A neuroscientist’s psychosis

As well as publishing scientific papers about mental illness, Schizophrenia Bulletin also publishes personal accounts of psychosis and schizophrenia. I’ve just discovered this incredible 2006 article where a neuroscientist recounts her personal experience of becoming psychotic.

It’s not only vividly descriptive but wonderfully lyrical as well, written with both honesty and insight.

I was awash in a sea of irrationality. The Voices swirled around me, teaching me their Wisdom. Their Wisdom was of the Deep Meaning, and I struggled to understand. They told me their secrets and insights, piece by piece. Slowly, I was beginning to make sense of it all. It was no delusion, I knew—in contrast to what the doctors said.

“Erin, you are a scientist,” they’d begin. “You are intelligent, rational. Tell me, then, how can you believe that there are rats inside your brain? They’re just plain too big. Besides, how could they get in?”

They were right. About my being smart, I mean; I was, after all, a graduate student in the neuroscience program at the University of British Columbia. But how could they relate that rationality to the logic of the Deep Meaning? For it was due to the Deep Meaning that the rats had infiltrated my system and were inhabiting my brain. They gnawed relentlessly on my neurons, causing massive degeneration. This was particularly upsetting to me, as I depended on a sharp mind for my work in neuroscience.


Link to ‘Being Rational’ in Schizophrenia Bulletin.


  1. Andrew
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Parasites, viruses, (creatures of unknown power and origin) create schizophrenia in the brain and some of them may have evolved to target us specifically. Maybe she really did have something eating away at her brain and her reaction was the result.

    When I went psychotic (as bad or worse than her) I thought there was things eating away at my brain. I didn’t take meds I became a radical health nut and I got better over time until I reached full mental health. I honestly believe that my genome expression overcame another’s, that it wasn’t just a malfunction or a breakdown, it was a full-fledged attack. This is kind of scary but the articles and research has been out there for years.

    Haunts me to this day! But I laugh it off… (dude, you thought you were Jesus?)

  2. gagoonies
    Posted February 9, 2011 at 9:34 am | Permalink

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