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Originally posted by On the Edge
"One man's schizophrenia is another man's enlightenment". (I forget where I read that before,but in many ways I think it is true.)
I'd give that Christian angle another shot and learn to love yourself as Jesus loves you. He knows your heart and I believe He is able to help you through your anxiety.
These are anxious times. You need to have faith in something,something that never changes. To me,that something is God.
This may not be what you want to hear,but it's the best I can offer. You were very brave to come forward here with your concerns,and I hope you find the peace of mind you need. I don't think you are hopeless at all!
And as for the people that don't feel a little crazy in this world from time to time,...there's something wrong with them!
Originally posted by NewlyAwakened
I think I am heading toward schizophrenia. I have it in my family history, and I am at the right age for it, and I've had some delusions recently, and some startling realizations to this effect. So keep reading; this is your chance to peek into the mind of someone who's descending into madness.
Here are a few things not everyone knows about schizophrenia and psychoses in general. Many people with these conditions are extremely intelligent and logical thinkers. I have read many quotes by philosophers and psychologists to the effect that pure logic seems to drive people into madness. People discussing this phenomenon often reference Nietzsche, a paragon of logic who ended up going insane. By contrast, people who devote themselves to something irrational, be it a traditional form of dogma or even just an ideology (humanism comes to mind) tend to remain sane, as long as they do not experience too deeply the lack of logical underpinnings of any of these objects of devotion.
Here's what I think happens. Througout our lives we produce an ego, basically the structure of protocols that allow us to deal with the world and function as a contributing member of society. Our egos are basically defined by our environment; they are basically a total reflection of everything we've experienced growing up; all the pushes and pulls grow this ego. If the early environment is sufficiently negative, this ego will more closely resemble the neurotic "pride system" discussed by Karen Horney in Neurosis and Human Growth, the primary driving emotion/instinct will be anxiety, and one will experience compulsions based on this anxiety.
Often this system remains fairly stable. Even if the person spends his entire life in an inner hell created by the pride system, he is usually able to deal with it through integrating or meaning-generating factors such as a distant life goal or devotion to a religion or ideology. This keeps the whole system fairly integrated, so long as no significant event shatters that goal or object of devotion, in which case a rapid ego collapse or "schizophrenic break" can occur in susceptible people, where the whole structure holding everything together like glue and giving their lives meaning breaks down and the individual neurotic conflicts (individual pieces of the "pandemonium" to use "Dennettian" terminology) come into focus, and basically duke it out and tear the person apart. Milder ego collapses are colloquially referred to as a "nervous breakdown" or "going to pieces".
Now here's what happens when an intelligent person has developed and open-minded yet critical intellect and digs deeper and deeper into his own mind and irrational assumptions. As this person begins to dispel falsehoods and see truth, his compulsive pride system, which ordinarily has emotional defense mechanisms against realizing unpleasant truths, gets constantly thwarted. But this system is not actually based on the little delusions which support it, but merely employs them to keep itself in business. It's semi-autonomous, and if thwarted by one realization it will find another dogma to latch on to.
Thus in your life you might know some people (people who may eventually go psychotic) switch relatively quickly from one devotion to another, one ideology to another, and often seem to get quickly wrapped up in their new "fad" and defend it vigorously for a while, before discarding it and switching to another. These people may be going through exactly the internal process I'm talking about.
But here's the thing. The pride system has a lot of autonomy, and is much more concerned with validating our existing emotional experience by appropriately "tinting" the data coming in through experience so that they gibe with the pride system. For instance, in what eventually become paranoid cases (which is what mine will be), anxiety is the chief emotion. I constantly need something to be afraid of. Whether it's a fire-and-brimstone hell, the failure to triumph against my siblings or to maintain a triumphant position, the humiliation from my peers, rejection or abandonment by a female, spiritual-death sort of hell (this is all an approximation of my own sequence in my life history), no matter what sort of belief I dispel my mind comes up with something more to be afraid of. When I get over a fear, I get a brief feeling of euphoria, feel I've finally found peace of mind, but shortly afterward, surprise, there's something else to terrify me.
I have thus come to the realization that there is some part of me that needs to be afraid, and no matter what I do, will keep giving me reasons to. I do have an idea of what it is and how it works (see the Horney book above), but won't go into that here. Suffice it to say, no matter what blows my intellect deals to my fears, new ones keep cropping up.
They've recently started to get fantastical. I've recently gotten over about a month of believing that my clocks are speaking to me, or at least God or some spirit is speaking to me through my clocks. I'd come up with some cool idea, and check the clocks, and they'd be at a repeating digit (12:44 for instance), alternating digits (3:43), or in extra special cases all digits the same (4:44). This would "tell" me that I was on the right track. Originally I started to feel quite spiritual, but then the fear started creeping in. I'd get a thought like how I had abused someone in my past, and the time would happen to be one of those "special" sequences. I would then try to empathize and see vividly how I hurt the person, and I began to be overcome with guilt. And I realized that there was nothing I can do about my guilt because it was a fact of history. I had damaged my soul, and would always feel this way. I wondered if heaven/hell is simply a permanent emotional state (call it "genuine self-esteem" or "genuine self-contempt" depending on how you've lived) that occurs after you die, that you've built up through life (the "treasures in heaven" that Jesus spoke of us building up through our deeds). I got a heck of a number when this happened (I'm pretty it was an 11:11), which freaked me out and made me finally realize what's meant by salvation in the Bible, about the need to be "saved from your sins". I repented and thought I'd found Christ for a while.
[edit on 2-7-2010 by NewlyAwakened]
DING. Spot on!
I think I suffer from the same # you describe here, the only different is I don't let it get to me. I don't sit and think about it and wonder what's next. I don't let my mind and my emotions take over. I accept things as they are and go from that point forwards, always.