I have VGP (voluntarily generated piloerection)

The scientific paper on VGP is (can’t create links, FUN :slight_smile: , just google search for “peerj VGP”, there should be a article on the peerj site that is authored by James Heather, among others. The scientific paper itself can be found as a PDF on that website.

I wanted to share my research on a previous posting where I shared my physiological abnormality (On June 27th)
I described my sensation as follows:
“I can physically feel and control (through my nervous system) a electric sensation within my body, that makes whatever part of my body that I focus (move it towards) feel like it is getting colder. I can start it at the base of my neck and control it to move it throughout my nervous system like a patch of electric/cold sensation. Normally it goes automatically from my neck all the way to my hands and feet, tracing out my nervous system’s path throughout my body, But I can focus it and even move the sensation back and forth within my body. I know that this is just within my perception of sensation, for example if I push it into just one hand and hold the other one that is unaffected together with it, then the unaffected hand cannot feel this sensation in the one that can. I have tried to do the same with my mother, by having her hold my hand while I push the sensation into my hand, and she cannot feel anything. I notice the my hair on my arms feels like static electricity is going through it when I push the cold patch through my arm.”

So following some (luck-based search engine results) research on my own I found this reddit article, where other people share the exact same experience happening to them:
No links, search “reddit cold electric sensation”, should be titled: “Can anyone help me understand this bizarre sensation I can induce in my body?”

And from there I found a link from reddit user ‘Ramone-7’ at the bottom of the comments section, that led me to a scientist named ‘James Heather’, and from there I discovered his work on VGP that was published in the peerj site that I listed at the top of this comment.

Now I know that my sensation is actually real and can/has happened to other people. While I am definitely correctly diagnosed schizophrenic, I am heavily concerned that the 2 panic induced seizures that overload the VGP, may be what caused my mental (cognitive decline and tension headaches) and psychological problems (schizophrenia).

I described the panic induced VGP episodes back on june 27th as well:
In the case of my 2 ‘panic seizures’ :
“One happened in high school, while I was in a chemistry class. I didn’t know what was going on, and went to the school nurse. She basically told me to go away in more polite terms, I guess she had to deal with kids trying to get out of school with any excuse possible, first and last time I ever went to the school nurse.
The other happened while I was taking a shower (during thanksgiving of 2022) and seemed much more psychotic and severe, almost like a legitimate seizure.
In both cases the sensation felt like it was going out of control, making the nerves in my entire body fire off, it would start in my head and face and then envelope my entire body. It was not painful, but it was the freakiest thing I have ever felt in my entire life.
In both cases there was a precursor of psychological trauma before I had these ‘panic seizures’.
In high school I was traumatized by a girl I had liked, within a month before the seizure. She had obvious interest in me the previous school year, and even asked me if I wanted to go out with her, but due to my growing paranoia of other people at the time (the onset of schizophrenia), I told her no in a weird way. So she ended up lap dancing on her boyfriend she went out with instead right in front of me with the intent to diss me off. At that time I felt a cold feeling envelope my body, probably due to trauma or shock, and from that point onward, I could not feel any love or affection towards her again. The reason I bring that up is because she was in the same classroom that I had the panic seizure in.
Last thanksgiving, I felt extremely stressed and tired from working my previous job’s shifts, and felt very isolated from my family as they came to my parent’s house for their yearly visit. In any case, I went through the seizure again, this time it got much worse, While I was going through the sensation feeling I could not remember anything, almost like amnesia, and the only way I got the seizure to calm down was through a psychological trigger that somehow stopped it. I could remember things again once it had calmed down, but ever since my memory and cognitive abilities feels like it has been going downhill, but that may have been due to the abilify drug I had been prescribed over the last decade or so. I have since stopped taking that drug.”

Recently I have made a referral to my primary care doctor for a visit to a neurologist. But it may take up to 4+ months to get a appointment in with one. Hoping that they can figure out what my problems are exactly on the neurological front, maybe get a MRI or CAT scan done.

I have also watched a video on dopamine by Andrew Huberman:
On YouTube, (warning as it is almost 2 hours long), Titled: “Controlling Your Dopamine For Motivation, Focus & Satisfaction | Huberman Lab Podcast #39”, it has the thumbnail of ‘Dopamine mindset and drive’

So, since people with schizophrenia tend to have a higher level of dopamine in them than ‘normal’ people, I was wondering if I cut out certain bodily related addictions, if my mind can bounce back from the tension headaches and improve my mood, or be more active with motivation.

Google research is fun,

But it can send you down an unhealthy rabbit hole.

I read your post.

It could be that I just woke up but it was kind of difficult to understand.

You think these episodes were brought about by the “trauma” of seeing some girl you like give her boyfriend a lap dance?

I don’t understand.

This sensation you’re talking about does not sound familiar at all.

The sensation is a real physiological trait called VPG (voluntarily generated piloerection), basically it is correlated with the ability to consciously create goosebumps on your skin at command, I can do the same thing, but it doesn’t create goosebumps . Apparently it is a extremely rare trait, and there have been only 3 other studies done on it, the Scientific study I referred to on the peerj website, lists the 3 previous studies as:

  • Lindsley, D. B., & Sassaman, W. H. (1938). Autonomic activity and brain potentials associated
  • Benedek, M., Wilfling, B., Lukas-Wolfbauer, R., Katzur, B. H., & Kaernbach, C. (2010). Objective and continuous measurement of piloerection
  • Maxwell, S. S. (1902). A Case of Voluntary Erection of the Human Hair

I assume most people with schizophrenia do not have this trait, but the reason I mention both VGP and the panic attacks that resulted in a uncontrollable overload of VGP, is because they were both precursors to schizophrenic symptoms, and highly correlated to my emotional states at the time of those episodes.
Overall I am trying to figure out what is going on, in terms of the cognitive problems I have.
In that study it found a high correlation of ‘openness to experience’ and the psychological term of ‘absorption’.
I am suggesting that both VGP and schizophrenia may somehow be linked. Or that the traits of both medical conditions seem to overlap to some degree. IDK, hoping when I see a neurologist they can inform me better than the internet… hopefully.

Here is the abstract of the Peerj article for those who do not want to find it online:
“Autonomic systems in the human body are named for their operation outside of conscious control. One rare exception is voluntarily generated piloerection (VGP) – the conscious ability to cause goosebumps – whose physiological study in scientific history is confined to three single-individual case studies. Almost nothing is known about the physiological nature and emotional correlates of this ability. The current manuscript investigates the physiological, personality, and emotional phenomenology of a sample of thirty two individuals capable of VGP. Physiological descriptions were consistent with previous reports, describing a consistent stereotypical pattern of sensation and action. Most participants reported VGP was accompanied by psychological states that typically accompany involuntary piloerection (e.g. absorption), and using VGP during activities that elicit involuntary piloerection (e.g. music). Compared to previously collected samples, participants reported significantly higher openness to experience, and absorption in response to aesthetic situations. These preliminary findings suggest that this rare and unusual physiological ability has strong emotional and personality correlates.”

In terms of cognitive figures you mentioned yourself that you took abilify a decade ago, but stopped taking it. It is well known that each seizure drops down your cognitive.
While the electrical curent you feel trough your body is not something specific to sz, seizures are.
About mental energy manipulation in the body I’ve met people whom were able to channel those with some trainings. It seem you were gifted with that and on the other side ungifted with sz.

I think you may be obsessing over a rare symptom that has happened to you a handful of times.

It doesn’t seem to be a big problem so don’t worry about it.

The reason I have been researching this, is because I need to find a way to either recover from or decrease the negative cognitive symptoms I have, such as extremely poor short term memory, tension headaches, and some subjective problems of the emotional aspects,a lack of self control and a feeling of 24/7 autopilot.
Now schizophrenia, the drug Abilify (and going off the drug), VGP, stress and negative emotions in general, levels of dopamine, etc… could all be separate issues from each other, symptoms and causes of one another, or just have nothing to do with my cognitive decline at all.
I know that my life is hell in its own right, and I am not going to last very long under the worsening of my conditions. So if there was something going on that was causing these symptoms neurologically, then it would not hurt to get it checked out by a medical doctor, and in the meantime I am doing some research on my own.
I don’t expect a miracle, and schizophrenia is incurable, but it would be nice to get my emotions back in a stable + available form, be able to remember what I did yesterday to a higher degree, and stop the fluctuating tension headaches. So then I can live my life in some form of happiness and have hope for the future.

So you are taking Abilify?

Are you in therapy?

Was in psychotherapy until recently, last visit actually was the 7th of this month. Told my psychiatrist about the VGP and had a really helpful visit as far as psychology goes. Unfortunately he is going to move out of the practice soon, but I am going to schedule with someone else at the same clinic when they can get a appointment scheduled.

I stopped taking Abilify about half a year ago, all of my cognitive problems remained about the same from about a year or so prior to stopping it, and are still present now about a year and a half later. Abilify’s only noticeable effect on me was to sedate my mood, make me unable to arousal anger and other strong emotions.I stopped taking it because I have looked around other forums on schizophrenia and saw that other schizophrenics were complaining about the same symptoms of cognitive decline, that they attributed to Abilify.

I am no fool, I know the medical industries are in it for the $$$. Once when my parents were ordering Abilify (under ariprizole) they were asked by the pharmacist if they could pay $200,000 USD for the 60 day supply of 5mg tablets. I and my mother both thought we misheard the pharmacist say we needed to pay $200, luckily my dad was smart enough to ask again about the price tag. So what happened was our insurance or medicare did not cover that particular trip due to us changing the insurance coverage around, so instead of a co-pay under $150, we were being asked to pay the price of the drug up front. So every time after that incident, If I accidentally had a pill fall on the floor and roll under a cabinet or whatever, I would pick it up and take it anyway.
My point being, is that making $200,000 off the medicare/insurance system every 2 months per ariprizole user is insane as a cash cow. How can I trust an industry that has no incentive to do anything but drug people up for profit?

Of course this is a societal and political problem that is a bit sidetracked from this forum. I apologize if I that was too out of bounds.

I do not recommend anyone go off any medication, without talking to a doctor first.
I made my own medical decision, and have not suffered any further negative impacts from going off of it, but that isn’t to say that other people will have the same experience.

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I tried and gave up. It’s splooge.

@Pik4me you need to share this with a doctor.

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Times have certainly changed, in earlier eras if I said I had cold electric sensations they would have locked me up and thrown away the key. Now I get the word ‘splooge’ as an answer to all my problems. The internet has done wonders for humanity.
Dr.Sarcasm has left the building.

In all seriousness, I get it. Avoid the wall of text that looms from the shadow of a darker nightmare.

This stuff (research paper) is for the more scientific minded. That said any and all genuine responses are helpful.

I’m sorry, but it’s basically a large and incomprehensible wall of text to me and I’m a fairly literate person. I get paid to read complicated insurance documents all day long. This is something that I think needs to be reviewed by a doctor or therapist.

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