hospital in the past, the psychiatrists who first assessed me, have acted as if they believed me, and related towards me likewise, and which made me feel a whole lot better, that someone else believed me, or could at least relate in some way to what I was experiencing, believing, and saying. This also helped the whole process, of integrating my so-called delusions with a more rational way of thinking, although after I was first assessed in psychiatric hospital, I found that the further psychiatric, routine, assessments, did not aid or help this process, as the psychiatrist set out to deny, invalidate, and suppress my experiences of my so-called delusions completely, with high dosage psychiatric medication, and with negative remarks and criticisms.

I am not totally anti psychiatric medication, because it has helped me when I have been very unwell in the past, and in small doses I have found it beneficial, towards some kind of wellness or recovery, but I am critical, of using psychiatric medication to suppress the persons experiences, of things like hearing voices completely, because we have to work through their wider meanings, and work towards a creative, integrative, dialectical, and holistic recovery.

Paranoia, Semiotics, and Politics

Paranoia is a very receptive way of feeling and thinking, although it can be very selective too, but it can also be a more honest and accurate way, of seeing people and things. It can also be very subjective, in that the so-called paranoid person sees other people, signs, and things as directed at, for, or about them. This doesn't have to be negative though, and can be positive. I sometimes think that messages in the media are just for me, or people like me, and this gives me a purposeful and good feeling, like others are listening to me, working with me, or care about me and others like me.

I also sometimes read people's faces, when I am driving along as a passenger in a car, sometimes seeing compassion, intelligence, and appreciation, and at other times seeing aggression, ignorance, and animosity. When people are engaged in driving their cars, their unconscious, and the nature of their character and will, is more open, connected in operation, and exposed. This is one reason, why so-called road-rage can easily occur. The so-called paranoid person, is an observer of social and personal meanings, maybe as a way of avoiding the role of being the observed and objectified, but the intention is to observe equally with others, or interact and connect with others, on some kind of free and equal basis. .

There are some people in society, who will use their own paranoia, and the inducing of it in others, to dominate, abuse, and control others, because they believe that paranoia gives them a higher and superior awareness, and exposes everyone's equal weakness and imperfections. This is projective, and not receptive paranoia though, as it is not attentive to others, nor seeks to interrelate and interact with others, or build upon strength, potential, and positivity.

The accusation and label of so-called paranoia, by psychiatrists and others, can also be used by those who idealise human nature, society, and community, when the reality is that society and community will always discriminate and find scapegoats or out-groups, to justify its self-righteousness and somewhat mythologised or idealised image.

Scepticism about human nature or society, or having different political views, from the mainstream or the state, can very easily get labelled as paranoia, and in some cases, psychiatric incarceration can occur without proper trial and assessment. The most overt examples of this are in Communist Chine, and the old Soviet Union, but it also happens in democracies too, where people with libertarian or radical views get accused of being paranoid, psychotic, and out-of-touch with reality.. The state and society can get away with abusing, terrorising, and torturing people diagnosed with mental health problems, and yet if the diagnosed person complains or protests about this, then they get labelled as paranoid

Friday, 30 May 2008

Personality Disorders and Ordinary People

In simple terms, a personality disorder, is characterised by communication problems (usually an unwillingness to share or engage in free and equal or mutual communication), and a tendency to express thoughts and emotions irrationally, erratically, or compulsively. It is also characterised by emotions such as extreme anger and irritability, and an inability to sustain long-term friendships or relationships.

Whilst these characteristics describe a disorder, or a so-called mental illness, there is also a general, so-called normal version of personality disorders, and which keeps everyone in their place, in terms of expected and demanded mediocrity, very base or basic humour, and human and personal imperfections. An ordinary personality disorder, is also characterised by a certain immaturity of behaviour and expression, and by a degree of silliness and flippancy. I also sometimes like to act silly and be flippant, but I also like to take myself and others seriously, and which the ordinary personality disorder often militates against.

There is therefore a tendency, for ordinary people, to attack or criticise those who try to break out of this pathological conformity, and label them as pathologically insane, paranoid, psychotic, or deluded, particularly if the person, does not want to be a part of the crassness, stupidity, mediocrity, and ignorance of the ordinary personality disorder. If a person tries to break out from this conditioning, then ordinary people say that they are mad, take themselves too seriously, or that they have no sense of humour.

The mental health professionals, and social workers, also absorb and embrace the pathological conformity, and social control, of the ordinary personality disorder, because they think that this helps them relate to other so-called normal people, such as people diagnosed with mental health problems, and because the professionals see themselves as ordinary people, although they can't see in fact that they are acting and behaving like arseholes.

Whilst I agree that humour is very important, and that we should all be able to laugh at ourselves, the British have a very sadistic sense of humour (and which is sometimes pointed out by other cultures and races), and are often only happy when laughing at someone else's expensive, and when those laughing can't take it back, or laugh at themselves in turn. If everyone could laugh at themselves, this would be a good thing, but often laughing at yourself, is something that others expect or demand, who can't do this themselves, and so it is a matter of double-standards, and very one-sided.

People on the right-wing of politics, sometimes complain about political correctness, that it censors language and free speech. Political correctness is up to a point a good thing, because it is about expanding language and terminology, instead of just using the same old derogatory and abusive language and terms.

Political correctness in humour, started off in the sixties with the anti-establishment humour, and then in the eighties with alternative humour, and which was all about poking fun at powerful, and rich people, in authority, instead of making fun of minorities, poor people, and people with diagnosed disabilities.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Hearing Voices and Social Isolation

We need a new model of treatment, and a new way of thinking, with regard to social isolation and hearing voices and/or so-called schizophrenia. There's a tendency for social workers, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals, to bully people who hear voices and/or who are diagnosed with schizophrenia, into socially interacting more with others. This stems from two major misconceptions.

Firstly, whilst it's true that voices can be in part caused by social isolation, to simply say that voices are caused completely or mostly by social isolation, is false, ignorant, and misleading, and it leads to a lot of harm, neglect, and abuse. Voice hearers and people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia have a different way of socially interacting, and which reciprocates much more the inner and outer experiences. Non voice hearers and the non-diagnosed keep their inner and outer experiences more intact, except perhaps when they are asleep and dreaming.

Having more reciprocity between inner and outer experiences, may in fact be a much more healthier way to think, feel, and socially interact. So it is simply not true to say that people who hear voices don't socially interact, aren't socially interacting enough, or are disabled in this way. It may just be that voice hearers and diagnosed people need a certain amount of solitude to filter and transform their experiences of social interaction, and that the social interaction that voice hearers do have is experienced differently. This is the new model of treatment and way of thinking which is required towards hearing voices and diagnosed schizophrenia.

Secondly, it is the case that for many people, hearing voices actually counteract social isolation. Our voices befriend us and are like imaginary friends. This does not mean that we need to be bullied into socially interacting more, nor that we have a disability to socially interact, it just means that we have a different way of counteracting social isolation, but which is just as effective for us.

A friend of mine says that when he gets depression, the voices can lessen the impact of the depression because they reframe the experience into something more open ended. This opens up the possibility for new social interactions as I see it, but does not necessarily close the possibilities. The view that hearing voices can help prevent social isolation is quite a radical one, but a very valid one nonetheless. Voice hearers have a more complex model of social interaction.

My friend Luke mentioned that this also has a strong link to theater, and the voices are like a "dialogue sense" - an extra module in the mind. In the book The Master Game, the author Robert de Ropp explains a concept called "Inner Theater", and which is like a dialogue sense that enables spiritual growth by modeling others and mapping the highly complex structures of interaction. This may also have some similarities to what voice hearers are experiencing.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Paranoia-Inducing, Projection, and Internalisation

To begin this article on paranoia, I first want to say something about paranoia-inducing, paranoia projection, and the internalisation or introjection of this. Some people in power and society, will try to induce paranoia in people diagnosed with mental health problems, because they get a kick out of it, it makes them feel superior in terms of power and awareness, and it makes them feel and think that they have a better grasp and understanding of reality.
For example, whilst it may be argued that the drug cannabis induces paranoia, there is also the reality of the discrimination against the drug and its use, because it is illegal, and which can also induce paranoia.
By persecuting, terrorising, and hounding individuals, this can be a way of making the victimised person feel frightened, angry, paranoid or upset, and which are all ways to control and label the person, as having symptoms of so-called mental illness. This may also be a projection of paranoia - perhaps a mass paranoia - upon individuals or small groups. This projection of paranoia, can then become internalised by the person, but could also be an awareness of what could happen, if this discrimination and abuse to induce paranoia, became extended to actual or more violence, became more extreme, and got out totally of hand.
There is also the matter of sensitivity with paranoia. Some people who are labelled as paranoid may have a sensitivity to their local surroundings, and be sensitive to some aspects of social and cultural animosity, that others cannot see or admit to about themselves, or are not as aware of. Paranoia can be a more social way of thinking, because it is connecting to others, albeit in a negative way.
One opposite of paranoia, is the denial of power abuse, repression, and oppression in society and reality. A normal person may be tolerant towards some abuse and oppression, whilst the so-called paranoid person is aware of it and protests against it.
Paranoia can also be part of a creative process, where a detail or details get enlarged or exaggerated for atmosphere and effect, whilst there is some corresponding so-called delusion thinking, although once the blocks or delusions have passed, and the person can see the whole picture, this can then be part of a personal, cultural, social, or political critique.
Paranoia labelling can simply be a denial of rights to protect persons and people from persecution, discrimination, abuse, and oppression. On the BBC TV programme The Doctor Who Hears Voices, a female member of the Manchester Hearing Voices group, said that she was frightened that aliens were going to take her away, remove her eyes, and blind her. This might mean, that she is frightened that she could be sectioned, or incarcerated, in psychiatric hospital, if she told others about the voices, and that she could become alienated, and have her perceptions and thoughts about the experiences of the voices, taken away from her by psychiatric incarceration and drugs.
What is curious and interesting, is that in my experience, paranoia can be taken as a general personal criticism by another person - particularly a parent or other family member - even though the critical aspect of the paranoia is not directly about that person. Again, this might be because the paranoia is warning people of what could happen, if things became extreme or out of control, because it highlights the so called sane person's denial or tolerance of abusive power and repression, and because it is in a way seen as mad, irrational, and delusional. It is at the least, an extension of the so-called sane person's intolerance against another person having a different opinion or experience.
Paranoia that exists alongside or are also delusions, can stem from the fact that harm, abuse, and bullying has been done to the person in the past, and that events are somewhat overlapping in the mind. What the person needs is to understand are that the events are separate, but that they are also somewhat interconnected and interrelated.
Paranoia can also be about the person needing love, reassurance, and protection, and about his or her way of expressing that need. Paranoia can also stem, from the way that children or young people can be threatened or told that bad things will happen to them if they misbehave. This can induce paranoia in the child or in later life.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Hallucinating Music and my Appreciation of the Composer Wagner

I woke up at 8.30 this morning, after only having four hours sleep. I then went back to bed at 10.30 a.m. and slept until 2 p.m. I had the most amazing experience when I woke.
When I woke, I could hear some great and unique classical music that I've never heard before coming from my radio. I remembered turning my radio off though and thought "That's weird!". Then I turned the volume up, and it got louder although it didn't go up to full volume. I thought it was strange because I usually leave my radio tuned to Radio Kent who don't play classical music. Then I checked the switch to see if my radio was on, and it wasn't switched on. I then heard some seagulls outside my window, and this created and blended in with more amazing and unique classical music. After about twenty seconds the music faded.
I've hallucinated music before, usually jazz, but not quite as loud and vivid as this. I then played the parts of what I could remember from hearing the classical music on my guitar, and will remember how to play it now. This makes me wonder, if I could have been a great composer, and if this is how a lot of classical composers create music, is that they hear the music from the outside or the inside of their heads first. Maybe some of them hallucinate it.
I'm a great fan of the composer Wagner, and I gain a lot of psychological insight about human beings from listening to and experiencing his music. I said this in a mental health chat room, and one user in the room said that Wagner was a Nazi sympathizer and a racist, and that his beliefs went hand-in-hand with his music. I explained to her that the Nazis weren't around during Wagner's lifetime, and in any case the Nazis just used what part of Wagner they wanted to for their own propaganda and ideology, and then they dismissed the rest. Wagner did have some anti-Semitic views, but he also had Jewish friends and colleagues throughout his lifetime.
Wagner was not simply a nationalist and a racist. He started off as a socialist and an anarchist, but then got into nationalist politics. He then returned to his socialist and anarchist views towards the end of his life.
Wagner was interested and influenced by the philosopher Schopenhauer. Shopenhauer was a pessimist who believed that the human will was the source of all evil (unlike the philosopher Nietzsche who believed that it was the source of all good). In light of the strength of will of the Nazi's, Schopenhauer would have been right that it leads to evil and destruction. Instead of will power, Schopenhauer believed in transcendence and was influenced by things like Hinduism and Buddhism, and he saw salvation, deliverance and escape from suffering in aesthetic contemplation, sympathy for others, and ascetic living, and he thought that music was a very important part of that transcendence.
When I listen to Wagner's music, I do not hear conflict or racial hatred, but I hear both subtle and immense human emotions and love, tragedy, humanism, and ordinary people's struggles against poverty and oppression. I can hear Wagner's socialism and anarchism in his music, and when listening to his music on the bus on my Walkman, I realized the immense hidden love within ordinary people walking along in the streets, and their struggles against war, violence, and oppression. This is what I hear in Wagner's music, and which is why for me he will always be one of the greatest modern classical composers

Art, Transcendence, Rationality, and Consciousness

A while ago I had a brief conversation with an artist. He said that modern day teaching methods for art are useless and don't encourage people to think for themselves, but just focus on correct materials, still life, and copying from photographs. He also said that music is less aesthetic and less directly perceived by the senses than art, because art is visual and in direct contact with a person's consciousness, whilst music can be experienced with the eyes shut and is transcendent (beyond the ordinary range of perception), and so therefore less conscious and aesthetic.
The fact that modern day teaching methods for art are useless and don't encourage people to think for themselves, but just focus on correct materials, still life, and copying from photographs, implies that there is a lack of imagination and perception that only applies to form and not to emotions and finer or subtler perceptions which could go along with some transcendence.
As a musician, I disagree with the artist that music is experienced or played as less conscious as visual art, as a lot of great music requires a lot of consciousness to fully appreciate, play, or understand it, and I don't think that hearing is less of a direct or valued perceptual sense than seeing. I also don't think that transcendence is equal to a reduction of consciousness, as I partly feel that this is a very Western way of thinking, and which is culturally determined by different ideas on consciousness itself (with the East equating transcendence as higher and not lower levels of consciousness).
For example, in Kant's theory of knowledge, transcendence means being beyond the limits of experience and hence unknowable. This also means being above and independent of the material universe, and so the Western model may be a more materialistic view of consciousness than say a spiritual one, or it may be assuming that transcendence is beyond material reality, when it may just be beyond ordinary, formal, or mundane perceptual experience.
The Western model on consciousness also seems to me to include certain ideas on madness, that if madness is regarded as transcendent, then it is therefore according to that model something less conscious and less aesthetic, when again transcendence might mean a higher consciousness on some level.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Why I am Opposed to the 11-Plus

I recently had a brief conversation, with someone about grammar schools and the 11-plus. She said that it was wrong of the Labour government to close some grammar schools, whilst I said that I disagreed with the 11-plus, because it brands children as unintelligent from an early age. She replied, that without the 11-plus we would have mediocrity, as if mediocrity doesn't already exist in society, with things like the vast majority of parenting and the media.
The main reason why the 11-plus is wrong and highly damaging, is because it doesn't take into account the influence of the home-life on the child's learning, mental, and emotional development. I was abused at home, and which prevented me from concentrating on school work, as so much of my time was spent on dissociating from the abuse, and suppressing very painful thoughts and emotions. We need women into work, college, or university, so they are not housebound, and basic child development and parenting skills taught in schools, but what we have now in terms of parenting, is a state of ignorance and the worst kind of anarchy.
The other main reason I am opposed to the 11-plus, is because children develop intellectually and academically at different ages and stages in their lives. Only in my late teens, did I become very interested in reading and learning, when I was free from the school bullying and domestic abuse, and then I wanted to learn about politics, psychology, and sociology, because these things were not taught in schools. I later stopped reading, because I mostly read to improve my vocabulary, and because I then wanted to focus on my own experiences, observations, findings, and ideas.
In some ways, I believe in more freedom in society, but I can also see a case for more rules or order in certain areas of society, especially in the area of educating young people, and foster parents, in basic child development and parenting skills. We are having a society of children brought up by amateurs, who have no basic learning or training, and it is a diabolical situation, and state of affairs. People on the right-wing always talk about children needing more discipline, but the adults or parents are allowed to get away with blue murder, and do exactly as they like, without any basic training, and understanding of basic children's rights. We live in a society that elevates amateurism, and which most children are nurtured and brought up by uneducated morons and imbeciles. That is mediocrity of the worst degree.