The Issue of Medication for Psychosis

The issue of whether to take medication or not can be a difficult one. While medication may work well for some, it may do little for others. This syncs with the fact that experiences associated with psychosis are vast and varied. People who suffer are very diverse, and causation remains nebulous.

I believe that causation for each person is a constellation of a series of modalities. I have witnessed how comparing causation theories becomes the spice of life in a psychosis support group. I find support groups for people who experience what is labeled as psychosis to be full of cultural learning that can result in powerful growth and wisdom.

As someone whose been in recovery for fifteen years, I have also witnessed the issue of medication to be politically divisive amongst message receivers or people who experience psychosis. Personally, I am starting to see it more as an element of cultural diversity in which differences can make the support groups I run vibrant and spectacular.

I believe I have a moderate view on this topic, which means it can be hard not to feel under attack in differing circles. My hope in this article is to provide perspectives to help people make their own decision about medication and work together regardless of their views and life experience.

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Two, Trauma-Sensitive Solutions for Psychosis

When I experienced two years of psychosis early during my career as a mental health counselor, I was already getting good at managing trauma with my master’s level training. I always been pretty good at being safe for others.

I wanted some of that trauma support when I found myself confined to a ward on a State Hospital. I knew I needed to establish safety with someone but couldn’t find anyone who would deal with me. Instead, no one treated me as though I was traumatized because they didn’t want to reinforce my delusions. This only made the trauma of what I experienced worse. Invariably, hospital workers were punitive and denied anything unjust was happening to me at all.

Because I worked tirelessly and had family support, I was able to return to my career in mental health. I got my psychotherapy license ten years ago and since that time I have worked to create trauma-sensitive treatment to address the needs of individuals who experience psychosis. Here, I intend to convey two trauma-sensitive solutions I have developed, working with people in groups and in individual treatment.

 

The Challenge of Establishing Trust: Read More

The War on Drugs: a Symptom of a Larger Issue

By Corinita Reyes

 

In the war on drugs, the real targets have not been drugs themselves but on those who live a life in which drugs are ever present. Drugs prove to be a persistent issue in low income neighborhoods, specifically those who have an ethnically diverse makeup. The fact that those affected most by the war on drugs are thought of as “minorities” is no coincidence, it would seem rehab is a privilege reserved only for white affluent people, the rest are sent to prison to serve time for something that is seen as a treatable issue in the medical world. It is hardly a crime to develop diabetes or depression, so why do we treat a mental illness as a crime? It is imperative that we as a country explore how the war on drugs affects low income people of color (POC), its relationship on how mental illness affects low income people of color and why the war on drugs is simply not working. We need to replace the current war with a more sustainable system that supports our citizens, rather than punishes.

The war on Drugs has proven to be unhelpful because it is a continuing cycle which targets drug addicts.  In the article “Drug Addicts As a Victim: A Link to Explore” by Laura M. Nunes and Ana Sani, they write “It is not uncommon in the illegal drug market to find that the individual selling the product, being in possession of large sums of money, is also intoxicated.” (3) This shows that the drug dealer and the drug addict are one in the same.  Those who are not drug dealers are still in possession and can end up in prison system.  Once in the prison system, they may incur trauma from violence, sexual violence or from isolation that only makes any sort of mental illness they had prior more intense.  Upon being released, they now face new barriers from acquiring legal employment to being unable to qualify for public assistance and housing thanks to background checks.  Now as they are back to illegal activities such as drug dealing in order to make money, these activities make a neighborhood less safe, “Also, by dint of their lifestyle the drug addict will tend to have much less protection, especially in the form of formal protection from the social control system, for fear that their deviant activity is discovered by the authorities.” (Nunes et al, 4) It is safer for these individuals to deal with violence themselves than reach out to authorities in fear of being arrested.  Outside of the US, some of the most dangerous people in the world are the ones who are supplying the drugs to the streets of America.  In the article “Winding Down the War on Drugs: Reevaluating Global Drug Policy” by Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, they say “Governments around the world have poured billions of dollars into combating drugs…to pursue, conduct surveillance on, kill, prosecute, extradite, and imprison kingpins and low-level dealers, in source and destination countries alike.” (1) This shows how The US is not alone in these failing tactics against drugs, yet the problem persists not only on our streets, but globally.  All of this is evidence that the war on drugs in conjunction with the prison system is a cycle that perpetuates violence and drug use. Read More

Be A Buddha

Be a Buddha! This request isn’t odd!

In Mahayana Buddhism one can become a Buddha, saint, angel, or Demi-god,

By practicing good deeds & eradicating evil deeds,

Moving the will of heaven then on to heaven succeed,

Inspired by the divine I give you a piece of my mind,

Good thoughts, speech, and actions is good karma, it’s good to be kind,

Results in good luck, good fortune, & destiny,

No fool to blood guilt let no devil get the best of me,

By slander and defraud,

The enemies of god are flawed,

I pay homage to Buddha Amitabha Namo Amituofo,

The blessing of Buddha contains more than 7,000 good deeds,

Now this is something you know too,

The bible says a profit is one who is heavy in deed

& faith without works is dead,

Actions and speech follows the thoughts in your head,

Don’t be a sinner forever its bad karma to eat animals that are dead,

Though its what comes out our mouth that defiles us bread,-dren,

Not what we put in, don’t be a gangster and wind up in a cell,

Bad thoughts, speech, and actions leads to bad luck, misfortune, and fate burning in hell,

My wishes are women, weed, and video games and for you to be well,

What are you willing to go to heaven for have integrity truth tell,

Karma is changeable yet permanent don’t soul sell,

Fulfill your destiny and become perfect for life is fleeting,

Be beloved by god and heaven become a celestial being,

Judo: the will of heaven be moved with your heart,

So you can be blessed and lucky as I express myself with this art,

I used to pick up thousands of cigarette butts at and water the park,

Fertilize from dawn till dark,

Plus I believe in Jesus. I’m a melting pot of religion

Like America. It’s good karma to defend your country,

Bad things aren’t suppose to happen

I chant Amituofo to keep demon & devil from among-st me,

So join the light side,

The right side,

& live not with pride,

When your good you don’t have to look over your shoulder or hide,

The bible says that by the law you should abide,

Honesty is a virtue with the deceitful don’t ally,

Bear no false witness they call it snitching & it glides,

Or set sail, you’ll regret your sin’s when your burning in hell,

Live straight and narrow like a train on a rail,

Don’t be lazy, you’ll never succeed if you don’t fail,

You could be black, white female or male,

I wrote this to motivate you to make your story an extraordinary tale,

By becoming an extraordinary person on your destiny don’t bail,

try not to turn down your blessings your suppose to be lucky for being good,

Discern the origin of cause effect and you’ll find enlightenment like you should,

Becoming a Buddha was the best decision I ever made and I really wish you would, too,

Retire on top after your heavy in deed grew,

Seek justice I could talk about it till I’m blue,

That’s why I love the curse of Allah its just it only effects the wicked,

No harm to the innocent no one gets afflicted,

When it comes to celestial beings I’m rather addicted,

The miracles, the virtues, the parables from the gifted,

Worship god and all those in heaven,

Become a V.I.P of the afterlife, and change life’s like a reverend,

If you curse someone with magic and their innocent it returns seven-fold,

Constantly working to become a better person even when I’m old,

Anger leads to pain, pain leads to the hell realms were its not cold,

Have love don’t hate be slow to anger like god so I’m told,

Jesus is lord & to be Christian is to be Christ-like so onto profits I hold,

Anyone can change their destiny are you in or will you fold

Anyone can become a Buddha they come in all forms.

One man killed 32 people before becoming a Buddha– against  sin I warn,

Made a vow never to litter so to the earth I’ve sworn,

And hopefully through this verse another saint be born,

Read Liao Fan’s four lessons to changing destiny.

 

Written by Jamal Muhammad, the Buddha!

Why I Say Special Messages Instead of Psychosis

For the past ten years I have used the words special messages to bring people together behind a better-defined notion of psychosis. I hope in this article will help better define what I mean by special messages and why I think that messages are part of a process that includes seven other components that I defined in my last article.

Many people who have worked with me presume that when I say special messages I mean voices. It’s true that the words hearing voices ring true as music to my ears. Indeed, the hearing voices movement has vastly improved the social understanding of what is happening to message receivers. Less dominant are the memes associated with all the “psycho” stigma that gets equated with the psychosis word. However, I still argue that just saying hearing voices fails to unite all people under the umbrella of the word psychosis.

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A New Definition of Psychosis

Psychosis is an antiquated word that leads to huge misunderstandings that play a large role oppressing a larger and larger portion of the population. For the past nine years I have run professional focus groups, going through the process of listening, exploring, reflecting, writing, seeking feedback and rewriting to get a better definition of psychosis.

 

Defining Psychosis, the Mainstream Way:

I remember using the mainstream definition as a young professional during the job I used to get me through my Master’s Program. Wondering how I was to connect with people who had delusions and voices that I clearly didn’t experience with my neurotic, highly-medicated self, I filled the white board with a list of labels and complicated words I was proud to be able to define. It was my college education that got me the job, and this was one way I could use it to be useful.

positive symptoms

Hallucinations:           reports of sounds (voices,) visuals, tactile sensations, tastes, and olfactory sensations that others do not experience

Delusions:                   “an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational . . .” In spite of the “preponderance of the evidence”

Disorganized Speech: Frequent derailment or incoherence): Word salad, tangential, or circumspect speech

negative symptoms

  1. Andhedonia
  2. Avolition
  3. Amotivation
  4. Alogia
  5. Attention Problems
  6. Catatonia
  7. Posturing
  8. Lethargy
  9. Flat affect
  10. Social Withdrawal
  11. Sexual Problems

 

The Errors of These Ways:

Life has taught me that the mainstream definition, as such, does little to depict what it feels like to have a break from reality. Indeed, not understanding this can cause a supporter to make things worse even when they have the best of intentions. Indeed, miscommunication, pain, and strained relationships often result once a sufferer has a break.

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Another Anything for a Little Attention Man

It’s true that a plastic rimmed hat

That cost me ten cents at a thrift store

Is sitting on my head;

And it’s true that they gave me

A free plastic trash bag

To covers some  of my

Old five and dime store clothing display;

And it’s true I might have taken the bus;

When it didn’t look like rain this morning;

And it’s true that it would have been

Ten miles home, or four miles to the mall

By the time the skies opened

And dogs and cats nailed down upon my face;

It’s true that already have an interview suit

In another state

That my father wouldn’t send to me

When we fought on the phone earlier today;

And it’s true I have an interview on Friday

And it’s true that I have the money

On my card to pay;

And it’s true that I don’t have enough money

To pay four more months’ rent stay;

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The Need to Dismantle Industry Constructs (Part Three)

When I think back to my twenty-two-year career working with other providers, my mid-career first-break, and the things that helped me recover, like my dog, I know for sure that the standard of care needs is a disservice to those who experience madness.

Many people who have breaks from reality get that permanent housing trajectory in their heads and rant and rail against it. They may still believe that there is such a thing as schizophrenia and be disinterested in the lives of their peers who are clearly schizophrenics. Those who have breaks, like me, are extremely diverse with distinctive cultural backgrounds, different access to resources and differing levels of buy into to the concept that they are permanently ill with something that will never go away. Those without a history of privilege become very susceptible for decline into permanent warehousing conditions that make healing very challenging.

Clearly, dismantling industry constructs for things like schizophrenia and poor prognosis is an important component of recovery. I have a hunch that to plan for generativity, schizophrenic constructs, other disorder constructs that block the formation of counterculture, and constructs from developmental psychology need to be challenged.

 

 

***

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How the Privilege of Generativity Helped Me Accept My Family (Part Two)

My three-month psychiatric incarceration seemed to be aimed at discrediting me after I had leaked newspaper stories. On my way to Canada to seek asylum, I was stopped by police. I evaded them for three days through rural towns and surrendered one midnight, from a ditch on a mountain pass.

It was hard for me to accept the way I was treated. Confined to a ward for two weeks, I walked in circles. I barked on the payphone testing many of my supports. They all just said I was delusional.

I really did learn a lot from a mob boss’s daughter. There are a lot to the rules that govern those of us who get trafficked in this land of the free. Still, I did what I could to disrespect the mob especially because my counselor told me not to. And so, I endured a month of chronic warehousing conditions. I had to wear other peoples’ clothes to brave the ice-cold of the barely heated ward.

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The Need to Plan for Your Loved Ones Recovery (Part One)

 

In the United States, when a person has what is often referred to as a first break, the courses of action that get taken against them may end up being a crime against their humanity.

While there can be very diverse responses from family and friends, there is the unfortunate tendency to turn to the mental health industry for support and direction. Many providers in the industry only know the standard of care which is to refer the person to a hospital and psychiatric medications.

Few providers take an interest in understanding and exploring the important experiences that lead to the break. I call these experiences special messages. Finding a provider who is curious about these experiences, skilled at understanding them, and who knows better than to try to suppress them can be rare.

Many providers fail to acknowledge the trauma involved in the lives of the people who have first breaks and that the trauma that gets worsened as the standard of care—forced medication, social security, revolving hospital doors, and warehousing—get implemented. Many presume this is a necessary process.

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