The "Hidden Meaning" Behind My Recovery and Re-Integration
                        by Patricia  Lefave

Dan Fisher asked me if I would write something about what, or who, helped me in my recovery. "About three pages would be fine", he said.

Since I'm never at a loss for words, my problem now , is to try to avoid an in-depth analysis of my experience. So I' ve decided to give it to you, basically, in point form. If anyone would like me to expand on any point, just ask. I have plenty to say .(it's hard to stop me in fact) I believe this is a shared experience and can be a shared recovery. In fact, I believe it should be our goal to make it just that. If anything I can say validates the experience of anyone else who reads this, then I will be able to help get your power back " 2 U ".

I don't believe schizophrenia is a "disease" process. I believe it' s a metaphysical problem, not a physical one, and that understanding it will resolve it. I believe it is a phenomenon, or event, and a group relationship problem. I want to make it clear that I don 't support the disease paradigm. Having stated that then, what or who helped me recover my lost boundaries?

My Age: I didn' t have my break down/through until I was forty seven, so I brought a lot of life lessons and experience into my psychosis with me.

Thinking Style: I have always tended to think in terms of abstract reasoning and my desire has been to resolve human conflict by looking for the root causes of things.

My Rejection of the Hypothesis that Human Beings in Distress are Really Just Chemically Imbalanced, Diseased, Genetic Defective Specimens:
 I worked in the psychiatric hospital long before my own break down/through. The so-called "chronics" were people, just like me,  rendered virtually invisible by their diagnostic labels. (metaphor. I could actually see them with my eyes).

My Acceptance of Psychosis As An Altered State of Consciousness:
This fit in with my personal belief in God and my own development as an individual. Just because l don't understand something at the time, it doesn' t mean it has no meaning. It only means I don't understand it. At least, not then. I believe to assume otherwise is a form of grandiosity in itself.

Accepting Ego Death As A Spiritual Experience:
When in psychosis, a male voice said,"Let it go and I will give it back to you." This was a principle I understood before my break down/through. To become "One" I must see myself in all others and others in myself.

My Desire To Make Sense of Everything:
I like to strip things down to the essentials.  I like to ask questions until I get there. My life has been as much about undoing errors in thinking as it has been about taking in information.

My Ability To Accept The Existence of The Phenomenon Itself:
Accepting it allowed me to detach from it and observe the psychosis. Paradoxically, I believe letting go of the attempt to control it gave me back my own control.

My Sense of Awe About What I Was Thinking And Feeling, And My Sense of Connection To The Spirits Of Others:
I "knew" everyone around me represented pieces of "Me", which I expressed as "The I AM", and that they were all other "versions" of Me. So, I was determined to get them all back "in one piece". I looked for the common denominator for all of us; something that would give us all our individual ego identities back. I validated the spirit of Mutuality and invalidated the adversarial spirit. I tried to explain it all " to the Universe".

Accepting The Reality of The Voices:
I decided the Voices  I heard within my mind (though only briefly) belonged to all of us, sharing the same experience which transcended space/time itself. I decided it was my duty, to God, to help them understand their pain and suffering, and to teach them how to get their individual boundaries back. I thought about that all the time...resolution for everyone. It remains my goal, post psychosis, because I think it's a good one.

Anchoring To Concrete Reality:
Since I worked in the hospital before I broke down/through, I kept right on working as I always did. Just as my experience with others was not accepted as "real", neither was their 's. So, I tried to give them the validation they weren' t getting either. Doing so helped to anchor me to concrete reality.

My Lack of Awe Around Authority Figures:
I'd been on the planet too long. I was too old for that.

Post Psychosis:

Getting Off The Drugs:
Haldol was making me feel half dead and stupid. I had a psychiatrist that "heard" me when I told him that, and who also heard me when I told him I needed to talk my way through this, including the psychosis itself. I didn' t want to be stopped. He cautioned that going back to it, may trigger it. It did have that effect, but I had meds. then IF needed and he let me control that. He arranged for a psychotherapist for me so that I could integrate the experience. Psychosis is very traumatic, yet it is often treated as if it were nothing at all. The psychotherapist did not make me feel like I was wasting her time.

A Support Group:
I also joined a group that "allowed" me to talk. At least, for awhile. It would be better if there was a group specifically for those who have experienced psychosis.

I have faith in the existence of an ultimate reality that makes perfect sense.

Awareness of Hidden Agendas:
I accept that some people operate with hidden agendas and use them to feel powerful at the expense of others. I no longer look for "reason" where their is no reason in the first place.

I now refuse to allow others to "interpret" my life experience and feelings FOR me.

My Sense of Humour:
I have found using it a good way to make a valid point, express anger without violence, and keep the psychiatric establishment listening rather than defending it's position constantly. It's been hard for them not to laugh while I tell them off.

Learning the Difference Between "Forgiving" and Detaching:
I have learned to blame appropriately based upon boundary violations only. I know blame is not vengeance. While I am ready to forgive those who look for forgiveness, when they have done me wrong, I no longer "forgive"  all "unconditionally". I have noticed that those who spend the most time and effort, correcting my lack of forgiveness, are also those who most need my forgiveness, yet deny their own need for contrition.When I forgive those who deny their guilt, continue to behave the same way, and who are without empathy, I only reinforce their delusions of grandeur. The only thing I need to do with the unrepentant is detach from them emotionally.

Daily Journaling:
It allowed me to say all the things others sometimes tried to keep me from saying. Stating what happened and how I felt about it, helped me to get past it.  As I did, I could feel my sense of self, apart from others, returning and growing stronger. If ever there is a time to be Self-ish, recovery from the loss of Self is that time.

As I talked, wrote, disagreed with "authority", and got coerced, threatened, diagnosed, and re-assessed by some, a strange thing began to happen. I knew my Self definition was an absolute necessity if my boundaries were to hold. So, I kept talking and writing from the first person singular. Many did not like a lot of the things I' ve said, but I stopped worrying about how they felt and focused on how I felt for a change. As I talked my way through it, my fear, anger and frustration decreased. My boundaries became stronger. I realized it was saying it all that was causing the healing to occur.

I started hammering away at the Brick Wall of Psychiatry itself.  A team of psychiatrists "observed" the specimen here and I "observed" them right back. As I told one of them," Some nuts are harder to crack than others."  It has been , in part, the attempt to get them to change that has kept me focused and  made me whole again. I have heard my own Voice stating the real problem very clearly. I knew it was true whether those I was trying to convince ever became able to hear it or not. I still know, years later, that no one will be able to cause me to doubt my truth, ever again. Whatever they do, or do not do, will not diminish me as a person.

I am a complete person, and I have been drug free since early 97. There are NO voices overwhelming me from within, though I still hear "Voices" coming from without. (a little schizo humour)

Psychiatrists are often told regarding patients, "You can't talk to a disease." I agree. But, since I am not a disease, nor do I have a disease, you can talk to me. I am a person, just like you. Why don't you try that? As a study, let's say, of a fascinating case,  just to observe what happens when you do. Who knows ? Maybe a miracle will take place and you will actually learn something interesting from The Lady.

You never know. Some already have. We need to be like the musketeers. You know...."All for one and one for all !"
To those who have suffered along with me; I hope this Voice has helped you to become one again, as individuals and "pieces of  The I Am" .Thanks for listening and thanks for your help.