ON MENTAL ILLNESS: No One Can Predict the Future

Jack Bragen
Friday November 09, 2018 - 12:42:00 PM

No one can predict the future; and no one can read your mind. We can anticipate future events, but if we think we know what will happen, much of the time, we will be wrong. A person can not predict how another person will act. Nor can we even predict how we, ourselves, will act. 

What does this have to do with being mentally ill? A lot. One symptom of mental illness is sometimes negative or positive anticipation of perceived future events. This is often erroneous. And it can create a lot of problems. 

To believe we have a "destiny" is magical thinking, and it is erroneous. We can certainly have hopes and dreams as well as fears and dreading. It is okay to have faith in one's future. The core belief that everything is going to be okay, is a good thing. The Universe periodically tests people. If you pass the test, future circumstances could get better. If you fail, you could be in for a more complicated life. 

It is helpful to realize that your outcome in life is in large part created through the consequences of your choices, your actions and your speech. But it is also a consequence of how you think. If the mind is too far off from realism, it could cause speech, actions and choices to be less than optimal. 

Delusions, since they are a substantial thought disorder, can cause us to make bad decisions. If we are not in a restricted living situation and if we have choices in life, because we are not under conservatorship, it matters a lot what we say and do. This is a reason that we should keep psychosis or other mental health problems "aggressively" treated. 

In this case the term "aggressively" is medical terminology that means an abundance of treatment that is more likely to err on the side of overtreating rather than undertreating. 

I've personally benefited from being medicated at high dosages but not to the point of having excessive or unbearable side-effects. If I went too high, the medication could worsen the symptoms. I am on the maximum of two antipsychotics. I've taken antipsychotics almost without interruption for the past 35 years. It hasn't ruined my ability to think. The main downside of me being medicated is that I have a lot of issues with stamina and physical energy. 

In the thinking, it is useful to remember that thinking something doesn't make it true. If a thought occurs, and if we instantly believe it without weighing it enough, it creates numerous errors in future thoughts. This can cause actions, decisions and speech to be far off base. 

If one's mind automatically accepts a thought, it points to a gating problem in the brain. Medication may work to put thoughts in proper perspective. Medication might raise the threshold in the synapses of a neuron being made to fire. When this happens, it may restore some of the gating that is supposed to take place throughout the brain. 

While it may seem as though medication suppresses brain function, this may not be so. In my experience, having a psychotic episode means that most of the mental faculties do not work. Medication to treat psychosis, although it may slow things down, causes more parts of the brain to be available to process information. 

Faster isn't always better. Faster doesn't mean more complete. If the neurons fire too easily, much of what I will call "consciousness" is gone. 

You should never believe that you can read people's minds or that they can read yours. You should never believe that you know what will happen in the future. The only things you know consist of what is happening with you now, and of what has already happened. You do not know what is happening at a distance. Assumptions to the contrary of this can ruin your thoughts. This, in turn, will ruin your speech and actions. This, in turn, could adversely affect life circumstances. 

It is fine to speculate things or imagine things, so long as you are aware it is what you're doing. It is fine to be optimistic. It is fine to believe in a higher power. It is fine to maintain hope and to believe that there is help for you, even if it is a belief in the unseen. However, faith should be tempered with realism. 

It seems to me that if you want to accomplish something and/or get out of a bad situation, you should do the things that are reasonably within your power to make things better. Beyond that, optimism and faith certainly couldn't hurt.