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Hallucinations getting you down? Try this…

 

DO NOT ATTEMPT THE EXERCISE HERE WHILST IN A PSYCHOTIC STATE AS IT MAY INTENSIFY YOUR EXPERIENCE – THE EXERCISE IS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED PSYCHOSIS AND ARE CURRENTLY ENJOYING A STATE OF RECOVERY AND REFLECTION.

A key feature of a psychotic episode is the experience of hallucinations. Embedded in most hallucinations, there is a remnant of a story. Writing that story down can be helpful. Writing about your hallucinations and keeping a record of when they happen can be a useful way of re-framing the experience. Some of us are  aware we’re hallucinating, when we’re hallucinating…when the queen waves her hand to say ‘hi ‘… when Jesus whispers in our ear…when the TV starts telling us to do things. We may well be aware that we’re not wholly in control of our  perceptions but that does not make the experience any less impactful or frightening.

The hallucination experience can be so real and therefore so bewildering, we are at once dislodged from a rational point of view.  We may actually believe that because these events are happening to us – that this in itself is proof positive that we are in some way unique.  We may believe have been chosen – that some higher power is finally acknowledging us and can understand us, for who we truly are. If we don’t then ‘obey’ the voices, the orders, the rules – if we don’t act on the information contained in the hallucination, then we are essentially ‘denying a part of our real selves’.

If we don’t then ‘obey’ the voices, the orders, the rules – if we don’t act on the information contained in the hallucination, then we are essentially ‘denying a part of our real selves’.

Well that’s exactly how it feels if and when we lose touch with reality. This is what happens when we can’t or won’t come to terms with the fact  we are essentially just another ordinary person grappling with a reality that is challenging, difficult to understand, worrying and uncomfortable.

By writing down and describing these hallucinations, the rational ‘me’ – the ‘me’ that can accept that I am just ‘human’, can be strengthened. By reflecting on the hallucination and taking charge of it,  we make way for a channel of logic that can lead us back to the here and now – the rational world that is ordinary, mundane if not always very pleasant or welcoming.

By writing down our hallucinations we can help to quieten the ‘anxious’ me. Writing can contain our experience of hallucination and reduce it to a  symptom. When we experience audio or visual hallucinations, it is very easy to get swept along them and with the story contained within them – it is like dreaming but being awake.

Writing can contain our experience of hallucination and reduce it to a symptom. Normally when we dream, our rational self is safely sleeping. During psychosis, the rational brain is not asleep, it is distracted by the mis-firings from our deeper subconscious. Through exploring our subconcious reality we can make sense of why we are disturbed in the here and now. Do the exercise and see what comes up for you!

Exercise

DO NOT ATTEMPT THE EXERCISE HERE WHILST IN A PSYCHOTIC STATE AS IT MAY INTENSIFY YOUR EXPERIENCE – THE EXERCISE IS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED PSYCHOSIS AND ARE CURRENTLY ENJOYING A STATE OF RECOVERY AND REFLECTION.

 

Take deep breaths and be mindful of how safe you are and how safe  you feel before embarking on this exercise.

Try to write about one of your hallucination, whether it was audio or video.

Your hallucination may be a unique event that you cannot map connections to – not right now – but if you write about it, if you CAPTURE IT NOW – in the future, it might make more sense to you…

When did it happen?

How long did it endure?

Who or what was featured in it?

Now, read what you have written and see if you can connect the ‘story’ inside your hallucinations to any deeper anxieties and worries  you may have. These may be concerns about health, wealth, family, friends? Your hallucination may relate to unknowns and fear of the unfamiliar. It may relate to concerns or anxieties you have about your sexuality, your love life or sense of belonging in the house, city, culture you are living in…and maybe you will find some clues that will inform your understanding of your unconscious.

Our hidden selves (exposed during psychosis and experienced through dream) can surprise, delight and sometimes frighten us but be reassured, WE’RE ALL OK at heart. For all kinds of reasons it may feel like we’re not OK, but we are. We  all are. We just have problems to work through, that’s all.

 

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