A philosophy of psychosis

I have been trying to work on a synthesis of philosophy regarding the experience of psychosis - how people’s experiences are similar/dissimilar, shared experiences, cause and effect of anti-psychotic medication, and other things related to psychosis. I realized earlier this week that the things I see and hear may actually be tied in to the history of the creation of our world and may in fact be the stuff our existence is made of.

For example: I’ve seen partial shadows joined with bands of light and it occurred to me that these might be the two primary materials of the universe. This realization coupled with my hearing what appears to be underneath has fueled my desire to develop this philosophy.

Has anyone else experienced things in this way? I’m meeting with my pdoc this afternoon and would like to run these things by her. I think I could really make a difference in this area.

I had similar experiences. Be careful not to go on the delusional wagon with those ideas, it’s slippery.

The best I can give you is… We don’t know. So we can’t be certain of anything, all that is said is thought of by another person, reality is not. So, we don’t know.

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hmmm a shadow is nothing but the absence of light…

So that mean that light would be the only fundamental material of the universe… and that kind of is the case.

Electromagnetic radiation (photons) are created in a lot of different ways from both electrical and nuclear processes…

Now is the photon pure energy itself… could be… but answering that is outside my current understanding.

There are other forms of energy… Namely momentum and gravitational forces. These don’t interact with light all that much only in extreme cases. High powered lasers pushing things… Gravitational lensing of light where the stars/galaxies/black holes are large enough to actually attract the energy of the photons, which are massless and aren’t affected by gravity in normal circumstances.

Philosophy is science that can’t be proven… study science man.


Thanks for the reply. I’ve latched on to philosophy as it seems the only way for me to figure out what is and is not real. I don’t discount science at all, it’s just my current focus is on how I perceive the world around me and how a shared experience such as this might be developed into a new philosophy.

Moved to Unusual Beliefs as it will be a trigger for certain users.

(Wearing moderator hat)

Philosophy is intriguing… and it does compliment science well.

Determining what is real requires multiple observers. In a point to point way though. At least determining what is physically real. If you found someone who could see what you see exactly as you see it. You might be onto something, that however hasn’t happened. Or at least its highly questionable. Mass hallucinations, like in the case of mythical figures and UFOs…

However you do have your own personal internal reality… You can do whatever you want to with that.

As far as uncovering some metaphysical truth about the structure of the universe… that is more in the hands of science these days. People trying to figure out the nature of empty space and how energy moves throughout it and between its various forms.

Regarding philosophy I tend to keep it in the realms of “what is a good life?” “What is a good person?” “What is evil?” and then societal matters… more about human nature.

That’s just my approach.

Much respect for anyone who is willing to contemplate these things… and in this case that’s you @Maineman

Good thread. I wish there were more like them on here.

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I read Nietzsche at the start of a mild psychotic state (my last one about a decade ago) and it caused an extreme existential crisis…like my ego shattered. It was unpleasant. Everything was interconnected, like a spiderweb and all of us but flies caught within, etc…it was horrible.

I, too, find solace in science. Philosophy makes my head float into outerspace until i get all unhinged by the moving molecules and interconnected ripple effect everything has on me…science provides gravity to keep my feet on the ground. I find being a skeptic to be an excellent tool for combating symptoms.

Skepticism is like an immunity shield for my sz. If I let my train of thought go off in that direction, it’ll disappear into the himalayas and never come out again. So, I stay here in the terminal, far from that train lol


Sorry about that. Thanks for catching this, I’ll try to be more careful:-)

@HQuinn good point about Nietzsche. I have a number of his volumes and find the idea of Nihilism both repulsive and intriguing. Repulsive because it argues against everything I have ever believed about the nature of man and the universe; intriguing because in my current state I am less inclined to discount “apparently” abberant views simply because they contradict what I’ve always held as true.

My own philosophical underpinnings had for the longest time been Thomistic at their core; however, my views have changed as my perception, colored by psychosis, has changed.

Thanks again for the thoughtful replies. I have been intellectually stymied for a while now and am just starting to feel a bit better. It helps for me to have stimulating discussions like this.


There is quite some philosophy of psychosis/schizophrenia out there, but it may look a little different from what you have in mind. Most of it is not concerned with the causes of the condition, and hence also has little impact on treatment. It is well understood in philosophy that causal relationships are an empirical matter best investigated by scientific means, which is why philosophers tend not to make any causal claims/hypotheses at all. Ofcourse, some may collaborate with scientists and engage in science every once in a while.

There is a branch in philosophy called phenomenology that concerns itself with psychosis in a different way though. Such philosophy is concerned with structural aspects of the experiences that psychosis can present. It is akin to descriptive psychology, though some metaphysical assumptions that are implicit in psychology are suspended in this philosophy. It tries to describe symptoms more refinedly, tries to articulate structural aspects of experience that allow for the (to outsiders) weird and sometimes ununderstandable experiences of psychosis. As such it tries to render intelligible psychotic experience to outsiders by providing non-delusional descriptions of ‘what it is like’ to experience such things. I read quite a bit of the stuff, and personally was impressed by the level of detail such descriptions reach. It doesn’t compare to the neuroscientific literature at all, where typically only a couple of lines are spent on the subjective experience of psychosis.

All of it has little impact on treatment in acute situations. But I think it does a great job in expressing what it is like to go through psychosis. This is also a way to understand someone: express the subjective quality of his experiences. Yet it has nothing to do with scientific understanding. Sometimes, in recovery, I think some of us run into problems of feeling incapable to explain to another what it was like in much detail, without resorting to delusional language that the other cannot make sense of, and that we no longer would endorse anyway. I found great solace in such descriptions when coming out of my first psychosis. So much I could relate to in so much detail, though rid of magical thinking that one would find in straightforward reports of other delusional people.


Well said @flybottle! This is what is the crux of the issue for me: having the ability to understand and relate to non-delusional individuals the substance of the subjective experiences of psychosis.

This is how I have always approached intellectual arguments and formal debate, prior to the onset of my symptoms. I think that because I’m feeling a bit better I feel the need to approach this in a similar fashion. I do, however, need to take @Minnii advice and watch that I don’t slide down the slippery slope of full-blown delusion.

Just keep in mind that nothing is certain… Remind yourself of this especially in times where you think you have found an answer.

I think Sz folk just have a higher amount of neuroplasticity… I’ll go as far to say that meds reduce this capacity… which hinders true recovery. (I know that’ll probably ruffle some feathers.)

The propensity to hallucinate… it typically brought on by stress and unrealities… that’s a place where philosophy could come in handy. How do you create a better ideological environment for minds with the susceptibilities we carry.

The hallucinations are just mental occurrences… the subconscious trying to bridge the gap between the person’s understanding of the world and what it’s perceiving… the waking dream. In this perspective we exist inside our minds, and are not the entirety of our minds itself. Something I believe is true. The spare portions of the brain try to compensate for our lack of clarity by fulfilling our believes, regardless of how untrue they are.

It’s tough though… to live in a world where 70% of people strongly believe in a God and his evil correspondent… That we will either be rewarded or punished for eternity after our brief mortal passes through this testing ground… Just so they can settle a wager about how our species develops its own morality…

Man nonsense…

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I have to disagree here

I’m honestely smarter on meds. Less distractions


I have been off meds for extended periods. My cognition doesn’t improve. My reality testing goes all to ■■■■, however. I’m one of those people who can function off meds for a long time, but it’s not quality functioning. I’ll stick with my meds. The truth is that I function better on my meds than many healthier neurotypicals do without having to be medicated.


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To each their own… I’m doing much better off of them. It’s more about mood management… the better mood/stability for longer periods of time… the more I recover…

When I do feel bad I take a plunge back into it… just to see the limits and compare to the past. Also see what issues I’m still sensitive to… then I just repeatedly rationalize whatever counter mantra I can come up with when its necessary…

Each issue a battle on its own…

but we’re all different… I can’t detect any more looming insanity out there… after seeing what all the other schizos go through on here… I feel pretty comfortable making that claim. If I can’t imagine worse or different things than I’ve been though… then I don’t think they’ll manifest…

Now it’s just training the voices to silence by reflectively training myself…

I’ve never been able to remove voices through training, just change how I react to them. The meds remove my voices, I have taught myself not to give any credence to what’s left. Just background noise that can be ignored.


If you feel meds are an advantage I wouldn’t discredit taking them…

Once I see the ends of what I can do I’ll likely get on a small dose of something…

I still have rough patches… but the issues are more about normalish things… almost childish things… relationship and friendship crap…

As far as my symptoms… I just try not to acknowledge them…

You’re a good man @pixel

It seems to working for me… sometimes they are there… and I wonder what is different that made them manifest…

but It’s all about focus… Different activities quiet them down… and it’s trying to grip that state of mind and stay in it that seems to work the best…

If I hadn’t learned to discredit and ignore what I could they’d still be mopping the floor with me… having me running in circles…

I’ve gotta try man… got to see the end of this approach… or else I’ll never know and I’ll continuously be drawn to not take meds.

I tried training, too lol. One episode I checked out self hypnosis books from the library and tried to hypnotize myself to not hear the voices. That didn’t work. Then I got nervous about being hypnotized by somebody else and hypnotized myself in order to put an unbreakable, unhackable command in case someone tried to hypnotize me in the future—>

You can not hypnotize me.

Literally I sat there hypnotizing myself to be unhypnotizable, and I spent like forever just repeating this until I really really think I can’t be hypnotized anymore. I am willing to bet money it haha

But the voices never stopped. The pills worked, though!!