Obsessions over Truth

In psychosis I often find myself obsessed with the truth of all kinds of issues. More so than in ‘ordinary life’ when I’m medicated and doing well. Obsession is really the appropriate term to capture this aspect of psychosis for me, for I cannot seem to let go of these concerns in such times.

One way of conceiving of psychotic phenomena is that we as patients have made mistakes in estimating the truth of various things, and accordingly, ought to engage in more thoughtful ‘reality-checking’. This may very well help for some, but it seems to me things may be a bit more complicated than this.

I think so for I have noticed in myself ways of thinking that kind of undermine this whole notion of reality checking in psychosis. You see, during episodes, I tend to ‘reason from exceptions’ - for lack of a better term. With this I mean that I might be confronted with some issue that is typically taken to be true, and now in psychosis I find myself unsure about this. What happens is that I reflect on the matter, try to establish whether it is true or false, and then the exceptions come to mind. So I would know that the issue is typically taken to be true, but conjure up some possible chain of events that could have it turn out to be false just now, and on the basis of this possible exception I take the issue to be false. Truth and falsity may be reversed in this description.

The thing is, given such a trend in my psychotic way of thinking, reality checking becomes a rather difficult and elaborate process. This is because the notion of any proof of anything, includes some premises that are assumed to be true. My obsession with truth in psychosis undermines such premises. For as I engage in reality checking, reflection would quickly turn on such premises as well, and lo, I conjure up exceptions to these too, and find myself rejecting these typical premises. Such quickly escalates into quasi-philosophical speculations about the accuracy of perception, the nature of reality and more things like that that are to be assumed in an ordinary check of the reality of things one is confronted with.

To me this is a large part of what psychosis consists of. Endless reality checking that gets me nowhere. I don’t know how common such a dynamic of thought is amongst other sz’s. But it does make me wonder… I am inclined to think that ordinary people do not end up considering such things. So someone may think they heard their name being called, and they would check the reality of this perception by having a look around to see if anyone is there. If no one is, that will be the end of the reality checking for them, it would be enough for them not to worry about the occurrence and confidently discard it as a false one. Such is to rely on assumptions that if one is to hear someone call your name, this other person is to be in the vicinity such that his presence can be confirmed by sight or something like that. This is perfectly fine, but it is not how it works for me in psychosis. I would question assumptions like this, and consider possibilities such as the person having disappeared quickly or telepathic communication and who knows what. And this in turn will have me end up checking the truth of such ideas - and this is already something ordinary people do not do, nor need to do. Checking such notions, I am inclined to say, could be seen itself as a symptom of pathological thought rather than a way of combatting it.

As said, checking such wild hypotheses, given the way I think in psychosis, takes so much time and attention that it becomes a nuisance to me, destroys peace of mind, and just hinders me in doing what I want to do. I cannot help thinking thus when psychotic though, for my obsession over the truth of things keeps me reflecting on such matters - and then there is a lot of unusual stuff going on in psychosis that needs scrutiny, or so it seems.

Such made me think that, at least for me personally, the problem is not so much a lack of reality checking, but rather an excess of it. I’m caught up in reality checking all the time when psychotic, and it gets me nowhere. You know, when I’m doing well there are many things I don’t have a clue about whether they are true or not. And that seems to be no problem for me in these periods. I can perfectly deal with things being uncertain, ambiguous, or taken to be true/false without having further proof for it.

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I had the same issue. All the metaphysical questions became obsessions, and then I became certain that my experiences were unconvering truths.

I don’t miss that.

Before I quit the degree I was on I started hearing people call my name, more like whispers. I told my pdoc this, he increased my dose. No more thought like voices now, which is cool.

I gave up those obsessions too, I have no need to know what is color anymore.


I know exactly what you say… thinking about the world, it’s features etc took me a looooot of time in the past (btw. I know the answer “what colour is” :wink:) still I can catch myself on “over thinking stuff” but I am trying now to stop, so then it doesn’t become an obsession… I repeat myself my boyfriend’s words when I become deeply buried in thoughts (which even disturb my everyday function): “don’t think too much…” with his wink and smiley face. It helps…

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Yeah, about colour… I don’t mean the light explanation

Is there any other…? Heh, I will be thinking about THAT now… thanks :wink:

Explain red without mentioning is red. Mind blown :smile:

I was told it depends on the surface and it’s possibility to intake the length of the light… I mean I can’t really explain it in English but generally everything, the whole world, has no colour. The Sun light contains several with different lengths lights of different colours. When they touch the surface they are absorbed by that surface in different extent. Our eye has these (I don’t know how they are called in English) which perceive different lengths of light reflected on the surface and our brain interpreters it as colours. At least this is what I was told in psychology of perception… but the question is: are all our brains interpret the signals the same way? Or my red and your red has different picture in our heads? Heh… I will stop there. Probably it doesn’t make much sense anyway… :wink:

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It makes perfect sense, but not for my psychotic mind, my psychotic mind says other things, that fit in the unusual beliefs sections. That’s why I stick to science, it’s better for my sane mind :smile:

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Science helps me a lot to stay sane… that is why when my doc spoke to me he said: “ehhhh… why didn’t you take a course in maths or engineering?!” (Btw. I took psychology and philosophy). Sometimes I think if I had less “crap” in my head I would be cured… working with numbers always made me peaceful and calm… knowing DEFINITE answers help me a lot while ambiguity makes me over think stuff… it’s like spiral, one thought running after another… but I believe this illness generally happens more often to people who have curious minds. Asking questions. Looking for answers. The art is to not let our mind to overtake all our energy and to separate us from a reality… to be grounded… that is why I think mindfulness works for me…

Difinitely. I prone to obsessions, most of my psychotic break was based on various kinds of obsessions. I’m better now, dealing with that.

Science helps me dream with possibilities without becoming overwhelmed with hypothesis.

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