Perhaps it can seem daunting to agree with some of the radical conspiracies that get tossed around during extreme states of psychosis. When people experience what I prefer to term a special message emergency, sharing their stories becomes very important. However, it can be hard for supporters to truly believe that the resulting beliefs they have about the world are valid. When they are talked about and aren’t believed the participant can become retraumatized. That is why I argue that it is important to honor such beliefs if you are ever to form a collaborative relationship
Maybe aliens aren’t your thing. Maybe you actually believe the earth is round like they say it is. How can you entertain ideas that just don’t fit your training and experience?
I have been honoring such beliefs for twelve years and have grown in my ability to have an open mind to conspiracy that doesn’t fit my experience.
I still remember one of those beliefs I heard about which I didn’t believe. One day in the group room I had a participant suggest that there were in fact cameras in televisions so that the federal government could spy on you.
Now, to be honest, I have believed similar things. I may have chimed in that I had believed that my apartment was bugged with cameras in the lights. I easily relate and share those past beliefs to contribute and help that participant feel included. But cameras in the television? Really? A part of me felt that concept was ridiculous.
Well years later, I still remember listening to the radio when the latest wiki leak exposure was released. There it was. Suddenly, there were cameras in television that the government could use to spy on the public. And within the week, the president was accusing President Barak Obama of spying on him in like manner during the probe into Russian interference.
And so I’ve learned to use that story to help me give credit to conspiracy theories in my groups. It helps me remind people that conspiracy ideas and intuitive knowledge need to be honored even if they sound unusual.
Sure, at one point I thought the mafia had a tracker implanted int my dog when I had her fixed in the pound. Sure, that sounds unlikely. However, helpers need to be on the side of validating such thoughts. Remember, when I walked with my dog, I experienced things that suggested that I was experiencing an increase in harassment.
If a helper was to work with me and use information to challenge me, knowledge and evidence of potential for such conspiracy is needed. For example, if I was really such a high-level target, maybe it wasn’t the mafia, maybe it was the federal government.
The fact is, if you study phenomena like what transpired in South Boston during the Whitey Bulger years, or when you realize that the intelligence reports reveal that Jack Kennedy turned to mafia assassins during the Bay of Pigs, you start to better realize how high level targets get dealt with in the United States. Facts about real conspiracy can be very helpful. If I were to get that support during my time of need, imagine the decrease in anxiety I might have experienced.
It’s true that when I learned to ignore these realities, I was removed from the blacklist and allowed to work amidst the drug toting public again. But to get there it took a great deal of time and work.
The bulk of this article will explore real theories of causation that can help the supporter know productive ways to validate conspiracy. The point is to create flexible, mindful responses to distressing content. This can involve validating conspiracies in ways that include other modalities or frameworks. Often, offering healing alternative suggestions can help a sufferer feel safer and less stuck.
Quid Pro Quo Stories Leading to Collaboration:
Something that has clearly helped me make such alternate suggestions is my own experience with psychosis, and having achieved a social rehabilitation and the position I hold as a mental health therapist. With my demonstrated ability to work with people who recite the pledge of allegiance and participate in consensus reality, I am also able to choose to tell my own story in ways that are believable and in ways that aren’t so believable.
I know that the America that I’ve experienced is not the America that kids are taught about in grade school and that adults understand by listening to the news media.
I still notice the furrowed brow look I get when let people know what I think about what happened to me.
I believed I was being harassed by my mafia family and the only job I could get was a job arranged by my family at an Italian Deli. But when I tell my story in a way that might arouse doubt, I can quickly add details that are a bit more credible that can help someone understand how I could have come up with such beliefs.
When I am well, I can talk about evidence that sounds suspect and con a person into reality checking me. Then I can use parts of my story that are a bit more valid and suggestible and help them realize that their reality check was a bit premature.
Remember, that when a therapy participant doesn’t believe the conspiracy that I went through and tries to reality check me, there is an unspoken quid pro quo that arises. Now this gives them the ability to tell parts of their story. Now they have something on me. Now if I disbelieve them, it will not be so morally devastating.
See, I believe that whether I say so or not, I will disbelieve them. I believe they will be able to sense that I disbelieve them. I need to establish that permission to work with them and ultimately be a validating, trustable force. If they see I have the ego strength to reconsider my experience, they maybe they can muster the same ego strength.
This is a strategy I’ve learned to exploit over the years to get people to talk to me who otherwise would have only seen me as an officer of oppression or a sell-out. It’s about developing a trusting rhythm that can be used to validate conspiracy. I believe that this is achievable for people who haven’t experienced psychosis and van learn to believe that intuitive knowledge is a force with which to be reckoned
How Understanding Components of Psychosis can a Help A Supporter Validate Conspiracy:
I think it is important to understand that when confronted with experiences like voices, visuals, or other hallucinations, there are also other experiences to consider. Consider powerful intuition, premonitions, or interpersonal observation of non-verbal behavior; consider dreams and linguistic codes; symbolism and imagery, dreams; and consider ESP or mind reading abilities that may in fact be inexplicably real. Imagine being inundated with these vast lists of anomalous experiences so that they preoccupy your mind and dominate the day.
People who get inundated make meaning of these experiences. I have called this making meaning process sleuthing. This is the important process of understanding what these experiences mean and how they may affect your survival. During this process of sleuthing, the person focuses hard on trying to understand where each message or experience or hallucination is coming from and what it means. According to the Hearing Voices Network jargon, this process is termed making meaning and results in developing frameworks.
Message receivers or people who encounter psychosis, spend hours sleuthing by making meaning and exploring frameworks and weighing the consequences of different actions. What I am suggesting is that by better defining and exploring frameworks a message receiver has developed a strong capacity to understand and validate conspiracy. Thus, in groups, exploring frameworks is an extremely important thing to do.
It is my intention to are findings from twelve years of doing this in professional groups with the reader. My hope is to help the reader understand the importance of validating conspiracy frameworks no matter how unlikely they may appear.
From holding these discussions in groups, I have identified five types of framework or styles of conspiracy that can be explored all of which have value. It’s true these ideas may bleed together a great deal, but I believe a lot can be learned by understanding these five frameworks better. I believe that understanding each framework can help a supporter feel a whole lot better about supporting conspiracy because perhaps they will see how all are all possible.
PART TWO—Five Validating Frameworks:
One, Political Frameworks:
This is the controversial argument that persecution is real because social power structures are conspiring to harm a person who is rebelling and outing the real presence of secret societies and corruption in American Society. In other words, schizophrenia is a formal way that snitches end up in ditches.
In this framework secret societies meet and conspire behind a persons’ back to try to control their behavior. This can be like the treatment team in a hospital or case management team. It can involve teams of people with access to covert databases of information like the local police or the FBI. It can involve secret crime syndicates that likewise have access to those same databases, like cartels, foreign agents, or other entities that engage in black market activities. Finally, there are other kinds of secret societies like the illuminati, the masons, skull and bones, scientology, MKULTRA, the AMA, the APA, the Prison Unions, or other powerful cabals that illegally or legally protect the privileges of the powerful.
Discussing the realities of these secret societies can help validate many message receivers concerns and help give them valid insight into the way they are being marginalized and controlled in the community. When someone is on a psychiatric hold, it is often the cabal of the person’s family working in concert with other power brokers. It is helpful for a political prisoner in a state hospital to understand that they are not alone and that it isn’t safe to out secret societies.
A helper can really validate a special message receiver by revealing what they do really know about what the secret societies want from them. If you know about the rules and workings of a secret society, it can help a message receiver weigh the consequences of their rebellious actions. Of course, you don’t want to out individual members of the team and set them up to get attacked, that is not what I am suggesting. It is, however, possible to give the sufferer a general glimpse into the mentality of the secret society that might be controlling them.
Validating the injustice connected with the existence of secret societies is a good way to validate conspiracy. And so, studying Whitey Bulger in South Boston, oligarchies in the United States, and speculating on other top-secret realities starts to make more sense. Now we may start to weigh the difference between natural evolution and alien intrusion back when civilization first started back in the Sumerian days.
These things aren’t so hard to validate when a person starts to value the role of secret societies from the white house, to high-level administrative healthcare meetings, to medical ethics panels, to the multidisciplinary treatment teams that control behavioral health decisions.
Two, Abuse Frameworks:
Many of the special messages that message receivers get may be related to past abuse. For example, a voice may be that of a past perpetrator that has had negative influence on them. Also, there can be triggered by events, people or objects. These are people or symbols that have the same energy or attitudes that the past perpetrator did. Then, the message receiver in on guard and triggered to re-experience associated feelings.
Police and psychiatric ER nurses may be examples of trigger people. People wearing bow ties may likewise trigger fear of secret societies. Seeing someone restrained and rapidly tranquilized may trigger mistrust for authority. It is arguable that hypervigilance to these roles, events and symbols that oppress and take away the message receivers rights that may further fuel sleuthing.
In simpler terms, messages may become noticeable because of hypervigilance when bad things that happened in the past seem to be happening again. In another sense, they may not be as upsetting to a person if they realize they are being retriggered and evade danger.
In a very real sense, unexplained intuitions and illogical responses may include generational trauma. For some of us who become inundated with hypervigilant awareness some may come from trauma from past lives or historical realities.
It is also arguable that psychic numbing or dissociation may cause message receivers to get in touch with different parts of themselves. On some occasions these parts reflect voice characters that may have uncanny knowledge or even be triggered for better or worse by external events. In situations of severe dissociation people may black out and lose their memory and sometimes have another personality come forth. Some people describe this as a voice taking over and controlling their bodies.
While there is a great deal of controversy over whether a dissociative identity is real (often by people who believe in imprisonment and capital punishment,) I think a lot can be explained and validated through dissociation experiences. Perhaps some of the hallucinations that are experienced are dissociative and point to different dimensions of reality or phenomena like time travel, astro-planning through the neighborhood, derealization, depersonalization and other checks on the mental status exam. For example, dissociative experiences may take over the body and cause blindness, deafness or other hysterical phenomena.
Within this framework a supporter can learn about past trauma and help the message receiver make connections and realize that they are being hypervigilant or dissociating because of particular triggers and restore them to a state of safety.
Additionally, as the science of body energy is currently being acknowledged, it is fully understandable that some people develop senses of stress or energy waves that are getting emitted off the surface of the body. Some even may see colored auras around a person.
Also understanding of neurobiology has taught us new ways of helping people revisit traumatic content through EMDR and bilateral stimulation. One could argue meditation has done this for years. There are ancient eastern practices like Chi Gong or Tai Chi. And what is walking meditation? It is bilateral stimulation.
Often psychosis itself is very traumatic and leads to abusive responses. Consider what it feels like to lose your rights and be hospitalized against your will for having experiences for which you did not sign up. When safety is restored and hypervigilance and dissociation can be reduced the messages will just go away.
Conversely when abuse is not seen or a person is judged negatively for emitting signs of abuse; when people become warehoused and forced to submit to abusive directives; and in the worst case scenario when they learn to trust such circumstances, it not only validates the hypervigilance and dissociation, it activates associated messages which get more extreme especially when they are not allowed to be talked about.
Three, Spiritual Frameworks:
It might sound strange, but a lot of people believe that there is an all-knowing spirit that is sometimes even thought to come in the form of a human being. Perhaps, like Kevin Smith envisions in the Movie, Dogma, such visions take the form of Alanis Morrisette. But oddly, there are also other formulations.
Based on this concept, there is the sense that things happen that are beyond the human realm. There can be good energies and bad energies but generally something larger is behind these experiences that promotes good. There may be good entities and bad entities; there maybe telepathy with loved ones; there may be ghosts or aliens that intermix with human history; there may be inexplicable emotional connections and things like church, scripture, meditation, or Sunday School that cause people to believe such obscure principles.
While many people generally have faith that good will triumph over bad. Still the idea that some people are connected to this spiritual realm has often caused people to be killed as heretics, witches, lepers, or schizophrenics because such beings challenge the social order and power structures.
It’s true the idea that some people are touched by bad spirits or are angry and abused. Currently, the medicalized notion is that what people think is spiritual contact is really just a deficit caused by neurotransmitters called dopamine. Also, many also believe artificially micro-dosing with ketamine and LSD can help heal and advance functioning through likewise tampering with dopamine.
But who’s to say some born with different kinds of minds are born with spiritual genes, kind of like the Jedi’s in Star Wars. Or, maybe god creates people who are different who may be there to challenge or change humanity with developing mutations like Darwin suggested. Either that, or god’s sends divergent aliens to tamper and change the human beings to be more aware of spiritual realities. Some people get more in touch with those kinds of realities. Perhaps these prophets are trained to walk the earth like Job and suffer despicable mistreatment only to become wise kind of like Siddhartha.
Ever talk to an exceeding wise homeless person? I work with them.
The issue of good and evil and a heavy reliance on spiritual texts, from the Bible to the Koran to the Bhagavat-Gita can cause people to reflect on history in really profound ways to make sense of good and evil with spiritual interventions. And many people who experience psychosis do feel they are being blessed and reporting wonderful experiences. It’s just better not to speak of such realities with anyone, otherwise they will call you crazy.
Sometimes people need to learn not to incite these states because of the social consequences. They may believe they are prophets but most people just thing they are broke and crazy and fail to be impacted by the true beauty of their spiritual interventions. These realities need to be worked with carefully because spirituality can lead to Smith Wigglesworth behavior that seems harmful and abusive in consensus reality.
Certainly, there are great mysteries of nature and existence that do happen so that people are greatly comforted and live happier and healthier lives because of what they learn from spirit. It’s a good thing to validate, support, and assist people in making sense of the supernatural. When, however, people are faced with an anomaly like a person who can predict the future, experiences that challenges their own belief system, persecution and hospitals can happen.
Four, Psychological Frameworks:
The idea that messages originate within the mind of the afflicted person I define as a psychological framework. This may suggest that the person is working through their inner conflicts that may be subconscious or based on early attachment issues that have created the conflict that cause the mind to act out.
It’s true that some might argue this is similar to the abuse formulations. However, psychological frameworks stem from a tradition that honors corruption of power. This tradition tends to presume all the experiences of psychosis are happening within the mind of the afflicted.
This is often the explanation or tact that many mainstream therapists take. In contrast to the political explanations which may be thought to be misunderstandings and the abuse theory associated with neuroscience, there is often a push to get the sufferer take the responsibility to change themselves because they can’t possibly change the world.
Thus, messages are seen as the result of their own troubled mind. In some cases, this may be true. The thought is that with understanding and insight of the true conflicts within ones mind, that a person can stop thinking that what is happening is political or trauma and start using personal responsibility.
Particularly with dreams, which are special messages according to my formulation, things experienced are thought to bear a particular meaning that can be uncovered. A trained analyst can tell you what the unconscious is processing. Consider, the belief that you are being followed and the message evidence collected along the way that proves it. This might be signs that you imagine because you are hurting and once you realize this and stop hurting you can choose to ignore them. Same with voices.
Historically, if the therapist learns how to be a secure attachment for the person with the troubled mind, they can heal the issues through the relationship. Thus, the rapist therapist (notice the linguistic code in the word, a special message?) adjusts and proves to you that the world is not so awful.
Psychological approaches tend to focus on insight and understanding yourself so you can explain the reasons for the suffering and struggle which are not true.
Although the reader may pick up on some sense of frustration from me with these processes, it is wise to validate these kinds of processes even when they are not true and other processes are more operant. To be honest, many therapists do not tend to validate these processes even when they are more accurate. It’s true that the relationship can heal so why not allow for that.
Five, Scientific Frameworks:
Right now, the dominant paradigm that gets perpetuated in college texts and abnormal psychology classes (as was done back in the nineties when I studied these things) is that schizophrenia is a eugenic hereditary disease that impairs social functioning. The medical explanation for this rests in the regulation of neurotransmitters between the synapses of nerve cells.
While many message receivers tend to rant and rail against such negative medicalized notions, secretly they may fear that it is the truth about them and that they are doomed to live meaningless lives of poverty and squalor. It’s arguable that the good people among us do accept and live such lives.
Many of us in crisis rebel against such outrageous claims and lash out until we lose our rights and citizenship. We may end up warehoused in situations where they are forced to comply with the most simplistic notions of consensus reality.
What gets conveyed when all is lost in warehoused conditions is that social punishment that is not beatable will be put upon you if you fail to cooperate religiously with the basic tenets of consensus reality.
Being confined in solitary suicide watch in jail for months or years on end makes this situation unbeatable. In the process of being forced to sit on your ass and be patronized, neurotransmitter adjustments are mad to make it easier to comply with the basic tenets.
The fact is that such heinous beliefs and treatment must be conveyed and integrated into a persons’ journey. Many survivors spend their lives condemning and rejecting all aspects of this kind of thinking.
Many who endure the extremes of this experience dissociate and advance in the extremes of their experience. But many do learn and improve. Given a chance to achieve and function within the confines of consensus reality many will work and achieve incredible manners just to battle this cursed social contract.
In my opinion, the fact is that these realities need to be conveyed to people who are at risk of enduring them to help them accept consensus reality to the point where they can achieve social rehab.
In other words, people who experience psychosis need to share and learn about the harsh social abuse that ensues and can be perpetrated by the people who are most close to them. This needs to be taught and conveyed in ways that are not invalidated! There needs to be places people learn about these realities without having to lose their rights and go through it.
Let someone who’s suffered teach the group about this reality and protect them from it. This is a clear win-win.
Message receivers need to put the pieces together and understand the abuse they’ve experienced in order to heal. They must learn to know their enemy. They must protect each other from being hurt, not functioning and becoming warehoused. Additionally, to avoid failing the social functioning tests, some of us may need to learn that medication helps them function better in spite of the detriment that does to their physical bodies.
Overcoming an Anti-Psychiatry Class Division in Our Culture that May Get Exploited:
Ultimately, I believe people have a right to honor the hell that they’ve experienced the way they chose. Some may condemn all parts of the scientific paradigm and others deserve to function the way they chose to in spite of the damage that gets done to their human organs. I think the division that gets perpetrated here is class-based and it prevents survivors from working together.
At the same time many people who play a role in enforcing consensus reality must learn to dehumanize subjects and do not want to hear or think about their participation in enforcing a ridiculous atrocity.
Personally, I feel guilty for the role I have played taking money from such a system. To go from utter poverty to bay area home ownership in the course of eight years of espionage is despicable. Many in the movement exploit that vulnerability in me. And they don’t want me to be a spokesperson because I take medication.
Then again, I look at what other professions get and how many people accept the crimes of free Wall Street money and deflect some of the criticism that comes at me from other survivors who may hate or distrust me. I particularly cut myself a break if my judgers have been given more than me and use what they have to silence, slander, marginalize, and mistreat me. That’s right, I don’t have too many friends.
Get a sense of my anger here? Consider that this results from a three-month state hospital hospitalization, only one month of it was in true warehouse circumstances. Then, consider what a person who has been through months of solitary on suicide watch and years of hospitalization all for instigating a violent conflict with gang members. This stuff is hard to come back from and leaves permanent isolation scars.
Ultimately there is a strong need for diverse groups for those touched by institutionalization in different ways. There needs to be space for all participants regardless for their takes on medication.
Really, to understand and heal from the scientific framework atrocity, space to study and explore all of all these frameworks need to be granted. All frameworks deserve equitable space in our minds, bodies, souls and spirit. Learning how to be fluid and perform in consensus reality is important in social rehabilitation.
Often, when one framework dominates the day, mistakes are more likely. Then, pronounced messages dominate the mind-space, and social decline and issues associated with poverty become threatening. For example, internalizing the psychological framework when you are in a psychiatric hospital might be a problem. What I learned from trying it out was that treatment just doesn’t exist in those contexts. Outside of two or three anomalous staff people, the scientific framework will dominate the day.
Accept that the system is rigged and act like brer rabbit in the briar patch to get your needs met. Then, the scientific paradigm becomes less traumatizing.
It stands to be noted that there can be other valuable forms of frameworks that can be identified, many of which may fall in between these frames I’ve laid out today. For example, I considered adding artistic frameworks, but due to space limitations, I would argue that art falls under the spiritual realm. At the same time, I could certainly argue that studying dreams and cultural archetypes is an artistic venture, but they are discussed in psychological frameworks because of the fathers of psychology.
The point I am making is that no framework should be invalidated. There is a time and a place for all of them. I believe that the more a message receiver explores and studies anomalous experiences, the more flexible they are likely to become in interpreting what they’ve experienced. That’s why, rest assured, it takes time to learn to recovery. Patience on the part of providers is important.
The greater the flexibility, the less likely message receivers are to act out against consensus reality in ways that will get them in trouble.
I think the resistance to the exploration of validating conspiracy comes from being closed off to different kinds of frameworks. Often, the belief that there is one presiding framework that makes up reality. If we think of reality as being multi-faceted or not immediately clear it reinforces the mindfulness and emotional intelligence that is needed to respond and not react to the dilemmas posed by the existence of the message receiver.
For example, the message receiver who is entrenched in the scientific framework I laid out should not bring those discussions up at the formal family Thanksgiving meal of the people who perpetrated that system against them. They may need to borrow from things they’ve learned during their spiritual frameworks and scripture or healing modalities from the trauma framework.
It doesn’t mean that they may not be right about their family having overemphasized the scientific framework, but to change the reality of eugenic oppression they may need to teach their family new frameworks so they don’t have to be forever, mistreated or misunderstood.
If what I am saying makes sense, the system is ridden with this very eugenic framework which punishes message receiver for involuntary experiences. The quicker a message receiver is able to understand this, accept the system, and join safe zones as promoted by the hearing voices network or therapy specialists who entertain all frameworks, the quicker they will be able to learn to manage their experiences in ways that evade social decline.
Again, if what I am saying makes any sense, it becomes the responsibility of professionals to tolerate and respectfully learn about conspiracy thoughts from frameworks other that the dominant paradigms of scientific and psychological conspiracies that dominate oppression of the system that is creating homelessness and justifying warehousing.