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