A Definition of Psychosis that Includes Internal Processes:
I believe there are fundamental ways that the inaccurate social definition of psychosis and schizophrenia lead to mistreatment in mental health institutions. The historical definition of psychosis in all the Diagnostic Statistical Manuals is: hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thinking. In master’s level training I never got more information than that when it came to working with psychosis. I did not understand psychosis. With that limited framework, I was paid to work with schizophrenia for seven years. Oh, how it limited my view of the potential for recovery.
Now, decades later, I think calling it a thought disorder is a fundamental misunderstanding of what is happening. I believe there are processes going on internally to create the external behavioral descriptors of the mainstream definition. I think its high time mental health workers get trained to pay attention to the internal processes that create these anomalous behaviors. Instead metal health workers team up to madly try to correct behavior through incarceration, medication, and behavioral health treatment like case management.
I believe it is important that people we call psychotic or schizophrenic be more self-aware of what they are doing as they are playing truth detective. In the process, it is important for supporters to be aware of those processes and to support, learn about and eventually collaboratively guide those internal processes.
I believe that people like me who experience them need them to be so aware of their internal processes that they can willingly let go of them and chose to behave in accordance with consensus reality. I call this ability to let go and comply with social dictates, message mindfulness.
Applying Mindfulness to Psychosis:
Six years after I was able to suppress my experiences to the point where I could resume my career, I got my Marriage and Family Therapy License. I began my quest to define those internal processes. I wrote a curriculum for groups. I ran them, and I revised and sharpened my views. I have developed eight components of which to be mindful and eight resulting solution strategies that can help a person create a social rehabilitation. I am writing today to present the first concept in my list of eight solution concepts, message mindfulness.
Mindfulness is currently a popularized concept in mental health that involves going toward your feelings and getting close enough that you can fully experience them enough to process and let go of them so they don’t linger in your body and overwhelm you. Marsha Linehan has done a good job identifying six skills associated with mindfulness, which is based on Buddhist Philosophy.
According to Linehan’s training, one can achieve mindfulness by noticing your feeling, putting words to it, and taking the time to fully participate with it. It is also important not to judge the feeling, only do one thing at a time, and focus on trying to do what works in the situation. All this allows the feeling to be released and forgotten about. Those who live mindfully stay present and engaged in the moment.
With mindfulness, we balance our thought processes and our emotional processes so we can let go of painful emotions and the occurrences that cause them. Instead of changing our thoughts, we experience our emotions.
When I talk about message mindfulness though, I am not talking about emotions, I am talking about experiences that trigger the sleuthing process that lead to thoughts that diverge from consensus reality.
Indeed, in that short sentence I have introduced the first three internal processes of psychosis. These are my first three components and are essential to understanding message mindfulness. Thus, it is important to help the person with psychosis pay more attention to what they are doing. This actually entitles them to talk about their experiences without getting shut down, rejected or controlled.
Suppressing triggers to psychosis is a fundamentally different process. Often the person who is trying to suppress their experiences does so because they have been punished for having them. The person may end up at war with those experiences and tormented, they only increase the frequency and intensity with which they experience them. They start to trust them more and to trust people with cultural delusions less.
I am arguing that suppression conversely makes those experiences stronger.
Hence, if someone is traumatized and rages in defeat without trying to function through it, their quality of life and social functioning, declines into a stew and everyone rolls their eyes and calls them a bump on a log. If they fight for survival, the world will see them as a royal pain in the ass and torment them because they are different. Both are recipes for ongoing trauma and suffering.
In contrast, message mindfulness suggests we not judge these experiences, we experience them fully and we move through them staying focused only on the present. It becomes important for supporters and the person experiencing them to learn this lesson. The outcome can be some interesting metaphysical philosophies. With the right kind of balanced conclusions, social life can resume and persist.
Hence, I will officially pause to abolish the words psychotic and schizophrenic because they are profoundly judgmental words to those of us who have experienced them. Instead I will call the person who experiences these phenomena message receivers who will benefit from gaining awareness of message mindfulness
The First Component of Message Mindfulness: Special Messages.
Message receivers deal with special messages. These are experiences that trigger awareness of an alternate way of making sense of things that others may or may not understand. The definition is very broad because there are a lot of types of things that can be special messages.
Special messages may involve things that everyone can relate to: a sense of intuition; a dream; or the nonverbal sense of another person we get that is based on body language. In a state of hypervigilance, people can be very attuned an sensitive to these experiences. These experiences alone can lead to pondering conspiracies, positive or negative.
Special messages can also be more peculiar voices or visions, tactile, taste, or olfactory hallucination that are unique to the individual but that others probably do not experience in the same way.
These special messages get complicated and mix with other special messages.
For example, a voice says, “I am the devil and you smell like shit!” Perhaps the person figures that the devil is criticizing them for lack of cleanliness. But there is still so much to consider like the race sex and age of the voice. Is the devil really coming from telepathy with the message receiver’s German Sheppard who is just talking wuff talk?
When there is a stabbing pain in the back when the message receiver is not able to get to the shower, one might feel tortured by the devil. It might help to engage with the devil and assert oneself and try to compassionately stave of the stabbing.
Maybe we’ve studied the devil’s voice over time and learn the right ways to heal it so we can prevent the stabbing.
These kinds of messages need to be drawn out and interacted with to help people heal. There is a growing body of literature on this: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-rUvtCwt_cvc5_yqWQX7uA?fbclid=IwAR0clCSfZOWp3u8tCUmFb3OOehLvzWO5IVivdmiTIBV7hSTqUZNy4UQCY3I
Extra sensory perception is also an example of a special message, as are de ja vu experiences, serendipitous coincidences, or mindreading telepathic abilities. Many of us may have these abilities/occurrences. At the same time, it can be hard to know when we have access to them. Thus, we successfully mindread on three occasions, and then we think we are doing it on a fourth but are incorrect. Also, we may assess that others can read our minds when they can only do so fifty percent of the time.
Coded words, double meanings and numeric associations can also lead to special message experiences. For example, pigs in a blanket for a dollar means a hot dog on a bun; not police in a sleeping bag by a campfire, or raw pork chops rolled up in a newspaper. Or does it? Also consider the meaning of the name of my favorite rapper: KRS-ONE, Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone. Or consider the name of another rapper: fifty cent, 50 cent or 5-0-scent. Playing the game of punny coincidences can get very complicated especially when spies are involved. Just watch Austin Power’s, The Spy that Shagged Me!
Additionally, the written word may lack a clear emphasis or have an unintended emphasis to make significant conspiracy inferences that may or may not be true. Finally, words can be metaphors with entirely different meanings, like children’s song, puff the magic dragon means a bone of cannabis getting smoked. Or Captain Jack will get you high tonight mean booting heroin into your veins.
The world and reality become full of symbolic occurrences. So does TV and movies. There may be more learned about reality in art than there is on the local news.
These may be guided by corrupt powers in the government, by a wide variety of secret societies, or by righteous spiritual processes. Perhaps time travel has influenced covert futuristic codes. Then, these coded coincidences may mix with the actions of people around them that are acting in similar manners or using TV or movie references to make a point.
Welcome to the work of divergent views, causation theories/frameworks, and spiritual trickster and self-fulfilling prophesies. All of these are other components of psychosis that we gain with mindfulness. There still are others.
To get a better sense of special messages, you can sign up for my mailing list and more extensive list of examples: https://timdreby.us17.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=875d1a8dc62c7e575c8572fc9&id=d384b7dd74
Mix all the special messages up in a bag and it can lead to some very troubling or wonderful interpretations of reality. Each interpretation might need to be experienced and understood mindfully without letting the emotions get negatively impacted and affecting the message receiver’s behavior. That’s a lot to ask. As a result, to achieve message mindfulness, there may be massive conflicts that need to be worked out or metaphysical beauty to be distracted from. Often it is a mixture of both once you really start to explore a message receivers experience.
The Second Concept of Message Mindfulness: Sleuthing
When a person gets a special message, they may need to get busy in their mind to figure out what the message means. Behind the sleuthing process is an intense emotional alarm that results from the special message. As a result, the message receiver may be on high alert for other details or messages that may add to their plot/journey. Once they are convinced a conspiracy is present or alternative ideas of what is going on are at play, they may end up on the lookout for more clues. Suddenly with a heightened awareness, clues and messages become more frequent and support the concept of the conspiracy. Figuring out what is going on, can be like a twenty-four hour a day job that is rarely interrupted by activities or tasks.
I call this state sleuthing. It is also called making meaning in the hearing voices movement. In a sense, all these special message experiences become highlighted and are often received as they are traumatic or enlightened. Thus, making meaning becomes a coping strategy that helps the message receiver endure. Tell them to stop doing it and distract themselves from these dilemmas and the intensity of the sleuthing is likely to increase. They may sleuth while they are trying to accomplish something making them slow in accomplishing it. They may not get reinforced for their efforts and may feel discouraged in comparison to chronically-normal accomplishment.
I believe that effective therapy becomes sleuthing alongside the message receiver. It means helping them be more aware of the special messages they are receiving that lead them to formulate their thoughts or conclusions. That in a nutshell is message mindfulness. But it also means learning more about and normalizing the next component of psychosis, divergent views.
Additionally, as mentioned above, there are still other parts of psychosis, like studying causation theories or frameworks, or studying negative/positive self-fulfilling prophesies can cause errors, oppression and persecution, Thus, later concepts exist and can also can assist with working with divergent views to change the trauma or elation they may cause.
The Third Concept: Divergent Views
Many message receivers are trained not to share their divergent views. Divergent views can be spot on accurate and they can lead to errors. Usually, reality is a mix. If a divergent view is expressed others are likely to call them crazy, psychotic, or schizophrenic. Many of us have lost many friends and supports this way. Some people get consequences that bite them back within the system in which they are embedded.
The funny thing about divergent views is that so many of the divergent views we have, as I mentioned above, are true.
For example, if we say our phones are tapped it is a major admission that make people call us schizophrenic, but, in reality, the phones are really tapped. Thanks to international fugitive, Edward Snowden, we now know this to be true. But when it comes down to it, people don’t want to hear about intelligence secrets. Message receivers need to learn not to talk about those elements of reality when they experience evidence of them. However, there also needs to be safe havens where they can discuss like therapy and support groups.
With the sleuthing stoked by divergent views, the message receiver wants to talk about it. However, if they share their concerns, they get identified as a schizophrenic. That may intensify the secrecy and privacy of the sleuthing process. They are constantly tempted to behave as if their divergent views are accurate, behavior that could lead to incarceration. Thus, they make an effort to bury that information.
In their swirls of special message experiences, message receiver’s emotions get peaked. They learn that some of their divergent views are accurate and it is a strong positive reinforcer. Intermittent punishment makes no sense. What I am arguing is that divergent views need to be normalized instead of punished.
However, a good way to start discussions about special message experiences is to talk about conspiracy theories associated with governmental abuse or social control. There are many of them out there in the media from the secret knowledge of alien involvement in the evolution of civilization to the history of the Templar Knights in the crusades. Conspiracies theories about all the assassinations in the sixties are another good way to discuss conspiracy. Once you have identified the conspiracy, it is possible to try to identify the special message evidence that reveals the conspiracy to the message receiver.
Ultimately message mindfulness is the ability to accept the special message experience with no emotional charge and with complete acceptance. It is the ability to let go of the divergent view and divert your attention from sleuthing. It means staying engaged in an activity that will help you survive. This may mean setting limits with sleuthing and doing it after the fact.
Message mindfulness is the ability to act as if consensus reality is all that matters when that isn’t true. It is a willingness to engage with lies and flawed paradigms of the modern world and constructively work to better them.
In another sense message mindfulness is the ability to be aware of the experience, detach from the meaning that is made from the experience, and make peace with the resulting conspiracies in a way that they can be released from the thinking mind. Staying busy and focused on a task can help accelerate the mindfulness phenomena
There is more to message mindfulness than we have reviewed in this blog. Remember there are still five other components of psychosis in my definition. I have alluded to only two others on a few occasions.
The awareness of all those concepts makes it easier to accept things the way they are and resolve the conflicts with society that usually get highlighted by special message experiences. Once the issues are addressed mindfulness becomes easier.
It only takes a bit of faking your way through and projecting the cultural delusions that modern society depends on to survive. That is how you can achieve message mindfulness.
The Madness with Which We Are Treated in the Mental Health System:
In behavioral health treatment they tend to believe that psychotics and schizophrenics of the world are better when they give up on their pursuit of the truth, and behave in concert with the millions of social myths that make up consensus reality. When they can do so they can take care of themselves. If this is the goal, there are good and bad ways to achieve it.
Though its arguable that it can work to criminalize and incarcerate schizophrenia and psychosis, there is also carnage in the process. There ends up being many people who get permanently warehoused or stuck in crisis states. Incarceration and homelessness happened to me and I managed to make it back. I could have been trapped a lot longer if I had not used family support.
I just think it can be done more gently with far less institutional damage and punishment.
I am arguing that this starts by understanding how our internal processes are different. Once we understand we can join with people who are trained to understand and form trusting relationships. We can find people who are supports rather than adversaries and controllers. In doing so, we can learn to be mindful of our internal processes, let them go and act in accordance with the cultural delusions we all agree upon in order to function in nation states.
Message mindfulness, just does not happen in hospitals and treatment facilities on a regular basis. Instead, for everyone’s safety, we get locked up a one size fits all system that forces us to behave in accordance with behavioral norms. If we comply, we may end up living in warehousing conditions, dependent on social security, and perhaps feel like cash cows. Something is foul in the state of Denmark!
Indeed, in the hospital we find ourselves locked up, stripped of our rights, and not even allowed to talk about what we are thinking about and going through. We must suppress what we are going through and act as if it doesn’t matter without becoming violent. Then we can get set free. It isn’t a great deal of help.
We get released unto a world where we must suppress our experiences enough to make a living and, in many cases, pull ourselves out of poverty. Maybe the family takes care of us and becomes responsible for figuring it out all on their own without any guidance. Maybe the family learns the social definition of the problem and the illness mindset and is able to control the situation utilizing warehousing or providing sanctuary. Ultimately this may lead to satisfying relationships, but it often does not.
The question becomes can we train people with the message mindfulness mindset and insert them into our institutions to improve the outcomes? Can we build this into our punitive system via changing the definition of psychosis one mind at a time?