Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

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theanarchist
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by theanarchist »

dmr82 wrote:So next time you see a homeless bum dancing on the streets do a prostration and he might bless you with his beer bottle and dispel your illusions. Ha ala ho!

Apparently you smoked too many mushrooms or something...

:thinking:
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Mkoll
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by Mkoll »

drodul wrote:You might want to discuss this issue with the clinician/s you see regularly. Someone who knows you is in a better position to advise you than are internet acquaintances. If there were someone at your local dharma center with both a background in clinical psychology and some familiarity with Buddhist meditation practices (or someone who could refer you to such a person,) that might also be helpful.
ReasonAndRhyme wrote:You will definitely need a therapist/psychiatrist and a very good and accessible meditation teacher. I don't think it is possible to answer this question over the internet, and I don't think it would be wise of you to take personal advice on this on an internet forum.
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Alfredo
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by Alfredo »

I agree that "practice" is not reducable to "meditation" (whatever that means). The most fundamental practice is kindness and patience with others. But if you want something more directly identifiable as Buddhist, there's always mani recitation, circumambulation of stupas, lighting butter lamps, freeing animals, pujas of various types, etc. There are lots of possibilities, and no one best way. Just try to avoid whatever triggers a schizophrenic episode.
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kong zen
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by kong zen »

Gyaltsen Tashi wrote:Mahayana and/or Vajrayana.

Regards,
Gyaltsen Tashi
It is best not to blind practice casually,
Normal people need to accept the tantric empowerments to practice,
And is a strict tantric empowerments,
Recommended practice Exotoric Buddhism,
Reciting Tiratana
:anjali:
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kong zen
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by kong zen »

theanarchist wrote:
dmr82 wrote:So next time you see a homeless bum dancing on the streets do a prostration and he might bless you with his beer bottle and dispel your illusions. Ha ala ho!

Apparently you smoked too many mushrooms or something...

:thinking:

Best can stop killing,
Best can save some more lives,
This is good for him,
:anjali:
theanarchist
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by theanarchist »

Alfredo wrote:But if you want something more directly identifiable as Buddhist,..... circumambulation of stupas, lighting butter lamps, freeing animals,e.

Now those sound VERY reasonable and are definitely completely possible even with a mental illness.
Prasutagus
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by Prasutagus »

I've known two paranoid schizophrenics who were vajrayana practitioners. They were both on medication and received regular counselling. I thought they were excellent practitioners. They accepted that they had this confusion and brought it into their practice like the rest of us. In some sense, I would characterize each as simply having an intense form of confusion with unusually strong blinders to it. In other ways, they were particularly clear. I always wondered if that was because they worked so hard with their illness.

One of the things that was key to their success was the fact that their sanghas were exceptionally supportive. They just knew and accepted that their vajrasiblings had this illness, and gave both great slack and also took responsibility. If they acted out or didn't make sense, if it was dropped, then they got slack. People were not reactive. The spirit was "Oh. That's just how he talks sometimes." On the other hand, if they were seriously impaired, the sangha got involved. There was basically a mental health contract in place. If you don't take care of yourself, you need to step back from the sangha, and if you step back, we'll still be there to support you.

I knew a guy who had schizo-affective disorder. He was luckily pretty open about it, and similarly sangha around him could organize to support him and cushion others. He mostly just came off moody and erratic as hell. He was cool in that he'd touch base with people to see how he was. He was working with his meds and his counsellor as well as his practice, but it was a useful part of his process for him to cross check how he was learning to negotiate his moods and feelings when interacting with others with how others really perceived the interactions. He was quite a chod-pa. Last time I saw him he just walked out of a retreat as it was getting a little too difficult negotiating relationships during teachings and work/socialization sessions.

I'd rather have sangha friends like this, with genuine mental health issues who are committed to working on them, who are involving their sangha as a support team, than sangha friends who deny they have mental illnesses and addictions and who deny them and trip out on the sangha.

-Prasutagus
theanarchist
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by theanarchist »

Prasutagus wrote:They were both on medication and received regular counselling. I thought they were excellent practitioners.

While on antipsychotic medication it's rather impossible to visualize properly and the drugs flatten ALL sorts of emotions, including the ability to develop a sense of devotion.

How I know that? I've tried three different kinds of antipsychotics myself.
emaho
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by emaho »

Prasutagus wrote:I'd rather have sangha friends like this, with genuine mental health issues who are committed to working on them, who are involving their sangha as a support team, than sangha friends who deny they have mental illnesses and addictions and who deny them and trip out on the sangha.
Yes, insight into the illness is the key factor here. Gyaltsen Tashi is obviously very aware of his condition, but if people lack insight into their illness Vajrayana practice can be very dangerous. A woman I know was in a proto-psychotic condition for a very long time without any bit of insight into her problem (everybody who tried to tell her that there's something wrong was against her, of course). Then she decided to do a three year retreat without guidance and almost died in it. She "meditated" herself into a full-blown psychotic state of mind and almost starved herself to death. My guess is she was under the delusion to think she could live on spiritual energy alone, at least I know she was flirting with this idea before she went into her retreat. :(
"I struggled with some demons, They were middle class and tame..." L. Cohen
emaho
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by emaho »

theanarchist wrote:
Prasutagus wrote:They were both on medication and received regular counselling. I thought they were excellent practitioners.

While on antipsychotic medication it's rather impossible to visualize properly and the drugs flatten ALL sorts of emotions, including the ability to develop a sense of devotion.

How I know that? I've tried three different kinds of antipsychotics myself.
How do you know that other people cannot have different experiences from yours?
"I struggled with some demons, They were middle class and tame..." L. Cohen
Jesse
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by Jesse »

I think everyone is different and sort of knows their own needs regarding safely practicing their religion. It's true that deep religious/spiritual practice and psychosis are closely related. They share many of the same features, and dangers. It's especially hazardous to those who have a predisposition to being 'out there', anyways.

I think that if you stay medicated per advice, regularly see your doctors and teachers, and regularly check your views/experiences with fellow Buddhist's you will be safe to practice. Everyone has the right to their spiritual life, and while mental illness might hamper our efforts, I think it's important to practice anyway, suffering has a way of teaching us rather humbling lessons.
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theanarchist
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by theanarchist »

ReasonAndRhyme wrote:
theanarchist wrote:
Prasutagus wrote:They were both on medication and received regular counselling. I thought they were excellent practitioners.

While on antipsychotic medication it's rather impossible to visualize properly and the drugs flatten ALL sorts of emotions, including the ability to develop a sense of devotion.

How I know that? I've tried three different kinds of antipsychotics myself.
How do you know that other people cannot have different experiences from yours?

I have talked to enough people on this kind of meds who complain about this effect because they find it immensely annoying and harmful for their quality of life. Antipsychotic meds is not a great thing but a lesser evil. A lot of sufferers refuse to take these meds or drop out of treatments because of these side effects

Because what is a delusion or hallucinations? It's a thoughts and imagination. Now the meds suppress these. But they are not selective, if they knock out the delusional thinking and hallucinations they also affect the ability to form healthy thoughts, emotions and imaginations. Why? Because they run on exactly the same hardware that is down-regulated to knock out the symptoms.

You usually even see it when someone takes anti psychotik meds. Watch the eyes.
Prasutagus
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by Prasutagus »

If someone has the motivation to practice-- they can practice.

We can say that mental illnesses and their treatment are impediments for various reasons. That's probably true. But there are a lot of obstacles in addition to mental illness and the medicines to treat them.

The only key points are that a) individuals seek treatment and stick to that treatment as part of their practice; b) people do not attempt to substitute dharma practice for mental health treatment; and c) individuals and sanghas communicate so that they can be supportive.
emaho
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by emaho »

theanarchist wrote:I have talked to enough people on this kind of meds who complain about this effect because they find it immensely annoying and harmful for their quality of life. Antipsychotic meds is not a great thing but a lesser evil. A lot of sufferers refuse to take these meds or drop out of treatments because of these side effects

Because what is a delusion or hallucinations? It's a thoughts and imagination. Now the meds suppress these. But they are not selective, if they knock out the delusional thinking and hallucinations they also affect the ability to form healthy thoughts, emotions and imaginations. Why? Because they run on exactly the same hardware that is down-regulated to knock out the symptoms.

You usually even see it when someone takes anti psychotik meds. Watch the eyes.
You're making some very good points here, especially the flattening of emotions rather being a part of the effect than a side-effect of the medication, but still I believe that only somebody who personally knows the people Prasutagus talks about can judge if they're able to meditate in spite of their medication. And preferably that person should be a realized meditation master. I agree with Prasutagus that we all have to face different obstacles when meditating. Some people who are not suffering from psychosis can't focus on the deity for more than a second because they're constantly thinking about what they'll need to buy from the supermarket the next time they'll go shopping...
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Nemo
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by Nemo »

The drugs tackle symptoms and do nothing about the cause which in Western medicine is still unknown. In previous centuries this type of mental illness was episodic and over a third would recover on their own. Accumulating merit would be an awesome idea. If you have a tendency to delusion meditation seems to feed that and make it worse. In time the causes may be understood, at which time meditation will hopefully become part of the rehab. If some of the research on brain inflammation reducing hipocampal and amygdala volume proves to be conclusive there may be peptides to treat the causes of mental disorders in as little as ten years.
Jesse
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by Jesse »

Nemo wrote:The drugs tackle symptoms and do nothing about the cause which in Western medicine is still unknown. In previous centuries this type of mental illness was episodic and over a third would recover on their own. Accumulating merit would be an awesome idea. If you have a tendency to delusion meditation seems to feed that and make it worse. In time the causes may be understood, at which time meditation will hopefully become part of the rehab. If some of the research on brain inflammation reducing hipocampal and amygdala volume proves to be conclusive there may be peptides to treat the causes of mental disorders in as little as ten years.
There's also much research going on using microbes(Probiotics) to help treat mental illnesses. It's pretty interesting.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/11 ... -our-minds

https://www.google.com/search?q=psychos ... probiotics

https://www.google.com/search?q=mental+ ... probiotics
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
-Henry David Thoreau
theanarchist
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by theanarchist »

Nemo wrote:The drugs tackle symptoms and do nothing about the cause which in Western medicine is still unknown..

It is not totally unknown. Sufferers of schizophrenia that come into treatment have differences in their brains compared to the average non schizophrenic person. It seems this difference makes people more susceptible when put under stress, ingesting drugs etc. Apparently it's not specific enough to use it to diagnose the disease though (not everyone with those develops the disease)

My opinion? It's mainly a malfunction of the brain, just like other mental illnesses, like obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, tics etc. If someone is physically susceptible substance abuse or stress will trigger it off.

Now how do these thoughts seem to come from the outside? My personal theory for that the part of the brain that can discern between the imagination of something and something you perceive through your sense organs is somehow bypassed or jumbled so you perceive the content of your subconsciousness (fears and desires) as coming from outside. And once this process ignites it's self sustaining. If you are the fearful, repressed type of mind set you will procect entities that play this role, like secret agencies, aliens, or suddenly all your relatives are enemies that are after you, if you have ideas of grandiosity about yourself, you might start to think you are Jesus or you are enlightened and holy beings talk to you. Or any kind of mixture of these will occur, according to the sufferers basic mind set.
Gyaltsen Tashi
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by Gyaltsen Tashi »

narraboth wrote:
Anyway, I agree that the patient should refrain from vajrayana practice until it's very stable.
Can you please define Vajrayana in this context?

Regards,
Gyaltsen Tashi
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Nemo
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by Nemo »

Jesse wrote:
Nemo wrote:The drugs tackle symptoms and do nothing about the cause which in Western medicine is still unknown. In previous centuries this type of mental illness was episodic and over a third would recover on their own. Accumulating merit would be an awesome idea. If you have a tendency to delusion meditation seems to feed that and make it worse. In time the causes may be understood, at which time meditation will hopefully become part of the rehab. If some of the research on brain inflammation reducing hipocampal and amygdala volume proves to be conclusive there may be peptides to treat the causes of mental disorders in as little as ten years.
There's also much research going on using microbes(Probiotics) to help treat mental illnesses. It's pretty interesting.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/11 ... -our-minds

https://www.google.com/search?q=psychos ... probiotics

https://www.google.com/search?q=mental+ ... probiotics
There are over a hundred million neurons in the lining of the gut. Neural inflammation there may translate into the brain. There are a number of experimental peptides that can turn off the inflammation and get the progenitor cells regenerating. I have even tried some myself with surprisingly good results.
theanarchist
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by theanarchist »

Gyaltsen Tashi wrote:
narraboth wrote:
Anyway, I agree that the patient should refrain from vajrayana practice until it's very stable.
Can you please define Vajrayana in this context?

Particularly trying to visualise deities is not really a good idea when having a disease that usually comes with hallucinations and delusions and that is only stopped with chemical stuff that stunts the brain functions that facilitate these symptoms.

Vajrayana has all those stories of deities appearing to realized practitioners, giving them teachings etc. And you wouldn't be the first person with a tendency for hallucination and delusion to get a religious delusion with hallucinated "spiritual entities". I know of a case where deities started to appear to one such woman who told her to stop eating and not even the lama could convince her that this is BS and she is supposed to eat.

You might end up hallucinating deities and lamas and begin to think you are a tulku. I have had contact with several vajrayana groups and all of them had enough stories of people falling prey to spiritual delusions around vajrayana stuff.
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