“An individual having unusual difficulties in coping with his environment struggles and kicks up the dust, as it were. I have used the figure of a fish caught on a hook: his gyrations must look peculiar to other fish that don’t understand the circumstances; but his splashes are not his affliction, they are his effort to get rid of his affliction and as every fisherman knows these efforts may succeed.” –Karl Menninger
So I’ve read some of the book “The Stormy Search for the Self” and I’ve come to some conclusions.
I did have a Spiritual Emergence some time during a psychotic break in 2007-2008. But I suffered from Schizophrenia long before that. It is my contention that psychosis exists WITHIN Schizophrenia but is NOT the whole experience of Schizophrenia. This is why some people are mis-diagnosed with Schizophrenia just because they have had psychosis. The psychosis eventually goes and now you have people saying they have fully recovered from Schizophrenia. I have yet to meet a person face to face I know who has had Schizophrenia and has fully recovered.
As for the Spiritual Emergence, it seems to take a shorter time span than normal psychosis. I am hopeful some will share their experiences here to add to the discussion.
Many do not understand how long initiation can take…
“Mircea Eliade found that a psychotic episode has served as the initiatory crisis marking, for some shamans, a call to the healing profession. For example, the Siberian shaman Kyzalov entered a state of “madness” LASTING FOR SEVEN YEARS which resulted in his initiation as a shaman. He reported that during those years he had been beaten up several times, taken to many strange places including the top of a sacred mountain,chopped into pieces and boiled in a kettle, met the spirits of sickness, and acquired the drum and garment of a dead shaman. Being “tormented” by spirits, babbling confused words, displaying curious eating habits, singing continuously, and dancing wildly are other common elements in initiatory crises; in our society today these experiences would be considered evidence of a psychotic disorder and could possibly result in hospitalization. Yet when Kyzalov recuperated, he reported that, “the shamans declared, ‘You are the sort of man who may become a shaman; you should become a shaman. You must begin to shamanize.’ “
Some have tried to “guide” me through “shadow work” but they were guiding me from the outside in. I am working from the inside out. Their methods do not work. They studied a few pages of Jung and played armchair psychologists…a very dangerous thing to do with one who suffers from Schizophrenia, an illness they did not have education of. They scoffed at my method and ridiculed me. Then they abandoned me after I was hospitalized, leaving me with pages of emails that were bullshit.
Lets be clear, Jung was a nut. He was engrossed in work even he did not fully understand. I am not criticizing his work. There are some things in it that make sense to me. Unfortunately, there are other things that do not. He did not have a full understanding of Schizophrenia. It is true he MAY have experienced some form of psychosis (hearing voices etc) but that does not make one “schizophrenic.” This is a point of contention I have with some of the people online. While psychosis is often a part of the schizophrenic experience it is not exclusive to schizophrenia. One can have psychosis with extreme forms of depression and bipolar disorder as well as having psychosis not otherwise specified.
I am dealing with the experience of schizophrenia, an illness not many understand. It goes beyond the psychosis.
It is like I am a starship…think Star Trek. My “ship” is programmed in the language of Schizophrenia. On board there is a program that runs the “holodeck”…a psychosis. The holodeck exists within the ship…the psychosis within the schizophrenia and I sometimes manage my way off of the holodeck but I am still on the ship…always in schizophrenia and though not always in psychosis.