The Trigger For a Psychotic Disorder

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  Ronen David - The Trigger For a Psychotic Disorder

The Trigger For a Psychotic Disorder

 

A psychotic disorder does not appear because the person is fundamentally mentally ill. It is a mistake to think that people are born mentally ill and have been so their entire lives.

 Mental illness appears for a number of different and strange reasons. The stigma also claims that mental illness is hereditary.

It can be said that mental illness erupts within a person while the reasons for this are varied. Maybe 5% of the causes of eruption is stapled in the fact that a distant aunt was mentally ill or maybe a father or mother were mentally ill, however 95% of the causes of eruption is mostly due to other reasons which have nothing whatsoever to do with family heritage and the heritage within it.

 The reasons for me having a psychotic attack are not unambiguous, but its connecting thread is continuous stress and tension which has accompanied me during the years prior to the attack. It all started when I was a first degree student during days of studying accompanied by increasing stress and tension.

 I went to an academic institute with exceptionally high demands. I was not a regular student studying a maximum of 6 or 7 courses per semester.

 In the special program I did, I was loaded with 14 and 15 different courses per semester. The stress signals alerted, until one night I discovered the internet. I purchased a personal computer and from surfing one hour during the evening, I found myself spending entire nights in front of the screen, discovering the wonderful world found in this media.

 And thus passed months and later years, where I would spend nights in front of the screen, searching for new attractions until sometimes the only night I would spend sleeping properly was on the weekend, and so for about 3 years I was extremely sleep deprived.

 In a situation of constant lack of sleep, the body acts fanatically, similarly to the phenomenon of insomnia where the person wanders around sleepily all day until he starts day dreaming. Imagine how you feel after one night of no sleep.

 Now imagine that every night is without sleep, how would you feel?! This is still not a psychotic situation, but if the sleepless period continues for a longer period, the possibility exists that a transition to a psychotic state will occur, as was the case with me, upon the first encounter with a trigger which will activate it.

 Life continued with no sleep and upon finishing my studies, I looked for the challenge in life. My wife at that time and I decided to take on a work mission on behalf of the country.  

The training for the job was long and exhausting (about 6 months), very intensive and included hand-to-hand combat training, weapons training and physical fitness along with intensive frontal lessons. The course demanded me to reach the peak of my ability physically as well as intellectually.

 As I was accustomed to previously, so too during the course did I rarely sleep at nights. I would spend nights zapping between cable television channels in my hotel room where I resided alone during the course and sometimes fell asleep for a short nap of no longer than one or two hours during the morning.

 The course eventually ended, the reasons are irrelevant, but we did not go on the mission and we returned to live a "routine" life. The routine continued to be especially loaded, among other reasons because we built our little house in the North and the sleepless nights continued.

 All in all, it can be said that I did not sleep one continuous and settled night for about 3 years. The question now was how much the body could take.

 The mental crash came one day, about a year after the course ended, when I was asked to arrive for military reserves in the occupied territories. My job in the reserves was company commander of the armored corps and for this particular service I received under my command an additional company whose commander was due to wed at the time.

 And all of this occurred taking into consideration that the last time I had served in the military in the occupied territories was before my release from the army, 6 years prior thereto. These were euphoric times with the Camp David Agreement ahead between the former Israeli Prime Minister Barak and the former Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Arafat (in June 2000).

 This clash between what I had learnt during the course, in the framework of which we were supposed to go on a mission on behalf of the country a year previous to the military reserves and what I found on the surface during those days in my position as a commander, was lethal. I did not sleep for three days and nights and scampered around with my crew in the company's sector. They were exhausted and I however was a ball of energy.

 Simultaneously, all sorts of different and strange thoughts regarding our political status and our activity in the occupied territories started to spread in my mind. I did not understand why everyone was talking about peace, if we are in the territory and actually preparing for war?!

 The situation went and got worse until one morning one of the officers initiated a conversation with the battalions sub commander and together they decided to send me home and from there to a hospital. The story is described extendedly in my book "PsychoPriha" published by Tamuz.

 The causes of a psychotic disorder are varied and strange, including: rape which causes the outbreak, flashbacks as a result of former drug abuse or going into a psychotic state as a result of current drug abuse. Continuous abuse in a certain persons' life may also cause a psychotic outbreak.

 Increasing stress and tension in the life of the person or alternatively continuous emotional tension following a relationship breakup or the passing away of a relative. The emotional limen varies from person to person. There are people who will not break down even during utmost extreme situations and there are people who will break down following "small" life crises.

 This is the situation in which the soul of a person who is unaware of his capabilities and limitations in life and who does not know how to avoid extreme situations such as those described, the soul says enough is enough and the subconscious takes over the consciousness until the person cannot differentiate between imagination and reality, as I have described in the first chapter.

 It is as if the soul says "Enough, from this point, I am taking control over your body and consciousness". Such a crisis is called a psychotic disorder or psychosis or in common language "nervous breakdown".

 My outbreak began about two weeks after I commenced reserve duty, after guarding the market in Bidya. The trigger was probably activated as a result of the contradiction between the peace talks at the time in Camp David between Barak and Arafat, and the preparation for war in the territories. The conflict caused complications in my thoughts and an emotional break down.

 I started doing nonsense as well as not sleeping for nights at a time, although the activity was intensive in the territories, it did not require me to stay awake during all hours of the day.

 However, I was still a ball of energy when I went with the command crew (a corpsman and a driver) on patrols. Imagine that the commander is acting as though he has taken an ecstasy pill while the rest of the command crew is dying to sleep and all the soldiers do not understand where the commander has gotten all of this energy from.

 I started asking the driver to drive around the area, I also did foolish things, such as taking off my

helmet and my bullet-proof vest and asking the driver to drive out of my company's area while an unclear euphoric expression graced my face.

 My thoughts got mixed up between the peace talks and the preparation for war with ceramic bullet proof vests that were put on standby in the post. I began to phone all the soldiers at home on vacation or even those who had not been recruited for this reserve duty, and asked them to come to our post in the territories since the Messiah days have arrived and we are the last company intended to evacuate the territory and begin the peace process waiting ahead.

 Among others I also phoned my first wife and asked her to come and join me at the post.

 On the last night, I phoned the operators in the battalion and asked to speak with the battalion sub commander. It was late at night and I was told the reason better be justified. After he answered me, I told him in these words "the token has fallen" and hung up the receiver. I actually understood that it is my company that would be the arrowhead in the peace process that had landed upon us and understood that the preparation for war in the pose is fundamentally wrong. In the morning the sub post commander presented himself at the post and convinced me to deposit my weapon and army equipment I had to him.

 Afterwards he took me with his jeep to a previously determined intersection where the regiment commander awaited for me with his driver in his civil car, which took me home for a vacation of a few days. This vacation quickly turned into hospitalization after my wife arrived home alarmed and saw my state, I was as pale as a ghost and dehydrated, and since then everything is history.

Written by Ronen David

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2008 Ronen David, ISRAEL