A trick from the book

During psychosis, I have a mental book of tricks that I employ to cope with everything that is going on. Many of them concern the ability to see things differently, to play with interpretation of phenomena in such a way that they will cause me least distress. I have written down some of my tricks in a document on my computer, though it is not quite a book yet. During psychosis, aside from trying many new things, I also look through this document to see if there are any tools in there I can use when phenomena are distressing.

One of these tricks concerns the perception of a causal relation between two phenomena. Typically, the two phenomena that appear to be causally related are some hallucination and a bodily sensation or emotion. Sometimes, the relation is one between a hallucination and an intrusive thought. Sometimes between an intrusive thought and a bodily sensation.

The trick exploits the idea that causality is the result of an interpretation of phenomena. It is not simply out there. There is some philosophy that supports this idea, like Hume and Kant, but it is not too important now. Now the trick exploits the idea that the causal relation between them is added to the events by the mind. Since this is an interpretation of those events, another may be possible as well. So here’s how it goes:

My voices threaten to control my body in such and such a way, and lo, my body moves in such and such a way. To perceive the causal direction here from voices to bodily action is tempting in a sense. But it is also distressing. No fun being a puppet in the hands of some heartless punks. So I notice this and take the liberty to tinker with interpretation a bit. I reinterpret the causal direction and reverse it. So I interpret the content of the voices as a result of my body acting in such and such way, rather than as its cause. To me this is less distressing.


I just try to quit focusing on the illness so much. After a week of almost pure isolation a stronger sense of self is starting to set in and the hallucinations are less frequent and degrading. I know I can still sink back into it if I’m not careful.

I did get comfortable enough to start chatting with the voices a bit. They always play like they are other people and are typically very brief with their response. Like a trained telepath might be. Sometimes I can feel these secondary cognitive elements hanging around like they are watching me. They’ll even comment out of the blue at points.

Eventually I get tired of entertaining that and it quits happening so much.

It’s hard switch to really accept being alone. To accept that the voices aren’t real and it’s more important to think in ways which don’t trigger these hallucinatory responses. Have to put everyone out of the mind.

Thinking about people is pretty unavoidable, but you can get better at dropping the fixation that comes from the sense of connection to the person. As false as it may be and as little as it really matters what happens in one’s head. It’s brought me a lot of comfort to not dwell on the presence of others as I continue to try and reclaim/create a mind for myself.

When I do feel like thinking about other people… I merely “look” at them in my mind. Remember the signature of their personality/physicality without saying anything.

Making a lot of progress in reshaping this. Unfortunately the operation of my AC or my box fan or the refrigerator, or the vent in my bathroom, they all maintain a layer dull noise. Voices that have been more or less beaten, but won’t go away. I don’t really get the auditory trigger. Even though they don’t stop I can forget they are there.

This ■■■■ all fluctuates so much. The only way to control it is by controlling the self. You have to let go of a lot natural cognitive things in adaptation to the illness. Or at least I have had too, and there is a lot more left to do.

Things I had major confusion about sexuality/psychosis/telepathy/people/self views/ all the other elements that I really have forgotten about, well it’s like ■■■■ just is what it is you know. There are a lot of things I was interested in before getting sick that I started losing interest in after awhile. Physics, computer science, video games, movies… I had hoped the same thing would happen over time with these topics that plagued me for the last couple years and it really is starting to.

This experience has been a real trip, but I’m seeing a good path to follow to try and get ahead of it.

A lot of alone time is going to be involved, but it’ll pay off. I’m still pretty young so maybe someday I’ll get that second wind.

Not meaning to hijack your thread. Got a little carried away.

This is what is typically called white noise. It consists sort of what is called a flat frequency spectrum. It is not uncommon that it is a trigger for people who sometimes hear voices. My take on it is roughly that in supplying each frequency, it gives the mind a foothold for selective interpretation of it. And we look for other people talking to us when there is sound, and such is exaggerated here. This is just speculation but it makes some sense to me.

No worries about hijacking the threat, it is good to share tricks that help to cope I think. Thinking of the triggers and white noise, another trick in my book is to exploit the white noise from the vacuum cleaner. I stick my fingers in the end of the hose and pitch the sound to a higher tone. This changes the tone of the voices for me. I do this when they get too cocky and I start to believe they have a will of their own. I’ll be like: “you don’t want to go there dude, I’ll get the vacuum cleaner out an make you scream like a little bitch.” This gives me a sense of control over the voices, whenever they are trying to claim it. Maybe other triggers can be interpreted in this way as well.

That makes a lot of sense. Sometimes the “messages” are triggered by visual stimulation or even cognitive coercion, but it is primarily an auditory thing. People talking, the sound of a car outside or the neighbors upstairs stomping around. It’s very hard to break the connection there as the stimuli are so frequent and unavoidable and in a delusional(even just semi delusional or interested in the experience) one is more inclined to focus on and seek out the phenomenon in hopes of finding some clarity regarding its nature. Vicious cycle, especially when it becomes degrading or stress inducing which is a downward spiral.

It’s all about developing a stronger mind when these things are happening and learning to live in it. That’s been my general strategy this whole time and its been two years. It is paying off, but it takes a long time.

I do sometimes embrace the psychotic scenario, out of boredom or fatigue, its typically a bad idea to do that, but it feels a lot less hazardous over time. The content of the voices/messages slowly change. Sucks though that the potential for things to be just like they were is always there, but you have to wilfully forget the possibilities and again find a new mind space to work from.

There is a lot flexibility in the mind. It’s so complicated where thoughts come from and why, we sz have hallucinations on top of that and they are even more difficult to figure out.

Hella interesting though. Shitty experience all in all as there is no escape. Playing around with ones mind and self. A different kind of programming. I do think the end result should be satisfactory. Hopefully capable of surviving or even thriving in the professional world.

It’s gonna take time though. It’s really fascinating how the world is starting to feel. It’s got a nice cool deep feeling to it. Easy to appreciate and feel connected to. I still have my qualms with the world when I think to hard or when people are being shitheads, but upholding a respect for their freedom is key as it maintains my sense of being free.

Hah life is so complicated. I was too distracted for a while there, but I’m starting to see it again, and this time there is no personal grandiosity going on. I still kind of feel like an outsider, a spectator, a critic, but I know my opinion really holds no weight and shouldn’t be set in stone. I also know that as driven as I was to try and change the world, it was unhealthy on a lot of levels to think that was going to be a reality.

Find your corner, make it what you want, find the people who truly appreciate it and don’t worry about anything else. That’s my strategy.

I feel pretty positive right now. All this time alone is paying off.