The first time I was about to lose my ego, I had this sudden terrifying thought that I was going to die. A feeling of impending annihilation took hold of me. It seemed totally illogical because there was no actual physical threat. It was as if a part of me knew that my ego was about to shatter. Because in a way I was going to die: My ego, who I associated as me, was going to die.
I believe that losing your ego is a useful survival strategy. It shuts down for repair work to the psyche that the ego would not be seen dead doing.
When you lose your ego, it is a useful survival strategy.
What gets called psychosis, I see as an ingenious way the psyche can overhaul the system: to kick the ego out of the way in order release all the undigested psychological material. What first emerges is LOVE. The unconditional, purifying, accepting love that ALL of us really are. This is the reason psychosis feels like a process of spiritual awakening.
But then the unconscious emerges from the depths. The unconscious doesn’t use language in the same way that the ego does. It speaks through gestures and actions. It tells me all about my past and the things I’ve been through in this life (or a past one) that I’ve buried, in order to function better. This is the bit that gets called psychosis. It is a journey through the underworld, an essential place that keeps safe all of the socially unacceptable parts of ourselves that we have disowned in order to fit into society.
I think that the awakened state, the loss of the ego, allows for the integration of all of this undigested psychological material. It is an opportunity to reclaim lost parts of ourselves, which is actually a return to wholeness. With the shattering of the ego, we have unprecedented access to the previously rejected parts of ourselves.
Over time, I’ve learned to maintain my ego throughout a psychosis. The more familiar psychosis becomes, the better I am able to ride it.
My Beautiful Psychosis: Making Sense of Madness is my debut memoir. It is a gritty tale of transformation, depicting from the inside some of the most powerful experiences a human mind can endure. It questions conventional methods of treating psychosis and points towards a radical vision where diagnosis of mental illness makes allowances for spiritual growth and transformation rather than simply treating a perceived brain chemical imbalance.
It is now available as an AUDIOBOOK.
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