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Coming to Terms with Your Delusions

Coming to Terms With Your DelusionsI’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought some pretty outrageous things in the course of my illness. I’d also be lying if I said I don’t think about outrageous things still. Even with a good amount of stability, delusions can still persist.

Sometimes it’s about what people think of you, maybe just an offhand notion. Other times it can be so bad that you think you’re a king or a prophet or Jesus Christ himself. I’ve seen every part of the spectrum.

Nine years on, I still deal with whether people are making fun of me. This is a delusion which, no matter what I’ve tried, I can’t stop. So I’ve learned to accept it. I’ve incorporated it into the normal, everyday thoughts that run through my head. Because I don’t let myself be bothered by it, it’s not such a huge deal anymore. It took me years to look that notion in the face and accept it as a normal, everyday thought, but once I did I could feel a loosening in my shoulders, the ability to breathe easier and the ability to finally relax.

The most major thing that tamped down these voices was the antipsychotic medications I took and still take. If you’re lost in your own delusions I would recommend meds as the first option. Without meds the delusions can overtake you and convince you of things that aren’t true. With meds, some of the delusions are still there but they’re little more than passing thoughts.

If you’re on meds and are still struggling there are two possibilities. Either the meds you’re taking aren’t doing enough for you, in which case I would recommend talking to your doctor, or the delusions have already convinced you of things that aren’t true and you can’t let go of these notions.

In the case of being already convinced, therapy can be an extremely beneficial tool. With the help of someone objective, you can learn to see your delusions as delusions and not as facts. Therapy also helps you accept these delusions as part of your normal course of thinking.

Coming to terms with and making peace with the thoughts that bother you can be extremely beneficial to your mental health and I would’ve never gotten to that point without therapy. I kept trying to force the thoughts away and convince myself of their falsity but it never worked.

Then, one day I looked at the thoughts and said OK, what if I accept them as true? What if it is true that people are making fun of me? Why does that bother me so much? The fact of the matter is that I let myself become comfortable with the notion instead of trying to force it away.

There’s an extreme resilience if you accept your worst fears and become comfortable with them to the point where they aren’t more than a passing thought.

Coming to Terms with Your Delusions

Michael Hedrick

Mike Hedrick is a writer and photographer in Boulder, CO. He has lived with schizophrenia for many years and his work has been published in Salon, Scientific American and The New York Times. His book is available here You can follow his blog on living with schizophrenia here

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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2018). Coming to Terms with Your Delusions. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 5 Jan 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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