Identifying the Trickster Phenomena During A Message Crisis or “Psychosis:”

 

When a message receiver can identify the fact that some of their messages are tricksters it can go a long way towards improving efforts to fit in, heal trauma and reduce consensus reality confusion. A supporter who is trusted may be able to articulate the concept, spot it when it’s happening, and teach spiritual skills that can help the message receiver mitigate damages.

 

According to Wikipedia, the concept of a trickster is a cultural archetype. In other words, a trickster is a cultural reality of the collective unconscious that Carl Jung identified. Accordingly, all cultures feature tricksters in their mythology. In Navajo culture the trickster is a coyote. In Greek mythology Hermes, patron of thieves, was a trickster character. In the bible, Jacob was. The trickster as an archetype is a revered spiritual character that cheats or cons people for their own material gain or just to cause mischief. In effect, a trickster is a very real part of reality that must be negotiated.

 

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Beneath the Suds and Psychiatric Labels

Warning: Graphic Content

 

“I have heard real stories,” said my female therapist, “of men doing graphic and horrible things to women. I don’t think based on what you just told me, there is any justification for any accusation whatsoever. I think you have been saying a lot of hurtful things.”

I figured my mother who was paying for these forced sessions put the shrink up to this confrontation. I never did bring the issue of sexual abuse up.

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Using Leverage in the Treatment of Psychosis

When I was in psychosis, or what I prefer to call message crisis, I was extremely angry when my family used leverage to force me into treatment. For starters, they contacted the police and supported a three-month hospitalization that kept me from seeking asylum in Canada. I concluded that they were a mafia family and the reason I was getting followed and harassed.

Perhaps this scenario sounds familiar to the reader? It lasted for two years after I was released from the hospital.

I continue to feel hurt by many of the things that transpired due to leverage. I may be able to act like I forgive; but I will never forget what it was like to experience such cruelty alone.

Thank god I was wrong about some of it!

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Two, Trauma-Sensitive Solutions for Psychosis

When I experienced two years of psychosis early during my career as a mental health counselor, I was already getting good at managing trauma with my master’s level training. I always been pretty good at being safe for others.

I wanted some of that trauma support when I found myself confined to a ward on a State Hospital. I knew I needed to establish safety with someone but couldn’t find anyone who would deal with me. Instead, no one treated me as though I was traumatized because they didn’t want to reinforce my delusions. This only made the trauma of what I experienced worse. Invariably, hospital workers were punitive and denied anything unjust was happening to me at all.

Because I worked tirelessly and had family support, I was able to return to my career in mental health. I got my psychotherapy license ten years ago and since that time I have worked to create trauma-sensitive treatment to address the needs of individuals who experience psychosis. Here, I intend to convey two trauma-sensitive solutions I have developed, working with people in groups and in individual treatment.

 

The Challenge of Establishing Trust: Continue reading “Two, Trauma-Sensitive Solutions for Psychosis”

The War on Drugs: a Symptom of a Larger Issue

By Corinita Reyes

 

In the war on drugs, the real targets have not been drugs themselves but on those who live a life in which drugs are ever present. Drugs prove to be a persistent issue in low income neighborhoods, specifically those who have an ethnically diverse makeup. The fact that those affected most by the war on drugs are thought of as “minorities” is no coincidence, it would seem rehab is a privilege reserved only for white affluent people, the rest are sent to prison to serve time for something that is seen as a treatable issue in the medical world. It is hardly a crime to develop diabetes or depression, so why do we treat a mental illness as a crime? It is imperative that we as a country explore how the war on drugs affects low income people of color (POC), its relationship on how mental illness affects low income people of color and why the war on drugs is simply not working. We need to replace the current war with a more sustainable system that supports our citizens, rather than punishes.

The war on Drugs has proven to be unhelpful because it is a continuing cycle which targets drug addicts.  In the article “Drug Addicts As a Victim: A Link to Explore” by Laura M. Nunes and Ana Sani, they write “It is not uncommon in the illegal drug market to find that the individual selling the product, being in possession of large sums of money, is also intoxicated.” (3) This shows that the drug dealer and the drug addict are one in the same.  Those who are not drug dealers are still in possession and can end up in prison system.  Once in the prison system, they may incur trauma from violence, sexual violence or from isolation that only makes any sort of mental illness they had prior more intense.  Upon being released, they now face new barriers from acquiring legal employment to being unable to qualify for public assistance and housing thanks to background checks.  Now as they are back to illegal activities such as drug dealing in order to make money, these activities make a neighborhood less safe, “Also, by dint of their lifestyle the drug addict will tend to have much less protection, especially in the form of formal protection from the social control system, for fear that their deviant activity is discovered by the authorities.” (Nunes et al, 4) It is safer for these individuals to deal with violence themselves than reach out to authorities in fear of being arrested.  Outside of the US, some of the most dangerous people in the world are the ones who are supplying the drugs to the streets of America.  In the article “Winding Down the War on Drugs: Reevaluating Global Drug Policy” by Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, they say “Governments around the world have poured billions of dollars into combating drugs…to pursue, conduct surveillance on, kill, prosecute, extradite, and imprison kingpins and low-level dealers, in source and destination countries alike.” (1) This shows how The US is not alone in these failing tactics against drugs, yet the problem persists not only on our streets, but globally.  All of this is evidence that the war on drugs in conjunction with the prison system is a cycle that perpetuates violence and drug use. Continue reading “The War on Drugs: a Symptom of a Larger Issue”

How the Privilege of Generativity Helped Me Accept My Family (Part Two)

My three-month psychiatric incarceration seemed to be aimed at discrediting me after I had leaked newspaper stories. On my way to Canada to seek asylum, I was stopped by police. I evaded them for three days through rural towns and surrendered one midnight, from a ditch on a mountain pass.

It was hard for me to accept the way I was treated. Confined to a ward for two weeks, I walked in circles. I barked on the payphone testing many of my supports. They all just said I was delusional.

I really did learn a lot from a mob boss’s daughter. There are a lot to the rules that govern those of us who get trafficked in this land of the free. Still, I did what I could to disrespect the mob especially because my counselor told me not to. And so, I endured a month of chronic warehousing conditions. I had to wear other peoples’ clothes to brave the ice-cold of the barely heated ward.

Continue reading “How the Privilege of Generativity Helped Me Accept My Family (Part Two)”

Learning Disabilities and Psychosis

Never saw my hometown until I stayed away too long

I never heard the melody until I needed the song . . .

. . . I never I spoke “I love you” till I cursed you in vain

Never felt my heart strings until I nearly went insane

                                                           

–Tom Waites, San Diego Serenade

 

It is funny how sometimes one cannot really see themselves until they get a glimpse of a harsh paradoxical reality. Perhaps doing so gives one that alternate perspective that is so necessary to really see oneself and gain wisdom. I think that’s what Tom Waites is getting at in the excerpts of his song I posted above. That is why the ability to relate to others is such a powerful teacher and healer that is so needed in a therapeutic endeavor. Other people’s struggles help us stop and see ourselves better. Even if it is painful, growth is likely.

And, just as the song goes, I never really saw myself as a learning-disabled person until I just recently had the opportunity to sit with an individual while she was receiving a mid-life diagnosis. It was a diagnosis that I thought might be helpful. Little did I know that before this sitting, I rarely considered the full effect of how a learning disorder affects me as a writer, therapist and mental health consumer.

 

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Ode to Self-Discovery

To hell with the insipid emptiness

That keeps good people ineptly drowned!

Gaze into the perplexed distress and bless

The self that is so often shackle bound!

This is my pledge to the introspection

That so often is betrayed or unknown

Or left to rot in the gutter of dread

And then scavenged for the insurrection.

Together we starve and wither alone

Our thirst being a statement left unsaid.

 

There is numbness that grasps the bone

Which is surrounded by layer upon layer

Of prickle that persistently drones

Out experiences that do conjure

Recurrent traumas of spirits within.

Like swollen flesh, nothingness throbs

Throughout enduring routine of day

Expanding its reign under your skin

Until your inner turmoil sobs

Containing misery you cannot delay.

 

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