Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Where the Psychic Meets Mental Illness

I had an interesting experience the other day that is something all of us in the paranormal field might benefit by being aware of.  Someone got a hold of me regarding their psychic and other paranormal experiences of late.  This person’s experiences kept expanding and they were rambling in a variety of directions.  Then the person said that they were on medication for some mental health issues.  Some of the issues sounded like they could possibly be confused with the “psychic” experiences that were claimed.

As most people who investigate the paranormal will tell you, the need to determine if any physical and mental health issues as well as any medication or other substance use might be part of the perceived phenomena.  This is also true with those of us working with people and their psychic abilities.
For many of us, the desire to help is strong and we can easily get caught up in the help mode and get over our heads.  And, to be perfectly honest, our egos can also kick in with the idea of I can do this and I know how to fix it all.  We might attempt to determine what mental illness is and what is true psychic ability.  We can delude ourselves into thinking that we really can tell.  Well, in most of our cases, that’s simply not true.  We aren’t mental health professionals. 

The situation can become even more complicated when the person asking for confirmation of their psychic abilities starts saying things such as maybe the mental illness isn’t real, and the diagnosis is based on people not understanding that their experiences are actually psychic in nature.  This person not only voiced that possibility, but also the idea that stopping their medication might increase their abilities and doing so would put them in a more “normal” state.

I struggled with this for a bit.  I’ve personally had friends with similar mental health issues, and have done professional work wearing a very different hat with mental health advocacy organizations.  I know that there could be some truth to what this person was saying – to some degree at least.  I also have read theories from people channeling entities from other realms claiming that mental illness is often simply a case of someone visiting another realm and getting stuck there. 

The difficulty is, these are theories.  And they are made by people without the deeper understanding of the medical aspects of mental illness.  When we work with people in this state, we need to be aware that the advice or comments we make can really put them in a life of death situation, especially if we promote the idea, or give them something they can take as us supporting the idea, that they are psychic, not mentally ill. 

What’s my opinion?  I think it’s possible that there can be a combination of health issues and psychic abilities in the person.  But, as tempting as it might be to help them bring out the psychic, I just don’t have the back ground and expertise to work with the full spectrum of the issues, and working with only a small part, could have devastating consequences on the whole.  In this case, I told the person that I was sorry, but just didn’t have the expertise to work with them, and encouraged them to continue talking to their physicians.  This is probably the same thing I’ll do the next time the issue arises.  Always remember though that the person is a fellow human being and deserves to be treated with respect.

I welcome your comments and experiences!

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