As any schizophrenic knows, symptoms can come on sudden and hard. This type of acute psychotic break can be terrifying and confusing for the sufferer and those in support roles, but it is important to recognize the vast opportunity commencing. Depending on how this experience is navigated, the schizophrenic, in worse case scenarios, can become condemned as a dangerous psychotic and placed in assisted living or even possibly harm himself or others. On the positive side, if traversed with skill and grace, madness can be avoided and genius level insight can be gained.
We all know that schizophrenia is somewhat of a forced adventure into mysticism. If the individual can persist from a place of courage, hope, and faith, they will find themselves passing through the crucible and ascending to an internal state of mental salvation. In any sacrifice, something is lost. But it is forfeited purposefully in order to gain something of higher value. The acute psychotic break, then, appears as an attempt by the psyche to surrender parts of itself in order to have a fresh start. The sick framework of cognition is deconstructed in order to lay a healthier and stronger foundation. Then the mind can rebuild a clear perception and method of thought that is conducive to greater functioning.
The Spiritual Significance of a Schizophrenic Break
An acute psychotic break will involve the most severe of symptoms. There will be hallucinations. There will be delusions. There will be catatonia at times. Consider some of the most famous instances of our spiritual heroes in the light of a schizophrenic break. Jesus spent forty days alone in the wilderness, resisting the temptations of Satan. He offered many delusional blessings, showed many illusions, all if Jesus would simply succumb to him. The Buddha sat still, resolutely refusing to move from his meditation spot, almost catatonically while fighting off the temptations of Mara. He was offered gifts, made to fear and disbelieve, and more.
This experience of the schizophrenic break is akin to Dante’s Inferno, before he climbed through Purgatory and on to Paradise. We have that opportunity as well, and I’ve compiled what I feel are great pieces of advice for properly navigating the labyrinth of symptoms and emerging from the other side a new and better person in all facets of life. So take this vision quest of the shamans. Allow your five senses to be pierced and crucified upon the cross. Feel the loneliness of the dark night of the soul, for after your descent into the fire, you will rise to a personal heavenly realm.
Traversing the Acute Psychotic Break
This state of improvement is the climax, the end result of all of the spiritual stories involving this psychosis. The fragmented psyche, if the experience is successfully traversed, will be reconciled. It is possible to accelerate and improve the chances of this happening. Below is my own personal advice on staying safe and moving forward through this experience.
Schizophrenic Break: Tips for Success
Please keep these tips in mind and take them very seriously to help minimize your suffering, maintain your privacy, and increase your probability for not only recovery but an overall improvement in functioning! It is possible and it is likely, so keep the faith and persevere. With your hard work, you can succeed.
Be Silent and Be Private
It is extremely important for you, as a person in a state of vulnerability and ‘strangeness,’ to not share your current ideas with others. You have to realize that you may thinking from a state of delusion and that your ideas, while completely valid, may seem quite strange to others. Your deep thoughts are likely philosophical, conspiratorial, and alien to the uninitiated, average person who may judge you from a bias of stigma and fear.
If the fear of your ideas is strong enough, you may attract the attention of unwanted medical practitioners. While there are times it is very important to use the assistance of medication, if you can stay with your suffering and process it, that may be the very act that helps them not return. However, if at any point you feel too uncomfortable, or a danger to others or yourself, then you should seek the help of psychiatrist, psychologist, or any other authority in the field. There will be other chances for you to perform this self-analysis and betterment. Please keep safety at the forefront of your mind at all times.
Abstain from Certain Substances
There are substances that will drastically worsen your symptoms. Absolutely, under no circumstances, partake in any psychedelics, including marijuana. Not only are they illegal, but they can mimic the symptoms of schizophrenia and make the situation more confusing for you. You should also avoid caffeine and sugar as much as possible, as they are stimulants and will excite your central and peripheral nervous systems more than they already are. Don’t allow any substance, such as alcohol or nicotine, to become a crutch for you to lean on or escape from the internal work you must pursue. Embrace the groundlessness and integrate it.
Mend and Foster Relationships
One of the most important things in life are relationships. The universe is composed of connections and interactions, and we are as much a part of this as anything else. Recognize the vast importance of your relationships, including your friendships, romances, and family. Mend any broken relationship and foster and strengthen all that you can.
Take an opportunity to let everyone who is important to you know that you love them personally. Form a bond with an animal pet and actually get to know them. Learn their personality and observe the entire process of relating with the pet. They are a blank canvas, a mirror, and you will project your own mind upon them. This can offer insight into your own cognition. Observe your own speech and thinking as well, as it can reveal the programming that is in place. These habits can be enhanced or removed to better your psyche.
Control Your Cognitive Behavior
Don’t ruminate. Don’t sit around and ponder the deepest philosophical questions that the brightest humans who’ve ever lived haven’t solved. Most of these are meant to be transcended or accepted as they are, unsolvable. Ruminating can arouse existential anxiety, which will only worsen your predicament. Angst is to be dealt with through surrender, acceptance, and through the slow gathering of life’s experiences, not by conquering it mentally. You will not solve the universe’s koans or crack the ineffable mysteries of reality. It’s better to sit in awe and wonder than to attempt to crack the code.
Do not allow yourself to have negative thoughts. You can’t stay in meditation forever, which means at all other times you will be thinking something. So make sure those things are positive. Make that choice and promise to yourself and work towards it. You can reinforce this positivity habit by red-flagging every negative thought and immediately transforming it into positivity. Think of a playful puppy, a joyful kitten, or ice cream. It doesn’t matter what you choose, just smile!
Similar to ruminating, don’t engage in constant prayer or mantra repetitions. You aren’t guilty, so don’t ask for forgiveness. You are working on assembling an internal locus of control, so don’t pray for help. You aren’t totally under the current of fate, destiny, or divinity, so don’t give all the power to some external force. You will make forward strides based on your own efforts and power! If you want to pray, you should only give thanks and praise, which are based in positivity, faith, and hope. Be grateful for the power to fix your own situation, and the strength to cope as you pursue this growth opportunity.
See the Big Picture Clearly
It has been said that anybody looking for the answers can be trusted, while anyone claiming to have them should not be trusted. No scientist, no theologian, no historian, and no mystic has the answers. The rare person that has gained a sense of enlightenment will not able to explain their experiences or insights to you, because by definition they cannot be put into words. A valid enlightenment is not sharable. The Tao that can be told is not the true Tao.
Stop seeking solutions, as we discussed before. If you stop asking questions, you suddenly no longer need answers. Then, when you are ready, the answers will reveal themselves to you gently, and the questions that don’t matter will drift away on an ocean of peace and serenity.
Try to comprehend the paradigms of the present and past. Meta-programming occurs in every culture and instill beliefs that are enveloping beyond the point of recognition oftentimes. Try to grasp these by paying attention to your experiences. They likely contradict these beliefs and cause cognitive dissonance. Recognize religion and science as consensually agreed-upon myths. Whether these myths are true or false don’t matter, so concern yourself with the possible effects they have on the believers, and choose your beliefs appropriately.
And remember, this is not your fault. You did not do this to yourself, nor do you deserve it. These acute psychotic breaks are a result of a combination of nature and nurture, environment and genetics, and your luck in the birth lottery. We don’t choose our parents or what society we will be programmed in. But take responsibility, for the journey is yours, and you will be made to embark upon it regardless of your choice. It is your cross to bear, but at the end of your journey, your reward awaits. Others will never know the pleasure of the heights that you will attain.
Break the Cycle
If you act negatively, you will think negatively. Fix this behavioral aspect. If you think negatively, you will feel negatively. Heal the psychological aspect. If you feel negatively, you will act negatively. Soften this emotional aspect. Break the cycle of negativity at at least one, but preferably all three points in this samsara whirlwind.
Take in positivity. This means you should deny all negative forms of entertainment. Deny negative people. Form a routine that includes frequent and regular exercise and taking in properly balanced meals. If a balanced diet is not easily accessible for you, try to take a multi-vitamin when needed. Routine is good for building a predictable structure to your day. Go to sleep and wake up at the same every day and try not to over or under sleep. This can lead to a sense of detachment, depersonalization, and derealization most of the day.
Take Advantage of Medication if Needed
Don’t hesitate to seek out the symptom-reducing help of medication. Just remember what the true goal is and don’t become complacent because things aren’t quite as intense as they were. Lasting recovery involves a medication and a cognitive behavioral approach of self-analysis. Take extreme care if you attempt to self-medicate with over-the-counter medicines such as 5-HTP or St. John’s Wort. Always seek the advice of a medical professional before taking any medications. There are more effective medications that are only available through the prescription of a psychiatrist, so don’t hesitate if you feel this is something you need.
The schizophrenic break is by no means anything less than hell and extreme suffering. It is anguish and it is lonely. You will take this adventure largely alone without guidance. You must carve your own path and slay the dragon that is the broken part of yourself. But remember, the hero always slays the beast, and always returns with riches and blessings beyond those obtainable through any worldly means. Walk your path, and build your new cognitive framework one board and one brick at a time. Your mansion will be heavenly.