Hearing voices: Mindstorm

stormcloudA recent article in Schizophrenia Magazine outlines the experiences of several people diagnosed with schizophrenia and includes a link to MindstormA Virtual Hallucination, a video that gives viewers an experience of schizophrenia’s auditory and visual hallucinations. Author Peggy Thompson writes that the mother of a young man diagnosed with schizophrenia found the video disturbing:

She’s watched her son, diagnosed when he was 18, as he listened to the voices in his head; observing his expressions and reactions.

But she’d never actually heard them herself until she experienced Mindstorm—A Virtual Hallucination. Through a 3D virtual simulator, Mindstorm presents to the viewer a genuine feeling of what it’s like to suffer from the powerful symptoms of the debilitating illness known as schizophrenia.

Here’s the Mindstorm video. Caution: some people find it too disturbing to watch.

The full article by Thompson, “Understanding Voices,” tells the stories of several individuals with schizophrenia who have managed to build independent lives for themselves. Despite their distracting symptoms, the distressing side effects of some anti-psychotic medications, and widespread societal stigma, many succeed in completing their education and finding employment.

But they often live in isolation, sharing our public spaces but invisibly roped off into the social category of  “the mentally ill.” We don’t do this kind of thing to people suffering from cancer – we don’t ostracize them or call them “the cancerous.” But the American view of mental illness is still so primitive we tend to reduce persons who have psychiatric disorders to collections of symptoms, and to avoid contact as if their affliction were contagious.

I’m trying in a small way to change this by choosing a few individuals suffering from mental illness- even choosing just one makes a difference! – to meet at a cafe each week for casual friendly conversation. Please join me! See How people  Freestyle Volunteer above (see tab at top).


2 Responses to Hearing voices: Mindstorm

  1. DIKSHITA says:

    i also feel that i’m mentally ill,,, i did wanted to see a psychatriast but my parents think i’m not mentally ill,, but i know i’m ,, u can help me,, i’ll thankful to u ,, if u’ll be of even little help to me,, i’ll be waiting for a reply from ur side,, thank u,,

    • This is why I write about mental illness – to fight against the shame and fear that so many people feel about it. Mental illnesses are chemical brain disorders. These illnesses are as physical and “natural” as cancer or diabetes, and should be treated as such. If you had cancer or diabetes, your parents would take you to a doctor. They should certainly take you to a doctor if you worry about having a brain disorder.

      The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI.org) may have an affiliate in your city that you can call and consult for advice. They will protect your privacy.

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