Psychiatry and experiences beyond consensus reality

“… there is no experiential learning about … unusual states. Psychiatric training does not require that trainee psychiatrists explore their own nature, through counselling or meditation, for instance.”

Writing in Asylum Magazine, Dave Barton says:

“This article begins with two of my experiences of extreme inner states. It goes on make some observations about psychiatry, psychiatric training and wider culture.  

These experiences could well have led to me being put in the loony bin (as it used to be called): 

1. I was returning from Europe by myself when I was 17 (in the early 1970s). I landed at Heathrow airport late at night.  Knowing I could not travel home to Bristol at that late hour I was just going to wait for public transport to start up again in the morning.  During the early hours I started to play chess with a young man who was also waiting for the public transport. The last thing he did before we went our separate ways was to light a joint which he offered to me to share. Being naïve and curious, I took a total of four puffs before he departed, and I was left alone and scared at the way my mind was rapidly changing. Completely confused and imprisoned in my own psyche I lost any sense of what other people were about and how they would react to me as a person. I could not think straight at all; even adding two numbers together was beyond me, let alone working out public transport well enough to get myself home.  I avoided all eye contact in case someone could see what a very weird person I had become. I could not trust myself to speak; who knows what would come out of my mouth and how people would react!  I was terrified the police would haul me in, and that my fear and confusion would last for ever. Fortunately, the effects of the weed eventually wore off and I was able to find my way home. This experience could be called “Paranoia” …”

You can read more from here.

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