July 17, 2005

Delusions of Grandeur

Where do they come from? Mine were usually of a negative grandeur as you may recall. I was the devil, the most evil person in the world, I needed to kill myself or burn myself to a crisp in order to save the world from my poison. I even went so far as to set my leg on fire, prelude to setting myself on fire in order to do this, and burned marks on my forehead to prove I was Cain so people would be warned and stay a result I have been ECT'd, restrained, isolated, locked up for months and all the other humilating things they do to people they think might seriously hurt themselves or others. And obviously I might have, and did. But whence came this sort of thought? And why do others believe they are God or Jesus Christ or as one person I met claimed, the song writer who provided John Lennon with his music. Their delusions may seem more positive yet I know they suffered as much as I did because they too went unbelieved and scoffed at. Where does this kind of false belief, clung to in the face of so much evidence to the contrary, come from?

I'm not completely sure but it seems, in both positive and negative incarnations, to derive from a terrible sense of one's lack of worth in the world, one's secret knowledge that the illness one has robs one of everything one was supposed to have, be and do, that one is entirely useless and empty and without value in life. THe illness itself produces this feeling, and the feeling is secondarily strengthened as a result of having the illness. Some people respond by thinking that if they are really nobody, they can create a powerful false self to make up for the lack of value in real life. Others, like me, accept our lack of value, only exaggerate it until it becomes the dominant factor in our lives and colors everything, so that we cannot but refer everything to it and see all through its lens. We become convinced that if all in our lives is contaminated by our worthlessness, maybe all in the world is contaminated as well.

I don't understand the transition from feelings of worthlessness to actual belief in false facts, the transition to delusion. I don't think anyone does. But I believe the connection is there, from lack of any sense of self-esteem transitioning somehow to delusions of grandeur. And that either positive or negative delusions all derive from a negative feeling, a lack of positive self regard. I don't think anyone who truly feels good about him or herself would ever suffer from a delusion of grandeur.

Posted by pamwagg at July 17, 2005 10:18 AM


Dearest Pam,

I am stirred by your magical and haunted writings. Thank you. You are a rare and gilded treasure; looking into you through these letters is as if I see a prism suspended over the sea for the first time.

Posted by: Shayna Bach at November 18, 2005 03:21 PM

Hey Pam,

Though I haven't quiet followed your blog as regularly in the past, I did happen to read your story. Well Iam not schizophrenic, but I have had few mental health symptoms and these are enough to convince me how difficult mental illnesses can be. Sadly these things can be quiet an affecting factor in one' life. But to see people battle these things and come out as winner certainly gives one encuragement and hope in his/her struggles.

Despite being afflicted with schizophrenia, it is really commendable of you to have accomplished such things. I really hope that you are able manage your illness as well and accomplish many more things.

Best Wishes and Warm Regards

Posted by: vish at July 18, 2005 06:41 AM

Dear Pam,
I don't really know how to begin to comment on this blog. The opening of Pandora's box that you have offered to your readers contains an endless stream of possibilities, the complexities of which have long boggled minds far sharper than mine. Because I know you so well, I found that my mind was instantaneously flooded with so many things that I could say, that I almost feel paralyzed. My background in writing is so ingrained in me that I cannot escape the notion that I must begin in a global, logical fashion, then introduce the particulars that I feel apply to you alone, and then inevitably wrap it all up with a convincing, logical and hopefully intelligent conclusion. My mind is rejecting this comfortable, familiar format. Therefore, what I am about to say may seem disjointed and almost random, but it's the best that I can do.
Pam,can you pinpoint when you begain to feel worthless? Remember, you were the golden child, the brilliant twin who shone in every possible area. You were an academic whiz, a botanist of considerable ability at an early age. You were artistic, a precocious writer and on and on. When and why would you ever feel worthless unless it was caused almost exclusively by the disease over which you had no control. As for low self esteem leading to illusions of grandeur, I am rather baffled by this. I think this is because what you are referring to as granduer is not the way I think of it. You are saying that,for example, your belief that you were responsible for the Kennedy assasination, was an example of this. I think it more as self punishment than self agrandizment. I'll just use this one example, but I hope it illustrates my view and perhaps reveals that I have misinterpreted what you were trying to say. In any case, as always, your searching for the antecedents of your illness strikes me as such a positive phenomenon, that despite my weak atempt to comment with at least a modicum of ability, it is done with utmost admiration for you.
Lovingly, Paula

Posted by: Paula Kirkpatrick at July 17, 2005 09:24 PM

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