Schizophrenia Recovery: Rufus May

First Aired: 01-19-2009 -- 6 comments | Add comment
Rufus May

UK clinical psychologist Rufus May descended into madness — convinced he was on a spy mission and that animals were robots, he even walked into a family gathering naked.

How did Rufus find meaning in these experiences, learn to live without medication, and become a successful psychologist and mental health advocate? Rufus was recently featured in the Channel 4 feature film The Doctor Who Hears Voices.

http://www.rufusmay.com

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6 comments on “Schizophrenia Recovery: Rufus May

  1. In the middle of my initial breakdown I was caught up with everything going on, all the voices and visions and bizarre beliefs, but in the beginning I felt as if I was losing my mind very slowly. Even now I realize I am not at my best, I know I need help and supervision. Most other people who experience extreme states and hearing voices don’t have this insight. I feel out of control and often I see myself acting out in ways I wouldn’t normally. I feel like there’s something wrong with me. But this very belief seems to be the thing that makes people tell me I’m fine, and ignore me. I’m struggling and no one believes me.

    I guess I want to know if anyone else has this same sort of insight?

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  2. I was on Zyprexia since the mid 90s. I went from 165 pounds to 235 pounds very quickly… the meds never made the voices disappear, but they did calm me, more like a tranqualizer, not really curing the problem.
    Then I was on abilify for the past few years… at least no further weight gain… but never really solved anything voice wise either!
    Got concerned with the side effects – especially zyprexia and abilify saying quote – “sudden death” can occur w/o warning.
    Since February, i went cold turkey, and just plain stopped taking these dangerous meds.
    Still teaching, though part time…. And no, the voices are no better, but also, no worse than with the meds…. seems to me the meds were a complete waste…. they never did the job, and made me gigantic!
    as for the voices themselves, there are 2 types… those that hate me and want me to lose this and lose that, and those that love me…..
    were choice available, i’d obviously just keep those that care….. but unfortunately, have to love with both for the time being
    since going into the hospital in ’94, these voices have generally predicted the future…. with a very good accuracy, about most things….
    know what the future holds, is great when you know some cute chick is a bout to call me, but sucks when you know ahead of time that you lost this job or that crap, or whatever….
    though choice exists, i have found out that this life has been scripted to much extent, though with some flexibility….. and of course, the unexpected anomaly of choice.
    i knew in 1994 i was going to be a teacher
    i didnt become one until 2000-2001……
    amazing how these voices knew that… they were trying to give me hope back then, becuase i had just lost my favorite girlfriend i proposed to – she tossed me out the door for asking!
    tried killing myself in 1996 while on zoloft. that stuff also is a waste… i really dont beliecve one can treat this with meds, but instead, a change in circumstances is what is needed for happiness.

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  3. Anna: “collective consciousness” – immediately has me think of C.G. Jung, the collective unconscious.
    Trying to understand the experience consciously, rather than explaining it (away) in (pseudo-)scientific terms and then suppressing it with drugs, that do nothing but suppress consciousness in general, has been the key that brought me in control of the experience, instead of having the experience controlling me.
    IMO there is no such thing as meaningless madness. It can all be understood. Find accounts by people, who’ve come to a true understanding of these experiences from a personal viewpoint. C.G. Jung is a good starting point. So is Rufus May – watch the film The Doctor Who Hears Voices if you haven’t yet. It’s at YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=5B6D685236A79C41.
    There are lots of resources out there, existential, psychological, spiritual, etc. Madness Radio has been – and still is – an invaluable resource for me personally. Browse the archives. You also may want to check out Freedom Center’s website, or http://theicarusproject.net/“>The Icarus Project.
    It is possible, that it will happen again. Unconscious contents has the annoying habit to surface again and again, until it is made conscious. It’s hard work, and it takes time, but there definitely is hope. Before the biological model declared crisis a chronic brain disease, recovery was more the rule than a rare exception. The maybe most important way to be supportive of your son is to keep that in mind, and to keep up your own trust in your son’s ability to recover.
    You’re welcome to visit my blog, or contact me by e-mail: marian(dot)bgst(at)gmail(dot)com

    Reply
  4. Hi,

    I’m a mom of a 19 year old who has been hospitalized 4 times in the past year for rages and suicidal attempts, and, you guessed it, hearing voices has been a big part of his diagnosis of schizophrenia.

    He took himself off Zyprexa, after being in hospital for nearly 3 months. He’s doing well now, and has such an incredible way of describing the things that go on in his mind, and how he’s dealing with it.

    I have my doubts as to how long this can last, but I want him to be successful if possible, without medication, as that seems to be his choice. Every professional I’ve dealt with in his situation is determined that there is no hope for him without meds.

    But here is a kid who sits at the table and talks to me and with me about the voices, about the universal collective consciousness, about everyone’s capacity for this heightened awareness, but not everyone can handle it, and that he’s working to be able to handle it rather than medicate it away.

    How can I be supportive of his efforts? BTW, his dad and I are very much together on this, although we both have some fear that this is a calm in the midst of a potential crisis poised to occur again. My calm exterior may look like still water, but it’s really thin glass, easily shattered.

    anna

    Reply
    1. Hey, best wishes for your son. I’m no doctor, but two supplements you should really consider taking yourself, and also giving to him are fish oil and vitamin D. Both have shown at least some indication of helping with schizophrenia.
      It’s worthy of noting that both of these supplements are immuno-modulatory. Vitamin D CAN be overdosed on, so be careful with that one.
      Best wishes.

      Reply
  5. Hi there! Love this show, and this particular interview! Its about time theres a program that shows something positive about scizophrenics. I have been a college professor, and a middle and high school teacher, since around the turn of 2000 or so. I went into the hospital in 1995, suicidal and suffering a post traumatic breakdown following being turned down for marriage by my best friend – I had known her most of my adult life! Since then, been on meds this whole time pretty much. navane, zyprexia (balloned out 100 pounds with this med), abilify, etc). Successful at grad school, went on to doctoral school in 2004-2005. Had no mental health treatment the entire time, became depressed and dropped out.. with not a single new pill prescribed the entire time there.
    mot of my stuff is auditory, with some tactile as well. divided into 2 groups – those that love me, and those that hate me.. been in a constant war with those voices that hate me all these years.
    As a teacher, cant say a word about this.. too much stygma against this. doing well actually professionally…since turning to God in the late 90s after being saved from a suicide attempt, voices really care….most are women i wanted to marry years ago…
    stopped taking meds top of this year… doing ok.. voices are at a level lower than they have been in 15 years.. so i can deal with this… yes, hear them all the time, when bored and idle, or when things happen. but when appropriate they are quiet and non obtrusive.. they also have been foretelling events to some extent, self fullfilling i suppose.
    anyway
    a beautiful mind – the john nash story really inspires me… but too afraid to say a word about it ..
    willing to tel my story in detail if interested sometime..
    lots to tell

    living with voices can be ok, especially when they love ya! now if i could weed out those that hate me, life could be bearable!

    Reply
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