Previously, I was given the opportunity to tell my story on this wonderful website, Mental Health Talk. Our friend, Trish, has graciously allowed me to dig a bit deeper into my experiences with this post, and I’m extremely grateful. What I would like to talk about are some of the, seemingly, psychic experiences I had during and after the peak of my schizophrenic episode.
I’d like to frame these experiences while keeping a certain question in mind. Did I simply misperceive delusions or were these psychic events truly occurring for me? Even now, I cannot say one way or the other, and I understand that that is the nature of schizophrenic delusions. What I can do is lay out the order of events, internal and external, and let you, the reader, make your own informed decision.
I also find it important to spend the time to wonder if it even matters if the experiences actually happened. Does the validity of the event have any impact on the effect it had for me personally? Should I care about the truth when the result was a beneficial feeling of connectedness with the universe, love, and the divine? Perhaps I’m not meant to know the facts, but only taste the wonderful fruit of an increased wonder and magic in my life.
A Precognitive Dream of Death
At this time in my life, I was in college earning my first degree in a very complicated field of science. I’m really surprised that I managed to maintain my grades and attendance during all of this, because when I was at home I wasn’t very functional at all. It was during this extreme time of acute symptoms after a long day of study when I had laid myself down, finally, to pass into sleep and rest. It was then that the dream began.
I remember the dream began as any other. I was being pursued by some people of four-wheelers around perimeter of a shopping mall (dreams make so much sense, right?). Around the mall was a forest of pine trees, but within these trees there were tons of vines hanging down. In my escape, I used these vines to swing from tree to tree and vine to vine, fleeing very quickly and efficiently. In the midst of one of these swings, I looked to my right, and my grandfather caught up to me and was swinging beside me! I looked over, and he smiled at me and then let go of the vine, dropping suddenly out of my view. The dream continued on and I eventually awoke in the morning, thinking nothing of the dream other than it was the usual mish-mash of cognitive events in my brain being processed.
I packed up my bag, grabbed a snack, and head out the door to class. During my first class, my cell phone began vibrating, which I would normally ignore but I found it strange for my mother to be calling that early, so I excused myself from class to answer it. As I assumed, it was an emergency. My mother informed me that my grandfather had had an accident that morning around 5:00 AM (possibly around the exact time of my dream?). He had left his home early to go hunting and had situated himself high in a pine tree on his tree stand, as usual. Only this time, he didn’t strap himself to the tree and he fell asleep. At some point, he must have leaned over and fallen. The impact resulted in a broken neck and the eventual death of my grandfather.
The question becomes one of coincidence or synchronicity, happenstance or delusion of reference, probability or precognition? There were other events that involved me sensing phones ringing just before they did, or predicting that a certain person would be boarding a bus at a certain stop. They are easier to dismiss due to the predicted events being so commonplace. But in regards to the precognitive dream, these are simply the facts, which can lead to many different conclusions. Please share your thoughts in the comments if you don’t mind!
Synchronicity and Connectedness
There is a concept in Hinduism called “bandhus” which refer to the connection of our internal world to the external universe. It is very similar to the concept of a synchronicity as discussed by Carl Jung in his transpersonal psychology research, where an internal event meaningfully coincides with an external event. The spiritual thinkers all make room in their worldviews for these types of experiences, but modern day science and psychology consider them delusions of reference, where we are simply drawing connections in our minds that don’t actually exist. This is supposedly due to our need to find meaning in life.
With that being said, throughout my several year bout with schizophrenia and it’s symptoms, I experienced a strange and comforting connectedness to a larger, benevolent force outside of myself. I could call this the universe, God, Brahma, or any other of these large labels, but I won’t choose one! That just seems to get in the way.
These experiences were constant. I would be walking to class while listening to music in headphones while reading a book. Suddenly I would think of some philosophical and existential issue that plagued me and at that moment some lyrics would be sung that seemed related and I’d read a sentence in the book that was pertinent to the issue. And each time, I would spend the time to consider the relation between those events and wonder if they were signposts that I was on the right path, or if they were messages from this greater force. Of course, it is impossible to know for sure, but what I do know is that I felt watched over. I felt that something understood my plight and was sympathetic.
And it made me feel as if there must be a reason for my suffering. [Tweet this quote!]
I felt compassion and warmth from these experiences.
More examples would be how I would watch a movie and the plot would seem to mirror my current situation, as if I was the main character, mostly allegorically. But I would see obvious relation between myself and these books, movies, and music. I would run into an old buddy who might say something that really offered insight for me. I felt like the probability for these events to occur in rapid succession totally threw out the possibility of coincidence. But then again, was I just on a hunt for meaning? What do you think? Let me know in the comments!
I’ll leave it at that, although I could dig deeper and tell more stories. This post is just getting to be too long! Whether or not these psychic experiences were truly occurring or I was creating meaning where none existed doesn’t really matter to me. I have had a lasting sense of faith that everything is alright. There is a reason for everything and something more intelligent and kinder than we can imagine is in control. I don’t believe that 100% either! These experiences have helped me understand that I don’t have to make choices about beliefs.
I can leave it all up to the mystery and wonder of existence, and I can sit groundlessly in that not-knowing and see how beautiful it all really is!
Jared‘s adventure with schizophrenia was a major growth phase in his life, which ultimately inspired him to create a website dedicated to raising awareness of the illness.
You can view all of Jared’s MHT guest posts by clicking here.