Mode Thinking Schema
Struggling with psychosis, the following schema of thinking might naturally occur to you:
I noticed that in the modality of the imagination, there are three layers of thinking. (This modality in contrast to the five sensory modalities and proprioception -- feelings inside the body.) The first layer – that of intentional, deliberate conscious thinking – I called “mode”. As in “this is the mode you want to be in.” The second layer, which I called quasi-mode, consists of ruminations and automatic thoughts. Stuff you aren’t necessarily in intentional control over. But not yet layer 3, non-mode thinking, which is outright hallucinations and intrusive thoughts.
Since this is a three-layer model, instead of saying “layers 1, 2, and 3” I decided to use the more elegant manner of using the first three Greek letters: alpha, beta, and gamma.
Alpha thinking is where you want to be. Beta, you should be wary of. It can lead to destabilization. Gamma is outright dangerous – pathological, you could say. Even at home safe in bed, I’ve discovered that one should probably always avoid gamma thinking.
An interesting question arises – “What about external reality?” Reality kind of resembles gamma material – it is totally outside your control, and it seemingly comes from outside. But I discovered that this isn’t actually the case. Having lunch with a sane, rational person, one can stay on level 1, because the other is on level 1 also. Having lunch with a schizophrenic, however, may come to resemble level 2 or 3 stuff. If ~they are not in control of their thinking, listening to them is just as hopeless as listening to your own hallucinations.
Obviously, I greatly admire the treatment team, which has to directly confront gamma material on a daily basis. However, as a recovering schizophrenic, I am coming to learn that alpha, and perhaps beta, are where I really want to be. Mental illness of others can actually trigger and destabilize me.