People try to escape insanity
My own experience
The sane brain diagram
Reflection on sane culture
Reason for insanity
Your unconscious mind is sending you important messages
Problems that arise
The escape plan
The six steps for escaping
Features of sanity
Who has trouble with what
The good news is people are helping you
Don't let people flip reality on you
Other people with insanity
Why you probably don't like this idea
Insanity: ideas from the Introduction + "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
- Chris Macnab + Unknown
"You will be judged; keep going."
"I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. I only know what I can do."
- James T. Kirk
Chapter 1 of “How to Escape Insanity” by Chris Macnab
People try to escape insanity
Let us acknowledge a basic fact; people try to escape insanity if they have it. The more they have, the more they devote their life to escaping it. When I was completely insane, that was all I did. Ever. The more insanity you have, the more often your true self struggles with questions like "Why am I here? How can I get out? Why isn't anyone helping me? Why doesn't anyone know anything about this?" In extreme insanity, the gatekeeper imprisons the true self in a hidden place, preventing direct communication with the conscious mind. The true self can only directly communicate with the unconscious. The unconscious brain involves itself in planning escapes, and sends messages encouraging the conscious mind to carry out actions for escape. This should then result in an eventual escape. But in our modern society, these escape actions usually occur "over and over again," as it were, without effect. (Or, I should say, the effect might be just to annoy other people [1-2].) Completely insane people have no other activity or interest in life. But that is OK. Being insane sucks and, being human, they want out. If this describes you, do not think of it as a selfish or a self-centred way of life, or feel bad that it is not more motivated by helping other people. Save the altruism for once you get out. That makes total sense. No forgiveness necessary. For now, just try to get the heck out of there in a safe manner.
How is insanity scary?
You might seldom, if ever, experience messages from your unconscious as anything other than feelings, urges, desires, etc. However, some of you might experience messages from your unconscious rather directly. You may experience a reality of a religious figure like Jesus, some famous person in history, a magical creature, an interesting space alien, a wonderful person you have met, a person you are kind of obsessed with, or whatever. In this case, this powerful being that lives inside you (or communicates with you) gives you feelings and/or information. For some a terrible creature, like a demon, speaks horrible messages. For others, a wonderful being projects a loving and positive presence. In any case, if you have one (or more) it will always give you very useful clues about what your true self might be like. It will give you messages from your unconscious which can really come in handy in helping you to escape. But don't take it too literally. For instance having a demon does not mean you are evil or have an evil part; it's just that messages from the demon are trying to give you helpful clues about what is really going on. Most of the time I had a perfectly loving, kind female presence helping me out - but it turns out I'm kind of a bitch (sorry, should have told you part of this process was discovering my true self is a transgender woman). I did experience a demon telling me to hate someone at one point, but my new bitchiness is not at all 'evil'. But both the demon and the female provided me with some clues, didn't they? Try and puzzle out the meanings of any messages, rather than feel you are literally supposed to 'listen to them' or 'act on their orders' or anything like that. (If a voice or entity is telling you to do harmful things to yourself or others, then seek both professional help and emotional support from friends and family.) The messages just provide clues for you, not valid commands. Insanity does not have to be scary at all if you are totally fascinated by the brilliant workings of your mind.
The more insanity you have, the more that your unconscious drives your actions; insanity causes an illusion that you are thinking things out as plans in your head and following through. So if you think you are trying to get things by being manipulative, don't be so hard on yourself - your true self probably loves everyone and wants the best for them. If you think you are giving out love to the world and empowering people, that might actually reveal an angry, bitchy true self underneath. You probably feel this some level. Perhaps you tell people nice things about yourself that you think are lies, especially if you think of yourself as a manipulative person. Perhaps you joke to people about what a bad person you are 'really' like, especially if you think of yourself as an empowering person. Once you become healed and escaped from insanity, the two parts of your brain will fully integrate and there will no longer be 'good' or 'evil' thoughts - you will just be a regular person with emotions like anyone else. And it will feel sooooo good. In the meantime, try not to be too hard on yourself or too righteous, depending.
For those of you with severe insanity, trying to escape has probably felt like blindly feeling around in the dark, with no one telling you anything useful at all. I would like to share with you the good news that it shouldn't actually be too hard to escape from insanity, when someone actually tells you useful things. I don't really want to tell you the bad news, that it might take a while. I had an advantage in that I had a great friend named Kit, who I think of as my escape partner; we were working on escaping together very intensely, but even so it took me more than five years. I spent the first three years on a healing journey and feeling miserable (wanting to kill myself for half of that time), then the next two years quite happy but trying to glue the pieces of my brain back together. Finally, I started acknowledging my true self in the last six months - that I am a transgender woman. I can only reassure you by saying that the entire point of this book is to try and help you do it in less time than that. But don't put pressure on yourself, or feel I am putting pressure on you. Take your time and do it right. It probably can't be rushed. The brain changes slowly for some reason. Take heart that you will become happier along the way, and this comes long before actual sanity.
Have you ever been insane? My Own Experience
I, myself, suddenly escaped severe insanity, where I had been literally 'a prisoner in my own mind', and popped back into outside reality one day in 2018 . I spent the first few days sleeping, partly due to sensory overload. Without the rest of my brain filtering out the world before I could see it, all the colours became so brilliant, everyone I knew appeared so much more attractive, my family's love felt so much more intense, and all my relationships filled me with excitement - it was exhausting at first. But another big reason I didn't get out of bed much stemmed from not knowing what to do. All my energies, actions, activities, and conversations in life had always been devoted to escaping insanity. I didn't know why I did things anymore. After I got out of bed, I slowly started just doing activities I liked, and then tried to reflect on why I was doing them. I slowly started speaking to people, and then thought about why I was choosing those words. What was the point? What was I trying to accomplish? Who was I now that I was no longer an escaping prisoner? In my previous self I had kind of been a nut with the Enneagram personality theory tool; so I used it to identify my new personality type which is one called the Challenger, the Protector, or the Confronter whose natural instincts involve brazenly going about fighting with people all the time to fix injustices while exuding ridiculous confidence and feeling pretty heroic about it all the while [4-8]. I suddenly knew who I was and why I did things! Amazing! My very first activity was to start writing this book. Why was I writing it? Not to escape insanity anymore. I felt like Kit had given me a heroic mission. I also felt intense, burning rage at Kit's abusive father, which gave me a desire for justice for his children in the form of sanity. I felt enormous anger and bitterness at my psychiatrists who, instead of practicing medicine on me, practiced prejudice on me by telling me I had "psychotic delusions of being a woman." I wanted justice for those huge numbers of mentally ill that are homeless or in prison . And I knew I could write a book about insanity with no formal psychology training . But that describes what Confronters like to do! They feel unjustified confidence! They love to go on heroic missions no one else will understand! They stick it to people they despise! They love to do stuff they aren't remotely qualified for! They get angry at injustice and immediately go off half-cocked to fix it! They seek revenge! They piss people off! I knew why I was writing this book! I was human again! That was cool.
That last part may have shocked you. I know many people feel bad when they don't 'control' their emotions. Many people feel ashamed for having 'non-pure' motivations for doing things, or at least don't admit to them. Or they may worry that doing something unusual, that would open them up to criticism, would make them look 'insane.' Strangely, our culture often tries to force people to fit in better by calling people 'sane' (as a compliment) when they show no emotions or motivation, and insults them as 'insane' when people are honest about emotions and motivations. But honest motivations and true emotions make me human, and I love them because I have missed them. In my insane world I was always trying to love people unconditionally and empower them, and I thought I remained very controlled and appropriate at all times in doing so - but that was just an illusion. In my new woman-self I taste anger and bitterness against society much of the time - yet I remain a kind, loving woman too. All those qualities coincide right in the same brain and body. OK, so I am no longer 'good' ... but neither am I 'evil'. But real humans aren't good or evil. I still empower people a lot, but sometimes I just manipulate away. Or, more often, I truly influence people by using both at the same time, or apply some different tools altogether. People are just people, with complex emotions and motivations. And I am now one of them. Nice.
The sane brain diagram
The sane brain (or at least the not-worrying-about-insanity brain) feels more like this, with synergy between the conscious and unconscious controlled by the true self:
The controlled level: Unconscious <--> Conscious
^ ^ ^ ^
\ | | /
The controller level: Your True Self Why and How
Reflection on Sane Culture: Is society insane? Is insanity a social construct?
I know people often try to act in a positive way in order to benefit themselves and others; most people do not want to create destructive lives around themselves resulting from unchecked raw emotions like anger. But try to understand that people are just people; all of us have human emotions and motivations. Our humanity and human qualities do not make us bad people. Certainly most people like to have a 'higher image' of themselves to not only make themselves feel better, but also to assist them in trying to make sure their more base instincts come out in functional ways that help the world. Some people have mythological or spiritual understandings of their existence. Some people see themselves as emotionally-beneficial to everyone. Some people think of themselves as scientific or purely rational. In these ways, people assure themselves they are trying to do 'good' in the world. The problem arises when social norms dictate that, in public, they must pretend that this is the 'real deal' about themselves; in more formal situations people often feel pressure to assure everyone at all times that they are not aware of anything disreputable underneath i.e. they are supposed to talk like they are insane. Think of Mr. Spock on Star Trek; some of us, like me, adore Spock because he is just so lovably logical and that is his thing - but the writers were nice and didn't repress him too much, making him half-human with some little scenes where he shows his humanity (to his chagrin) - which assures the viewers he remains sane and only likes to pretend to be insane . It makes it harder for you to escape insanity when you believe the lies society tells us that pretending to be like an insane person makes you good. It just makes it harder for you to escape insanity when people make it clear they won't like what you have to say in public unless you pretend to be insane. We all know that people are supposed to go on TV and tell everyone their motivation for their important book about some injustice in American society was to "help make the world a better place." When military personnel appear in interviews and are asked why they joined they always say "to serve my country." We all know that rescuers are always supposed to say "No, I am not a hero. I just did what anyone would have done in that situation." These thrill us when we hear them. We all know that when someone breaks this should-appear-insane rule, like when a woman politician cries at the microphone, we are allowed to totally enjoy ourselves by ridiculing them as much as we like. But these are just fun emotional games sane people play with each other; they don't take them literally. So if your question is "Why is society insane?" I would say that actually it just pretends to be insane, which is darn confusing to a person with some insanity! [11.5]
I call myself sane now, by which I mean I don't worry about insanity anymore (I am fine with the idea that everyone has some insanity). As a sane person, I quite enjoy my self-image of "angry bad-ass hero." That just makes me human. That self-mythology gives me energy, helps me construct a positive life for myself and my family, be a positive influence in the world, and write this book in a positive, constructive way. Just because my anger energizes this writing this doesn't mean the book will sound angry (footnotes added later). I know it is a bit counter-intuitive, but this whole book would actually sound far more angry if I was trying to suppress my anger while writing it. Suppressing my anger would just put me in a bit of an 'insane' kind of space, where my unconscious would just make sure it all got out in ways I didn't notice and the whole thing would probably sound pretty passive aggressive. And just because I have 'impure' motivations, like wanting to feel like a hero, doesn't mean the book won't be effective (but if I ever go on TV I'll be sure to say I wrote it to help people). Be aware that all sane people, even do-gooders, have very human types of motivations and sources of energy for what they do; they would just never share them in a TV interview so as not to wreck the fun for everyone and embarrass themselves. Think of this analogy: a newlywed celebrity goes on TV and tells everyone how much they love and adore their new partner, but we never get to hear about how great their sex is; of course all the adults listening know and lots are probably imagining it, but the kids watching remain out of the loop. If you suffer from insanity you may be just out of the loop on how 'dirty' (complex) regular plain old human emotions are. Or you may be just out of the loop on how 'dirty' (complex) everyone's motivations for doing things are. Similar to sex, people don't generally talk about it but everyone knows - nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more...
This brings up the problem with the entire world of psychiatry and psychology. What are their motivations? No one names their emotions or states their human motivations in a scientific article. The psychiatrist or psychologist does not explain their motivation to you before your session. So how many are just motivated by the desire to control people? How many just project their own fears and issues onto the insane? How many feel contempt for insane people? How many have entered the field because they feel some insanity themselves and are looking for a cure? We don't know. Apparently this approach makes us trust them - so much so that we don't mind that they have trouble writing valid scientific papers . What if you took someone from a remote 'African village' and explained to them that in our society there are some people we only trust when we have no idea what their motivations are, and as soon as we find out their motivations we become suspicious of them? Do you think you could convince the villager that was a really good idea, and the very best way to keep yourself safe from those people? Since I am not considered an expert, the expectations on me from a lot of people will be the opposite: to reveal absolutely everything about my own personal experience of insanity to the entire world including all my silly behaviour, infinite feelings, vivid hallucinations, bizarre beliefs, and delicious delusions but not to give an opinion about all that. Our social norm: authorities are not expected to tell us anything personal about themselves but we want their opinions, while non-authorities are expected to share everything about themselves and keep their opinions to themselves - and anyone who steps out of line can be accused of being insane. If so, that must mean that I have "psychotic delusions of being sane" ... or maybe deciding someone's insanity level based on whether they break social norms is not a great method. I will let you decide that one. But what if the expectation in our culture was that everybody revealed a lot about themselves, including emotions and honest motivations, at the beginning of a book? ... before writing the rest of it in the way they thought appropriate for their subject. I would enjoy my trips to the bookstore a lot more. I bring this up because I will be asking you, too, to break this taboo a little when I encourage you to share emotions and introspective insights with your friends (where I'm sure you will come up with much more interesting, more true, more realistic, more useful, or deeper insights than I am sharing in this book).
I hope I have convinced you that even sane people do a lot of hiding and keeping secrets, often trying to make sure other people don't see how they really feel or think in order to fulfill Western Societies' very particular and peculiar social norms. You may do this too, but with insanity an additional level of hiding occurs within the brain itself; the unconscious mind hides its motivations and energies in order to trick the conscious brain into thinking it is following its own values - and thus the conscious brain won't suspect what is really going on and try to put a stop to it. One can think of a brain with insanity as a kind of repressive society in miniature - the more insanity the more repression.
Reason for insanity
In severe insanity, the gatekeeper has locked you away because of some trauma(s) or unresolved issue in your life, which was not processed appropriately. The gatekeeper thinks that it is not safe for you out there and keeps you inside for your own protection. This causes communication breakdown between the two main parts of your thinking processes, conscious and unconscious, and they start to work with separate purposes. In extreme insanity your true self feels like a prisoner in there and would desperately like to get out. Because you are a prisoner, you do not experience true interactions with people and feel isolated - everyone seems like they are behind a glass shower door to your true self, giving you a 'blurry' interaction with them both physically and emotionally. Your true self can only experience direct interactions with other parts of your brain, so the outside world only indirectly affects the true you. The best part of getting out will be truly connecting with other people again, and it will feel wonderful. Once you get out you will literally see people in vibrant colour. Your feelings for people will feel so deep, and you will fully experience their feelings for you - that will feel so much better. Hugs will be so amazing! For me, I also find living much less stressful now. I have heard people say that the feeling of not being in control causes stress. Looking back, I think the fact that I was not in control of large parts of my brain was just a stressful way of existing. Feeling in control of my entire brain makes me relaxed and confident all the time. It is a nice way to exist!
If you have a lot of insanity you may spend a lot of effort trying to connect with people spiritually or supernaturally, probably because you cannot truly connect with people through the real world. Like with anything, practice makes perfect and you might consider yourself a very powerful supernatural being. However, this kind of spirituality differs from what sane people experience. Sane people experience spiritual connections like any other human connection - as a relationship. Any human relationship or interaction has both people giving something, and both people taking something. Sane people generally feel aware of this. But with insanity your unconscious plays a large role and you remain mostly unaware of it. Thus, a spiritual interaction might feel like you are doing wonderful things to the other person, or they are doing wonderful things to you, or you are attacking the other person, or they are attacking you, or something like that. The flip-side remains hidden from you. It will not seem like a true human-like interaction to you. Of course, some people may experience you as quite wonderful. Other people may be uncomfortable around you, not from some kind of unlikely supernatural 'reality', but rather they will experience this through unconscious messages from your tone of voice, choice of words/phrasing, body language, etc. Some people will not understand that you are actually crying out for help to escape; instead they may feel uncomfortable with you and just think of you as 'creepy'. Even people who understand you want help may be uncomfortable hearing a cry for help, either because they don't want to help or feel they don't know how to help. So even though your powerful spirituality really just gives you a method to call for help, many people in our society will just 'run away' from you because of it. That can be painful. I'm not sure how to help you with this, other than say I sympathize with you - it happened to me. It may be something you just have to live with for now until you start getting better through the healing process. For now, just concentrate on those spiritual interactions with those wonderful people out there who get you, and understand you need help, and are responding to you. Your brain uses spirituality as a completely natural method of expressing what's going on inside you. Supernatural feelings also provide good clues for you on what your true self might be like. When you reflect on a powerful spiritual or magical experience you have had that doesn't seem right to you anymore, don't be regretful or feel foolish; just think of it as a powerful method of emotional processing programmed into your brain by natural selection and evolution. Just keep in mind that since we don't have a shared spiritual space of community, like they have in a remote 'African village' or other traditional society, people around you are unlikely to understand and help you appropriately when you use spiritual language. So please continue to enjoy your spirituality, but just don't talk about it with anyone. Think of it as just a fun imagination game when you can, but at the same time I encourage you to have supernatural interpretations worked out in your mind for all the activities I suggest in this book. Spiritual thinking may be helpful for you during Steps 1, 2, and 3 (below) if you trust in an external force to bring helpful people into your life to heal you, for example. Spiritual thinking may be helpful for you during Steps 4, 5, and 6 (below) if you believe God is giving you permission to act a little differently than societies' ideas of 'normal' behaviour, for example. In this way, even if you drift in and out of your supernatural beliefs, you can still continue to do the same activities as suggested in this book without interruption.
Now that I am sane, I just appreciate the feeling of a spiritual connection with someone, and I don't worry about whether I am feeling an emotion or this indicates some unlikely connection through metaphysical space. I just like feeling their presence. It is comforting. I do like the idea I might be engaged with someone on a magical level, but I don't feel I need to accomplish something supernaturally. Or like that would even work if I did. If I feel loved by God that gives me a nice feeling. So if you want to go to church, choose a church where you are never made to feel particularly 'good' or 'evil' - feeling loved or loving is really what would benefit you [12.5]. If you feel pressured by your church to pray for specific people or events like you are invoking some kind of supernatural power, just tell them you are mentally ill right now and would enjoy joining in once you get better.
Stay far away from people who encourage your sense of having supernatural powers. Only let people encourage your grounded emotions and logical thoughts. I was told that my psychosis had been experienced as a spiritual attack at someone thousands of miles away, causing them serious physical injury that took two years to heal from. Well, it turns out that spiritual attacks that cause injuries are not a thing. In my psychosis and insanity and at my most vulnerable time of my life, the people I knew flipped reality on me - perhaps just to manipulate me. That is hard swallow looking back. I feel betrayed. I think I could have come out of insanity much sooner if the people around me had told me my 'spiritual powers' were not real, but just expressions of my emotions to be analyzed. Don't you think?
This introduces the larger problem of how you are treated. People often appear confident that they can say what are 'sane beliefs' and 'insane beliefs.' Often people will tell you something is 'sane' so you will do what they want you to do. Often people will tell you something is 'insane' so you will stop doing it. My psychiatrists decided they didn't want me to become a transgender woman and so just called it a psychotic delusion (without a single question about me, or my life, or my sexuality). Some people just want to control you. Well let me tell you there is no such thing as a sane or insane 'action' that someone could determine from the outside. If you are doing something from emotions and logic and intuition, then go do it even if it is weird (but safe). Just remember there are many ways in which our society behaves in a dysfunctional manner collectively, and your 'weird' behaviour might be considered totally normal and healthy in another culture. But if you want to do something from intense, overwhelming feelings of being all-powerful, hyper-sexual, over-anxious, paranoid, or you want to spend lots of money you don't have, or you want to do something harmful, or something along those lines, then please stop to analyze and process your feelings rather than follow through on what you want to do. The same goes if you want to do something because of hearing voices or experiencing a powerful being inside your head; then just stop and analyze what those messages might be saying about your unconscious thinking and the nature of your true self instead. Although people out there have a vague sense of concern for you and wanting to help you, they have a very immediate sense of wanting to tell you what is 'good' and 'bad" and what is 'right' and 'wrong' and this can have negative consequences for you. Trust your own intuition on what is 'sane' and 'insane' and ignore our ignorant culture as best you can. Be careful out there.
Your unconscious mind is sending you important messages:
Message 1) Get healed from your life traumas and issues that are triggering the gatekeeper,
Message 2) Escape insanity.
Before you are healed the unconscious mind might feel like it is torturing, not telling, you to do these things. This can suck. I feel for you; I have been there.
If you attempt to escape before you are healed, the gatekeeper will not let you out. You will know this is true because the messages from your unconscious will be unsafe, wreck your life, be harmful in some way, or put you in an altered state that doesn't accomplish anything. The gatekeeper won't prevent external damage to your body or your lifestyle - it is only interested in keeping your true self trapped and safe. Also, the escape plan could be terrible at this point. Before healing occurs, the unconscious sometimes has very destructive, short-term ideas on what might let you escape - it might seek physical pleasures like sex, drugs, alcohol, spending lots of money, thrill-seeking behaviour, etc. to give you only momentary escapes - but wrecking your life in general. Or your unconscious might make you feel the need to manipulate those around you into an exciting emotional drama, which can backfire as people don't behave as you expect, and they might do things to you that you don't want. Also, you can transition into actual 'escape mode' in a mania or a psychosis, but before your unconscious has fully formed a good escape plan. Although you can gain significant insight into your unconscious and true self in an altered state like this (which can really be helpful for you), you could also occur loses in your life in terms of your friends, family, and your work if people cannot accept the things you did. So try instead to weave a happy net to land in upon your escape, by not listening to your unconscious plans at this point and avoiding loses in life. I'm not saying you can stave off mania or psychosis using willpower; the idea is to get healing done as soon as possible to avoid these kinds of states. But for things where willpower gives you some control, you just have to try to say "no" to your unconscious at this point. Your unconscious may really be making you miserable at this point; sometimes your unconscious can literally try and torture you into doing things, in which case you just have to resist and endure. Seek help, especially emotional support, to get through this type of suffering. Drugs from a psychiatrist may certainly be helpful. If you do some unconstructive things under torture, try to do them only the very minimum amount you need so they do not hinder your escape plan by driving the people you need away from you.
However, once you have received enough healing such that the gatekeeper feels it is safe for you to come out (you have gained the emotional capacity to deal with outside world directly), then your now-healed unconscious mind becomes your saviour. It cares for you. It is wise. You can trust it. It will develop a real escape plan for you. It knows how to glue your brain back together.
Problems that arise
I realize some of you are currently desperately trying to escape, and you are trying to get all the people around you to help you to carry out Message (1) and Message (2) from you unconscious. Good plan so far. Keep it up. Your unconscious holds a plan for getting you out; when it makes you want to do things that are safe, that would not harm you or others, then you can trust it. Don't worry too much about being weird or different, as long as behaviours remain harmless they are OK. Problems with following through on the plan may arise for you though:
Problem 1) You may lack influencing skills, and people are not cooperating with you in your plan. Are you attempting to manipulate people awkwardly? Perhaps they become wise to you or feel uncomfortable with you; you have to learn to be a gentle influencer instead. This means winning people over to be truly on your side because they like you and they like experiencing a true relationship with you; this book attempts to help you create helpful friendships, especially in Chapter 2.
Problem 2) You may be getting people to do the wrong things to help you because your conscious mind is resisting your unconscious plan. Perhaps your conscious mind doesn't agree with the plan, or your conscious mind doesn't actually want to leave insanity, or something else stemming from a lack of motivation to follow directions from your unconscious. I will discuss these problems and how to deal with them later, especially in Chapter 5.
Problem 3) If your plan would cause harm to yourself or others, don't do it. I will talk about getting your unconscious to create a different plan in this case.
To address Problem (1), let me try to teach you how to get people to really help you. Because you won't understand exactly what your unconscious is trying to achieve, you cannot communicate the specifics of your escape plan and 'talk people into it'. If you speak too honestly to them about your conscious thoughts, they might just think you are talking 'crazy stuff' and be suspicious that your are trying to get them to do 'crazy stuff' i.e. pointless activities that would just embarrass them. But trying to get people to go along with your plan totally makes sense since evolution has naturally programmed our brains for this type of behaviour; our unnatural modern society just makes this a difficult recipe for success. Developing countries remain twice as good a society for an escape, in spite of the effects of modernization . And if you were living in a very remote African village, or other traditional society in the world nearly untouched by modern society, you would probably be fine [14-16]. In this case, your village would provide you all kinds of close emotional support, creative healing rituals, cooperation in your plans, and basically everything your brain desires to get better. You would be living in the kind of tight-knit community that our brains have evolved to operate in i.e. living as we did during the natural selection process. When you were trying to escape your insanity, the village would see your supernatural insights and powers as profound, and would go along with everything you say and suggest; this shared community experience would help you escape. And then you would even gain some prestige in the tribe for having gone through it and having shared a significant spiritual experience with everyone. You might be promoted to shaman, priest, or equivalent. But we live a in a brutal 'scientific' society that focuses on delegitimizing people's personal experiences and controlling us to be 'normal'. When you experience extreme insanity, our society is essentially out to get you - you are threatened with being hospitalized, losing your job, losing you family, or losing your friends if you try to follow through on an escape plan. Think of all the people deemed 'mentally ill' that just become homeless or locked away in prison. The cruelty of it makes me furious. In this book I want to give you methods of influencing people to help you escape in our particular modern society. The language you need to learn is one of emotions and logical self-reflection. If you have already rejected the supernatural and speak in the language of emotions, you are halfway there already! If you have already rejected the supernatural and speak in the language of logic, you are halfway there already! You will also have to develop the skills of making deep friendships and being truly present with someone. These provide the only ways of getting people to help you escape in our society, and I will teach you the basics in this book if you don't have them already. If you like to think of yourself as a manipulative person, then just think of these techniques as manipulating people with emotional and self-reflection talk in order to get them on your side and in your power. It doesn't matter if you imagine pure motives or not in your conscious mind. Just keep in mind that your conscious mind will remain unaware of how people can help you in your plan to escape; your unconscious holds that wisdom.
So, yes, you would have been better off being born in a remote African village if you have a lot of insanity. Well, suck it up. At least you get hot showers every day, or at least you will when you get sane. Let's just shuck off our bitterness at society for the rest of this book and address what we can control.
To address Problem 2, about doing the wrong things, let me just say that once you are healed your unconscious mind knows exactly how to get you out. It understands everything inside you and quite a bit about those around you, and knows what will work. However, it has trouble getting your conscious mind to do the right things. You have to learn complete trust for your unconscious and just 'go with the flow.' You will have to do what seems like 'crazy stuff' to other people, as long as it is safe. I realize there may be lack of motivation in your conscious brain to do this; there are many reasons why you might deliberately resist your unconscious plan to set you free. You might believe you will just be rescued by somebody so you don't have to do any work, other than to attract rescuers. You might feel it remains dangerous out there, and no amount of healing and building emotional capacity will change that for you; you might want to just stay trapped forever where you are safe. You may feel you have special qualities or powers that you would have to give up if you escaped, and you think you would become less safe without them. You may feel insanity makes you better at your job, if the special qualities you think you have line up with your job requirements. I will address this problem later, in Chapter 5, and try to convince you that escape always makes you safer, always makes you stronger, and always makes you more powerful. You will become better at your job. Always.
Another factor contributing to Problem (2) may be a lack of energy. Maybe it takes too much effort to do all the things you need to escape, so why bother? Or you try but quickly give up. I have some good news to share; we each have an emotion inside us that can give us all the energy we need and more - our emotion of internal rebellion. So in Chapter 6 I describe how to identify yours, and tap into this limitless source of energy; then it will feel like you are riding a dragon out of insanity like Harry Potter escaping Gringotts - instead of trying to pick a tunnel through a wall over 20 years like Tim Robbins' character in Shawshank Redemption. Note that you may have to re-evaluate your energy source after you have done the healing work described in this book in Chapters 2, 3, and 4 - it may very well feel like your energy source has changed at that point, although in reality you have probably just become more aware of your true self.
Addressing Problem (3), where your plan might possibly harm someone, let me first emphasize how smart your unconscious is; it is totally capable of coming up with an alternate plan. So if you feel compulsions to pursue harmful behaviour against yourself or others, you will just have to say "no" and force your unconscious to figure out another way. Even if it doesn't cause harm, but would have an unacceptable affect on your life, then don't do it. If it requires money, then just make sure it isn't more than you can afford. If it requires making your spouse mad, just make sure it isn't so extreme they will divorce you. I hope you get the picture here. Give yourself lots of leeway for doing strange things, but don't wreck your life. But if it involves words or actions that other people might see as weird, then don't feel too bad and don't worry about their judgemental attitude - after you get out you can just plead 'insanity' and you won't actually have to apologize for anything (unless you really do feel bad about what you did). But you WILL have to apologize if you didn't say "no" to a harmful plan from your unconscious. That would be on you. Your unconscious may try to convince you to do harm for quite some time, and that may cause you a lot of suffering until your unconscious finally comes up with a better plan. Insanity sucks sometimes, for sure. I'm sorry about that; I know all about it. When this happens, you will know for certain that you have to concentrate on the healing part of the whole procedure, and leave any actions until later. In the meantime seek help, especially in the form of emotional support from friends, family, and therapists as described in Chapter 2.
The escape plan
The first thing you have to do is develop meaningful relationships with people, if that is not the case in your life at the moment. These people will like you and love you, which will give you the support and help you need as you execute the 6 steps to escape insanity as presented below. First, they will provide an emotional support network for you. Secondly, these deep relationships open up the possibilities for healing from your life traumas and issues. Finally, they will people the little 'African Village' you need to glue your brain back together. If you feel you are a lovable person, then this might sound easy to you. For others, you may feel you are not actually likeable or lovable, and that you are just tricking these people into helping you. That's OK. Feeling that way is totally fine. Go with it. I am not concerned, because I know that other people will not agree with you; in reality most people will experience the whole you and see you as quite lovable. I give you concrete techniques for how to make friends and get people on your side later in the book in Chapter 2, if you feel you need them. The methods involve learning how to share your emotions in effective ways with those around you. Some of you may feel that your emotions aren't real and that you are just tricking people. Again, that is OK; most other people will not experience it like that at all - rather they will probably experience you as quite a genuine person. Your authenticity just remains hidden from you in your insanity. Even if you are still convinced that this is a total tricky manipulation strategy on your part, then just think of it this way: this is the very best and most effective way to manipulate people ... much better than the techniques you are currently using. And I am encouraging you to use them so you can escape.
People with insanity have a natural tendency for supernatural language; they use their heightened sense of awareness about how things 'are' to make profound insights into supernatural matters, and then try to use these insights in order to influence people to go along with their escape plan. Indeed, natural selection has designed our brains to do just that. In a remote African village (or any traditional culture isolated from the modern world) this strategy would normally work; everyone in the village would accept and be impressed by these profound supernatural insights. When traditional peoples communicate using supernatural language, they are really describing their 'human condition' and human experience: their emotional and logical sphere naturally expresses itself in supernatural language. The other people around them understand the supernatural language in this way too, and they have shared sense of all the meanings. In modern society, this won't work. We understand someone talking about supernatural things to be describing a metaphysical world with an objective reality that has little, or nothing, to do with what's going on inside them or us. When a person uses their insanity to make profound insights into the nature of the supernatural world (or space aliens), people usually think "that's weird" or "that's wrong" and they don't go along with anything the person suggests. Also, since the person has grown up in the modern culture themselves, the supernatural language doesn't even express their own true 'human condition' very well either; they have been taught from birth to disconnect those concepts in their mind. So even when someone starts a religious cult (for instance) and gets their followers to participate in their escape plan, their escape plan doesn't work and all they have accomplished is starting a cult. So, instead, I am going to teach you how to make profound insights into the 'human condition' using the language of modern society: emotions and logical self-reflection. If you already speak in one of those ways instead of supernatural ways, you are already halfway there. When you have made some profound insights into the human condition using this language, people will go along with your escape plan; moreover the escape plan will work inside your own head too, since you yourself understand this type of language as expressing the deep meanings of your existence. Thus, I will restate the main point of this chapter now: your escape plan would be just fine in an 'African village' but you need to create a suitable escape for our very different type of modern society. Note that you may indeed try several, or many, escapes over your healing journey. They will be dramatic events that require all your mental resources, where you have you ask people around you to do unusual things. They may even come in the form of psychotic episodes or manias. They are unlikely to be successful until you have done Steps 1 through 5, as listed below. These may cause embarrassment for you, and I sympathize with you. You may feel that people won't trust you again, and will never do 'weird stuff' with you again; now that they know they know you are just crazy you might fear they will be suspicious of you and won't want to be embarrassed themselves next time. Well, take heart. You can win people back with emotional honesty if they really care about you, and you can always make new friends. You have a lifetime to make this escape, and sometimes escaping just takes time. Just think: you are actually better off than those people whose escape plans are just 'normal' enough that people actually go along with them because they seem reasonable; those people just get trapped into an unworkable escape plan forever, doing the same thing "over and over" with the same result.
The six steps for escaping
I am going to list six 6 steps for you to follow in your conscious mind in order to help your unconscious out:
(If you have already recovered from misery and now enjoy a happy life please feel free to skip right to Step 4)
Step 1) Try to figure out some of the things that are going on in your unconscious, especially unconscious motivations, using introspection and conversations with friends; while you're at it try to guess the nature of your true self. You will get great clues from psychotic hallucinations if you have ever had any , but for most of you revelations come from dreams, reflections from other people on how they experience you, what you were like when you were a small child, ways you describe yourself to other people that you think are lies, among other things. Clues will pop into your mind from time to time, but you still have to solve a puzzle to figure it out. Other people's insights may be key. You must continue to work on this for your entire escape time, trying to come up with the best 'educated guess' as to what you true self looks like and what your unconscious is telling you to do. I realize that you might feel pretty miserable starting off. I was. Thus, when you get together with friends you may be primarily seeking emotional support at this point just so you can survive. That is fine. But try to work in at least a little conversation about what you think might be going on in your unconscious and what your true self might be like too. You might feel you are powerless to do this step: perhaps you think you don't have enough (or any) friends, perhaps you think your friends won't be up for talking in this way, perhaps you don't want to talk to friends about deep issues because you find it embarrassing or something. I address these types of problems and how to solve them in Chapter 2.
Step 2) Seek healing from trauma, primarily through using appropriate techniques with a deep friend you have chosen as a healing partner - or even better using several healing partners. Try to figure out what the key trauma or traumas were in your life that have possibly caused you to retreat to this safe space. Try to heal as much as possible from these traumatic events. And then follow this up with trying to heal from all the other events you don't think were as important, but you still remember. Don't dismiss something as trivial just because other people didn't think it was a big deal, or because you don't think it should be a big deal. If it affected you, or you have a vivid memory of it, then it is important. I give you concrete methods for doing healing work with your friends in Chapter 3. In this type of healing work, we lay down alternate memories beside the original one that aren't so bad by using creative exercises. Over time, the brain learns to access the new alternate memories instead, simply because they are nicer and the brain can't resist avoiding the painful ones given the choice. Eventually this makes the gatekeeper fall asleep - once enough of these nasty memories have been bypassed.
Step 3) Seek more healing in the form of getting rid of those negative voices, messages, and old tapes in your head. Again, your healing partner(s) can help you do this. Try to identify all the different separate sources of negative messages in your brain. Mother? Father? Your big brother? Bully from childhood? Inner critic? Regretful voice? Once you identify them all, then investigate their motivations; surprisingly, each will actually have a positive motivation for you e.g. trying to protect you and keep you safe. It's just that they are all talking to you in a dysfunctional way right now. You have to teach each them to talk to you in a positive way instead. Then you will have a head full of positive, affirming, and helpful messages; now it will become easy to be happy. I give you concrete methods on how to do this with your healing partner in Chapter 4. Also, after practicing these methods you will now have the healing partner and the tools to accomplish healing for all your issues. Unresolved grief? Stressful work life? Anxiety? Debt problems? Whatever your problems are, you can now tackle them using these tools - building emotional capacity to both destress your brain and enabling you to take practical actions to solve your problems.
Once you have done enough healing you will be over the worst - no more suicidal thoughts, no more depression, no more intense loneliness, no more overwhelming urges to use drugs or get thrills, or whatever your intense problem was. Congratulations - you will have reached the point where you can basically live like you are a 'normal' person. You will improve your skills at work. You will connect better with friends, and it will be easier to make friends. You will enjoy a happier family life. You will feel happier. You will become a kind of 'functional crazy'; you could live the rest of your life like this and think you have lived a good life. So far, so good. Steps 1 through 3 probably took you a long time (they took three years for me). I hope Steps 4 through 6 go a little quicker for you (they took two and half years for me). I'm predicting things go quicker for you than for me; after all my escape-partner and I were blindly groping around in the dark while you have this handy-dandy guide. Remember to re-evaluate your energy of internal resistance before you go on to Steps 4, 5, and 6.
(If you are not at all worried about insanity please feel free to skip to Chapter 2 at this point)
(After completing Steps 1, 2, and 3 happiness was mine! But my brain still worked quite differently from most people's. I referred to myself as "a person with a strong sense of internal reality" and said it with pride.)
(At some point during Steps 2 and 3 there will come a time when you feel you are not suffering anymore; if you are on drugs this is when you should work with your psychiatrist to start slowly reducing your medication, as recommended by the scientific literature .)
Step 4) Accept the truth about yourself and learn to trust this true self, then reveal it to other people. (You will know when you have healed 'enough' to start to try accept yourself when your unconscious is no longer trying to get you to do escapist, destructive, unsafe, or harmful things.) You started this process in Step 1 and you have been developing an idea of what you really are throughout the healing process. Now you have to go deeper and accept what you really are. Remember how I said that your unconscious is, in some ways, quite the 'opposite' of your conscious thinking? At this step you have to accept and love that true self even in spite of it being so different than your thoughts. This is a big step, for your true self might be a painful truth to you and you may have a hard time accepting it - at first. For some people, they have always 'known' in some way but just pretended it was false to protect themselves. For some people, the true self is so painful it has always remained hidden. Once you have intellectually accepted it, you will have to start revealing this true self to other people; pick trusted people at first. Try out experiments; try wearing different clothing you think your true self might like, try doing a sport or exercise you think your true self might like, try going to a meet-up your true self might like, try watching a TV show your true self might like, try reading a book your true self might like, etc. You can get some guidance from using the Enneagram personality theory; if you can figure out what type you are with some free on-line tests [18-21], then the Enneagram's "direction of integration" will give you some idea of what your true self's personality is like [22-24]. As you change the kinds of activities you do, the way you look, and the way you behave, other people's affirmations of you will be an important part of the process of realizing it is OK to be what and who you are. You will have to deliberately start listening to this true self, and taking direction from it. These processes only seem hard at first; surprisingly quickly it will actually be quite nice and thrilling a lot of the time - when your true self receives love after all these years you may even experience some euphoria. Note that you won't literally be 'turning in' to your true self yet (that's Step 6), you are only acknowledging and celebrating this previously unknown part of you at this point: making friends with it if you will. This step takes a lot of motivation and energy. Without both of those, you will always remain stuck where you are. I try to give you lots of motivation in Chapter 5. I show you how to tap into your limitless internal energy source in Chapter 6.
Step 5) Start practicing your escape plan. You will know when you have healed 'enough' to start practicing your escape plan when you are somewhat aware of your true self, have made some efforts to be friends with them, and you are feeling good or happy most of the time. Although your unconscious is still making you want to do weird things, it no longer wants to do unsafe, harmful, or escapist things. Now you can just start trusting your unconscious and go with it, even when things seem weird to other people. Your unconscious is now developing a clever escape plan for you. So you just have to start practicing for the big event by trying to get your true-self, your unconscious, and your conscious mind on the same page - cooperating and accomplishing the same things. You can encourage this by deliberately lining up your energy and motivation in everything you accomplish. Try doing this for the totally sane or normal things you have to accomplish at work and with your family. Also try doing this for the weird stuff you unconscious wants you to do. I show you concrete examples of how to align motivation and energy in Chapter 6. It involves doing things for 'both' reasons; your conscious motivations can direct your extreme energy source to accomplish constructive things. For example, I am writing this book right now out of the energy of anger, and yet my thinking-brain has constructive motivations. You will notice everything in your life starting to improve as you follow through on practicing this technique.
Step 6) Follow through on your final escape plan. After you have done enough healing and learned to cooperate with and trust your unconscious, your unconscious will then plan and create a final escape in the form of a life drama. If you have done Steps 1 through 5 then it will be a bit like a low-level mania for you, except that your brain will feel very sane through the whole thing. There will be high-energy and high-concentration. So just be ready to follow through enthusiastically on whatever dramatic (safe) plan your unconscious has concocted; this drama will finally integrate (glue back together) your unconscious and conscious mind. The people around who you have built connections with will be working with you at an unconscious level - you will get the sense afterwards that everyone did exactly as they needed to do. Don't be too worried if you feel you are doing this for 'bad' or 'evil' reasons, try to remember and be aware that your true self and your unconscious (the one doing all the work) pretty much have opposite intentions. On the flip-side, try not to get too carried away with your righteousness if that is the feeling in your conscious brain; try to be aware of your not-so-pure true-self and unconscious intentions. Being aware that you are doing your actions for 'both' reasons will be really helpful in this situation (which is why you did all the practicing in Step 5). Anyway, the whole situation will be something truly important to you, and you will have the compulsion to direct all your brain energies into resolving it. It could be an exciting 'battle' (not in physical sense please), an exciting rescue, an exciting survival adventure, a big creative organizational task, a huge family drama, or some other kind of exciting or interesting drama with high stakes to you personally; having your unconscious and conscious cooperate on an important task together will create the needed synergy in your brain. You will suddenly pop back out into external reality and you will be sane.
You will know you are sane when your true self and your conscious mind become integrated into one thinking process that you are consciously aware of. You will no longer feel like you are two different parts. You will no longer feel like a prisoner in your own mind. When you are 'out' all the colours will suddenly look more vibrant. All your emotions will feel authentic. Your friends and family will look much more attractive. The world will be real once again, and it will be so wonderful to experience it directly. You will now experience life as a human. You will no longer think you are only manipulating or only empowering; you will be able to either decide to empower people or manipulate people as you decide, whichever is appropriate to a situation. You will even be able to decide to empower and manipulate people at the exact same time i.e. influence them (which is what you were doing before, it's just that it was hidden from you because you saw only half of what you were doing). Even better, you will be much more capable of finding enlightened 'third ways' of doing things that avoid the idea of having just those two strategies available to you. You will no longer think of yourself as non-emotional or overly emotional. Congratulations! Welcome back! Please schedule a visit to a therapist the following week.
This is all OK. No worries.
Many sane people reading this are probably freaking out right now. What about those people that have true brain malfunctions like untreatable schizophrenics? Am I really encouraging insane people to do weird stuff and suck you into their insane activities? Won't a few go and try to do violent things to people? Horrifying! .... Calm down please. If this is how you are thinking, you have missed the entire point of this book so far. Following through completely on Steps 1, 2, and 3 makes someone happy and functional, regardless of their degree of insanity. Consider schizophrenics: such people were very valuable and appreciated members in historic traditional societies. They fulfilled a shamanistic role, providing spiritual guidance and fulfilling a healer role in the tribe [25,26]. I know no one wants to believe this, but they provide valuable service to our modern society too. Remember that I, myself, was completely happy and functional for two years even though I was completely insane. And no one had any complaints about me: I was good at my job, had a happy family life, and enjoyed lots of deep friendships. So even if we assume that there are 'untreatable' people in our society who start to do Step 6 activities "over and over again" in a vain attempt to escape, those activities will be very beneficial to the rest of us. I can imagine they will spend a lot of their time successfully dealing with all those mentally ill people we are all so worried about but don't know what to do with. So what's your problem?
Features of sanity
The journey has not quite ended; you will still have to work through some issues with a therapist in learning to live as the new you, the true you. But now you are sane and you will find therapists very useful; they will now understand the workings of your brain much, much better since it will now be so much like their own. Although other people may not believe you have 'escaped' which may make you doubt yourself, I myself couldn't help but notice the new features of my brain which were so much different than before:
Feature 1) I now have control over everything in my brain, like I am the only one sitting at the control panel in the movie "Inside Out."
Feature 2) My reality is now the outside world as experienced through my senses. Everything in my mind now seems like imagination.
Feature 3) I am glad to be free (understatement) and dread the idea of 'going back.'
Feature 4) All of my previous supernatural beliefs that were once so important to me do not seem like valid beliefs anymore.
Feature 5) I feel I can communicate with people, listen to people, and influence people much, much better than before.
Feature 6) In now feel that I am my 'true self'; I am different, both inside and outside, than I was before I escaped.
Who has trouble with what
Typically people with a conscious brain who think they are manipulating can be good at Steps 1, 2, and 3, and be able to do them without much effort. However, they often lack the motivation to do Steps 4, 5, and 6; they think of their manipulation techniques as making them powerful and they don't want to give up that power. This is a delusion, of course, since sane people can manipulate much better; their unconscious isn't betraying them at every step (not to mention they can also consciously empower which gives them much more influence in the real world). I have addressed this in Chapter 5, to try and give you some motivation to become more capable and powerful through sanity. People with a conscious brain that thinks they are always empowering will likely do Steps 4, 5, and 6 more easily, since they already have the motivation to become a 'better' person naturally. They may have trouble with Steps 1, 2, and 3, though, because it is harder to make and keep friends without some basic manipulation skills (or harder to get those friends to go along with healing techniques.)
To accomplish all this you might feel that you have to hide what you are to people in our society in order to influence or manipulate everyone. There is definitely some truth in this. You may feel you are living a life of lies, keeping all of your little secrets to yourself in order to protect your important plan. To a large extent, society's attitude toward insanity justifies this approach, making you feel like you have to do this. The good news is that you may have overblown this fear in your head a little. If one of your secrets gets out, don't sweat it; play it cool. As long as you are admitting to people that you have mental health problems (don't need to tell everyone the specifics), most people will treat you with understanding - the chances that 'slip-up' will affect your plans will be small. You just have to be honest about your emotions around the secret, and why you feel it is important. You will be surprised what the people around you, especially friends and family, will accept in you even though they might think it 'weird'. And don't worry if you think the secret puts you makes you look bad; actually very few people really think in those terms, and most people are unlikely to judge you for it. So by all means keep your secrets if you think you have to, but don't worry about them being revealed too much as exposure is seldom a big deal. Your friends and family will love you anyway, and they are unlikely to react as badly as the scenarios in your head predict. (If you really are keeping something secret that is harmful to you or others, then make sure you confess this to your therapist, close friend, or trusted family member so they can counsel you through it or get help for you.). If you are experiencing paranoia, then you might feel people are stealing your secrets and spreading them around. That is a difficult feeling to live with. I remember well. Try to remember that paranoia is just a feeling, and the chances that the things you worry about are actually happening in real life is very small - so try not to let the feeling paralyze you, or stop you from taking important actions you need to take.
The good news is people are helping you
As you make connections with people, trust that they are there to help you and know that you don't have to go to any extraordinary lengths beyond what I talk about in Chapter 2. You really don't know what will influence a person to help you. Every relationship is unique and brings out different things in people. Every person brings their own gifts. You don't know how someone might help you in your escape - maybe a gift they themselves didn't even know they had. Every person wants something different from you to balance the relationship - maybe a gift you didn't even know you had. As a consequence, thinking in your conscious mind "Be present with people" constitutes the very best strategy for you. Don't create an agenda with people. Don't try to help them in a particular way. Don't bug them or follow them around. Don't dwell on a particular thing that you have in mind that you want them to do. Just let whatever gifts you have inside you, that they want or need, just naturally flow out; this is what will influence them to stick around and be truly helpful to you. Just let them give freely of themselves to you. If you feel like you would really like to manipulate people to get them to do want you want them to do, just concentrate on manipulating them to do the activities described in Chapters 2, 3, and 4. If you feel you have anger or other negative emotions toward them, just use that as energy in creating the activities described in Chapters 2, 3, and 4. No one requires you to have pure motivations. Although you can treat the actual conversations with people as an exciting opportunity to fast-forward your escape, try to experience them as a low-pressure situations. Although I give you lots of activities to do with people in Chapters 1, 2, and 3, please just concentrate on being truly present and engaged with them; do not feel pressured to get those specific activities in every time. The activities I suggest mainly concentrate on deliberately sharing your emotions with people and having conversations with self-reflection, but these kind of things can happen spontaneously as well. In any conversation you can both use your intuition for knowing the right things to say and the right questions to ask. Your intuition is powerful and you can trust it. If you are concentrating on being present with each other then the good stuff will all come out naturally from both of you, whatever it is that is appropriate or needed from both of you in that time and place. Try to treat living out Chapters 1, 2, and 3 as a nice and relaxed way to live filled with nice and interesting conversations with people. If you do have conscious strategies, and are thinking out plans on how you are going to manipulate these people into rescuing you from your situation, please give them up; they won't work and all you will do is lose friends. Only your unconscious has that wisdom.
Don't let people flip reality on you
People can 'flip reality' on you in several different ways. One version has the person saying they believe your supernatural abilities, but they are not with you 100% and are somewhat, or very, critical of you. This person is just trying to manipulate you and control you by encouraging your insanity (whether consciously or unconsciously). Myself, I had a friend tell me that my perfectly loving, kind spiritual healings during my psychosis caused someone thousands of miles away physical harm and injury to such an extent that they took two years to recover from it. The thought that a trusted friend contributed to keeping me insane gives me the most hurtful feeling in my chest. Be warned: if someone criticizes your supernatural abilities rather than telling you they don't exist, cut off all contact with that person immediately.
The second version has sane people flipping reality on you to try and control you. My psychiatrists told me that I had psychotic delusions of being woman. They managed to decide this without asking me a single question about my childhood, my life, my body, my sexuality, or anything - in fact I always received that prognosis within less than a second of saying "I feel like a woman."  Compare this to when they tried to decide whether I was bipolar, where two psychiatrists questioned me and my partner in an intensive one-hour evaluation. So the psychiatrists simply decided to flip reality on me to prevent me from being a transgender woman (whether consciously or unconsciously). This too hurts hard in my chest as I think about it, and how people who were supposed to help me did the opposite. Psychiatrists also think logic is insane just because they don't know what logic is. Have you ever seen a psychiatrist Google something in their office? If they don't what it is, they at least know it is insane. People make it hard to protect yourself from this type of manipulation; I suggest anytime someone disagrees with you at least Google it on your own, as well as get a second, or even third, opinion.
The third version describes some common and very insidious habits of people our society. If you are generally an unemotional person but you show some emotion that people are not comfortable with, then they might accuse you of being 'crazy' or 'insane' (maybe even in jest). On the flip-side, if you are a very emotional person but you reveal some thoughtful motivation people are not comfortable with, they might accuse you of being 'crazy' or 'insane' (maybe even in jest). Quite possibly you could take this kind of feedback literally and decide that acting sane is actually insane - but when someone tries to balance their emotions and their logical thinking that actually denotes sane communication. More generally, people can use "insane" as an insult in any situation to try and control you. Consider the case of writing a heart-felt letter or email to someone, and they just accuse you of being 'insane' or 'crazy' simply because it was long (or jokingly accuse you). Many people don't like long emails, so they insult you in this particular way to try and put a stop to it; this can be bad for you since you are likely to take it literally. But the sanity of emails is best judged by the amount of emotion and logic and empowerment and manipulation in the content, not by the length. So if someone tries to 'flip reality on you' by calling sane behaviour insane, or vice-versa, call them on it immediately even if they have put in the form of a joke. If they won't take it back, have nothing more to do with them; they are trying to manipulate and control you by reinforcing your insanity (whether consciously or unconsciously). People in our culture often do this type of gaslighting, and the prevalence of this behaviour could definitely be one of the main reasons we have so many people get stuck in insanity. You can feel confidence in yourself anytime you are expressing emotions and logic; don't let anyone tell you different.
The last version I mention here also appears to be prevalent in our society, and occurs when people criticize you for using a combination of emotion and logic to talk about deep and meaningful things; they tell you that normal people only talk about superficial things. They might tell you that normal people just go to work, then watch TV at night, go to a movie on the weekend, and that's about it; they claim they don't talk about anything at all, and nothing with meaning has any meaning to them, and therefore you are just strange or weird. Or more commonly, they don't say anything at all but just ignore you hoping that you will think you had no effect on them. But actually everyone well knows that combining emotion and logic in talking about deep, meaningful issues constitutes a powerful form of communication; emotion along with introspective thoughts allow us to express our basic human qualities and describe our 'human condition' in this society. This remains important to everyone, and everyone is interested in it; if people criticize you or ignore you for this they are just trying to manipulate you.
Of course, you can actually 'flip reality' on someone else too. If a person one hundred percent believes your supernatural insights and/or supernatural powers then they might follow everything you say one hundred percent. But if you had done Steps 1, 2, and 3 you would be using emotional and logical language, not supernatural language. In this case you are manipulating this person to be your 'African Village' for no good reason, because your escape plan is not workable yet. You will know this is happening when you are getting the person (or people) to do the same thing "over and over again" with the same result. Shame on you. Stop it.
Other people with insanity
You might connect with another person to help you in your escape who also has some insanity. This can be a risky (but powerful) relationship when you have opposite insanity: when one of you thinks of yourself as an empowering person in the conscious brain and one of you think of yourself as manipulative, and at the same time one of you thinks of yourself as non-emotional and one of you thinks of yourself as overly emotional. This happened to me and Kit. Since insanity causes our conscious and unconscious to work at separate purposes, in this kind of relationship one of those parts in the other person will be trying to take advantage of you, and the other trying to help you escape. In your own brain too, one part will be trying to truly help the other person while one will be manipulating them to help you yourself escape. You will know when you meet this kind of opposite insanity because there will be a very powerful, immediate connection between the two of you that feels very supernatural. This is OK if you really want to do this, you just have to be aware of it and be careful. It might end rather spectacularly; half of you will then be bitter at the half that betrayed you, and half of you will be so grateful to the half that helped you (and you will only be aware of one of those feelings.) That's weird for me to have ended my relationship with Kit: because I'm sane now I feel bitter and grateful at the same time.
Relationships where there is only one opposite quality should be fine. You will know because you won't feel that instant 'magical' connection to the person, even if you suspect they have insanity. If the person is only the emotional opposite of you, you consider yourself non-emotional and the other person considers themselves overly emotional or vice versa but the same in terms of empowerment-thinking or manipulative-thinking, then there can be a powerful bond between you. You will feel fairly sane when you are together because you compliment each other quite a bit. The same thing can happen when the opposite happens in the empowerment/manipulative thinking while the self-view of the emotional component is the same. The only concern is that this kind of relationship could make you feel too sane while you are together with this person, giving you a lack of motivation to become sane.
Make sure you have sane friends too!
Why you might not like this idea
There are some unconscious biases that prevent people from liking my escape plan. I'm guessing:
If you are thought-oriented (with logic) and like to argue ideas then you do not like the idea you would have to do it on your own for a while (after you have balanced emotions and logic, but before the manipulative escape) - it sounds insane and lonely to you. (And you do not like my whole empower-the-insane approach one bit!)
If you are mission-oriented (for empowering others) and like to plan then you do not like the idea that you would have to embrace and appreciate your emotions - sounds insane, too scary and uncontrolled. (And you do not like me telling you all about my raw emotions in such an uncontrolled, ranting manner!)
If you are action-oriented (using manipulation and commands) and like to get things done then you do not like the idea that you would have to embrace and appreciate logic - sounds insane and highly unlikely to work to you. (And you do not find my logic convincing at all!).
If you are people-oriented (using emotions) and like relationships then you do not like the idea that you would have to manipulate others to do it at the end - sounds insane and evil to you. (Not to mention you don't like me telling you what to do!)
Well, what can I say? I'm not good at making friends. But may I point out that three quarters of people don't agree with you?
Experiencing insanity and then moving out of insanity are very natural, and healthy, processes programmed into us by natural selection and the process of evolution. However, our modern societies' social structure tends to trap people from escaping their insanity. We first just have to learn to get in the habit of talking in talking emotional and introspective language, rather than supernatural or magical (or space alien) language, for our escape to be successful in this place and time. Then we can then use that language with our friends for healing and being healed, so that the gate keeper will allow us to escape. Finally, we can use that language for following through on the escape plan our unconscious has come up with, which involves getting the people around you to do a little something. After escaping, you will become your true self, not afraid to project your true voice out to the world .
from “How to Escape Insanity” by Chris Macnab, copyright 2018
On to Chapter 2
Engineers often start counting at zero. So what?
 "Moreover, by the seven-year follow-up interview, the dose reduction/discontinuation group had experienced significantly more functional improvement than the maintenance group had. And also by the seven-year interview, 40 percent of the dose reduction/discontinuation group had recovered from their illness, whereas only 18 percent of the maintenance group had—a significant difference." psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.pn.2013.8b2
Why do we fear the mentally ill?
 "Research consistently shows there is no evidence that people living with mental illness are generally more violent than anyone else. People living with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than other people" www.sane.org/mental-health-and-illness/facts-and-guides/fvm-mental-illness-and-violence
 "Thus, the popular conception of a violent criminal who experiences psychotic episodes prior to committing violent acts is actually rather rare, 'There is little evidence for a subgroup with exclusively psychosis-preceded violence,' the authors conclude."
Yes, I'm sane. People fully recover from psychosis all the time. But sometimes I have been treated like I am lying or delusional.
 "15 per cent of schizophrenics in the West are likely to have made a good recovery from the first attack of their illness" www.independent.co.uk/news/mentally-ill-do-better-in-third-world-than-in-west-1320282.html
Enneagram type 8:
 "Enneagram Eights have a motivational need to be strong and avoid showing vulnerability. They value having a sense of control and being direct and impactful. Eights love challenges and will embody a need for justice which enables them to protect others. Healthy Eights are experienced by others as strong, deeply caring and approachable. They offer the gift of innocence to themselves and the world around them when they align with the flow of reality." www.integrative9.com/enneagram/introduction/type-8/
 "What's Hard About Being a Eight: overwhelming people with my bluntness; scaring them away when I don't intend to; being restless and impatient with others' incompetence; never forgetting injuries or injustices." www.9types.com/descr/?type=8
 "The powerful, dominating type: self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational" www.enneagraminstitute.com/type-8/
 " People of this personality type are essentially unwilling to be controlled, either by others or by their circumstances; they fully intend to be masters of their fate. Eights are strong willed, decisive, practical, tough minded and energetic. Eights generally have powerful instincts and strong physical appetites which they indulge without feelings of shame or guilt." www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/type8
 "Eights are direct, authoritative, zestful, firm, and oriented to truth and justice. Others may perceive Eights as confrontational, intimidating, loud and controlling." www.enneagramworldwide.com/types/the-protector/
Injustice for the mentally ill, over 350,000 mentally ill are in prison and 500,000 mentally ill are homeless in the U.S.
 "The problem of reduced psychiatric bed availability is not just historical. US states continue to close the only publicly funded beds available to the poorest Americans with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.2 The ongoing cuts to bed availability increase the risk of incarceration among people with serious mental illnesses.3 An estimated 10–20% of jail inmates and 25% of prison inmates have serious mental illnesses,3 and nearly 400 000 inmates have a mental health disorder."www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)31479-4/fulltext
[9.5] "the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development showed that over 500,000 people are homeless on any given night. This number has been steadily increasing since the 1970s, with homelessness becoming prevalent not only in major cities but also in smaller towns."www.hcs.harvard.edu/~hcht/blog/homelessness-and-mental-health-facts
 Actually I took four psychology courses during my undergraduate degree. I did well in statistics. I have over 30 refereed journal articles where I develop artificial neural network algorithms inspired by the human cerebellum to control systems (especially robots) with completely reproducible results. I don't usually like to compare myself to other researchers, but may I humbly suggest my ideas in this book may have a little more depth than those of celebrated psychologist Jordan Peterson who believes we can learn a lot about people by studying lobsters ... or maybe I will have to eat my words when he comes out with a "How Lobsters Escape Insanity" world-changer (don't worry, us transgender people have been given permission to call him "lobster-boy" and otherwise ridicule him however we like).
The 'scientific' field of psychology. Sure psychologists are bad at math, but maybe a more likely explanation is that emotional reactions are not consistent, reproducible, or replicable so the scientific method is inappropriate in this field of study.
 "...there is now broad consensus that many fields face a problem with reproducibility. Estimates are that up to two-thirds of peer-reviewed studies in psychology and between 20 percent and 50 percent of studies in medicine cannot be reproduced. ... There are four main reasons why an experimental study may not be reproducible: fraud, poor methodology, control sensitivity, and random variation. Poor methodology, alas, is rife. There are a plethora of analytic and statistical pitfalls that are very easy to fall into, and even the best and most careful researchers do, from time to time. In many cases, proper method can require drastic changes from current practices and is often much more expensive and time-consuming, so improving overall standards meets with a great deal of inertia in the scientific community." www.americanscientist.org/blog/macroscope/dont-strengthen-statistical-significance-abolish-it
Engineers like to count with fractions too. So what?
[11.5] Do you work with the mentally ill? Do you think it is a great idea to be as 'professional' as possible at all times and never show your humanity to them? Do you believe that it is improper to ever to reveal your motivations and feelings? Then you are just confusing them - you are not helping them.
[12.5] "Creator God loves diversity. This love already includes YOU! Believing that God has created each one to be unique, we stand with all humanity and celebrate its wonderful aspects, acknowledging diversity in age, health, race, economic status, ethnicity, beliefs, culture, gender identity, sexual orientation, and whoever YOU are. Through our experiences of God, and our understanding that the ministry of Jesus is to reconcile and make new, we are intentionally creating safe space where opportunities exist for all to participate, according to their gifts and talents, in the life, work and ministry of the church community" - Robert McClure United Church affirming ministry faith statement
References on the statistics for recovery from psychosis in the developing world:
 "People who suffer from schizophrenia in the Third World are twice as likely to recover as sufferers in the West, according to a report by the World Health Organization" www.independent.co.uk/news/mentally-ill-do-better-in-third-world-than-in-west-1320282.html
References on the statistics for recovery from psychosis for people living in traditional societies:
 "That is, the benign course of schizophrenia in the developing world may be the "natural" one; the more pathological portrait of schizophrenia common in the West may be the result of conditions unique to the industrialized world," Edgerton, Robert B. "Traditional treatment for mental illness in Africa: A review." Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 4.2 (1980): 167-189.
 "If left alone untreated in the aborigine communities, a large proportion of schizophrenic cases recovered within two years. Though small in sample, such a picture of spontaneous recovery was as good as, if not better than, most reports of the outcome of schizophrenia using modern treatments."
 " typical cases of schizophrenia are proportionately uncommon, and in their place one often meets an acute short-lasting psychosis, which may be indistinguishable from classical schizophrenia in its initial stages but which runs a much shorter course and carries a better prognosis." Murphy HBM, Raman AC (1971) The chronicity of schizophrenia in indigenous tropical peoples: results of a twelve-year follow-up survey. British Journal of Psychiatry 118, 489 - 497.
 The whole planet of Vulcan is bat-shit crazy though.
Hallucinations and delusions are not garbage thoughts!
 Delusions and hallucinations may be the keys that unlock psychosis: "As such, clinicians cannot simply dismiss psychotic experiences as the deranged ramblings ('empty speech acts') of mentally ill people, but instead must sit down with the individual and try to work out what lies behind their problems." www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2014/nov/27/delusions-hallucinations-psychosis-schizophrenia
Enneagram personality tests:
Enneagram direction of integration:
 "One line connects with a type that represents how a person of the first type behaves when they are moving toward health and growth. This is called the Direction of Integration or Growth" www.enneagraminstitute.com/how-the-enneagram-system-works/
 "The arrow that comes toward a type from another is the direction of integration. It constitutes positive and growthful action. Think of this "towards" arrow as representing a arduous, uphill climb to reach a goal at the mountain top. It is difficult to do but enables growth. If you follow this arrow it takes you to the highest qualities of another type and helps you move towards becoming more complete." www.lessons4living.com/wings.htm
The schizophrenic as the shaman
 " In the shamanic view, mental illness signals “the birth of a healer,” explains Malidoma Patrice Somé. Thus, mental disorders are spiritual emergencies, spiritual crises, and need to be regarded as such to aid the healer in being born." www.jaysongaddis.com/the-shamanic-view-of-mental-illness/
 "Significant differences between schizophrenics and shamans are not found in the sequence of underlyng psychological events that define their abnormal experiences." anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1525/aa.1967.69.1.02a00030
 And thus the psychiatrists forever robbed me of my chance to find out whether I have a real phantom vagina or a just a psychotic delusion phantom vagina.
 "We no longer have to hide behind our masks and what we have been conditioned to think is acceptable, hearing our mouths say things that our bodies, when we listen to their subtle emotional messages, clearly disagree with. We can relax the fear and worry and allow the messages that need to come through, to come through. It is not ours, remember. None of it is. There is no self to protect, there is only energy flowing. This is practicing radical living, showing up fully, allowing ourselves to be seen, offering ourselves as vehicles to the divine energies at play in the world" - Catherine Lewis, "Understanding and Freeing the Self," Masters Thesis, Naropa University.
At this time you may like to do a little doodle below to express how you are feeling:
Still with me to this point, dear reader? I thank you; I acknowledge that you may not have enjoyed me addressing cultural taboos in such a shameless manner and I appreciate your continued reading. You might like to know my next title will be. "The joys of masturbation and why you should do it a lot."
from “How to Escape Insanity” by Chris Macnab, copyright 2018