• Josh Alfred
    110
    There are many different types of mental illness and one could make many conclusions about the nature of the mind with any MI in discussion.

    I am very open about my own mental illness which is schizophrenia. If you have any insights to provide for any form of mental illness and can relate it back to the mind/consciousness that's what this discussion is open for.

    Let me give you my own personal experience with my own mental illness. I suffer from audio and visual hallucinations. What can hallucinations mean for the human definition of the mind, or even one step farther, the biology of the brain?

    Let me postpone answering that question to further define my abnormalities.

    My visual hallucinations are obfuscated shapes and images, coming in multiple colors, spreading over the whole or a minor part of my field of vision.

    My audio hallucinations are rather bizarre. They are rather scrambled ideas, and it is truly amazing that with the "noise" and "errors" in my consciousness that I am able to conceive of anything complex or communicate as well as I do sometimes.

    Does this tell us anything about the Mind?

    If you'd like to know more about my experiences just ask. Feel free to write about your own experiences with mood disorders, identity disorder, or just unusual experiences that you have had.

    Thanks,
    Josh.
  • Wallows
    8.6k
    If you'd like to know more about my experiences just ask. Feel free to write about your own experiences with mood disorders, identity disorder, or just unusual experiences that you have had.Josh Alfred

    Do you display symptoms of paranoia? I'm apprehensive to straight out label you as a schizophrenic, as you may have a simply perceptual disorder.

    I have struggled with being a schizophrenic for a good part of my life. It's fairly recently that my doctor has decided that it is rather a psychotic disorder, which in some ways sound even worse. I have trouble trying to put into words these experiences. It's like trying to ask a fish how the water feels like. Or put into different words, it's as if one were to completely and wholly dissociate from one's self to be able to objectively talk about the Mind, as you put it.

    What do you think?
  • tim wood
    2.8k
    I suffer from audio and visual hallucinations.Josh Alfred
    And I wonder how these that you describe above differ from dreams?

    I have struggled...Wallows
    Question: do your afflictions interfere with every level of life, or are there some levels, activities, aspects of being, that seem immune? If it's like water to a fish, I suppose that's my answer....
  • Wallows
    8.6k
    Question: do your afflictions interfere with every level of life, or are there some levels, activities, aspects of being, that seem immune?tim wood

    The fish has no idea what the water feels like.
  • tim wood
    2.8k
    Well, yes, that's a problem. But you would say that you have some problems, yes? And being of an inquisitive and philosophical turn of mind, you can reflect on the consistency or presence or strength or variability of that which seems the problem, against the circumstances or conditions wherein the problems manifest themselves, yes?

    But I'm more interested in a simple than a long and complicated answer (mindful that I am thankful always for any and all answers). That is, likely I cannot ask you any question you have not already asked of yourself. What sort of answers do you give yourself?
  • Wallows
    8.6k


    It is mostly a tiring effort. Like a flat tire that needs to be constantly inflated. Anyway, idiotic analogies aside, the issue is that reason, in some transcendental sense, is always in need of being applied along with critical thinking skills to convince myself that when I do have the loopy thoughts. A great deal of time, for me, is centered around trying to stay sane and cogent.

    Generalizing, I think self-doubt or self-criticism is a prominent feature of anyone with a mental disorder. There's a great deal of becoming prone to depression, anxiety, pessimism, and such.

    Though, not in all cases is this true. Having a solid support group or family in helping you is perhaps quite essential to feeling secure and safe.

    That's all I can think up.
  • Nils Loc
    483
    Ted Talk: Anil Seth: Your brain hallucinates your conscious reality.

    In the above talk Seth gives an example of audio hallucination by nudging our brain to make sense of meaningless phonetic sequence by a forced association. It would be interesting to come up with as many possible alternative sentences that map perfectly on the phonetic rhythm which he uses. Some could be terrible and hateful and some could be quite positive.

    Apophenia is an interesting phenomena but it must also be an applicable term for the way in which average (non-shizophrenic) folks perceive the world. The positive aspect of apophenia is when it it is adaptive (when it wouldn't be classified as apophenia). Could we say that projection of analogy and metaphor (rudimentary modes of understanding) are essentially partially controlled apophenic events? Wherever thoughts help us to imagine (hallucinate) the world as we think it is we are on shaky (provisional) ground.

    There was an anecdote I heard about paranoia in non-westernized countries as having a more benign and even positive quality, better defined perhaps as pronoia than paranoia. This could just be complete BS though.
  • Josh Alfred
    110

    "Do I display symptoms of paranoia." - Wallows

    Yes, and sometimes delusions. For example I will think (delusionally?) that radio broad casts have messages for me, and I can hear them. I don't know if its interferences or just my mind making up stuff while I listen. This doesn't happen often, though.

    My other paranoia I equate to social anxiety. I get very nervous when having to do things outside my home and comfort zones. I also trouble talking on the phone, because I think I won't know what to say -- its apprehensive.

    I think FOR THE MOST PART hallucinations are different than a perceptual disorder, though, I have been recommend to get my eyes throughly checked out. Perceptions can alter my hallucinations, such as flashing lights. Too much perceptual stimulation arouses the hallucinations.

    "Can we objectively talk about the mind?" - Wallows

    I am not sure what an objective statement about the mind would be. Maybe something like it experiences emotions and perceptions, memories and beliefs, etc.. I think it can be objectified through categorical understandings..
  • Josh Alfred
    110
    I wonder how hallucinations differ from dreams

    As do I.

    The images I hallucinate aren't as vivid as dreams.Though I suppose that many people who suffer with hallucinations feel like they are "in a waking dream" because of vividness of their hallucinations.

    The audio is just as audible as those in dreams, but less coherent.
  • Wallows
    8.6k
    Yes, and sometimes delusions. For example I will think (delusionally?) that radio broad casts have messages for me, and I can hear them. I don't know if its interferences or just my mind making up stuff while I listen. This doesn't happen often, though.Josh Alfred

    I've been for a while now interested in the phenomenon of delusions. I recall that I had some when my psychosis first started. Some of them included believing that I had parasites in my intestines. I tried understanding delusions as a form of cognitive distortion on steroids. What are your thoughts about delusions? By definition, they are distorted beliefs or false beliefs; but, how they arrive at their faulty conclusion is quite a mystery.

    My other paranoia I equate to social anxiety. I get very nervous when having to do things outside my home and comfort zones. I also trouble talking on the phone, because I think I won't know what to say -- its apprehensive.Josh Alfred

    Do you take any medication for your disorder? I take Zyprexa and Zoloft. The Zyprexa helps me stay calm and stable. The Zoloft is pooping out and I'm unsure what to change it to.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    1.3k
    Paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations:

    My “delusions” are of the paranoid type. The first thing you have to realize about me is that I don’t agree that I am delusional (at least not all the time). I believe that people are sometimes recording me, at other times people are just spying on me, and at other times Homeland Security is using the microphone on my devices to listen in on me. They also use the GPS on my phone to track me and harass me. That may sound outlandish, but you have to realize that I was a failed experiment of the CIA. All throughout 2006, I was followed by agents who zapped my temporal lobe with concentrated microwaves causing me to hear a voice commanding me to do something occurring with a painful shock feeling in my ear. I would not do what the voice told me to do, so they eventually gave up. This went on for months, however, and now I have brain damage from the concentrated microwaves to my temporal lobe. I used to be able to do calculus, and now I can’t. I have trouble with hearing now, too.

    I also feel like some people on TV and the radio know me. This probably doesn’t sound likely to you, but I am something like a celebrity to the government. They tried to turn me into a terrorist, but I wouldn’t comply because I don’t want to hurt people. I’m probably one of the few people who have been able to withstand their torture and harassment. So, I’m something of a national curiosity.

    Now, I am praying three or more times a day and studying Scripture. I am working on myself so that I can carry out the Golden Rule and treat people with the compassion and understanding that everyone deserves.

    God bless!

    Noah
  • Wallows
    8.6k


    Whoa Noah, that sounds pretty serious? Are you on meds? I'm on Zyprexa and am calm as a Hindu cow on it. It kind of takes away the high and elation of existence; but, it's a fair trade-off for staying sane.

    I understand the stigma of admitting that you have a problem, and often the delusions prevail in the feelings of grandeur or specialness. I know, it was hard to admit for me that I had some issues, like thinking I was under the surveillance by the government after I got discharged from the military or helicopters flying outside my house to monitor and force me into submission through fear (helicopters flying overhead in circles is intimidating!) or neighbors observing me.

    In all this there is a grain of truth in all this, helicopters are observing something by flying in circles... The TV is trying to grab your attention. Neighbors might be passively observing you, after all the grass is greener on the other side and we try and keep up with the Joneses, no? I guess, to isolate a fundamental feature of schizophrenia is the delusion of reference. What are your thoughts about this core delusion that is the source of supreme frustration in the life of a schizophrenic?
  • Not
    22
    In my opinion......

    The consciousness seems to me an invisible and parasitical organ. It does not even exist, really, and yet it causes more harm than good. It has exploded and can almost be tracked from Socrates who first began to discuss the idea of thoughts as apart from mere reactions. The idea of Reason.

    We don't manage it well at all. It is the core of mental illness, not the brain, and one of the reasons why it's so hard to treat mental illness. How can you fix a broken consciousness? A consciousness begins at birth and retains all experiences and interprets them in various ways.

    We are not even in control of it. Don't think about Pink Elephants! Stop obsessing! Don't eat that cake! Stop thinking about that married crush you have!

    No one killed themselves because of their brain. It's been the consciousness telling them to do so.

    Constant chatter 24/7, never shuts its trap.

    What is peace? Being asleep and away from that monster.

    It's so bad, they now think we will be AWARE we are dead!! Even when the brain shits off.

    <shudder>

    It's a disastrous tumour that can't even be seen.
  • Wallows
    8.6k
    @unenlightened, your input would be very much appreciated and welcome here. What are your general thoughts about delusions, paranoia, and delusions of reference. Quite a "magical" thread. Only at TPF I suppose.
  • sime
    367
    As a non-schizophrenic I have some difficulty understanding delusions, but as an occasional depressive i am familiar with reality contradicting my negative expectations.

    Are schizophrenic delusions categorically different from neurotic beliefs? For example, is psychotic paranoia qualitatively different from social-anxiety paranoia? Is the introspective rationalization of those states similar or different?
  • Wallows
    8.6k
    Are schizophrenic delusions categorically different from neurotic beliefs?sime

    Well, delusions are rather not beliefs; but, convictions that are justified and maintained through erroneous reasoning like cognitive distortions.

    For example, is psychotic paranoia qualitatively different from social-anxiety paranoia?sime

    Yes, it is something else entirely, to a large degree. This is because the way psychotic paranoia manifests itself is spontaneous and quite random or too mundane events which appear to have personal significance due to delusions of reference, whereas social-anxiety is context dependent and triggered through certain situations or circumstances (like being in a crowd of people or due to having to deliver a speech).

    Is the introspective rationalization of those states similar or different?sime

    The rationalization is fundamentally different due to the above. Furthermore, paranoid delusions can't be reasoned with and saught through or banished away with talk therapy to a large extent due to being convictions about the world that are precipitated through stress or endogenous factors like being in a prodromal state of schizophrenia. And, this is why delusions are interesting. Since, they have no propositional content, that what do you call them? Bedrock beliefs (although irrational to the n'th degree)? If so, then why do they have such an impact on one's thinking, and why can't they be reasoned with?
  • sime
    367
    Well, delusions are rather not beliefs; but, convictions that are justified and maintained through erroneous reasoning like cognitive distortions.Wallows

    But aren't depression and anxiety treated as beliefs produced by cognitive distortions in CBT? And what is the definition of a cognitive-distortion?

    Couldn't the falling success rate of talk therapy for treating neurosis possibly be an indication that the placebo effect and behavioural conditioning are the main causal agents responsible for talk therapy's success in treating neurosis, as opposed to talk therapy working due to reasoned argument?

    In many cases, the depressive's beliefs about himself and the world are probably more rational than his therapist's in the sense of being evidence based. Perhaps CBT works mostly as a rhetorical device whose success has more in common with religious propaganda than with rational and honest epistemology of the self.

    In my own case I frequently have bouts of depression in which I will give lengthy evidence based justifications for my negative life expectations, yet my expectations often change instantly positive the moment the sun comes out... This seems to suggest that negative rationalisation is an epiphenomenal symptom of depression rather than a cause of it.

    And knowing all of this doesn't help me avoid negative beliefs during a future depressive episode...

    So while there are clearly phenomenological and neurological differences between psychosis and neurosis, I am tempted to think that they should be pushed closer together.
  • Wallows
    8.6k
    But aren't depression and anxiety treated as beliefs produced by cognitive distortions in CBT?sime

    Yes, they are. But, even in the book that got me into CBT, called Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns, the author highlights that cognitive distortions in the most extreme forms manifesting in delusions of control, grandeur, reference, and paranoid or persecutory types, they need to be addressed through medication.

    Couldn't the falling success rate of talk therapy for treating neurosis possibly be an indication that the placebo effect and behavioural conditioning are the main causal agents responsible for talk therapy's success in treating neurosis, as opposed to talk therapy working due to reasoned argument?sime

    I don't know the directionality of the placebo effect and rational/dialectical/logotherapeutic talk therapy. I'm also unaware if neurosis is not something that can be addressed through talk therapy. I would think that neurosis is best treated through CBT and some SSRI.

    In many cases, the depressive's beliefs about himself and the world are probably more rational than his therapist's in the sense of being evidence based. Perhaps CBT works mostly as a rhetorical device whose success has more in common with religious propaganda than with rational and honest epistemology of the self.sime

    Not really. CBT has some hard evidence showing it to be a successful type of self-therapy. The whole point with CBT is to be "prepared" when you fall into a slump.

    In my own case I frequently have bouts of depression in which I will give lengthy evidence based justifications for my negative life expectations, yet my expectations often change instantly positive the moment the sun comes out... This seems to suggest that negative rationalisation is an epiphenomenal symptom of depression rather than a cause of it.sime

    That's an interesting way to phrase the question. A sort of chicken-egg thing. I'm not aware of structural abnormalities in the brain of a depressive, and the data pointing that depression is hereditary is somewhat iffy or I'm not really well acquainted with it. But, I suppose to some degree your "mental filter" can be hardwired a certain way and in a dialectical manner you build rationalization (cognitive distortions) about how you perceive the world, which then manifests into some mood. Keep in mind that "rationality" is a pretty novel thing in the evolution of humanity, so I often wonder how cavemen dealt with depression, and why does it still persist to this day.

    And knowing all of this doesn't help me avoid negative beliefs during a future depressive episode...sime

    Well, there's no permanent solution to depression, apart from suicide. One just learns to cope with it. Sometimes the CBT comes handy when you're in a rut, and can serve as a band-aid before engaging in more nuanced solutions, like changing one's behavior. Keep in mind that when I talk about CBT, it's not in the normal fashion. I tend to place a focus on the cognitive component of CBT, and less of an emphasis on the behavioral component.

    So while there are clearly phenomenological and neurological differences between psychosis and neurosis, I am tempted to think that they should be pushed closer together.sime

    So, you're saying that neurosis is endogenous, much like psychosis is due to genetic abnormalities? I don't quite think that's right.
  • Josh Alfred
    110
    I actually take the same meds as you, olanzapine and sertaline. I also take a PRN which is called Lorazpam. I take this last one if my symptoms become severe. The medication has been working wonders for me. I haven't visited a hospital in two years now!

    One is an antipsychotic. It works by inhibiting dopamine receptors. The other is an antidepresssent, increasing serotinon levels. I am into understanding neurology, but my understandings are shallow at best.
  • Wallows
    8.6k
    I actually take the same meds as you, olanzapine and sertaline.Josh Alfred

    Yeah, I've tried Abilify, Vraylar, and Latuda. I like how Zyprexa calms me down and makes me docile. Do you get akathisia from your Zyprexa? I had real bad akathisia from Abilify. Felt uncomfortable. I have been somewhat worried about Zyprexa becoming ineffective for me, and if that does happen I might switch to Clozapine.

    The medication has been working wonders for me. I haven't visited a hospital in two years now!Josh Alfred

    Great news. Hope things continuously get better for you.

    Do you have bad negative symptoms, like anhedonia, apathy, and such? How have you dealt with those issues?
  • unenlightened
    3.7k
    I'm not sure I have that much to contribute...

    The first thing you have to realize about me is that I don’t agree that I am delusional (at least not all the time).Noah Te Stroete

    Back in the day, this was the Catch22 symptom, and was called "lack of insight". To put it crudely, if you experience a delusion as a delusion, you are not deluded. I see the lady being sawn in half, but if I 'know' it is an illusion, I don't rush the stage trying to save her. If I rush the stage, I am deluded - unless it turns out that there is in fact a dismembered corpse, which is fortunately rare.

    But there is not much of what Noah recounts that has not been relayed on mainstream news, except the general sense that he has been singled out for special treatment that the rest of us do not suffer. See Edward Snowden, or Cambridge Analytica for examples. (I do not provide links, because just as scammers will use your virus paranoia to enable them plant a virus on your computer, so political manipulators will use your surveillance paranoia to feed you fear-based stories.)

    But just to be clear, no one much cares what goes on in your head as such, but only what comes out of it in talk and behaviour. As such, mental illness is a social phenomenon, rather than a mental one; it's not a question of whether you believe the lady is being sawn in half or not, but whether or not you rush the stage. Or to put it another way, it is not false beliefs that are problematic, but fear and panic. My paranoia is that they are trying to make me paranoid, and that is what I try to resist.

    I don't mean by this to dismiss the distress that people suffer, and 'whatever gets you through the night' by way of medication or therapy is valuable and important. But the distress is also socially mediated. In a culture where hearing voices and seeing visions is respected, for example, the person who here is regarded as mentally ill would be a prophet and a leader. "I have a dream, that one day, we will build a wall..."
  • Josh Alfred
    110
    Oh boy have I had some experiences with different medications! I was one halodol for nearly a year and was continuously restless. Zypraxia, has less of this affect for me. Studies show that switching between medications to lower agitation, adverse effects, is beneficial. See: Managing drug induce akathisia.

    "Do you have bad negative symptoms, like anhedonia, apathy, and such? How have you dealt with those issues?

    Not really. Lately I have been highly elated, smiling and laughing too much. I think its the zoloft. I am on 150mg. NTS I think I'll ask the doctor to cut back some. He increased it to fight off anxiety, but I still notice about the same levels as anxiety as when I was on a lower dosage.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    1.3k
    I smashed one iPhone with a hammer and busted another in half because of the spying. I even bought a bug detector. Nothing will stop them or prevent them from harassing me. I even dismantled a radio because I thought there was a bug in it.
  • Wallows
    8.6k
    This is a podcast about the issue that I found very interesting. Thoughts?

    https://philosophybites.com/2013/01/john-campbell-on-schizophrenia.html
  • Nils Loc
    483
    The Atlantic: When Hearing Voices is a Good Thing

    But there was one stark difference, as Stanford News points out: "While many of the African and Indian subjects registered predominantly positive experiences with their voices, not one American did. Rather, the U.S. subjects were more likely to report experiences as violent and hateful—and evidence of a sick condition." — The Atlantic: When Hearing Voices is a Good Thing by Olga Khazan

    I remember now someone in a podcast brought up the work of Tanya Luhrman.

    Seems to accord with Unenli's observation that the expression and reception of some (all?) kinds of mental illness is socially (culturally) mediated.
  • Nils Loc
    483
    Was reading J.L. Borges short story about Tlon Uqbar Orbis Tertius, about a conspiratorial interpolation of a false world into the records of the real world by way of an enclyclopedia. As I was reading I thought pages were being magically added because the story seemed longer than I recollected. It made me terribly paranoid. The conspiracy in the story was also happening to me.

    For a moment afterward I thought I was totally buried in my own solipsistic mind, that the surface of my vision was altogether too flat and close, smothering me, like I was stuck in a coffin or buried alive (my field of vision was the lid of my coffin). I was paranoid, panicked (felt like I couldn't breath).

    I got up and started a Tai Chi program to try to anchor myself and improve mood.

    I have a limited sense of what an absolute unmoored hell a severe schizophrenic episode might entail. Not to have recourse to a foundation of the real scares the shit out of me.
  • Wallows
    8.6k


    Sounds like you had a scary experience reading a book by Borges. Have you seen, Through a Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman? I was captivated seeing it for the first time, might give it a whirl again.
  • Nils Loc
    483


    No but will do. Though why seek out new nightmares... Everything can be nightmarish if you're in the wrong state of mind.
  • Wallows
    8.6k
    Everything can be nightmarish if you're in the wrong state of mind.Nils Loc

    Yeah, if we can ever redefine "schizophrenia" being a "condition" instead of a "disorder or illness", then I suspect the abnormally high suicide rates for schizophrenics might abate. The struggle is real.
  • sime
    367
    Is hearing voices qualitatively different from hearing your own thoughts?
    Or are there intermediate cases, where the voices are semi-controllable and semi-self identifiable?
  • Wallows
    8.6k


    Yes. The internal monologue that people have takes place from "within the head", where hallucinations are percieved by a schizophrenic as originating outside of ones head.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.