Patients have been saying for years that their delusions are meaningful, but psychiatry hasn’t listened. Psychiatry, favoring the chemical cure for reasons we are only too well aware of, turned its back on the likes of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, and let psychologists, non-medical therapists and their former patients do the job of finding meaning in madness. As New York Times Lives Restored article notes, there is a movement now to take back one’s “delusions” from the authority of psychiatry. Psychiatry dropped the ball decades ago and actively discouraged people from getting better. Psychiatry became part of the medical/pharmaceutical/industrial complex that oversold the virtues of antipsychotic medication while underselling, or outright discouraging, talk therapy and other forms of innovative help. What a collosal waste of human potential! Let’s not give the ball back to them.
Finding Purpose After Living With Delusion
Doctors generally consider the delusional beliefs of schizophrenia to be just that — delusional — and any attempt to indulge them to be an exercise in reckless collusion that could make matters worse. There is no point, they say, in trying to explain the psychological significance of someone’s belief that the C.I.A. is spying through the TV; it has no basis, other than psychosis.
Yet people who have had such experiences often disagree, arguing that delusions have their origin not solely in the illness, but also in fears, longings and psychological wounds that, once understood, can help people sustain recovery after they receive treatment.
Now, these psychiatric veterans are coming together in increasing numbers, at meetings and conferences, and they are writing up their own case histories, developing their own theories of psychosis, with the benefit of far more data than they have ever had before: one another’s stories.