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Reflections on the Mental Health System
Reflections on the Mental Health System   &

It is impossible for me to reflect on the current state of the Mental Health System without reflecting on my own experiences with schizophrenia and with the system that is supposedly in place to help people.

These are just a few "random" thoughts that occured to me during my latest "major psychotic episode". It may need editing and polishing and then again it may not. These ideas are as valid as anyone else's. There is SO much we do not understand at this point in human history and schizophrenia may well turn out to be amongst the most profound and unfathomable of these mysteries. I write from the point of view of someone who has lived with it for over 16 years with FULL awareness without resorting to narcotics or alcohol to "dull the pain" and only briefly being subjected to "anti-psychotic" medications. Medication was never my choice from the start - it was a rude shock to my system to discover that psychiatrists had been empowered by society to compel people to be subjected to the effects of these substances against their wishes. I have many times been extremely angry about the system. I still find it personally monstrous that a human being's liberty can be forfeited and they can be compelled to intake medication all on the supposed expertise and authority of psychiatrists who in reality haven't half a clue about what is really going on.

So my perspective is relatively rare (at this point in human history, as far as I know). I have always found it astonishing - and highly amusing at times - that the acknowledged "experts" on an experience are those who have merely observed it rather than those who have experienced it on a daily basis.

I have in the past diluted my true views because I knew that few people if any were ready to hear what I had to say. Being the "editor" of a Newsletter published by a Psychiatric Disability Support Service is a rather curious turn of events when you look at where I have been and what my opinion of the "system" has been. For many years, I was FIRMLY convinced that normality is the delusion and psychosis is the only real cure. However, I realised that

The only way to truly heal anyone is to provide an environment based on unconditional love. Until we create a world which provides this environment to everyone, we'll just go on repeating the mistakes we've been making for thousands of years. It may in fact take thousands of years before this quantum leap in the evolution of human consciousness occurs. However, it may also be closer than you would dare think. These things are never easy to forecast. Many people truly believe we are fast approaching a "flashpoint" with a critical mass of humanity attuned to this idea. Just a year ago, I would have laughed at such a suggestion. I would have said, "Take a look at the six o'clock news and tell me the human race is evolving. It's preposterous."

I realise I have a LONG, LONG way to go myself but at least the seed has been planted. We have to release all our fears. I know from personal experience that anger is merely fear dressed in different clothes.

Unfortunately, few of the people currently in the psychiatric field have such a view of reality. Reality is far more astonishing and multi-dimensional than their minds are capable or envisioning. Any thought which goes beyond their linear, scientific view of reality is instantly and routinely condemned as a "delusion". I suppose once you get rid of God from the equation, you tend to eleveate yourself to fill the void. It must be marvelous to have the god-like ability to say with authority what is "real" and what is "unreal".

Until that magic day when even the psychiatrists minds will be prised open, the best we can hope for is that they will do minimal damage to a process they can never understand. I supppose at this point I should say what my experience has taught me about psychosis and more specifically schozophrenia. It is a response to a manifestly sick world. There are many ways to respond to a manifestly sick world. The most common responses are cynicism, apathy, conformity, reluctant & routine behaviours, drugs, alcohol and all other forms of suicide. Psychosis is perhaps the most natural response. It is a trans-dimensional experience. It is alchemy of the soul. It can provide direct access to the infinite and the divine. Many cultures have recognised this but not a culture based on a linear, scientific picture of reality.

We often describe some people's way of life as "primitive" but really the most primitive human emotion is fear and that has been our overall reaction to psychosis over the centuries. I suppose we have made a little progress. We no longer burn people as witches or lock them away in asylums for the term of their natural life. Personally, I'd prefer a lifetime in an asylum to the effects of the mind-altering chemicals at the disposal of psychiatrists. Maybe I'm just fussier than most. We fear what we don't understand. I hesitate to suggest there may also be some element of jealousy in the treatment of the "mentally ill". "You can't go around being deliriously happy for no reason at all. It's just not normal. We'll make you normal whether you like it or not."

Psychosis cannot possibly be understood from a purely scientific perspective. Science concerns itself with the observable and the tangible. The soul is not tangible or observable. Psychiatrists can only observe human behaviour and their emotional states. This is merely the tip of a measureless iceberg. The soul cannot be observed and is not taken into account. When behaviour is seen as "bizarre" or "dangerous" the long and proud human tradition of reacting with fear comes into play. The sad truth is that the "normal" folk are far more dangerous and destructive than anyone experiencing psychosis.

I never saw my own journey as a journey back to normality. I do not apologise for saying that the so-called "normal" people are in need of at least as much healing as the psychotic individual. Probably more. The noraml person is accepting and enduring an unsatisfactory state of affairs with no thoughts of transforming themselves. The person who enters psychosis is embarking on the only real solution available to them in such a barren world. They are initiating a metamorphosis which will first disassemble their old self with a view to reassembling and creaing a new and improved self. The monumental tragedy about all of this is that psychiatric intervention usually interrupts or diverts this magical gestalt process at its most crucial stage.

I realise that, at this point in human history, my views will be regarded as radical and even "delusional" by most who read them. But reflect on this - 100 years ago anyone who suggested a man would walk on the moon or that nuclear bombs would be created which could destroy the entire planet would have been regarded as a lunatic.

One might well ask at this stage why I am involved in the "system" at all. Good question. Given that the curreent state of thinking about psychosis and how to "cure" it are a billion miles away from myy own personal truth. I ask myself this question on an almost daily basis. My journey has been far from smooth and these views did not evolve overnight. I have touched heights most people don't dare to imagine. I have walked through Hell on several occasions. I have also made a few misguided attempts to re-integrate myself with the world around me and to find some way to "fit in" with the "normal" folk and their warped, myopic view of reality. These attempts have generally been short-lived and painful for all involved. Maybe I have experienced just enough of the infinite and the miraculous and the divine to make me want to save the world even at my own expense.

I must be one of the few people in human history (so far) who would describe schizophrenia as a Magical Mystery Tour. I may be a thousand years ahead of my time. I may even be insane but I doubt it. Who's to say what is "real" anyway.

I realise it is very easy to dissect and condemn any existing system. The BIG question is what to put in its place. This is a question which would stump even Paul Davies. I am tempted to say "Sack all the psychiatrists. Destroy all the pills. The idea that you can heal complex human emotional and spiritual pain with pills is patently absurd. If you stop sedating people into a limbo state you will be forced to really try to heal them. Employ healers from every spiritual tradition and let's see what happens. The results cannot possibly be any worse than the current mess. Show some faith in something above and beyond what you can see and touch." After you sack the psychiatrists, get them some real help. They need it as much as anyone.

I suppose I shouldn't be so hard on psychiatrists. I am reminded of the words of Jesus on the Cross. "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."

In short, there is no way you can really hope to reform the Mental Health System without healing the entire world. This will require the action of forces and powers whose origin is in a higher dimension of reality. If you go around assuming this higher dimension doesn't exist and that anyone who believes and trusts in it must be deluded then you're probly not helping the situation. Schizophrenics are messengers of the infinite realms of reality. One day people will start to listen to us without fear and skepticism. That day may be closer than you would at first imagine.

These changes may not happen overnight but they will happen. Since we are all eternal beings, time is of no great significance. I should take my own advice and chill out and trust in the flow. Reincarnation will eventually recycle enough individuals until we reach that point where there is sufficient past-life experience of psychosis that these views will no longer be seen as radical or delusional. (Bear in mind that this was all written during a period where I was rampantly psychotic. It may be the ultimate truth or it may be the ravings of a severely deranged mind. You be the judge. Or better still, practice the very difficult art of non-judgement. I need to remind myself to do this. It is quite some challenge while the world is based on the habitual and entrenched human tendency to judge anything and everything under the sun. Non-judgement is the first step on the path to seeeing things As They Really Are. Most people stumble at this first step.

Mind you, non-judgement is a very tricky business. Old habits can be hard to change. It may take several lifetimes to really get the hang of it.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or management of E.R.M.H.A or anyone else currently living in this dimension of reality on this planet.

"When others demand that we become the people they want us to be, they force us to destroy the person we really are. It's a subtle kind of murder. The most loving parents and relatives commit this murder with smiles on their faces."
~Jim Morrison

I even wrote a little poem:

My Psychosis   &

My life is a mesmerising collection of textures
And sub-textures
Time distorts all of my biological structures
Thoughts float silently through my consciousness
Like butterflies on a warm summer breeze
I watch them
And call out to them
But they take no notice
They all have flowers to visit
I sit back and watch all this neural activity
I could quite happily do this for an eternity
Eternity is really a single miraculous instant
It dwells in all regions but leaves no imprint
People say their voices and their lives are real
I walk into their rooms and start preparing the meal
To those of you who have no experience of this
I highly recommend this state of unexplained bliss
I may be insane but I don't really mind
In touch with infinity and the souls of the blind


Excerpts from "The Troubled Mind":   &

Since the beginnings of recorded history, man has been fascinated with the insane, with their deranged feeling, thinking, and behaviour. Insane people with fanciful delusions have at times attracted large numbers of adherents, who looked upon their psychotic leaders as prophets or as saviours of some sort. The alluring properties of the "prophet's" message may be more than just a beckoning of a way to escape from the boredom of everyday life. I suspect that many followers are riveted by a peculiarly intoxicating quality of psychotic ecstasy conveyed by the "mad" leader. ........

The psychiatric disease that converts man into an other-worldly creature - at once wiser than the wisest of the sane and yet so deeply troubled that he suffers more than a terminal cancer patient - is surely schizophrenia Because of his bizarre loss of contact with everyday reality, the schizophrenic can appeal to us as a messiah bearing the message of the infinite. For our conception of the universe is bounded by the straitjacket of conventional thinking processes. A schizophrenic's self-perception is so fragmented that he seems to function at a different plane of consciousness from the rest of humanity. Some psychiatrists who have dealt extensively with schizophrenics even wonder whether the schizophrenic's "psychotic" perception of the world might not conform more to ultimate reality than does our sane vision.

Because of such doubts, Ronald Laing, a Scottish psychiatrist, questions whether schizophrenia should be viewed as a disease at all in the ordinary sense. He feels that the schizophrenic experience may be quite a natural one. In schizophrenia, individuals, for unclear reasons, have entered into an "inner world" that part of their psyche which is unconscious most of the time and which contains many of the primitive instinctual elements "discovered" by Freud. He views the schizophrenic episode as a potentially enriching experience, perhaps reminiscent of a psychedelic trip on LSD. "This journey is experienced as going further in, as going back through one's personal life and back and through and beyond into the experience of all mankind, of the primal man, of Adam and pehaps even further into the beings of animals, vegetables and minerals" If society would only allow them to embark on this journey unimpeded by social pressures, psychiatrists or tranquilizing drugs, they would emerge from it as better people.

C  J  '

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