Several years ago I had a schwanoma in my spine, I underwent surgery, it was removed, but a couple of days later I developed an infection of my central nervous system and had to be confined to bed. Hallucinations, delusions, impaired thinking were interesting experiences considering my training as a therapist, and my experience running a transitional home for the chronically mentally ill. I was getting first hand experience with psychosis. But one experience in particular sticks with me. I was laying in bed about 11:30 PM, listening to my son, Nick, drive his ATV through the woods behind our house. I could see the lights shining on the trees as he moved around. When my wife, Carole, came in I asked her what Nick was doing riding the ATV so late. Carole said: Nick's upstairs watching movies. Now, I had never had any cause to question my wife's veracity, she is a very honest person, But my first thought when she said Nick was upstairs was to think: Why is Carole lying to me? I mean, I could hear the engine, I could see the lights, so Carole must be lying to me, WHY?
I realized the next day, that I had been hallucinating, fortunately the psychotic symptoms only lasted as long as the infection, but what struck me was how sure I was that Nick was riding his ATV and Carole was lying to me. That was reality for me at that time. Psychosis is defined as an inability to differentiate between reality and fantasy. So, the next time you're talking to some fundamentalist and you think your cogent arguments might make a difference, consider the possibility that they may be psychotic. Of course that makes one ask the question: can one choose to be psychotic?