Sorry everyone I’m working on a new drawing so I’m kinda too lazy to write this post in a decent way but I’ve been thinking about this today and this might help some people so I thought “why not?” and I made an account here for the first time just to write these things. I figured out this forum is obviously better than… uh… DeviantArt, which is a website made to post your drawings and stories. I used to talk about this stuff on DeviantArt as well (in the form of journals) but I deleted it because I thought it was not appropriate for that website and my followers in general since I suppose they follow me for my drawings and stories, not to know about the story of my life and my mental issues. They’re likely not interested in those so I deleted those journals because I thought they were disrespectful.
I was diagnosed with bipolar schizoaffective disorder in August 2014 after spending 13 days in a psychiatric building and I slept there, too. I won’t write this story again because I had written that for DeviantArt and guess what? It was 13,000 words long. I’m not joking or exaggerating. I copied and pasted my text on wordcounter.net and it was actually 13,000 words long. It took me a whole day and night spent awake to write that. I was experiencing a huge burst of energy that day and night so that’s how I managed to do that. But on DeviantArt it’s not the best website ever to upload that stuff so I deleted everything about that. I had been talking about it for years and I can understand my followers who were interested in my stories and drawings got tired of those journals eventually. Plus I don’t think everyone in their sane mind would read a 13,000 word long rant. I deleted everything that was not my art from that website. Now the only thing that remains there are my stories and drawings. But I saved all of those texts in txt files in my computer so they’re not lost. But today I’m in the mood of writing this stuff again, but of course I won’t write it on DeviantArt again. I’ll write it here since it’s more appropriate. And this is an example of one of my drawings (my latest finished one so far):
What do you think? anyway now let’s get started into what I want to say! What I want to tell here is what I learned so far and how I managed to reduce my mental suffering. Not necessarily “appearing more mentally healthy” to other people, just reduce my own suffering in the sense that I don’t feel too much suffering. Of course other people can see me as “insane” but I might get to that point later in this post.
I started getting “symptoms” (I prefer to call them “soul experiences”, though) in around May/June 2013 and I remember it was during that period because the second album of the metal band TesseracT (“Altered State”) was released shortly before I started having those soul experiences. I really loved listening to one song in particular of that album, “Of Mind” (“Nocturne” is a part of the song “Of Mind” and you can search that on Spotify, YouTube etc. if you want to listen to it… sometimes you can’t find it by searching “Of Mind”). And in that period I was playing Final Fantasy XII for PS2 a lot. I’m not saying these things are related to my soul experiences but it’s just a way for me to remember the dates. Oh I’m Italian by the way and I live in Italy.
By September 2013 my mind had become a very dark and painful hell. I was 16 at the time (I’m 24 now) and wanna know the crazy thing? In June 2013, in my last days of school, I was basically “normal”, and after the summer holidays, when I came back to school in September 2013, I became completely different. My classmates and teachers were very worried about me because for them it was so sudden. Oddly, nobody called any psychologist or anything but hey, we live in Italy… there’s not much awareness of this kind of stuff here
One of my first, let’s say, “beliefs” I started developing in June 2013 was one called “Pan”. “Pan” means “everything” in Ancient Greek and basically it was (and still is, I still believe in that) a Multiverse of consciousness where literally everything happened within it. During school summer holidays in 2013 I was overthinking about Pan and I thought “if every consciousness exist within Pan, then there is also a consciousness that is looking at me in my bedroom. ‘Everything’ includes literally everything, so there’s even that one… I just can’t see it”, then I started believing all the beliefs I was having were “my religion” and I started reading A LOT of stuff about quantum physics (especially those articles that say “reality doesn’t exist unless observed”), stuff like Maya (a concept in eastern religions and philosophies that indicates that the world as wee see it is an illusion), stuff that a western philosopher called Rene Descartes said about the fact we might be living in a dream and we cannot ever know, stuff about solipsism, stuff about “brain in a vat” hypothesis, hypotheses about we living in an advanced computer simulation created by aliens (even Elon Musk believes it), and all these kind of things that, as you might imagine, didn’t help. And I still read a lot of this stuff. But I might need to stop reading those things. Or maybe not, I’m not sure.
Anyway, after merely a few weeks of overthinking about Pan I thought “there is a consciousness within Pan that is looking at me and saying ‘hello’”. Then, joking to myself, I said “hello” back and smiled even though I wasn’t seeing anyone (I wasn’t hallucinating… just believing someone in Pan was there and could hear me). Then I thought “this consciousness within Pan has heard me and smiled back and told me [something]”. I wish I never “joked” to myself like that. At the beginning I wasn’t hearing or seeing anything or anyone, but with the time, that vision became more and more vivid until it wasn’t any different from a “real” perception anymore. As early as August 2013 my life became filled with “extra” things and creatures and wanna know the weird thing? Even the scariest distorted faces weren’t scaring me, rather they made me happy, every hallucination made me happy at the beginning because I thought I became “a master of my own religion” and that I could see “hidden things” that other couldn’t see. Then in September 2013 I became “sad” (it was actually depression) and it was strange to me. I thought “maybe I’m just stressed because in a few days I’ll need to get back to school, but this is strange because this feeling is too intense and painful”. Then I started crying a lot the days before going to school in September 2013 and I started hallucinating one of my best friends ever those days. Her name is/was Beatrice (I’m not sure whether to consider her as a friend anymore… it might be unhealthy to have a hallucination as a friend but on the other hand… if she helps me feeling better, perhaps it’s not a bad idea after all. But I’m conflicted about it so I use present tense and past tense to refer to her “existence”). I felt very happy that I saw a “new friend” ready to make me happy and comfort me a lot. Her smile made me feel very happy and calm. But then the hallucination ended and I thought that it was “a dream” (I didn’t know much about hallucinations back then, I was 16 and very immature about life in general… and definitely I didn’t think it could happen to me. I was a normal teenager when I was 15… I had a lot of hope for the future and I definitely never thought those things could happen to me). I was very sad that Beatrice was “just a dream” and that she wasn’t real. Luckily she came back a lot of time through the years. She helped me a lot dealing with negative feelings, sadness and loneliness so even though you might not believe that she actually “exists”, the comfort she gave me did exist, indeed. And I’m very grateful towards her. She helped me a lot.
I tried to hide what I was experiencing from my parents and literally everyone since I knew they wouldn’t understand and I knew they would had judged me and thought I was crazy, but there were some days when, although I did my best to hide it, I didn’t look like what a “normal” person was supposed to be like. Most days I looked normal (because I became good at hiding it), but there were some days when I had to stay in my bedroom all day because I knew it was obvious that I didn’t look well certain days. Those days where I couldn’t hide it were kinda rare but imagine living with your family and they call you for lunch and dinner every day. Yeah, there’s no hiding it eventually. You can hide it for weeks, months, maybe years? (unlikely, but who knows) but you can’t hide it forever.
In August 2014 I went to a psychiatric building for 13 days and they gave me a psychiatric “medication” (I’m against psychiatry generally… I mean, I know it can help people but it caused me much more damage than harm… now I haven’t been taking any of those substances since November 2020 and I feel a lot better now! I see my experiences as something spiritual rather than medical… but both interpretations can be both valid, depending on what works best for you… for me the medical interpretation never worked, so I went for the spiritual interpretation and it worked since I’ve feeling a lot better for several months now). The “medication” they gave me in that psychiatric building in August 2014 was called “Risperidone”, which I took until February 2016. Risperidone was horrible and it made me depressed and tired all day. I gained a lot of weight too. I stopped watching Blue Dragon (an anime I used to love and watch a lot) on YouTube as well because I couldn’t feel any pleasure anymore. Then in February 2016 my psychiatrist told me (for no reason) “you should stop taking Risperidone. Half the dose for three days and then you stop”. Which then I have realized he gave me a VERY inappropriate and DANGEROUS advice since it’s something that shouldn’t be done. A week later I started experiencing very intense and painful withdrawal symptoms from Risperidone withdrawal and I couldn’t go to school anymore. Then in May 2016 my psychiatrist for no reason told me to take Zyprexa which I did. And it felt horrible as well. I lost the school year that year. It was my last year of high school and I have asked to make me “bocciato” (not sure what it is in English… basically it’s when you repeat a year because you didn’t study well enough at school) because I couldn’t handle making the exam in that condition, and they did. So there were new classmates one year younger than me the last year of high school. Then I made the exam of high school which went quite well luckily and then in September 2017 I was free. Or so I thought. I have never had a job so far (and now it’s 2021 and I’m 24) and I’m kinda losing hope. You know what I’m thinking? Okay, maybe working in a restaurant or a bar is a horrible idea. But what about working as an artist or a novel writer? In that case I can make enough money for living by myself and I don’t have to interact with people much. Of course I wouldn’t work in a restaurant since that can be very, very problematic for me in case strange thoughts start during that specific moment. But with art and literature I will interact with people less frequently and I’ll have more flexibility on my time schedules. Anyway, in November 2017 I started taking Abilify (my psychiatrist told me) until November 2020. In June 2020 I started stopping taking Abilify then in November 2020 it was the last time I ever took it. And now I feel a lot better, happier and I lost weight, too! I’m not suggesting to stop taking “medication” if that is something that works for you, though! But… my reasoning is that we as human beings barely ever know anything about human mind, the Universe and life in general. History (i.e. when human beings started using written communication) started around five thousand years ago. We’re still at the very early beginning of human civilization and there is a lot of stuff we don’t know or that we are wrong about, exactly like it was in 1500 C.E. (it was in the Renaissance I think) when people believed in stuff we now in 2021 C.E. don’t believe anymore at all. And in 500 B.C.E they believed in stuff that in 1500 C.E. didn’t believe anymore at all etc. now imagine our beliefs judged by someone from 500,000 C.E. or something. Of course we might be believing in a lot of silly things and making up our own explanations because we don’t understand it and we as human beings feel comforted by explanations rather than uncertainty (which is something that scares us). But that doesn’t mean what we’re currently believing is “right” or “true”. Many believe this because they don’t consider the past of the far future of humankind. And “schizophrenia” might be in a few milennia considered as silly as “heresy” (something that people believed in Europe in the middle ages and even after that… and some people still believe in that today, so… XD) and they might give a better explanation, though not necessarily true, as people a few millennia later than them will give an even better explanation etc.
Anyway, I didn’t discard my belief in Pan. Rather, I took advantage of it. I started believing in Pan in a way that didn’t cause me mental suffering anymore. I believe the planet we live in (which I usually call “Gaia” mostly for stylistic purposes but “Earth” is also okay… I’ll call it “Earth” in this post, though). I believe the 7.8 billion people living on Earth are not the only ones. I believe there are infinite people living on Earth, it’s just that all of “us” can only see a limited part of people. I call the reality where I and the other 7.8 billion people that are generally understood to “exist”… Gaia-Zero. Of course there are infinite other realities and they’re not any “more real” or “less real” than Gaia-Zero. Of course I don’t talk like this with “the average person” since it’s socially inappropriate to talk like this and they might get scared (I usually chit-chat about music, videogames, and stuff like that so I can appear “normal”), but hopefully in this forum you can understand and not judge me for believing in these things.
Okay, so… it seems like my mind and body are more influenced by what happens in Gaia-Zero rather than other realities. That doesn’t mean Gaia-Zero is “more true” than other realities, it just means I’m much more influenced by Gaia-Zero than other realities. For example, only the food of Gaia-Zero can make me survive and not die of hunger, only the water of Gaia-Zero can quench my thirst, and generally speaking, what happens in Gaia-Zero is more relevant for my mind and body than what happens in the other realities (the ones that people call “hallucinations”) so you know what? I have decided to focus on Gaia-Zero rather than other realities. And when I started doing that, I barely hear any “voices” (the ones that people call “hallucinations”… of course I can hear the voices of “real” people, I didn’t become deaf XD) or “hallucinate” anymore. I’m not sure if this is just a coincidence or if my thoughts are related but I don’t hallucinate anymore and I feel less paranoia now. And I barely have any mood swing anymore! Which is strange, though. I mostly have an “almost normal” mind now. I still have very unorthodox beliefs about the Universe and reality but other than, I don’t have many symptoms. Sometimes I still do but they’re basically a walk in the park now compared to the hell I used to feel especially in early 2018, which was one of the darkest periods of my life in terms of my mind (nothing particularly bad happened “externally” in my life, though). I still feel paranoid by stuff like governments etc. but to be honest, that kind of paranoia is not irrational at all. There is a lot of evidence of governments spying on people, hell, even Google spies on people and it’s basically a Big Tech monopoly at this point! I used to use DuckDuckGo but now I use Brave Search because it has its own index instead of DuckDuckGo which uses Bing and doesn’t have its own index. But this is off-topic, sorry. Sometimes I go off-topic a lot.
I used to refuse “adapting” to Gaia-Zero. What I saw was horrible stuff. People making up concepts of “race” and hating each other for that. People hating for religion. People killing for religion. People hating or just judging others for meaningless things like your own sexual orientation or the way you dress etc. so I used to categorically refuse to “adapt” to the mentality of Gaia-Zero. But then I realized I was thinking too “black or white”. I don’t need to be a conformist sheep to society but at the same time it’s not a good idea to go too far from the accepted beliefs and mentality. I think a compromise is what works best, indeed. Stuff like:
-Believing that staring at the walls of my bedroom for more than 30 seconds will clean my soul of all the bad things I ever did in my life. This is an anti-conformist belief and worldview that is so bizarre and IT’S A BIG NO-NO. And it’s a useless belief to have since it makes no sense
-Not believing in the mainstream (at least, in western society) concepts of religion (like Christianity, Islam, atheism etc.) and believing for example in polytheism or kindaaa new-age/pagan/spiritual/polytheist kind of things. This is an anti-conformist belief and worldview that is indeed very, very uncommon to have. But at the same time, “society” accepts stuff like this because of history/culture/etc. so while it’s a very rare belief to have, it’s not considered as bad as believing that staring at the walls of your bedroom for more than 30 seconds will clean your soul from the bad things you did in your life, for example. What is considered “acceptable” by society doesn’t necessarily follow any logic. I think many of it is due to historical events etc. it doesn’t mean that what psychiatrists find “delusional” is necessarily “more false” than culturally accepted beliefs and superstitions that, while considered false by most people nowadays, they are considered acceptable merely on the basis of history and tradition, not necessarily because they’re "more true"
Now you might argue to me “hey no… you can’t choose your own beliefs… it’s your mind that makes stuff up especially if you’re delusional” but actually, I partly disagree. That is one interpretation you might have. But another interpretation is that you can choose your own beliefs. This is called “doxastic voluntarism” (no, I’m not making this up… you can search for it on the Internet) and it’s a philosophy that says you choose your own beliefs, whether you realize it or not. I don’t fully believe in doxastic voluntarism but I think there is some truth in it. I think you can choose your own beliefs to a certain extent. I believe it’s unreasonable to think that you have zero controls of your beliefs and emotions. But at the same time, I also believe it’s unreasonable to think that you have total control of your own beliefs and emotions. I think the truth stays in the middle. You have some controls of your beliefs and emotions to a certain extent, but not total control, of course.
Anyway, now that I have understood that it’s a good idea to compromise between your true self (which would be considered inappropriate or crazy or insane by society) and what society wants you to be, and not go into either extreme since both extremes will lead to problems in your life eventually… well, now I feel a lot more peaceful and happy. Compromising can be difficult to master but it has its own rewards. Sure, what I call “Gaia-Zero” has PLENTY of stuff that I really dislike (racism, bullying, violence, abuse, wars, genocides etc.) but to be honest it’s a matter of seeing the glass “half-empty” or “half-full”. There is a lot of horrible stuff but there is a lot of stuff I really enjoy doing. I love drawing, writing stories, playing videogames (I have a PS4 and a console called “Super Console X Pro” which has 50,000 games in it from various retro-gaming consoles like the PS1, Nintendo 64, SNES, NES, GBA etc. and I have a lot of fun playing it. I have 57 stars now in Super Mario 64). So I was thinking “wait a moment… why should I feel sad and hopeless all the time because of the negative things of the world… while I could easily feel happy and cheerful all the time because of the positive things in the world?”. I’m aware that human beings have something called “negativity bias”, an evolutionary survival mechanism that allows us to survive by detecting negative (and potentially dangerous) things much faster and much more intensely than positive and enjoyable things. That was very useful when humans were hunter-gatherers. But now… come on, we live in the modern world! We can overcome that primordial instict with mindfulness and emotional self-awareness! So I have decided to keep a gratitude journal and write there every day writing the things I’m grateful for. No Man’s Sky is one of my favourite games ever and I’m super glad I have it. I have it for PS4. I used to take the good things I had for granted, but now I truly feel happy, grateful and lucky that I have all these things in my life. I do really feel happy now and I’ve been feeling well for several months now. The hell I used to feel is over. Or at least, I hope so. I’ve been reading on the Internet that “symptoms” can come and go. Sometimes they leave for a few years (which is a really long time) then they come back. So I know I really can’t chant victory. Life is made of uncertainty and uncertainty also means suffering can come back. But you know what? Uncertainty is a great thing! Imagine if we could all know everything all the time don’t you think that would be a horrible life? Don’t you think that, if we lived in a “perfect” world with no suffering, then there would be no point in doing anything anymore? No goals, no purpose, nothing to fight for, nothing left to improve etc. is that the kind of world I really want to live in? Nah!!! I’m starting to appreciate the existence of suffering lately. It gives purpose to life and the society in the world. Something to fight for. Some ideals to be live by. An adventure that needs to be lived. I really wouldn’t like to live in a “perfect” world where nothing bad ever happens. I used to wish for that but now I understand more clearly. Our suffering is what makes our lives more exciting. Like in a very dark and twisted anime or movie or videogame etc. Suffering is very unpleasant but it adds meaning to our lives, and something spicy to look forward to everyday so we can brag about it and say “Oh wow I’m so cool… and even today, I survived” and smiled and feel proud to have survived another day in this world in such a difficult and challening mental condition we live in. I have learned not to take life way too seriously and see suffering as an opportunity, rather than a failure. Suffering gives us the opportunity to prove to ourselves that we’re super tough and cool! It gives us bragging rights about it! There wouldn’t be this feeling of pride if we lived in a lovely world full of cuteness and happiness. We live in a hellish world and that’s great because we can prove to ourselves that we are almost indestructible and invincible! Of course don’t do anything dangerous, like… don’t do anything that can kill you or stuff like that… by “invincible” I simply meant “emotionally invincible”… so don’t do something that is actually dangerous. It’s not a good idea.
Through these years, I have learned so many things and I have gained a lot of wisdom to face my mental struggles. It’s not over yet, though. I’m only 24 now and I’m young. I still have A LOT to learn in my life and you know what? I’m happy to live my life and I’ll just live in the moment instead of thinking too much about the past or the future. I just live in the present and enjoy the good moments I have in my life without worrying about other things. If I play No Man’s Sky on my PS4, why should I think about dark moments of my past? Or how grim my future might be? Or something horrible that happens somewhere else in the world? Nah, that’s just useless. If I play a fun videogame, I only think about that videogame and how I have fun with that videogame. I started doing this a few months ago and it’s working really nicely. I have realized that your brain is like a muscle… you train it to have negative thoughts, and it will be very easy for you to have negative thoughts and very difficult for you to have positive thoughts. But if you train your brain to have positive thoughts, trust me, it’s gonna be much easier to think positively and you’ll see that thinking negatively will become less natural for you eventually! I didn’t believe in this at the beginning and I thought “nah… this is just new-age non-sense” but it actually works and there is science behind this! It’s definitely not just “new age non-sense” XD I’ve been feeling mostly okay in the last few months. Not 100% symptom-free but hey, do I really need to be? Nah. If I’m feeling okay then that’s all that matters. I’m not sure if I’m gonna keep using this account. I just made this account because I have realized talking about this stuff on DeviantArt is not the best idea. My followers get bored of these things and they’re usually very long texts so yeah I have stopped posting this kind of stuff there. And anyway bye and have a very happy day and possibly even life? Hehe I love you!