reply to post by Samuelis
Thanks for posting this thread op. I know it takes a lot of courage to discuss these matters but I believe that is more a bad reflection on the world
we inhabit than on those who have experience mania and psychosis. What strikes me time and again when I read about peoples’ experience of psychosis
is the number of similarities (no matter the background) that people experience.
100 years ago they thought madness originated in the gut. In fact, at my local psyche hospital there are old case notes on the wall about a local
mother of three children who was admitted due to mania. They tried everything, but eventually settled on feeding the woman 8 pints of milk a day and
a couple of drams of whisky. Apparently that did the trick (the fats in milk slow the mind) – the notes finish with the woman’s doctor having met
her and her three children in the local grocers – all of whom were quite happy.
Many of the posters here have made mention of the fact that they were not eating properly prior to the onset of mania. All the energy that should
have been used operating the digestive system transfers to the mind which, being starved of nutrients, seems to switch to a survival mode.
I discussed this with a psychiatrist who told me that if someone carries enough body fat then not eating for a few days won’t do much harm, however,
if you have low amounts of body fat the body starts to produce excess amounts of progesterone. (Which causes havoc with the thought processes). When
I described my own psychotic experience as my conscious mind being sidelined while my sub-conscious (survival) mind came to the fore – he said that
was a very good way of describing it. That subconscious mind is not concerned with social niceties and norms – it strives to survive.
I experienced ‘acute hearing’ – hearing everything around me at the same volume – a dripping tap in the next room was as loud as the person
talking next to me. I also experience ‘perfect memory syndrome’ – uuuurgh I could remember every event in my life, every discussion with every
person, every book I’d read and every tv programme/radio show I’d watched or listened to etc etc. – all at one time. A mind blower indeed.
I also experience a fantastic sense of ‘oneness’ with every person, creature and plant, all existence in the universe in fact. (Actually that was
quite beautiful). I recently watched a tv show scientifically investigating the effect of psilocybin. People taking that also experience that sense
of oneness. The scientist ingested some mushrooms and had a brain scan while he was high. Later when they looked at the results of the scan it seems
that there is an area of the brain near its core which gives us all our sense of individuality. When the psilocybin was ingested that area of the
brain almost closed down. I think that’s what happened to my brain – without the need to ingest psilocybin.
Although I wouldn’t want to experience psychosis ever again (I have three times – that last time being ten years ago) it was, in many ways a
valuable life experience that has forever altered my perspective on existence. As you wrote in the op – what starts as an experience of potential
genius quickly runs out of control and becomes very frightening for both the experiencer and those around them.
But maybe from some of the posts on this thread we can start to get an idea of how it begins.....poor eating, staying awake for a few days and for
good measure add a large dollop of stress. That’s why it’s wrong to label anyone who has these experiences as mentally ill – given the right
circumstances this can, and does, happen to anyone.
edit on 9-8-2012 by christina-66 because: (no reason given)