Monday, June 6, 2005

On the Street, a few things about delusions..

I was supposed to meet with my lawyer today. However, earlier in the morning, her assistant called me to reschedule our meeting.

Since I am on my way to return the demonstration unit (laptop), I decided to sit in the shade and start to do some typing.

This is the same spot I sat at about one month ago when I started trying to learn to deal with the auditory hallucinations and delusions.

I decide to start doing some experiment on myself and try to see how I am viewing the world surrounding me.

As I turned on my laptop, I realize that there are quite a few wireless hotspots nearby. As a result, I decided to get connected to the campus access point nearby.

While I am sitting here, rambling away, and looking at the pedestrians walking by, I am also sending IM messages to a friend of mine about going to shop for a vacuum cleaner for him.

The coolest thing was that I actually could tune into one of the net radios and start playing music on my machine. Well, with the heavy traffic in the background, it is sometimes close to impossible for me to really hear the music… Yet, just for the sake of trying it out..… lol

So, is there anything new that I hear and see?


Except for the heavy traffic on the street, there is not much going on in the vicinity.

Well, it is over-exaggeration to say that I perceive nothing going on the environment.

Once in a while, when I see people in group of more than 1 person (lol) engaging in conversations, I would still have the sense that they are talking about me? However, I do have to admit that the sense of paranoia has reduced drastically since weeks ago. In other words, I think or, at least, hope that this is a positive sign of my recovery from my positive symptoms.

When I was recovering from my first psychotic episode, it was very difficult to deal with the gradual break down of my delusional system.

As I mentioned before, at the point, I thought people knew me and were constantly discussing about my conditions. I thought many a thing has been promised to me including employment and green card sponsorship.

When I eventually realized that those were but my delusions, it was not too easy for me to handle.

Even though these were not real. For me, those promises were real for all those times.

It is a real sense of loss that I had encountered and the intensity of grieve is no less than what one might feel in real life situations.

I asked my psychiatrist whether there was any way to help me deal with the sense of loss. He told me that I just had to live though it, just like any other experiences in life.

That day, after I went back to school, I went online, trying to look for some support groups that specifically deal with the issue of recovery for patients with delusions. Unfortunately, my attempts were not successful.

There were and still are support groups for patients with depression, with addiction, and with many other things. However, at that point of time, I did not find too much facility provided to help people with the given condition.

Maybe people with delusions just don't walk to talk about their delusions, especially when they realize those beliefs were just their delusions (Believe me, it took me years to finally stop feeling ashame of those delusions of mine).

It is an interesting idea to be discussing about the issue of virtual loss. The loss of materials, fame, etc, as a result of delusions are just like the loss of gains that could have been materialized shall one be smart enough as to sell the equities at the highest point. Unfortunately, there is no gain shall there be no transactions.

If you want to understand the feeling of loss associated with delusions, just think about that sense of grievance you had to go through the last time you failed to buy low or sell high on the stock market… lol

Unfortunately, not all losses are virtual, and, when these losses are materialized, the truth might be far too cruel for the recovering patient to handle.

A lady I met in the psychiatric ward in Taiwan had a loss that could never be recovered.

I was having my internship for my bachelor’s degree then. Among the patients, there was this lady who was extreme eloquent and well educated. It was over 10 years ago now and, at the point, she had obtained her master’s degree in special education.

She was working at some school before she was committed to the hospital.

She seemed all fine during our conversation and I saw nothing wrong in her based on my observations.

One day, I asked the staffs about her condition as I was trying to go over her chart. I was informed that I could choose anyone else as my case study except for her.

She had delusional disorder.

In her delusion, Satan was coming down to take over the world. She observed the clues from everywhere… including the messages hidden on TV shows.

Satan wanted to use her baby daughter as a vehicle to destroy the world.

To prevent Satan from achieving this demonic goal, one Saturday afternoon, she crushed some anti-hypertension medications and mixed the powder in ice cream. She fed her daughter with the ice cream and she, herself, downed the remaining.

There are other details that I wouldn’t go into and what I have provided you with were actually in the news.

The bottom line was that she lived and her daughter died.

During time when she was in the hospital, she still had that delusional belief about the Satan’s intents and she had no regret about her own deeds.

It was not like she was a psychotath and she was being relentless and lack of remorse. She was just entrapped in her delusional system.

One day, she came out howling from her meeting with the psychiatrist.

The staff members came running after her and put her on extreme degree of monitoring.

Ya. That was the day when the medications and the interventions finally broke through her delusional systems.

She finally realized that the price that was paid for her mental health problems.

Could you blame her for what she has done? Yes and no.

Before we even come in to make a blame, she has her own grieve and self-blame to be taken cared of.

For the past few weeks, I have been trying to look at the positive side of the positive symptoms.

Why am I telling this story today?

The reason is simple.

Don’t discount the suffering of people have to go through to cope with their mental health problems.

At the same time, please also don’t discount the damages that could be done as a result of mental health problems.

Real harm could be done even though the beliefs are unreal. The best way to prevent virtual losses from being materialized is by self-understanding and professional intervention.

So have I had any real loss as a result of my psychotic episodes?

Yes. I was offered once a full-time position years ago and I was supposed to teach a class before my full time appointment.

Then I went through my full-blown psychotic episode the second time.

I went to teach a class or two and I never went back.

The first few sessions, I did not go because I thought that the president of the school had channeled with me and he had made arrangements to cover for me. After my delusional system was dissolved, I finally contacted the dean to apologize for my sudden disappearance.

Could I blame them for blaming me? No, because they have a school to run and I was the one who was being irresponsible.

Am I going to blame myself? Yes and no.

If I were to blame myself.. it would be my ignorance that is to be blamed.

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