The pursuit of Reality.revised.
One of the many symptoms of schizophrenia is the symptom of delusion. Over the years since and before my own diagnosis of schizophrenia I have experienced many strange things which has lead me to question- what is delusion- and why should experiences I believe to be real, be easily written off as delusional by others?
I have experienced many strange things in my lifetime. These experiences have included possible contact from other consciousness and strange visions and energies. I have on one occasion walked along a street in London and experienced shops changing shape and taking form, of what can only be described as, a form of how they may have looked in past time. It only happened for some seconds, but to me, for those few seconds it was a form of reality.
Because of my diagnosis, these experiences are easily written off as delusional and put down to a symptom of schizophrenia. It may be correct, I do have schizophrenia and delusion can be a strong symptom of my illness, but does that make all my different experiences untrue?
I do continuingly question myself and forever question my delusions. I question my own consciousness and my own reality, my own existence and its purpose. With regard to my consciousness my answer is that my consciousness makes me aware of my own position and reality, in my own existence. And what of reality? To me reality is ‘an individual perception, an individual experience’ of ones own position, in ones own time and space. As for my own existence and purpose. I just don’t know.
So, where reality is concerned, the conclusion is, my reality is my reality, as each and every one of us has our own life and our own experience of that life. Although, in so many ways we are all one the same, we are, as individuals unique and our experience and perception of life is separate.
Is it at all possible that some of my delusions are real in any way or form? To me, the answer is yes, they are real, or were real at the time of existence. There are many people across the world who believe in the paranormal and believe there is truth to these types of experience. Could it be possible that some of my unusual experiences are not simply symptoms of schizophrenia or if they are a symptom of schizophrenia then they may not be a simple delusion as many health care professionals easily suggest?
I protest against how easily my own beliefs and experiences are dismissed as irrational or false beliefs by others who haven’t shared the same experience or who just think I am delusional because of my diagnosis.
To me a delusion is an experience and perception which has always held an element of truth behind it. I believe that most of my so-called ‘delusions,’ should be treated as a form of reality, as it was to me, at that time, and should not be written off as a false belief by the likes of psychiatry.
My own experiences are my own experiences and this should be accepted by all, as I accept that others have their own individual experiences and perception of their own life and reality as they know it.
How would psychiatry feel if I said that because I had never studied or experienced life as a psychiatrist myself that the world of psychiatry didn’t exist at all and psychiatrist were in fact suffering from a delusion themselves?
I will finish by saying that we all see the world from our own angles and perception. Maybe it’s about time we truly widened our eyes and looked at things with far more vision. If this was to be achieved then I believe it would open up a far greater understanding of the mind and its fantastic capabilities.
All the best to you, whoever you are and whatever you believe.
The pursuit of reality. Written for Irked Magazine www.irkedmagazine.com By Stuart Baker-Brown.
My own illness was 'fully' triggered on vacation in the USSR in 1991. Whilst in Moscow I marched on the streets against the communist hardliners who attempted a coup against the then Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev. On my return to London I began to fear persecution from the KGB for my involvement with the marching.
I tried to convince myself that I was under no threat and that my fears were unjustified but I quickly began to fear everyone and feared that my life was in danger. Stress and paranoia began to take its toll. I quickly became confused with my thinking, obsessed that I was being followed.
As the weeks passed, I had to leave my work. Anxiety and paranoia were ‘quickly and devastatingly’ beginning to ruin my life and a deep routed illness was setting in.
I was finally diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1996. Since my diagnosis I have been on a personal quest such as trekking and now even climbing in the Himalayas to help try and change peoples understanding of my illness, and to prove to others and ‘myself’ that we are greater than the labels and symptoms of our diagnosis.
When I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, I was told I was one of the severest cases that my psychiatrist had ever come across. I was also told I may never work again and that the rest of my life would be about coping with my illness.
My diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia is a correct diagnosis. I’ve always been able to recognize the symptoms such as the voices, psychosis, false and irrational beliefs, thought disorder, suicidal thoughts, depression, lack of motivation, the feeling of being controlled by outside forces and of course the paranoia and fear of persecution.
These symptoms have been very destructive and has taken away my life, my mind, love and family, and has offered very little in return…but I have learnt, my illness can also be very intriguing.
I personally believe that part of the reason my illness is so destructive is because ‘as yet’ we do not have full understanding of schizophrenia, its power and its possible use for creation.
I believe that there’s something about the illness that is very creative, very insightful, very sensitive, very intuitive, even paranormal, that as yet, we have not truly understood or in fact discovered.
And if nurtured and understood correctly we could find something quite powerful within that could be used for creation over the devastation that we understand…
The purpose of my Everest challenge is to help prove there is life after diagnosis and living with such severe symptoms. I also wish to give a greater insight into my illness from the patient’s perspective and educate many about the intriguing and powerful and misunderstood illness of schizophrenia.
Will keep you posted. Stuart Baker-Brown.
Hi...My name is Stuart Baker-Brown. In 2008 I hope to become, providing funding can be found, the 1st person in the World diagnosed with schizophrenia to climb Mount Everest. The purpose of my climb is to inspire all those across the world with schizophrenia and other mental illness to realise their own true potential in life.
In 1996 when I was diagnosed I was told I may never be able to work again and the rest of my life would be about coping with my illness.
I have never accepted this poor attitude towards my schizophrenia and now spend a lot of my life campaigning for greater understanding of severe mental illness and trying to inspire those who suffer.
I believe my Everest challenge is a World issue where mental health is concerned and if it can be achieved, I hope my challenge will help others to have a far greater and much needed understanding of my illness and prove to many that schizophrenia can be successfully overcome and a meaningful life regained.
I believe that we know very little about scizophrenia and those who suffer from the illness are very intelligent, caring, sensitive, intuitive, creative, imaginative people who are very misunderstood.
And this misunderstanding of schizophrenia and its symptoms adds greatly to the pain we experience.
In my life time I hope to help change the misconceptions and stigma and discrimination attached to schizophrenia. I hope to educate and enlighten about my illness and help to prove we are all wonderful people beyond the fears and labels attached to our diagnosis.
I will be keeping a regular blog on schizophrenia.com which will keep readers informed of my progress in life and with my Evererst challenge. The blog will also contain my personal beliefs and views on schizophrenia.
Please also think about visiting onemansmountain.com which explains more about me...or even my photographic site stuartbakerbrown.co.uk
My very best wishes to you all. Take care and I will have an update soon. Stuart Baker-Brown.