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Psychosis IS Mind Over Matter

We have all heard the saying, “mind over matter” and we know it basically means that if we put our mind to something, we can do it.

This is often true because sometimes we can perceive things to be a bigger challenge than they actually are, and if we put our mind to it, we can overcome the obstacle, but what happens when “mind over matter” is literal, like in the event of psychosis?

Psychosis

The clinical definition of psychosis is…

Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality that usually includes:

  • False beliefs about what is taking place or who one is (delusions)
  • Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations)

In other words, those experiencing psychosis are experiencing the literal sense of the term, “mind over matter”.

Someone having a psychotic episode is having a break with reality and their minds are telling them that what they are experiencing is reality. There is little, if anything, anyone can do or say to convince someone who is psychotic, that they are wrong.

Let the Battle Begin

If you have ever had an episode of psychosis then you know what it’s like coming out of it.

In fact, even after real reality is firmly reinstated, the lingering doubts and feelings — left by way of whatever threads of memory you may have from the psychotic break, are left to still tug at your psyche.

Something happened…

Right?

Right.

But, what?

How do we process what has occurred if we have no memory of a psychotic event?

How do we process to get better if others are deluding us because they are deluding themselves about what is really going on with us?

Do we…

1. Rely on other people’s memory of the event…

2. Shrug it off, it’s over, you can’t change it…

3. What event? You people are crazy, not me…

None of the three choices above are exactly appealing; sadly only one option has the power to potentially help us.

What other people experience with us when we enter psychosis is valid. However, is their recollection; is their accounting of the events honest, unbiased and shared with us in kindness out of genuine concern for our welfare? Or, is it being thrown at us and used as a weapon?

According to Steve Hyman, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH),

“Mental illnesses are brain diseases. Based on biomedical research, there is absolutely no justification for separating out mental disorders from other serious brain disorders. They are brain diseases just as a stroke or a brain tumor is a brain disease.”

The reality is most people have little knowledge about bipolar, let alone actual psychosis.

Judgements and labels do little to help and instead cause us great harm because we are not being treated fairly.

We are not being treated by the medical community — nor by our friends and family, with compassion and the understanding that we have a real disease and we are not just “crazy” people.

We may have done something that was or seemed “crazy”, but it is not who we are and for the most part, it is out of our control. As I have pointed out before, madness has no expiration date nor does it usually have a memory.

So, why are we being treated this way? Why does the stigma stick?

When will ignorance no longer be acceptable in our society so that those of us who need help can get real help for the disease itself and not just be prescribed a plethora of pills to cover up or manipulate our symptoms?

When will society get to a healthy point of being able to talk about this intelligently without the labels, stigma and harsh judgements?

When, if ever, will bipolar people be allowed to really live?

17 comments on “Psychosis IS Mind Over Matter

  1. jarnold49
    December 5, 2013

    I recently replied to a bipolar friend who said she felt like she was “going out of her mind”: “if your metabolism is causing you to ride on an emotional roller coaster, you’re not going out of your mind, you’re going out of your body.”

    Seriously, my brilliant and world-conscious friend is as much “in her mind” as anyone I know.

    I don’t think it’s accurate or useful to consider bipolar a disease. Maybe it can be a little less disturbing and frightening to call it a “disorder” or “syndrome.” It doesn’t lessen the need for others to recognize something chronic is happening to a person that is beyond her control. And it can’t be helpful if some people make the primary subconscious association of “disease” with something “catching.”

    Without making any comparison of severity, doesn’t bipolar belong more in a category with PMS than with pneumonia?

    • Cheri
      December 5, 2013

      According to Steve Hyman, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH),

      “Mental illnesses are brain diseases. Based on biomedical research, there is absolutely no justification for separating out mental disorders from other serious brain disorders. They are brain diseases just as a stroke or a brain tumor is a brain disease.”

      Bipolar IS a disease and the stigma that your words perpetuate is wrong (and harmful) for those of us who suffer. Bipolar is NOTHING like PMS and it’s really sad that someone of your intelligence would equate such a thing.

      This is a disease of the brain. It can be SEEN in imaging tests…can PMS? No. This isn’t just some “chemical imbalance” there are biological and physiological differences that are not only VISABLE they are measurable.

      I hate to say this, as much as I luv ya Jim, your comment is awash in ignorance which is a huge disservice.

  2. jarnold49
    December 6, 2013

    Cheri, I’m sorry I offended you.

    But I didn’t make “any comparison of severity” with PMS (my words).

    My point was that “disease”, “syndrome”, and “disorder” are more or less interchangeable. (Down syndrome is defined as “a genetic disorder” — why isn’t it a “disease”?) The term “disease” carries negative connotations for many people that are a disservice to those who suffer from bipolar. “Bipolar syndrome” or “bipolar disorder” would be no less serious than “bipolar disease”, but would be less of a stigma in the minds of many. Words matter.

    • Cheri
      December 6, 2013

      Yes words DO matter and for most of us with bipolar THIS matters, we have fought for this and been stigmatized that it was “all in our heads” or just a “chemical imbalance”. YOU have no idea. It’s one thing to want to learn, it’s another altogether for a non-bipolar person to try to tell a bipolar person what’s best for them based on nothing more than their opinion. That’s ridiculous. In addition, Cancer…is a disease….a brain tumor….is a disease…having Alzheimer’s…is a disease….bipolar….IS a disease. The valid and legitimate differentiation IS important in order to better our care. Again, sorry, but YOU have no idea what you are talking about Jim.

  3. AtomicNumber3
    December 6, 2013

    Wow, okay, where do I even begin?

    Jim, jarnold, whoever you are – I don’t know you. I have bipolar, and yes – it absolutely IS a disease. Why would it make me feel better to change the words from “Bipolar Disease” “The Disease of Bipolar” to “Bipolar Disorder” or “Bipolar Syndrome”? Is that suppose to make me feel better – to know that I’m disordered, and not that I have a disease? I just don’t understand your logic, or these strange connotations that you say are attached to the word “disease”.

    To say it’s not a disease does not make it any less of the disease that it is. My brain is sick. It is diseased. And just because a million and one people throw the word “bipolar” around today, like it is nothing – to describe any number of casual things – (like the “bipolar weather”) – does not make it a casual ailment. It’s real – it can be chronic – and it can go through stages of severity – just as all diseases do.

    Maybe we come from different generations or something – but if you ask me, the use of the term “disease” is not offensive for bipolar. It’s simply describes the facts, for those who suffer from it.

    Great job Cheri – by the way! I’m sorry, hun, but I had to stick up for us here :)

    • Cheri
      December 6, 2013

      Thank you I totally agree with you and have no idea why Jim thinks he is an expert on this.

      • jarnold49
        December 6, 2013

        I don’t know if a tendency to imagine insults and lash out against others is symptomatic of bipolar, and incorrigible, but I refuse to make that assumption, whiich would make this reply il-advised.

        Cheri, I’ve written nothing to suggest that I fancy myself an expert on bipolar. I’ve only complimented you, and my entire point here has been about the relative appropriateness of the TERMS “disease”, “disorder”, and “syndrome” — NOT to suggest in any way that bipolar is not serious, not real, or not measurable.

        Do you suppose people with down syndrome, autisitc spectrum disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, etc would be envious of your status as “diseased”? I don’t think so, and I’m as qualified as anyone to judge how people in general tend to regard those more or less synonymous terms for medical conditions.

      • Cheri
        December 7, 2013

        People with bipolar have fought for what you are suggesting be taken away. The medical community is finally doing proper studies and “labeling”.You do not have bipolar so you really have no idea. It hasn’t been your fight and obviously you have little understanding of what it actually is. Your condescending insult at the beginning of your comment is also unnecessary.

  4. AtomicNumber3
    December 7, 2013

    “I don’t know if a tendency to imagine insults and lash out against others is symptomatic of bipolar, and incorrigible, but I refuse to make that assumption, whiich would make this reply il-advised.”

    …or you could just blame it on my other “syndrome” – of the premenstrual variety -since that word makes you feel so much more comfortable.

    And as for this question:

    “Do you suppose people with down syndrome, autisitc spectrum disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, etc would be envious of your status as “diseased”?”

    - Um, how would I know? Why would anybody be envious of having a disease? That doesn’t mean it’s not a disease though.

    I will leave this discussion now, since by nature I’m actually NOT argumentative. I do, however, feel the need to stand up to misconceptions about something that I live with, and understand, much better than you. You can take it or leave it. For example – the way you responded to your bipolar friend, who told you she was going out of her mind. You told her it was her “metabolism causing her to ride on an emotional roller coaster.” Please, I beg you, do not say that to her again. It is not her metabolism. Next time, just listen, without trying to make it sound better than it is. When you really ARE going out of your mind, it’s really not comforting to be told that it’s not happening.

    And – just for the record – “imagining insults and lashing out against others” is NOT a symptom of bipolar in this case – it is a symptom of normal human reaction to the stigma you don’t even realize you carry. And stigma, it seems, is the “syndrome” most incorrigible.

  5. thepersonaljournalist
    December 8, 2013

    Reblogged this on the Personal Journalist.

    • Cheri
      December 8, 2013

      Thank you for sharing this!

  6. Pingback: Why Can’t You Hear Me? | Cheri Speak

  7. theothersid3
    December 9, 2013

    Thanks for speaking up on psychosis related to bipolar. I have had two psychotic episodes, in both of which I remember most of what went through my head despite breaking from reality. On the more recent one, I had access to my hospital records, but I haven’t seen the records on my first break, yet.

    I’m no therapist or anything, but I found one thing that really helped me make sense and move on from such traumatic experiences. This is to embrace the experiences I had, as the same whether they are real or not. To gravitate towards proving them as real disturbed me, and so I’d move to the other spectrum, that they are not real. I’d then move back towards them being real because they speak volumes for what could be out there and I experienced them as real…

    I’m gradually writing more about my experiences during my psychotic episodes. In the process, I’m growing and developing my writer’s voice. I hope to publish a book some day on this topic of psychosis and my experiences, and hopefully educate others more about it and let victims know they’re not alone.

    Here’s a link to the first post I wrote about experiencing psychosis, which was right before my 2nd break and admission into the hospital. Thanks again for your post!

    http://theothersid3.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/what-is-a-psychotic-break-like-my-experience/

    • Cheri
      December 9, 2013

      Thank you for the link and such a full comment with much to grasp onto. I look forward to reading your story and learning from you. Psychosis is such an odd thing. I have never been able to “remember” except for a handful of what can only be compared to a still-shot photograph of small pieces.

    • theothersid3
      December 9, 2013

      Most people I’ve talked with who have experienced psychosis remember most everything up to a point where it drifts off and later come back to. Granted, I haven’t talked with too many people who have experienced psychosis, and I’d love to talk with more who have. If I would choose to forget or to remember, though, I’d remember them. The only thing I could compare these experiences to is a natural DMT and LSD trip without the drugs. I haven’t done either of these drugs, but I’ve read a good amount of firsthand accounts. As you said, psychosis is an odd thing!

      • Cheri
        December 9, 2013

        Yes it is and unfortunately for me it is always a negative thing filled with or brought on by rage.

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"We need to create the desire to know within the minds of the populous. Because, when they know, they will no longer be able to remain idle, nor silent". ~ Cheri Roberts

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