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Psychosis is a mental disorder that affects a person’s perception of reality, causing them to experience Hallucinations, Delusions, or Disorganized thinking. Self-transcendence is a psychological construct that refers to the ability to go beyond one’s Ego and connect with something greater, such as nature, Spirituality, or humanity, sometimes via numinous experiences. In this article, we will explore the possible links between Psychosis and Self-transcendence, and how they may influence each other in positive or negative ways. We will also discuss some of the implications of this relationship for clinical practice and research.
What is Psychosis?
Psychosis is a mental condition that affects a person’s perception of reality. It can cause Hallucinations, Delusions, and Disorganized thinking and behaviour. Psychosis can be triggered by various factors, such as Stress, Trauma, substance abuse, or genetic predisposition. It can also be a symptom of other mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or severe Depression. Psychosis can interfere with a person’s ability to function normally in daily life and may require treatment from a mental health professional.
Can Psychosis be a “symptom” of transcendence?
Some people may wonder if Psychosis can be a sign of something positive, such as transcendence. Transcendence is the state of being beyond the normal or physical level. It can be associated with spiritual experiences, mystical insights, or higher consciousness. However, there is no evidence that Psychosis is a symptom of transcendence. In fact, Psychosis can be very distressing and harmful for the person experiencing it and their loved ones. Psychosis can impair your ability to function, communicate, and relate to others. It can also increase your risk of developing other mental health problems, such as Depression or Anxiety.
Whilst there have been some individual reports that that their apparent Psychosis events were due to their particular transcendence journey, there is very little evidence one way or the other. This may well be due to the sometimes mystical aspect of Self-transcendence. For example, transcendence could involve becoming convinced of one’s Connection to a higher being. This prompts the question; how would one discover this “truth”? Many people claim to have direct personal interaction with higher entities, sometimes via visions or other personal experiences that could easily fit the Psychosis label. This underlines a particular dilemma for any Therapist working with an individual who is undergoing the journey to transcendence.
To quote one individual, “I think my psychoses were caused by higher beings who were trying to force me to challenge my own false beliefs about myself and others. In many ways, they exaggerated those false beliefs and forced me into a crisis where I had to confront those beliefs head-on. Certainly, now I no longer have those false beliefs, I no longer have Psychosis.”
Another said, “I believe my Psychosis was a manifestation of my inauthentic self coming to guide my life toward wholeness and Authenticity of who I needed to be to live a fulfilled and happy life. That the Psychosis overlaid with spiritual overtones that continue to synchronize and create magical moments to witness is something that I will continue to observe and enjoy through all my moments.”
However, this may not be true for all individuals experiencing Psychosis, many who have had such experiences are unable to give any rational explanation as to what they represented, or their benefit to their Self-transcendence journey.
Therefore, it is important to seek help if you or someone you know is experiencing Psychosis. There are effective treatments available, such as antipsychotic medication and talking therapies, that can help you manage your symptoms and recover from Psychosis. You do not have to suffer alone. There are also support groups and organizations that can provide you with information, advice, and Peer support.
For a more detailed analysis on the relationship between Psychosis and Mystical experiences, see of article on the positive and negative aspects of Self-transcendent experiences.
Positive sides of Psychosis
While Psychosis can be challenging and distressing, some individuals may also find positive aspects or benefits from their experiences. Here are some examples where individuals have seen positive experiences through Psychosis:
- Some people may feel a sense of Connection or Spirituality during Psychosis, as if they are in touch with a higher power or a deeper Meaning of life. They may feel inspired, creative, or Enlightened by their visions or voices.
- Some people may use their Psychosis as a source of motivation or resilience, as they overcome difficulties and cope with their symptoms. They may learn new skills, develop new perspectives, or discover new strengths and abilities.
- Some people may find support and empathy from others who have gone through similar experiences, such as peers, family members, or mental health professionals. They may feel less alone, more understood, and more accepted by their community.
- Some people may view their Psychosis as a part of their identity or personality, rather than a disorder or a defect. They may embrace their Uniqueness, Diversity, and Authenticity, and celebrate their differences from others.
Negative impacts of Psychosis
Psychosis can have a negative impact on a person’s life, affecting their relationships, work, education, and well-being. Some examples where individuals have seen negative experiences through Psychosis are:
- A woman who believed that her husband was cheating on her with her sister, and became violent and paranoid towards them.
- A man who heard voices telling him that he was worthless and should kill himself, and attempted to overdose on pills.
- A teenager who thought that he was being followed by aliens who wanted to abduct him, and ran away from home and hid in the woods.
- A student who had visions of demons attacking her, and stopped going to school and isolated herself in her room.
- A worker who was convinced that his boss was plotting to fire him, and sabotaged his own projects and accused his colleagues of betrayal.
If you want to learn more about Psychosis, a mental health problem that causes people to perceive or interpret reality differently from others, here are some weblinks that discuss it in more detail:
Psychosis – NHS: This website provides an overview of Psychosis, its symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment. It also offers advice on how to help yourself and others who experience Psychosis. The URL is https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/Psychosis/
What is Psychosis? – Mind: This website explains what Psychosis is, how it affects people and what can cause it. It also shares some personal stories of people who have experienced Psychosis and how they cope with it. The URL is https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/Psychosis/about-Psychosis/
Overview – Psychosis – NHS: This website gives a brief summary of Psychosis and its main symptoms: Hallucinations and Delusions. It also explains when to seek medical help and what to do in an emergency. The URL is https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/Psychosis/overview/