Get an intimate inside look into a therapy session with a person diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Jonathan Harnisch In Session Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT): An Intimate Inside Look Into A Therapy Session With A Person Diagnosed With Schizoaffective Disorder
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) combines mindfulness and cognitive therapy. The main idea of this is that we tend to have thought patterns that make us upset. By habit, we typically let these patterns flow without thinking about their logic. We also tend to reflect on them as if they provide new information and are actually things to react to. MBCT is a way of identifying these patterns and learning to simply observe them without reacting them with the typical distress that usually accompanies them. Since a lot of my distress comes from very well defined patterns in thinking (e.g. My dad ripped me off) I thought MBCT could be very helpful for me and so far it has been.
My doctor and I are so glad I have been finding our therapy sessions helpful! Like any skill, it takes practice, and there will be and have been ups and downs.
To review the concepts within the presented video recording:
FAB: This is a phenomenon (rather than a technique itself) in which we tend to judge others' behaviors more harshly than our own. Specifically, we tend to see our own negative behavior as situational, while we see others' negative behavior as related to their personality (who they are as a person). In other words, we don't tend to see other people's behavior in context.
With that said, I think making the FAB often leads me to have very negative and even catastrophic beliefs about those around me. For example, when my caregiver, can't help me with something, it's [not necessarily] because "she doesn't like me," rather than "she's super busy," or "dealing with stress at home."
As I know now, I think an important thing I can and have been practicing is to consider alternative explanations for others' behaviors.
MBCT: This is a combination of mindfulness and cognitive therapy. It suggests that we tend to think irrationally in many situations, and that this becomes habitual. We often just let our thoughts take us to a distressing place, even though we know the thoughts may not be logical, and we never really find the particular thought process productive. MBCT encourages us to observe the thought processes, without buying into it and letting us get worked up about the thoughts. So, for example, instead of playing out an unpleasant interaction in our mind until it upsets us, we would (1) notice we were having the thought, and then (2) say, "Ok, that's interesting, I'm thinking about my fight with so-and-so. That's unpleasant, but not worth thinking about right now. Let me refocus on something else." In a sense, when I notice I am ruminating, I am letting go of the thought process.
I have found meditation as not only relaxing and grounding sometimes, but also a way of finding out where your mind goes. It can clue you into where your mind may go when you're not meditating. It can help you identify the distressing topics you will probably find yourself habitually thinking about during the day (e.g. I was ripped off financially), so you can then practice letting them pass without buying into them emotionally. We want to do this with thought patterns that are either irrational and/or unproductive.
However, if we're thinking of something that is rational and/or productive, then those are the thoughts we want to follow and invest in emotionally.
Having written this out has helped me clear things up some from the video recorded therapy session. I continue with therapy and living life with schizophrenia.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to achieve my 10th consecutive day of positive, well-balanced and mindful mental illness recovery, but that is okay and to be expected. All my efforts lately in my own mental health, recovery and peace of mind finally caught up to me and finally exhausted me. I am hanging in there with hope. However, for now the beast of schizophrenia has again taken over again. I will restart another time, hopefully soon. No worries, just keeping things real and sharing my experiences, triumphs and bumps in the road. I know that when one door closes, another always opens. It’s these hallways that are the real bitch. — Feeling overwhelmed in New Mexico.
— Feeling overwhelmed at The Hot Club.
I am feeling a little bit better and stronger now. But no, I am not fine. I am sad, sick, hurt, angry, mad, and disappointed. But you know what? I don’t think people understand how stressful it is to explain what’s going on in your head when you don’t even understand it yourself. So I am not sure if I am feeling better or I’m just used to being sick. I did go on a spending spree, spending a little over $10,000 throughout the night. My inheritance was stolen due to family conflict and inheritance, medical, and other power of attorney rights. I'll put on a smile and move on. It will hurt, but I will survive. Sometimes I don’t feel like to live. I don’t want to kill myself. I just want it all to stop or go away. I want to be calm. I want to be happy. I feel tired. It’s a kind of tired that sleep can’t fix. So often I just hope I fall asleep and never wake up. I’m scared. I’m scared of people. I’m scared of doctors. I’m scared of disease. I’m scared of life. I’m scared of death. But most of all I’m scared of me. All I really need is the right medication, whose side effects won’t kill me or make me worse. Doctors who listen and care. Family members who won’t judge me, and are willing to help me in my journey, friends who try to understand, my bed, comfy pillows, a heating pad, blankets a good night’s rest and above all fucking cure.
— Jonathan Harnisch
JONATHAN HARNISCH FILM NYU FILM | MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE | SCHIZOPHRENIA SPECTRUM | AUTHOR | ARTIST | BLOGGER | PODCAST HOST | PATENT HOLDER | HEDGE FUND MANAGER | FILM & TV PRODUCER | MUSICIAN
Jonathan Harnisch: Musings on Mental Illness
Per request of my wife: I just woke up from another nap and I write down my scattered thoughts on emotional pain and in a state of complete confusion and disorder in my current life situation. Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most though it might, just might return even if just for a second. I believe I have lost the battle with my own mind, but I still carry on feeling completely alone in the enterprise, which is where I want to be. I want to be alone. It is the closest thing I can think of that will press the pause button on life, especially with other people. I am a bad person to my wife, and to my wife, my biggest fear has always been that eventually you would see me the way I see myself. I keep thinking of saying good-bye to my own sanity. I believe I have lost this war, perhaps a long time ago. My mind has always been a dark place and not somewhere I would want my worst enemy to be. Nonetheless, I still battle depression. And man, am I tired. I have always wanted to feel like me again because it has been a very long time to feel like somebody else or as people say the old me and I end up feeling gone as I go deeper and deeper into oblivion. I still just need to be alone without any more external drama or chaos. I do not know how to deal with it except through anger, disdain, or withdrawing completely, and yet keeping up with my art when I can. It is saving me so far. But I believe for my own good, and others around me, I believe I just need to be alone for now not to be lonely, but to find some sort of enjoyment or even any interest in my free time to be me and myself. Otherwise, I serve no purpose and certainly no positive purpose. I don't think I ever have been meant to be, or have any purpose, except communicating through my art, mainly my writing and to share it to those who cannot. I do have nothing else to lose. I feel the stress of everything in the world at once trying to claw its way into my mind constantly, and I need a way to push through life before it's too long. Something like this sort of writing, or maybe music, or at times just sleeping through life, and not participating. I have these miserable feelings inside me that I can't seem to control, though it feels like I can and I continue to fail, hurting people, and causing other people's own anguish, wretchedness, hatred, and so forth. I feel that I cause the same to myself. So I stand back. I no longer interact with people due to the bizarre conflict I do not know how to handle. I continue to fight for my wife and kittens but not myself and but because in reality, giving up is just not an option. It never has been. But so far I have lost. I walk away from day to day life just because I want peace and day-to-day life keeps following me, as well as the past. I try not to argue with other people in my life and I still have hope for something. I just don't know what I am hoping for, maybe just peace of mind and no more distress or conflict. If I do pull through the chaos it will be because I had been my own hero once again. It will need to be that way. No one can destroy me. I destroy myself, rather the schizophrenia does. Please just save me. Fix me. I have fought this battle more than once and I have still not won yet. It creeps up on me and terrifies me to pieces. That's enough for now. I am being as honest as I can possibly be. Love me, hate me, hurt me, or kill me. But I keep on. I'm still here, entirely confused about how to relate to other people, real people. I am a mental health problem, not a person. I am schizophrenia. I am no longer a person. Not anymore. I sit back and watch the world go round me. I am a failure. The only place where my dreams become impossibilities has been my own mind. I can't see what is actually possible, something good, and something better than the hand of cards I have been dealt so far. The war against my own mind still exists on a continuous loop. And that is why I keep fighting even if nobody is aware of it. I have been absent from the external world with my broken mind. But I do have hope. They call it depression. They call it schizophrenia and so forth. I call it war. I will leave it at that for now. I know it will barely if at all make sense to many people, but I could be wrong. I can’t give up and I won’t give up. Considering I've been diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar, PTSD, borderline personality disorder, Tourette's syndrome, diabetes, anxiety and depression, a rare blood disease, dyslexia, and cancer I am doing pretty okay. I'm fine. I'm just not happy. I'd rather be honest than impressive.
Distributed worldwide by Shorts International in Full HD. A determined man storms into a wax museum. The museum comes alive. Moods turn steamy as different fantasies come into play. A sobering sense of the inevitable begins to creep in.Harnisch's WAX & ON THE BUS TV channels available w/ AT&T HD PREMIER TIER PACKAGE and can be viewed on Channel 1789. Otherwise DIRECTV® HD EXTRA PACK and can be viewed on Channel 568. WAX is an adaptation of a chapter from Jonathan Harnisch's literary series (2013-2014). See shorts.tv for Int'l TV listings.
—Jonathan Harnisch, screenwriter, executive producer.
Man storms into a wax museum. The museum comes alive. Moods turn steamy as different fantasies come into play. A sobering sense of the inevitable begins to creep in.
Indie Film Award: Best Short Film
Indie Film Award: Best Lead Actor
Indie Film Award: Best Direction
Indie Film Award: Best Cinematography
Indie Film Award: Best Writing
Accolade Award: Best Lead Actor
Accolade Award: Best Direction
Accolade Award: Best Editing
ReelHeART Film Festival: Honorable Mention
SkyFest Film Festival: 4th Place
Sarasota Fringe Festival: Finalist
Macon Film Festival: Finalist
Bare Bones Film Festival: Finalist
Kent Film Festival: Finalist
Indie Film Jam: Finalist
Motion Film Festival: Finalist
Big Bear Lake Film Festival: Finalist
International Distribution Deal
CONSIDER AN ALTERNATIVE EXPLANATION
I take on and tackle Tuesday, April 14,2015 after recent bouts with severe depression and turn a bad day around. I spend the second half of this film in a cognitive behavioral therapy session where my psychologist and I primarily discuss F.A.B. The Fundamental Attribution Bias. It was a great session. I am glad how I was able to slow it down when it became overwhelming. We mainly discussed the F.A.B. The Fundamental Attribution Bias. It's where we assume our own negative traits are situational, and others' negative traits are part of their personality. It's probably somewhere in the middle for many of us. Either way, whether it's because of the F.A.B., cognitive distortions, or delusions… we should consider alternative explanations frequently. Our instinct is to follow the same paths, to the same conclusions. Considering alternative explanations can help us figure out what's going on logically, rather than habitually. My psychologist used the example of a man from that morning who was driving erratically in front of him. My doctor thought, "What a jerk." It made him feel angry, then, when he saw a dog in his car; he considered that he was taking the dog to the vet. (He probably wasn't! But he may have been upset over something else, and driving like a jerk.) But considering this possibility made him feel better and as I may have astutely pointed out: prevented him from being a jerk, giving him the finger or something. It's been a lot to think about and so I have not shot any new footage since recording this film though some good opportunities came up. I have taken the liberty time to think about all of this stuff, and as we had continued without recording 2 days later. I finally decided to post this film, Consider an Alternative Explanation.
— Jonathan Harnisch