Marian @ Krysan


Planting Golden Seeds in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, and Durham



Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.”

― C. S. Lewis





Marian Moore


Aide Mémoire

  • Book: Rethinking Madness (2012)
  • Subject: Towards a Paradigm Shift in our Understanding & Treatment of Psychosis
  • Author: Paris Williams, Ph.D.



LETTER 1 (of 3) 

16 February 2013

Dear Friends ..


Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of being in the company of a group of people who hear voices that others do not. This was a first for me, someone who has been a voice hearer for almost 25 years — a long time to keep it quiet!  "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." — Anais Nin.

I know from my own private research that many people have the same anomalous experiences that were touched upon at the meeting, voice hearing being just one. However, as the participants revealed their stories, I became increasingly astonished by what I was learning.  For instance, I discovered that I am neither alone in remaining silent nor in having experienced, " ... a profound positive transformation that flies completely in the face of the mainstream texts about psychosis." — Paris Williams.

Like others before me who have taken the trouble to delve deeper and take less as read, "... common beliefs about psychosis and schizophrenia ... quickly began to slip away like so much sand through my fingers." — Paris Williams.  The meeting was pretty much like Alice's descent into the rabbit hole and I (for one) became curiouser and curiouser to know more of other people's experiences.

I am confident that as we try to disentangle what has largely remained hidden, we will enter a world where the truth is stranger than fiction.  This is indeed "my world view".  And there I must leave you at the start of a journey that promises to "... begin with the complete dismemberment of the brain disease theory of psychosis."  — Paris Williams.

Miracle rising?

Until the next time, I am,

Marian @ Krysan



LETTER 2 (of 3)

17 February 2013

Dear Friends


Before I write further on the often thorny subject of voice hearing, I respectfully request that you heed what quantum physicist Albert Einstein famously said: "I have no special talent.  I am only passionately curious." — Einstein

I rather suspect that, as an agent of change, Albert Einstein was no stranger to controversy — even today many years after his death.  I further suspect that our new-found friend, Paris Williams, is not without his critics.  That said, let's stay on safe ground whilst I examine Dr. Williams' concept of 'consensus reality', bearing in mind that (like Einstein) I have no special talent; and  (like Einstein) I am passionately curious.

So, to keep things simple, consensus reality is exactly what it says on the tin.  It is the set of beliefs and experiences considered to be valid according to an individual's society or group.  An anomalous experience on the other hand is a person's own subjective experience and is typically either a belief or a sensory experience.  This might include: 

  • a sound
  • a vision
  • a smell
  • a tactile sensation

These experiences would be considered invalid within the framework of consensus reality, that is, not in accordance to an individual's society or group — hence the stigma and discrimination that attaches itself to mental health patients, at least in the so-called developed world. A simple definition of a psychotic experience is an anomalous experience that causes significant distress and/or limitation.  Note the stress on the word 'significant'.

Here's what the author of I Never Promised You a Rose Garden has to say about Paris William's Rethinking Madness, the book under consideration here: "Every page in this book was exciting to me, offering clear, profound insights not only into the process of psychosis/alternative realities, but also into philosophical views about the human experience, including the spiritual element of the psychotic process. While Dr. Williams never trivialises the anguish of the psychic (and sometimes physical) pain mentally ill people endure, he is never without hope for their relief." — Joanne Greenberg.

Groundbreaking. Miracle rising?

I remain, sincerely yours,

Marian @ Krysan



LETTER 3 (of 3)

1 March 2013

Dear Friends


It is a brave soul who takes issue with the conventional wisdom of the medical model as it relates to mental health and recovery.  Challenges to the status quo are rarely welcomed and we should indeed tread carefully — not least because medications (psychotropic drugs) are 'not to be played around with', something I recently found to my cost.  

As someone all-too familiar with dream-states/alternative realities, I welcome Dr. Williams' insightful book and politely ask that others do likewise. The transformation of our NHS mental health services is dear to all of us and I know it is proceeding apace in the North East of England.  Nevertheless, as intimated elsewhere on this website, there's still some way to go and it's still all hands to the pump. 'Epiphanies welcome.  Apply within'.  

It was simply a matter of time before issues around (and research into) recovery/resilience entered popular culture via the trendsetters in our universities and elsewhere.  But, how do we (and they) define the messy notion of recovery, something which clearly means different things to different people?  Here's one delightful definition from Rethinking Madness:  "The goal of the recovery process is not to become normal.  The goal is to embrace our human vocation of becoming more deeply, more fully human ... To become the unique, awesome, never to be repeated human being that we are called to be." — Patricia Deegan*

Beautiful. This undoubtedly set the tone for the rest of the book and its American author's firm conclusion that:  "All of us, and indeed all living organisms, are imbued with an unfathomable intelligence and force that strives constantly for our survival and our growth; and it appears that it is this very organismic intelligence that intentionally initiates psychosis in a desperate attempt to survive what would otherwise be intolerable conditions." — Paris Williams.

Dr. Paris Williams invites us to suspend everything we think we know about psychosis and the deeper levels of human experience and join him in this plunge down the rabbit hole. Here's Joan Greenberg again:  "This book should be part of the training of every physician, psychiatrist, and pastoral counsellor, and owned by the family and friends of every mentally ill person as well as the sufferers themselves." — Joan Greenberg

Paradigm shift?  Miracle rising?  I hope so.

I remain,

Your friend, Marian



REFERENCE for the curious ...

WILLIAMS, PARIS (2012), Rethinking Madness: Towards a Paradigm Shift in Our Understanding and Treatment of Psychosis, pub. San Rafael, Sky's Edge Publishing.


CROSS-REFERENCES for the curious ...








QUOTATIONS for the curious ...

There are only two ways to live your life — one is as if nothing is a miracle, the other is as if everything is a miracle. — Albert Einstein 

We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already. — J. K. Rowling

Love is the great miracle cure.   Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.  — Louise L. Hay


PEACE for all ...

This peace is our very nature, not something we come across. It’s where we are, nearer than all else. We don’t come to it, we come from it. To find it is to allow ourselves to go back to the place we never left. (Douglas Harding. Quoted in Seeing Who You Really Are by Richard Lang)





The concept of recovery is rooted in the simple yet profound realization that people who have been diagnosed with mental illness are human beings. Like a pebble tossed into the center of a still pool, this simple fact radiates in ever larger ripples until every corner of academic and applied mental health science and clinical practice are affected. Those of us who have been diagnosed are not objects to be acted upon. We are fully human subjects who can act and in acting, change our situation. We are human beings and we can speak for ourselves. We have a voice and can learn to use it. We have the right to be heard and listened to. We can become self determining. We can take a stand toward what is distressing to us and need not be passive victims of an illness. We can become experts in our own journey of recovery.

The goal of recovery is not to get mainstreamed. We don't want to be mainstreamed. We say let the mainstream become a wide stream that has room for all of us and leaves no one stranded on the fringes.

The goal of the recovery process is not to become normal. The goal is to embrace our human vocation of becoming more deeply, more fully human. The goal is not normalization. The goal is to become the unique, awesome, never to be repeated human being that we are called to be. The philosopher Martin Heidegger said that to be human means to be a question in search of an answer. Those of us who have been labeled with mental illness are not de facto excused from this most fundamental task of becoming human. In fact, because many of us have experienced our lives and dreams shattering in the wake of mental illness, one of the most essential challenges that faces us is to ask, who can I become and why should I say yes to life?

To be human means to be a question in search of an answer. However, many of us who have been psychiatrically labeled have received powerful messages from professionals who in effect tell us that by virtue of our diagnosis the question of our being has already been answered and our futures are already sealed.

I remember people trying to make me participate in food shopping on Wednesday or to help bake bread or to go on a boat ride. But nothing anyone did touched me or moved me or mattered to me. I had given up. Giving up was a solution for me. The fact that I was unmotivated was seen as a problem by the people who worked with me. But for me, giving up was not a problem, it was a solution. It was a solution because it protected me from wanting anything. If I didn't want anything, then it couldn't be taken away. If I didn't try, then I wouldn't have to undergo another failure. If I didn't care, then nothing could hurt me again. My heart became hardened. The spring came and went and I didn't care. Holidays came and went and I didn't care. My friends went off to college and started new lives and I didn't care. A friend whom I had once loved very much came over to visit me and I didn't care. I remember sitting and smoking and saying almost nothing. And as soon as the clock struck 8, I remember interrupting my friend in mid sentence and telling her to go home because I was going to bed. Without even saying goodbye I headed for my bed. My heart was hard. I didn't care about anything.

My efforts to protect my breaking heart by becoming hard of heart and not caring about anything lasted for a long time. One thing I can recall is that the people around me did not give up on me. They kept inviting me to do things. I remember one day, for no particular reason, saying yes to helping with food shopping. All I would do was push the cart. But it was a beginning. And truly, it was through small steps like these that I slowly began to discover that I could take a stand toward what was distressing to me.

Recovery does not mean cure. Rather recovery is an attitude, a stance, and a way of approaching the days challenges. It is not a perfectly linear journey. There are times of rapid gains and disappointing relapses. There are times of just living, just staying quiet, resting and regrouping. Each person's journey of recovery is unique. Each person must find what works for them. This means that we must have the opportunity to try and to fail and to try again. In order to support the recovery process mental health professionals must not rob us of the opportunity to fail. Professionals must embrace the concept of the dignity of risk and the right to failure if they are to be supportive of us.


"Now that my house has burned to the ground, I have an unobstructed view of the rising moon!"  — Zen saying






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