The doctors think I am schizophrenic, because it seems bizarre that I would get into a fight with a cop. So, am I? Well, I think I actually am. That is, I think that the extended definition that spans three papers fits me often enough. But so do some personality disorders.
Is schizophrenia a firm thing that the definition hints at or is the definition the thing itself? For example, there are intuitive concepts like an honest smile that healthy people will recognize as a distinct thing while mentally impaired may not.
Schizophrenia is, first and foremost, a word.
Is schizophrenia like a smile? A distinguishable aura that healthy people clearly see? Or is it a rather nebulous concept used whenever something a person says or does seems bizarre? I can clearly see how my behavior seems bizarre to an outsider. And yet, from my own standpoint, it seems almost perfectly logical.
Without wasting time about the question of whether schizophrenia is a real thing, let me just ask: What are delusions?
I have two or three ideas.
This is the one you will hear from the doctor’s at the psychiatric asylum of your confidence: Your brain does it. Your brain overestimates danger or threat and overreacts as a reaction.
You catch the drift, right? Something in your brain is just weird and there is nothing you can do but eat pills to suppress that incomprehensible nonsense your brain produces. You will always be a victim of your brains malprocedure.
I think this is bullshit, but I see how you arrive at that. Pardon my lack of scientific method if this is not perfectly sound in terms of peer review magnificence, but I guess you would simply take a group of mental illness sufferers and then a group of healthy people. You put them into a brain scanner and give them some stimulus, ranging from audio over touch to video. You notice that both show very distinct patterns of activity in their brain. The healthy male feels joy at the sight of a hot girl while the mentally ill feels fear. You conclude that their brain does weird things. Malfunction. Out of order.
Alright, but that relies on the assumption that there is some kind of linear and static streamlined process your brain goes through to process stimuli. A bit nonsensical, considering that a perfectly healthy brain can be conditioned through.
It does not make sense to me, on an intuitive level, that one would experience anything random in one’s life. It takes away responsibility and the belief in healing, too.
Here is my explanation. You take your Pavlovian dog and show him a hot female dog. And every time he looks at the female, you electrocute him. 1000V. As much as he can take without dying.
I bet you that under the brain scan, he will have a weird strong anxious response to hot female dogs. You have produced your first mentally ill dog.
Give that dog a little self-reflection skills and meditation and maybe, one day, he may get over it. And will have developed a godlike resistance against electrocution.
Alright, alright. But what if there was no electrocution? Well, it is easy with a dog in a lab, right? But then, in an uncontrolled environment, who knows whether there was? There is the phenomenon of repressed memories. For instance, childhood sexual abuse is often not remembered at all and takes therapy – or meditation – to re-remember. But an abused child may feel the subconscious need to reenact the abuse by abusing kids himself.
Alright, alright. But what if it really did not happen? Then we delve into even more fascinating waters. One proven thing is genetic memory? Rats inherit their mother’s traumatic experience.
Okay, but schizophrenic people develop first symptoms usually in their twenties. How about that?
Well, for that, I unfortunately have to delve into a matter that may cost me some readers, because genetic memory will be the limit of what they can consider right now and that is perfectly fine. But I find myself unable to hold on to purely atheistic and materialistic beliefs. And frankly, I wonder why I should. Considering that most people and animals likely have consciousness, they should have some explanation about where it comes from. I admit that I did not consider that question until that consciousness was heavily shaken.
Yes, I just wrote that. Past lives. Why does schizophrenia manifest in the age of the twenties? Well, that is the age where a male usually fully develops. And if a memory is a memory of an adult, it can not be experienced by a younger boy, because the important emotions are not yet in place and the mental and physical capacities have not yet developed.
I admit that this may still work with genetic memories. The scientists would simply have to think of traumatic experiences that affect only a fully developed rat. Be it as it may, I do not believe that this life is all there is and neither do I believe that there is a point to stay in heaven or hell forever. I mean, forever is a pretty long time and being at the mental asylum, I see how quicklydevelops.
I remember this article about a fish who had a whole aquarium for itself. Then a glass barrier was put in and suddenly, half the aquarium was off limits for the fish. When the barrier was taken back out, the fish kept using only half the aquarium. Do it! It is just a choice!? And if you are that fish, how do you justify not trying to swim there anymore, when everybody else says it is just a choice? After all, they were always saying that.
In the end, with every delusion, one has to wonder whether a reality can be constructed in which that delusion is real. And why it would. Let us not forget that from the perspective of an honest crazy person, it already is real, so the real take-away here is: It may no longer be real.
For instance, schizophrenia often incorporates elements of being conspired against. Well, why would people conspire against one? One can certainly think of reasons, but only if one dares to look outside of this particular person’s current life. Take past lives or genetic memory or childhood, whatever you like or feel more comfortable with.
Imagine a person who raped or murdered someone. Now look at people’s typical reaction: Cut his dick off! Kill him! Strangle him!
Such a person would be right to become paranoid. Right to hide something. What is being hidden? The person may not even know. Childhood trauma? Past live trauma? Inherited trauma?
Have you seen the movie The Machinist? The emotional mood of the film resonated a lot with me.
Look at the diagnostic criteria of Borderline Personality Disorder, Schizophrenia, Anti-Social Personality Disorder and then at the symptoms of PTSD. There are similarities. Is that because they are distinct things that are similar? Or because these diagnoses are all just vague categorizations of tangled messes of traumatic memories?
Now, if someone comes back from a guerilla war and experiences paranoia, we say PTSD. If the symptoms come on their own, we say schizophrenia. Much less formidable and prideful. But that is okay. And maybe I am simplifying here, but my point is simply: Imagine a world in which your delusions are not delusions. Allow that. Stop fighting your own mind. That place where they are real may not be this world. It may be your childhood world or a past life or a genetic memory. What you project into society may have been true in your family.
Just accept the thoughts and ideas your mind produces and give them some meditative attention without judgment or attachment and it may just help you solve those things, even if they have nothing to do with your current life. Maybe that is the real lesson, after all. To let go and realize that you no longer need those fears.
Of course, it may take months with baby steps to get where you need to be. To heal. But why not?
Feel free to comment: In what kind of world are your delusions not delusions?
So, what is a delusion? I say it is a truth of the past. But you must acknowledge it before you can recognize that it truly is not needed anymore.