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vaseadude

i think my friend has psychotic/extraordinary experiences

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vaseadude

Hi there,

I found this forum really helpful in dealing with my withdrawal and I thank again everyone who helped and helps people! But this time I need some help in helping someone who is just beginning to have extraordinary experiences, "delusions" or "psychosis".

 

Some time ago I talked to my friend, and he seemed to have these delusions like he understans everything, like he is god, like there is really nothing in existence, etc... At the same time his presence was really heightened and I found it hard to talk to him (hard to explain but I remember when I had my problems I was similar, like having this psychic power or i dont know how to describe it..). At the time he was kicked out of his parents house I believe because he was just too much to bear with his ideas... That was about 1-2 weeks ago. And now I found out from him that he hasnt slept for 50 hrs, and he tells me that he found jah. I told him he has to get sleep unless he'll have halucinations and stuff, he says he doesnt believe in all the medical stuff.

 

I was once psychotic and hospitalized, and put on a antipsychotic drug, which was a terrible experience. And having had this experience, I really want to help my friend so he does not go as far as to be a victim of psychiatry... but the problem is I really dont know how to help him.

Any ideas what I can do, or what I could tell him to reach him?

 

A warm thanks for your answers!

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Shanti

Whether he is having a valid spiritual experience or he is delusional, either way, you can't talk him out of it. There's no point. That's from my experience anyway. I'm very active in spiritual community so I see people that go from having genuine spiritual experience to delusions of grandeur. The ones with delusions not only think they are God, but they think it is up to them to save the world. Their existence is imperative to the grand scheme of things. They are a specific prophesied figure like Jesus. However, many that have spiritual awakenings discover the divinity within themselves and also realize that they do have creative power and we are all One. There is also a change in how we view reality. Life feels more like a dream that can be altered with thought. This belief isn't harmful. I believe it is valid. But when a person is at this point, they can cross over into the delusions of grandeur. But either way, you can't talk him out of it. It will only push him away. From my own dealings with some very close to me that went into thinking he is the savior of the world, I just know the only thing you can do is accept how they are. If you succeed at anything, it will be to quiet them, but not change their perceptions of reality. That being said, if you know about spiritual awakening and that the feelings of divinity within, you can explain to them that EVERYONE is a God and everyone has these feelings when they wake up spiritually. It would be good for a person like that to find a spiritual guru to help. The reason this happens is the ego is still trying to define reality, when the perception has changed. The ego is focused on singular, one, self. So when this experience happens, the ego makes them interpret it as "I am THE one", instead of the valid spiritual non-ego experience of "We are all One".

 

If you feel inclined and really want to help, you might look into spiritual awakenings yourself.

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Shanti

A good book about this is Spiritual Emergency - When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crisis. It has several authors. It talks about how spiritual awakening can lead to psychosis. You can find this book at Amazon for a couple of dollars. I had a psychiatrist once that understood this issue. I wish now that I could have stuck with him, but I only saw him once and couldn't anymore.

 

The description at Amazon:

 

From Spiritual Emergency to Healing and Rebirth

Increasing numbers of people involved in personal transformation are experiencing spiritual emergencies — crises when the process of growth and change becomes chaotic and overwhelming. Individuals experiencing such episodes may feel that their sense of identity is breaking down, that their old values no longer hold true, and that the very ground beneath their personal realities is radically shifting. In many cases, new realms of mystical and spiritual experience enter their lives suddenly and dramatically, resulting in fear and confusion. They may feel tremendous anxiety, have difficulty coping with their daily lives, jobs, and relationships, and may even fear for their own sanity.

 

Unfortunately, much of modern psychiatry has failed to distinguish these episodes from mental illness. As a result, transformational crises are often suppressed by routine psychiatric care, medication, and even institutionalization.

 

However, there is a new perspective developing among many mental health professionals and those studying spiritual development that views such crises as transformative breakthroughs that can hold tremendous potential for physical and emotional healing. When understood and treated in a supportive manner, spiritual emergencies can become gateways to higher levels of functioning and new ways of being.

 

In this book, foremost psychologists, psychiatrists, and spiritual teachers address the following questions: What is spiritual emergency? What is the relationship between spirituality, “madness,” and healing? What forms does spiritual emergency take? What are the pitfalls — and promises — of spiritual practice? How can people in spiritual emergency be assisted by family, friends, and professionals?

 

This groundbreaking work reveals that within the crisis of spiritual emergency lies the promise of spiritual emergence and renewal.

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vaseadude

Thank you Shanti!

 

Did you suggest that book for me to read or to give to my friend?

 

As for the sleep problems, does that need to be addressed somehow? Can it get worse because of sleep issues? (I have read that the houses who treated psychotic people without psychiatric drugs, like Soteria and another project in Finland, used light medication for sleep issues.)

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Altostrata

vaseadude, does your friend think his experiences are psychotic or extraordinary?

 

Is he taking any recreational drugs?

 

If he's not offended by the suggestion, he might look at the Hearing Voices network or Will Hall's site

 

Yes, not sleeping can exacerbate all kinds of symptoms.

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vaseadude

Thanks for answering Alto.

 

He thinks he has discovered God, and thinks he's in a dream, like nothings real. I think he views his experiences positively, but has trouble sleeping. He has never mentioned he is hearing voices..

I don't think he is taking any drugs now, but before he used to smoke cannabis occasionally.

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Shanti

Yes, for you to read so you can understand this, and for him if he feels like he's having a negative experience. If he feels it's positive, then he is simply having a spiritual awakening. His views about reality and finding God are very much like my own, and I've been this way for many years. I think there is a stigma attached to people having spiritual experience that doesn't fit into religion and so we might interpret it as something bad is happening. But if he's alright with everything, there is nothing to change. In fact, trying to change him is only going to make matters worse for him, and if he loses all his family and friends it could turn a normal spiritual awakening into psychosis. Once a person has a spiritual experience that changes their perceptions of reality and their existence, there is absolutely no way you can talk him out of it. However, the sleep issue is not normal. Are you sure he really has gone that long without sleep? The sleep issue is the only thing I'd be concerned about.

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jr1985

Sounds like mania - delusion of grandeur, euphoria, "flight of ideas", lack of sleep, etc. If it just appeared out of no where (I.e. no drugs involved) then he could be Bipolar.

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GiaK

there is no clear line between that which is psychotic and delusional and that which is spiritual...it all exists on a continuum and all of it can potentially respond to integration and good health over time...

 

getting there...without appropriate supports however is the challenge and Vaseadude, it's important to understand your own limitations and make boundaries to keep yourself healthy too.

 

Here is a page from my blog on spiritual emergency stuff...

 

http://beyondmeds.com/2012/08/19/spiritual-emergency/

 

it's one legitimate way to look at these things but at this point your friend is going to have to find some sort of meaningful support and like I said you need to be careful to not take it upon yourself to try to be all he needs right now.

 

If you can encourage him to get sleep that would certainly be very helpful and it's one of the only times that medications can truly be a good thing...for crisis so that one can sleep. Absolutely essential and once one sleeps a lot of balance can come back in...

 

I'm sorry you're dealing with this...there are very few places that meaningfully support people in such crisis and so it really is a dangerous place to be...not because it's inherently dangerous but because most people don't know how to help and the infrastructure of care in our society are pitifully inadequate.

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Barbarannamated

 

 

He thinks he has discovered God, and thinks he's in a dream, like nothings real. I think he views his experiences positively, but has trouble sleeping. He has never mentioned he is hearing voices..

I don't think he is taking any drugs now, but before he used to smoke cannabis occasionally.

 

Vaseadude,

 

Please encourage your friend to find a doctor who will first rule out medical problems that may be causing the sleep deprivation and altered state. I would avoid using any terms such as psychotic, delusions, hallucinations, spiritual, psychic, mania, bipolar, etc. The medical community will be all too quick to diagnose him as "psychiatric" when there is very likely an underlying medical condition, possibly even a vitamin or mineral deficiency.

 

I made this mistake recently when I had a delirium and referred to it as a "hallucination" because it was identical to febrile hallucinations I had as a kid. They did not cause great concern back in the 70s but now are immediately seen as psychosis/psychiatric by most doctors and lay people. (When I got an MRI, it did show cerebrovascular damage).

 

Is your friend aware of what's going on? Psychosis/psychotic is a psychiatric term that means "a break with reality".

 

From your description, it sounds like your friend is experiencing a medical delirium.

 

You may find something useful in this article:

 

http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/articles/diamond.htm

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GiaK

none of us know enough to postulate exactly what is going on with this guy.

 

this sort of thing is generally a combination of several things - physical and emotional and situational...for example...finding an appropriate person to assess him is the issue and unless one knows exactly what they're looking for it's unlikely one will find such an appropriate person...sadly the truth...

 

for lack of the appropriate expertise being available the next best thing is finding someone who will simply not be quick to judge...and not be coercive about care and treatment...once coercion enters the picture trauma is pretty much unavoidable...

 

finding a kind person that can help problem solve, then...is the best thing...then medical and emotional etc elements might be explored...

 

and your friend has to be on board too...which doesn't always happen. This is a difficult situation and none of us can really know what is up from out here Vaseadude. It's hard enough to recognize what is going on even in the persons presence quite often.

 

(by the way I worked with people labeled with psychotic disorders for many years and well, I still do...via the internet)

 

I know lots of folks who have healed in a multitude of ways...it's never the same twice.

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Shanti

Gia, I appreciate what you are warning about, but none of us are diagnosing him. I think it is important to give the spiritual view of what could possibly be happening to this person as clearly, they don't even know of this possibility. From the sound of it, he likes what is happening, saying he found God, but there might be an issue with derealization. The issues sound very similar to Kundalini Syndrome and Shamanic Initiatory Illness. Now, just because we are pointing it out, doesn't mean we are saying that is what it is. Everyone should know to look at all the possibilities. I just know that when someone is having a Spiritual Emergency, the worst thing to do is expand their fear of losing their mind by telling them they might be having psychosis. Because there really is a danger that it can lead that, and fear of it only makes it worse. It is important, as I said, that this person finds a Guru. But we did ask more questions to get a better idea of what's going on as well.

This I know from my own experience with Kundalini turning into Schizophrenia. You do NOT feel like it is "positive". You feel a mixture of both but mostly negative. I only wish I had learned of the things that I am saying here and now. It would have saved me years of pain. I have worked for many years counseling people spiritually. One of my main things is helping people deal with this and I became an ordained Esoteric Minister.

I think that anyone that thinks something is wrong with their mind and having spiritual experience at the same time should look into a website like this: "Biology of Kundalini" or read the book I mentioned simply because knowing the biology of a spiritual awakening can help alleviate the fear of what is happening to you. HOWEVER, I will say again, that this person's lack of sleep needs to be looked at by a doctor

(lord I had trouble with the link. I can't fix it)

Edited by Petunia
fixed link

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GiaK

shanti,

I shared a post on spiritual emergency...perhaps you didn't see it...I wasn't shutting down what anyone said.

 

as long as you're talking shamanic stuff I've got a good collection of that way of looking at stuff too:

 

http://beyondmeds.com/shamanism/

 

my point was exactly this...that many things should be considered. that is all.

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GiaK

and for the record...I too have been "psychotic"

 

my whole drugged out journey started with what I now consider a very intense kundalini initiation.

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Shanti

We have a lot in common Gia!

 

No, I didn't see your post yet. I spent a lot of time fixing my post here. Something weird is going on, it kept adding codes before and after my sentences and I had to keep editing it. I'll look at your post now :)

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Shanti

I love that you give such broad perspectives, spiritual, shamanic, etc, on the mental health issue. You are doing a wonderful Work.

 

I've been very much into my Native Spirituality and Shamanism. My Tribe is Wintu NorRelMuk Nation, but there are only very few of us left. The entire tribe (But two little girls) were massacred in their sleep in 1850. I'm just now finding a descendant from one of the other little girls as he was taught their traditions and spirituality. Something I am VERY excited about! I thought it was lost.

 

Anyway, I love your website and I'm going to look at the other posts now.

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Shanti

Gia, it's funny, I put a link to your website on my own, long before I knew you ;)

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Barbarannamated

I read and reread each of your posts earlier this morning, thinking "hmmm...it SOUNDS like they're expressing similar points.." :)

 

As long as we're clarifying... I agree 100% with all said regarding Spiritual / psychosis being on a continuum that very few professionals would acknowledge or know how to work with. I don't think I've been psychotic per the definition of "losing touch with reality", but the bizarre perceptual experiences of withdrawal have definitely caused me to feel that I was well on my way several times.

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vaseadude

Just wanted to thank you all for the posts here. Interesting stuff..

It seems like my friend is not "losing it", in spite of his ideas, he is staying functional and quite happy. I hope he will stay that way or even become even better through this transformation.

Peace!

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areyouthere

Has anybody read "Women Who Run With The Wolves" by Clarissa Pinkola Estes? I recommend it. She interprets myths from many different cultures and what they mean for women. I found it powerful. She does some interesting work. I've been listening to tapes of "The Creative Fire: Myths and Stories About the Cycles of Creativity " on the way to work and back. Good stuff.

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Shanti

Has anybody read "Women Who Run With The Wolves" by Clarissa Pinkola Estes? I recommend it. She interprets myths from many different cultures and what they mean for women. I found it powerful. She does some interesting work. I've been listening to tapes of "The Creative Fire: Myths and Stories About the Cycles of Creativity " on the way to work and back. Good stuff.

 

I haven't read that, but heard of it. It sound good. If you like the deeper exploration of Myth, you'd probably like Joseph Campbell's the Power of Myth, and a documentary called The Hero's Journey . Maybe you heard of him. His ideas are awesome. I really love the power of myths and symbols. A good book about all things as symbols is called Animal Speak by Ted Andrews. It's mostly about Power Animals and their meanings, but it also talks about the terrains and things that grow near you. All of it has meaning that is relevant to your life. Once you open your eyes to the deeper meaning of all things, you start to see how everything is connected and has personal meaning to you.

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btdt

if your still around how did this turn out?  Where and how is your friend now?

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