What If Psychosis Is Not Losing Touch With Reality?

Psychosis:

“A mantra is a beautiful thing, there is no question about it, but nothing is bigger than silence.” – Sadhguru

What if psychosis is not losing touch with reality? What if it is us touching reality?

The portal for genius is also the same portal for insanity. Like the matrix. There is no key. There is no door. There are no walls. The highest realisation: freedom. So how does one break the boundaries of their physical body and psychological structure? Clarity.

A large scale vision,
Borderless and boundless,
The highest realisation,
I am that which is not.

“In true love, you attain freedom. When you love, you bring freedom to the person you love.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

My brother always said that I should write a book. I never saw the point when there are a million books that use the same old words simply to transcend them.

It would mean nothing to a child joyfully whole in their ordinariness and make no sense to an adult practiced in judgment and criticism. How did they get like that? Narrow. Rigid. Inflexible. Divided.

“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” – Carl Sagan.

A scientist knows a frog with his intellect, through means of dissection. He pulls it apart, knows all its pieces, and then it is dead. However to experience the same frog, or love, requires a different intelligence: awareness. To simply embrace it as it is.

I had my first experience of this during my PhD on the neuroscience of emotion. I asked the question where is emotion in the brain? Well it was not just in the brain. Turns out this is a living cosmos!

As I experienced myself as a piece of the entire universe, I made the mistake of assuming others would understand. They did not. A PhD is meant to be an original contribution to knowledge.

How does one explain to their supervisors, family and friends, that the entire cosmos dwells within each and every one of us? They thought I was mad. I ended up in a psychiatric hospital for six months with psychosis.

“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” – Carl Sagan.

I went from teaching psychology at the University to a disability pension, put on every medication and had twelve sessions of electroconvulsive therapy. It took approximately three years for my brain to recover.

My treasured insights I had forgotten and were buried deep in my subconscious. Remarkably, seven years later as a Provisional Psychologist I had exactly the same experience. This time completely grounded.

“Literally, yoga means “union.” When you are in yoga, it means that in your experience, everything has become one. This is the essence of its science. This is also its deepest aim.” – Sadhguru

The only way I can explain it is that my psychosis was not losing touch with reality; it was touching reality. Reality simply is; neither this nor that. It is what it is. There is only life; the rest is imagination.

The difference between a mad man and a Guru is that the madman experiences this unwillingly and the Guru experiences it willingly: freedom. This time I knew I had not discovered anything new. Wisdom traditions and mystics have always known this.

You cannot squeeze the universe, nor a precious life, into any box, including science. Life is a far larger phenomenon than any thought or instrument or label. Hence the pointlessness of this book.

Robert James “Bob” Randall (c.1934 – 12 May 2015) was an Aboriginal Australian elder, singer and community leader:

“When we walk through the land with our Elders, the land is like a book and we are walking through the different pages, understanding the different aspects of natural law.”

My brother was right though. I was in a unique situation because I had an opportunity to share the experience from the inside out. I am a licensed Psychologist and a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology, with 20 years experience.

I’ve had psychosis, completely destroyed myself, recreated myself, and overcame a second episode knowing fully what was happening. Apart from feeling unable to share this with my family or colleagues, in fear of being re-hospitalised, or reported to the psychology board, what was most terrifying is that this second episode would be classified as “Schizophrenia” in the West, and yet similar experiences are embraced as “Enlightenment” in the east.

What was one to do?

“A mantra is a beautiful thing, there is no question about it, but nothing is bigger than silence.” – Sadhguru

Today the top neuroscientists agree that our reality is an illusion and that we are all hallucinating. When we agree on a shared hallucination we call this normality. When we disagree we call this insanity; or genius.

Youth and Truth: Unplug with Sadhguru.

“Yoga refers to union not as an idea, a philosophy or as a concept that you imbibe. As an intellectual idea, if you vouch by the commonness of the universe, it may make you popular in a tea party, it may give you a certain social status, but it does not serve any other purpose. You will see, when things come down to even money – it does not even have to boil down to life and death – even for money, “This is me, that is you.” The boundary is clear; there is no question of you and me being one.
It actually causes damage to the individual if you intellectually see everything is one. People do all kinds of silly things because they got this idea that everybody is one, before somebody teaches them a good lesson and then they see, “This is me, that is you. No way to be one.”
If it becomes an experiential reality, it will not bring forth any immature action. It will bring forth a tremendous experience of life. Individuality is an idea. Universality is not an idea, it is a reality. In other words, yoga means you bury all your ideas.” – Sadhguru

While Western psychology labels and pathologises anything abnormal and rejects anything it cannot measure, Wisdom traditions knowingly encourage and prepare you for this.

For Wisdom traditions, the intellect is limited for it is a cutting instrument and narrowly focused in its scope: that is why in the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.

For Wisdom traditions, the mind is insanity; the only sanity is reality. So unlike the West, they embrace and prepare you for this. For it is not a case of if, but when, this happens to you. Beautiful and plentiful tools are provided of what to do: Wisdom.

So what is a genius in a world of illusion? My hope is this story will shed some light. They say a fool does what they do not like. An intelligent person does what they like. And a genius does what needs to be done.

They not only understands their threat system, for survival, they also develops their self soothing system, for peace, joy, love, compassion, blissfulness and ecstasy. For if one is unable to drop their fight mode, they will unknowingly conquer and divide in many disguises. And when the entire universe resides within you, what is there to unnecessarily gain or lose?

“Life is Magic. Because you got trapped in the limitations of your logic, you are not experiencing the Magic.” – Sadhguru

This story is dedicated to every human being who has been hospitalised or incarcerated, for having the highest realisation and a large scale vision; that what lies within each and everyone of us, is neither this nor that: for it can never be named, to remain borderless and boundless.

#YouBelong

The End.

“The language of psychosis is an intelligible one, though steeped in metaphor. It is a human language, but a language of despair. And it is only spoken when all other attempts of communication have failed.” Dr Dan Edmunds.

Reality is apparent when one ceases to compare. There is “what is” only when there is no comparison at all, and to live with what is, is to be peaceful. – Bruce Lee

Thank you to my partner Let Rubic, mother Gelma Meoli, family, friends, PhD and Psychologist supervisors, and medical team for your 100% dedication to my recovery.

*This piece is not intended to minimise Psychosis or mental illness. It is a simple interpretation of my lived experience. There is no question both episodes I was unable to function or care for myself. Both required hospitalisation. Both took months, one years, to recover.

*This piece is also not intended to criticise Psychiatry. It is simply pointing out the limitation of using intellect alone with phenomena like the mind and existence. It is intended to help bridge the gap between one’s understanding of the intellect vs self-compassion (kindness, common humanity and mindfulness); between Psychology and Wisdom Traditions.

I honor the place within you where the entire Universe resides; I honor the place within you of love, of light, of truth, of peace; I honor the place within you, where, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us. Namaste.

Now you know the power of Trauma Informed Care. Let’s turn this framework into a mindset for personal, social and political change. If you are unable to, you might need help first, to get safe or become ‘unstuck’ from trauma. Reach out for trauma informed care. #YouBelong

With love,

Dr Louise Hansen
Psychologist
PhD in Psychology
Human Rights Activist

#HealingTrauma #Justice4Australia #WeAllBelong

Thank you to my teacher Mr Shepard. You made us memorise this poem off by heart knowing that even though we were only 12 years old one day we would need it:

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1963) –

“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son.”

#YouBelong
#IncarcerationNation

https://youtu.be/XUyfAme3i_U

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin
“Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of support we received overnight! We’re able to fund one more Indigenous Psychology student for a full three year Psychology degree from just a 10 minute appearance on ABC #TheDrum.” – Dr Tracy Westerman AM

If you would like to donate, please visit:

https://www.thejilyainstitute.com.au/about-us/
My partner Marcelo Alegre Rubic who taught me do not let anyone control your life. #YouBelong

Trauma Informed World was inspired by Kopika and Tharnicaa; two faces that remind us everyday of Australia’s cruel refugee system. One of many systems in Australia that remind us of the negative operation of power. #HomeToBilo

Kopika (left) and Tharnicaa (right) were kept at Christmas Island Detention Centre for nearly two years despite trauma informed calls to return them to Biloela, Queensland. Tharnicaa has spent most of her life detained by the Australian Government and is still in community detention to this day. #YouBelong
Trauma Informed World respects and acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Custodians of the land and waterways on which this educational resource was inspired. I acknowledge and respect Elders past, present and emerging. I honour the continuation of educational, cultural and spiritual practices and celebrate the extraordinary diversity of people and relationships worldwide. This website contains images of deceased persons. There are also swear words in some of the songs presented that portray intense emotions. This website is not intended to trigger people who have experienced trauma. However, if you do find any of the content triggering, each page has a link to Australia’s National Helplines and Websites for immediate mental health support. These are my own personal views and comments and may not reflect the views of my employer.

Australia’s National Helplines and Websites:

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/national-help-lines-and-websites

To provide the best information possible, Beyond Blue has listed national helplines and external services. All services linked to Beyond Blue are reviewed before they are posted.

Published by Dr Louise Hansen

This is a free educational website on Trauma Informed Care for survival and wellbeing. While each injustice differs, all stories share the same trauma: the negative operation of power. Let’s break the cycle of injustice and trauma together one day at a time. The byproduct of clarity is peace. Joy is peace dancing. Trauma is disconnection. Empathy fuels connection. Knowledge is power: “Love is the absence of judgment.” – His Holiness the Dalai Lama. #YouBelong

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