Ireland Voices: Brian Hartnett

First Aired: 12-16-2009 -- 6 comments | Add comment
Brian Hartnett

Can recreational drugs be an opening to genuine spiritual awakening? Brian Hartnett’s passion for rave dance music — as well as alcohol and ecstasy — cost him his career.

Doctors labeled his paranoia, telepathy, and voices symptoms of schizophrenia. But Brian went on to become one of the founders of Hearing Voices Ireland, and discover a new, heightened spirituality.

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6 comments on “Ireland Voices: Brian Hartnett

  1. Hi Brian Hartnett here. It is a few months since I did this interview and I am glad to see it has been downloaded over 3,000 times world wide. Thanks to Will Hall of Madness Radio for giving me the opportunity to reach out to so many people.
    Ever since my life took a diffeent route to most people around me I have had a desire to survive and to help others in a similar situation. I have found that telling my story as honestly as possible and listening to other peoples stories and sharing ideas etc is the best way to do this.
    I dont profess to understand everything I experience but I have learned to go with it, stop when I feel something wrong and generally stick to simple answers to complicated questions. I first started meds in 1996, I always took them as I was supposed too, one brand at a time, and never stopped, reduced or experimented. Last year I weened myself off over six months and stopped for six months but recenty, weighing up all the options I went back on what I started on in 1996.
    I think a lot of people confuse taking meds with their battle to be heard and respected. The attitude of those that judge us can lead us to be irrespsonsible in takings meds. Look after yourself as well as posssible and everyone benefits. I have a duty to myself, my partner Michelle, my family and friends, everyone else and of course god and the greater reality to do this.
    Thanks to Gabrielle and Will for their comments above. Feel free to contact me if you wish.
    Have a good day.

  2. Hi, I really enjoyed listening to this show. I think what Brian talked about mirrors a lot of how I feel about the approach towards certain experiences from the health industry today in western psychiatry. People should talk more about their experiences, and psychiatrists/ the overall system needs to embrace the idea of wellness beyond meds. Sometimes heightened states can be very real and there are many people who are not even diagnosed who verify spritual and human connections beyond the “shell” of reality. Something as simple as feeling another’s emotions could be an example. Taking a medication can help reduce a heightened state for people (not always), yet they don’t “fix” any psycho-spiritual basis of our experiences. We need to accept that people are more than the brain, or body, or mind but the full spectrum and take an approach of liberation not tranquilization. And the attitude of the industry causes real problems for those who seek full recovery.

  3. hi there!
    i really enjoyed this show tonight, but found the background music rather distracting.
    just a note. otherwise, i’m a big fan of this program!

    1. Hi there – glad you liked the show. We don’t usually have background music of course but I thought I’d try something different given Brian’s story. I was wondering though if it’s just distracting — maybe I’ll make a different version without the music. Thanks for the feedback! – Will

  4. I’ve had heightened awareness experiences from taking recreational drugs in the past and I have also had some experiences with Prozac, klonopin and navane (a so-called anti-psychotic tranquilizer) that believe it or not I would call spiritual– though the negatives with these psych drugs are so huge I would never want to take then again to return to those brief and not very meaningful spiritual
    states. (I have a friend who says seroquel has an LSD like effect for him, and seroquel does now seem
    to have some market on the street as a recreational drug, but I have not talked with many other people who had spiritual experiences related to psych drugs.) People sometimes have heightened experiences of reality even from alcohol.

    I see these as potentials within the human mind and experience that are opened or tapped into by the drugs. The problem then becomes how to access that part of yourself without the drug, because of the negative side of the drug experience. In brian’s story he had the heightened experiences even after stopping drugs and alcohol, but needed time and learning to be able to manage and handle the heightened experience. Some people don’t want to do that or can’t, the heightened experience doesn’t stay with them, they don’t see the value in it or they see it as too tie up in the negative addiction part. When we have huge meaningful spiritual experiences then
    we set them aside and don’t value them or try to learn from them, we can be left depressed or like something is missing. Helper like therapists or friends can overlook the value in drug experiences or share in the persons fear of them.
    If we were more open about telepathy, group consciousness, and contacting spiritual realms, maybe young people like Brian would have had places to go or teachers to meet who could guide access to the states and help deal with the negative sides. Getting high is a natural part of human life throughout history and can be a healthy party of personal growth, creativity, and healing. It can also lead to addiction and losing your career and ending up with a psych label and blocked for years. Brian’s story is really great for understanding the complexity of all this and offering a new
    way forward by talking about it openly and valuing the reality of telepathy voices spiritual realms and other things people go through. – will

    1. Hi Will,

      It seems that still people know little about the brain and how important our experiences are. Really, the collective experience of reality is important to the future of humanity. I don’t think we can deny that we are more than just our brains and bodies, that the mind is more than just a chemical-electrical reaction to the elements of life.

      If more people woke up to the importance of true health then we’d have more of a chance to explore different modes of perception. Hopefully in the future we will have a more humane approach towards mental health, so the future generations will have a better grasp on life and our role in protecting the earth.

      We are all humans trying to adapt to our circumstances the best way we can, the real problems I believe are part of the cultural underpinnings at work in the present age.

      Right now I believe the true voices of the people are rising up because real change starts now. I think many are tired of people with the most money always making the rules. That’s why personal experiences are so important.

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