Highly Intuitive or Psychotic?

via Daily Prompt: Symptom

The symptoms of a highly intuitive person and someone who is psychotic are so similar they can be hard to differentiate. Some examples are seeing and hearing things others can’t, tremors, agitation, and hypersensitivity to noises. So, how do you know which a person is?

I’ve always been intuitive, but I was very young—less than five—when I realized my intuitive abilities were scaring the adults around me, especially my mother. I learned from their reactions that sharing them was not a good idea, so I kept information to myself and began to suppress the ability. In other words, I formed the belief intuition was unacceptable. It would be years before I challenged this belief and allowed my intuitions to guide me. Still, I am very careful about sharing my instincts. I know from my early life experience I could easily be labeled as odd, peculiar, or even crazy. For those who are far more intuitive than I, the chances of worse labels or diagnoses are very real—up to and including psychosis.

Recently, a friend of mine reported she felt vibrations in her body, was overstimulated by her environment, and was having problems remembering how to perform simple tasks. She believed she may be having a stroke and was taken to the hospital for evaluation. After the doctors ruled out physical causes, her behavior—agitation, shaking, inability to do everyday tasks, hearing what others were thinking—looked like a psychotic break. But was this the case?

A few weeks earlier, she had decided to accept and explore her suppressed intuitive abilities, which I would classify as exceptional. Now that she was opening up to this possibility, could it be she was sensing things for the first time or being overstimulated by too much information and her body was responding accordingly? Highly intuitive people report physical symptoms, like tremors, which may be explained as the human body’s reaction to sensory input outside the norm. The nervous system is geared to handle input from what we see, hear, smell, taste, and feel, but it is not as conditioned to receive an abundance of input simultaneously or input from sources that it does not recognize.

Most medical doctors will do as trained and treat the symptoms they see, which often includes an antipsychotic. Unfortunately, this medicine can complicate matters even further. The side effects can include hallucinations and agitation, which are symptoms of psychosis. A person experiencing intuitive visions for the first time might also appear to be having hallucinations and be agitated. So, how do you tell the difference between someone who is highly intuitive, someone who is psychotic, or someone having a reaction to meds? One way to know is if the person is paranoid about everyone, then they are most likely are experiencing a psychosis. If they still trust someone, they are likely not.

Is it possible that some people diagnosed as psychotic are actually just highly intuitive? Until there is a better connection among medicine, psychiatry, and our natural, instinctive abilities, it will continue to be difficult to know. Have you had experience with this? What are your thoughts?


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