A dream always makes perfect sense at the time.
It’s own logic, always shifting, always protean, is always some kind of logic towards itself: Psychosis is engrossing in a way normal perception cannot hope to capture or emulate. Psychosis is magic.
It falls on me not to romanticise psychosis whether in hypomania or full ahead mania. However, it is a state that I am proud that I have survived through so many times. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
Psychosis is a state that is either heaven or hell, there is no middle ground, there is no earth in its ways it is celestial or it is damnation. The change can be a sixpence moment, when the thoughts sometimes draw you from your house or flat, out into the night, with all its good and bad. One thing about psychosis, which is universal: it leaves you incredibly vulnerable. I have explored outdoors when fully manic in a cityscape and in a small town I grew up in. It brings you into a different world, where different people become some kind of Charon character, or pieces in a game, or covert actors in an ever shifting play.
Many people fear someone being psychotic. There has been a misrepresentation of psychosis in film and media. Psychos such as Norman Bates and Scorpio in Dirty Harry but also in print media, cherry picking stories of the mentally ill as some way dangerous. Psychosis is dangerous, but only really to the psychotic person themselves. 99% of the time.
People also sometimes see psychosis as romantic and enthralling. Living with folk in my 20’s I remember them being captivated when I foolishly opened up and described some of my experiences. They thought it all sounded wonderful. That was until they realised I also wasn’t taking my meds. Then things got difficult.
But why is psychosis so engrossing for the sufferer? In my case it was because it solved all the world’s problems. I was chosen to help the world. That through control of TV and film, the sequencing of programmes and films we could mould popular opinion. It was an illuminati partly staffed with lecturers and professors at my university. It was a beneficial, good natured illuminati at that. Most of my psychoses have one key, central element: to belong somewhere, to belong to a faction of people. Also, to be a force for good. For me it is always about belonging.
The wish to save or at the very least change the entire world was something that was embedded in me back in my Uni days between 19 and 22. I thought Che Guevara was someone to hero worship and wish to emulate. Thankfully as time went on my mindset became more focused on peace particularly during my Masters studying the NAACP and Martin Luther King Jr. What remained was a belief that anyone can change the world.
It’s hard to know if changing the world was always going to be the flavour of a lot of my psychoses, an overflow from the general belief that I could change the world. Psychosis was, in itself pure wish fulfilment. It sounds incredibly valiant and good natured, but it is also egotistic and grandiose. Psychosis is not without its absurd, ridiculous side.
For me sometimes Psychosis was about gangs or paramilitaries, then it wasn’t about changing the world, it was about facing death one way or another. Another flavour of it was that my family were doomed and only my death could save them. It’s at times like these when you realise that your lifeforce is the one thing that keeps you alive. During extensive psychological testing on aspects of my personality etc out of 0 to 5 points my suicidality was ranked at 0. If it was much higher I’m confident I wouldn’t be writing this now.
And that’s a key thing to remember with psychosis: it isn’t really magical, not in any positive sense anyway. Some belief the psychotic eye has a knack of understanding reality in a way the normal mind can’t. Even if that was true, the way the psychotic mind eventually changes from heaven to hell indicates that it isn’t really all that useful. It can make someone seem exciting but in reality it ends in the most boring of ways: acute illness.
So the social politics of magic? It’s down to how social media influences reactions to psychosis, as a powerful tool for warping psychotic mindsets. It is a pallet where diverse and diffused stories, updates, photos and news stories can seem deliberately curated by a central power to influence thought. In 2002 when I believed a benign illuminati were influencing thought through TV programming then it’s not a huge jump to say that if Facebook and Twitter can existed back then, that would have been the source for me, the apex, the domain of much of that muddled thought. A link between one story and another is done instantaneously. The very mercurial shift from one story or image to another the way the random can be understood as part of a nexus is one that is very dreamlike. Social Media however, does actually, through logarithms draw adverts, news stories etc together in a way that seems personally selected for us. This is because it is. To understand social media and the internet in general we have to be able to see how there is a psychosis at work in the net. Like psychosis the net presents us with so many sources under one umbrella: stuff it thinks you are either interested in and/or buy. It is also dreamlike, in that it pulls lots of diverse threads together to present an echo chamber.
There is an old saying or phrase that all life is dream. The way we find links between one thing and another, is certainly dreamlike. The inability to truly live forever in the now also reflects this way of being. The great and the terrible are wonderful in the way they contrast existence. Maybe there is always beauty and truth in magic, no matter now fantastical it is. As Robin Williams once said: “You’re only given a tiny spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” The only other thing I’ll say: be careful.