“Finding Purpose After Living With Delusion”

An article from the New York Times tells the story of Milt Greek, who experiences psychotic delusions to save the world.

So after cleaning the yard around his house — a big job, a gift to his wife — in the coming days he sat down and wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, supporting a noise-pollution ordinance.

Small things, maybe, but Mr. Greek has learned to live with his diagnosis in part by understanding and acting on its underlying messages, and along the way has built something exceptional: a full life, complete with a family and a career.

Greek, and a growing number of others, have looked to their delusions as being rooted in fears, and other psychological wounds, with the goal of recovery through understanding. It’s a process that doesn’t find much support among Doctors.

Doctors generally consider the delusional beliefs of schizophrenia to be just that — delusional — and any attempt to indulge them to be an exercise in reckless collusion that could make matters worse. There is no point, they say, in trying to explain the psychological significance of someone’s belief that the C.I.A. is spying through the TV; it has no basis, other than psychosis.

Many of those who experience delusions are organizing themselves and collecting stories in an attempt to further understand the origins of their experiences.

“It’s a thrilling time, because people with lived experience are beginning to collaborate in large numbers,” said Gail A. Hornstein, a psychologist at Mount Holyoke College and author of “Agnes’s Jacket: A Psychologist’s Search for the Meanings of Madness.” “They are developing their own theories, their own language about what their experiences means from the inside.”

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