How I Triumphed Over Schizophrenia
by Jimmy Cheah
Thank you for your website. I can confirm from my own experience that someone believed to have paranoid schizophrenia can fully recover on their own with no treatment of any kind and become "weller than well." Here is my story....
Is There A Cure For "Schizophrenia?"
More than 20 years ago, I fully recovered from schizophrenia without medication or treatment. Even though I was re-hospitalized for about 4 relapses, I was never a willing patient.
Once out of the crazy madhouse, I'd throw away all the medication that's forced down my throat. I learnt by my own hard experience that: "Treatments" for schizophrenia are often worse than the "disease." (Siebert)
How It Started
I'm now aged 51 and I'm "weller than well" to speak of my authentic personal tragedy of having to go through "schizophrenic episodes" at the mercy of others who are biased and misconceive the beneficial effects of so-called "paranoid schizophrenia."
About 26 years ago, I was ordained as a Buddhist monk in a meditation temple. Before ordination, I had to undergo observation for about 3 months for good and normal behavior. I was taught the Vipassana Meditation which is also known as Insight Meditation. Eventually, I was ordained as a monk. I was very strict and disciplined in my meditation practice. I observed strict silence.
After several months of intensive meditation, I suddenly broke my silence involuntarily and began "speaking in tongues." I thought I could speak Brahmin, Sanskrit or chant Ancient Scriptures.
I began to exhibit strange gestures and bizarre mannerism that's not becoming of a monk. I was disrobed without any compassion and cast out of the temple to pursue the Path of Suffering. Lost souls like "schizophrenics" do not have enough merits to lead the holy life.
Taking "The Road Less Traveled", I ended up meditating in a graveyard. I was like a hungry ghost and a wandering spirit experiencing the true meaning of homelessness. I could have taken the short cut to Heaven by taking my own life but that's against the rules. The Sixth Commandment of Moses came to mind, " Thou shalt not kill."
"Procrastination is the thief of time," my inner voice said.
"Do it now!" This is what they usually teach in motivation psychology. However, I decided not to make a rash decision at that time. But I knew, sooner or later the time will surely come. "Why not next time, buddy?"
"King Solomon with all his wisdom wouldn't do a thing like that," said another voice.
I was having a brainstorm. I was brainstorming, freewheeling, having group discussion in my mind and experiencing freedom of association. It was the freedom of free thinking in a free world. This is the Path of Freedom.
I was caught in a cosmic dance, which is quite different from the steps of waltz, fox-trot, tango, rumba or cha-cha. Aha! I could dance like Michael Jackson or even better.
My head was beginning to spin like a whirlpool. It was like entering a time tunnel. By and by, I wasn't functioning from a logical and reasoning mind. There's no need for reason. There's no need to explain. Anything goes! "Life goes on ......ooh! La! La! La! Life goes on......" "Yahoo!"
Yet, I was quite aware of what was going in my mind because I was trained in the Art of Contemplation, you see. There's no doubt about it. It was curiosity that lured me on and on. I was tempted to explore this " mystical experience" but I soon lost control of the normal functioning of my thinking skill. I was trying to explore the unconscious, subconscious, supraconscious or supreme ultimate reality. I was like a newborn baby riding an unsaddled horse for the first time. I lost my vital mental balance like "Humpty Dumpty had a great fall."
There's no history of psychosis in my family. My father (deceased) is a medical doctor. My brothers and sisters are gainfully employed and successful.
Before becoming a monk, I was a freelance writer on Success Motivation. I was trying to emulate Napoleon Hill, the famous author of Think And Grow Rich. I also organized seminars on Leadership Development, Salesmanship and Effective Public Speaking - a copycat of Dale Carnegie.
I soon discovered the "Paradox of Success" after I had gathered fair knowledge of Buddhism, Taoist Meditation, Kundalini Yoga, Psychic Science, Tarot, Christianity and Zen. I joined the monkhood thinking I could seek deliverance from Suffering caused by Ignorance, Passion and Delusion.
Voice In The Wilderness
"People diagnosed as "schizophrenia" often have to be talked into thinking that they're sick and in many cases are forced to submit involuntarily to treatment." (Al Siebert)
My mental ability deteriorated rapidly. I wasn't my former self. I was functioning from lower and distorted personality. I was just like one of those crazy guys wandering in the streets. I was running like a street dog, at times. I was shouting and violent but I didn't cause injury to anyone. I was bustling with too much energy which went berserk and beyond my control.
I could walk for 20 to 60 miles without sleeping. There was a compulsion to go on without a destination. I could do without breakfast, lunch or dinner. Sometimes, I wondered whether the sun was rising or setting. I couldn't see the difference. There was a "no differentiating" Zen mind. I felt I was floating in the air and I was on the way to Enlightenment. But actually, I was on my way to the psychiatric hospital. It was like a sting. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time, man.
On my first admission, Dr. Hobson and his team of merry-makers unanimously diagnosed me as "schizophrenic" or "psychotic." A very erratic and extreme case without any reservation.
Dr. Fox ( not real name) came to see me privately. He said he had traveled to the Himalayas and had seen some yogis and shamans suffering the same fate as me. He seemed to know something about "meditation side-effects", astral travel, shamanic practices, ESP and out-of-body experiences. He said, "I know you are not crazy but you look like one. I know you're an individualist and you like to do your own thing. If 9 out of 10 doctors point a finger at you - you had it. You shouldn't be caught by them."
I replied, " Majority wins, isn't it? Wise men think alike."
Dr. Fox wasn't the doctor-in-charge of me. He didn't give me any further advice or counseling for fear of criticism from his colleagues.
Nobody seemed to believe what I said. I told the doctors that I was suffering from the inconvenience of "meditation side-effects" and all I needed was just a simple tranquilizer to calm my nerves. Everybody laughed. Amused that I was giving them the prescription, perhaps. I told them this "meditation side-effects" is documented in Zen Buddhism, Taoist Meditation and Kundalini Yoga doctrine. (Mookerjee - Kundalini, The Arousal of Inner Energy; Sannella, Kundalini - Psychosis or Transcendence). Nobody believed what I said because I didn't seem to be in the right frame of mind. They viewed it as delirium tremens - speaking like a mad, drunken monkey.
I was like shouting to the trees in the wild forest. The trees couldn't hear or understand what I said.
Experience Is My Best Doctor: Relapses Are My Healing Aides
"Some people not only fully recover from 'schizophrenia' episode, the experience has beneficial effects, leading to favorable changes in personality and improvements in psychological strengths." (Al Siebert)
Every relapse gives a clue of how to overcome it. By acknowledging my weakness, I begin to discover my strength. There's a lesson to be learnt even in the most stupid and helpless situation.
It was the fourth and the last relapse, as far as I can remember, that gave me the breakthrough. The experiences I learnt from the previous relapses help me to recognize its symptoms as it arises.
My psychedelic "schizo" mind, well equipped with first-class automatic transmission, was going like non-stop "choo-choo", "ghost train." Most of the time, I was caught by unexpected surprise. The relapse would occur when I least expected -- not every full moon. You don't hear the howling of wolves. There's no warning. But soon I knew how to deal with the unexpected.
The first few relapses always make a monkey out of me. It skillfully eluded me. I was foolish enough not to learn from it.
When I came to my senses, I saw the awakening. It was the point of : "No Problems." "No Regrets." "No Turning Back."
Awakening From Psychosis: Breaking Through The Barrier of Self-Delusion
"Out of the murky water, the lotus bloom." (Buddhist Saying)
"The mind is no doubt extremely turbulent. Through repeated attempts you can perfectly subdue it." (Sri Swami (Dr.) Sivananda, Mind: Its Mysteries and Control, 1946)
It was just after a heavy thunderstorm. Two men looked out of the window. The first one spat with disgust, "Gosh! How lousy and shivering cold the weather. It has spoilt my day. I just hate it. Everything is against me."
The other cheered with joy, " Wow! How nice and refreshing. The rain has cleared away the haze. Look! The stars are shining brightly. What a romantic and wonderful time for love. I just like it."
Bipolar viewpoints are the makings of habitual thinking. No two persons seem to share the same viewpoint.
"Nothing is good or bad. Crooked "schizo" thinking makes it so." ( 1/2 Shakespeare)
"Psychosis" as I've discovered and experienced is nothing but my own unpretentious "crazy-making" ---a figment of the Imagination. It always had the upper hand. Its trickery and treacherous deceit are unbelievable devious. It was like a devil tempting me every moment of the day. ( I must confess that I wasn't being possessed by a spirit. No exorcist needed.) The tempting fantasy of false impulse persistently kept my "cranky steam engine" going.
I wasn't serious and disciplined like I used to be because I was, at times, trying to "think out of the box." A kind of "lateral thinking" always side-tracked and propelled my creative imagineering beyond my fondest dreams.
I was trying to be a "right brain" manager. I didn't know whether I was functioning from "right brain" or "left brain." I probably mixed up the two. That finally fixed up the bipolarity of the mind.
"Schizophrenia" has taught me a very precious lesson in life. It has given me the rare opportunity to experience a "wisdom" which would have eluded most people most of the time.
I finally grasped the essential truth that "Nothing Is Permanent." This is a basic Buddhist tenet. Socrates, Plato and the I Ching (Taoist Book of Changes) expound the same philosophy. I discovered that schizophrenia or the "mad mind" (as taught in Zen) is transitory. Its symptoms vanish into thin air if you know how to deal with it.
The secret is very simple: Positive expectation gives rise to positive outcome. The Law of Cause and Effect governs the physics and bio-chemistry of the creative mind. Deluded thinking can make "Hell out of Heaven and Heaven out of Hell." It's fundamentally making something out of nothing. Going somewhere but don't know where. Highly infatuated, I was like George, beating around the bush.
In my own experience, schizophrenia is an apparition of delusive thinking. It's mainly a manifestation of mischievous psychological steering. It's not a disease of the physical brain.
It's phantasmagoria. It's a "walking dream" state. It's fantasy of "mind shift" into pseudo-paradigm. It's simply an illusive mind-trap unperceived by the owner. It's assumption or mimic of a false imaginary libido of the id. It's totally unreal foolery. It's playful jiggling and juggling with what is real and unreal. It's disorderly thinking frolicking with fanciful utterances. It's chaotic restlessness. It's the obsession of building castles in the air. It's busy-making "much ado over nothing." It's the meandering dementia of the mind -- but not the brain.
"Psychosis" paradoxically contains a seed of positive "awakening." This "awakening" could shock the world. This awful "awakening mechanics" expresses the fundamental explosive nature of the raw Psyche. It manifests as: abrupt, awkward, crude, high-fly, excessively emotional, uncontrollable, giddy, grizzly, goofy, bemused laughter, lamentation, melancholy, chaotic, drunken, utterly unrefined, uncouth, unwholesome, idiotic, cranky, screw-loose, rude, raving madness, wild, foolish, obstinate, eccentric misbehavior, incomprehensible, repletely fused with unlimited inexplicable extras beyond normal expectation.
It generates the "twister" of the intrinsic idiosyncrasy dynamics of the "crazy-making" Psyche. It's fundamentally irrational and not easily understood by a deluded mind blinded by natural binding ignorance--like a nut in a nutcase.
It's analogically comparable to the stage of the "ugly duckling", "tadpole" or "caterpillar." It's "confrontation" between reality and unreality ( and bipolarity).
Furthermore, it's possibly a form of uncertain spiritual or artistic "metamorphosis." It's a chaotic crisis caught between evolution/devolution of the Creative Imagination. It's a time of transition, confusion and misconception.
It's best viewed as a possible "preliminary awakening" at its infancy, which has to be controlled and stabilized, and subsequently channeled to the next level of transformation. Each individual is different. If the individual doesn't wake up from the immense delusion, he/she will probably deteriorate into a downward spiral. What comes out of the whole crisis is a matter of choice.
It took me about 6 years (1976 to 1982) to solve the mystery of the mind-blowing delusion. It is now over 20 years since I've fully recovered from the so-called incurable "paranoid schizophrenia" and I'm "weller than well" to speak the truth.
Believe it or not. Paranoid Schizophrenia could be a blessing in disguise and contain a gem of "spiritual or artistic awakenings."
My experience is nothing extraordinary. I was merely overwhelmed and trapped by delusions which overpowered my common sense. I should have known earlier. The answer is always found within the problem.
When I knew how to handle my delusions, relapses and phobia--the symptoms of the "schizophrenic persona" vanished. The very roots of its existence is exterminated. It is a complete wipe out. There is nothing left to bother me. The baffling battle against the "invincible" phantom is over. It is unbelievable.
The "schizo" mind has found the "rest in peace."
"From dust to dust, and from Space..........to Space."
Written by: JIMMY CHEAHtop
Disclaimer: Material found on the Successful Schizophrenia website is for your information only. We are not able dispense specific advice for your situation. If you are under a doctor's care, you should talk with him or her about your mental health goals and if they are not on the same page as you, ask for a referral to a doctor or counselor who is. It may mean interviewing several. If you are on your own, you may wish to contact your local county mental health department to ask for local resources. Our site exists to show people that there are all varieties of mental states and assessments of those states; that sometimes 'mental health' is in the eye of the beholder; and that the mental health profession needs to continue to open itself up to the new paradigm ... progress is being made!
© 1995-2009 Successful Schizophrenia