Are You in a Delusion?
Flying Into Windows

By now you will have some understanding of how the brain manufactures a different reality for each person. When a person’s view of reality radically differs from others, he or she may be considered delusional. A delusion is a very vulnerable state of mind because obvious dangers are hidden. Consider the fate of birds that fail to see windows. Delusions are the cause of many disasters which strike individuals, couples, families, religions, companies and countries.

Last century Germany attacked Russia, Japan attacked the United States, and the U.S. attacked North Vietnam with devastating consequences for all. The leaders of these countries firmly believed victory was possible. Would they have gambled everything if they knew they were certain to lose?

The Titanic was considered unsinkable. Jim Jones and David Koresh led their followers to gruesome and unnecessary deaths. Some predicted the world would end at the end of the 20th century. Artificial birth control continues to be condemned in a world bursting with people.

Common Individual Delusions (or Famous Last Words):

I can’t get pregnant.

Since I’m a good driver, I don’t need to wear a seat belt.

Once I have everything I want I’ll be happy all of the time.

My fiance will quit drinking or fooling around after the wedding.

They’ll never catch me.

I can quit smoking anytime I want to.

No matter how I act, he/she will never leave me.

Suicide is the only way to solve my problems.

I’ll buy it, everyone is in debt.

I couldn’t catch anything from him/her.

Higher education is a waste of time.

Clues that you may be in a delusion: 

  • are friends or relatives constantly warning you to be more careful?
     
  • do you have a sense they may be spending a lot of time talking about you?
     
  • are their warnings becoming more forceful or louder?
     
  • are you often in trouble with the law?
     
  • do you often find yourself defending your actions?
     
  • are you in constant conflict with others?
     
  • do your thoughts race much of the time?
     
  • do you have insomnia or do you need a lot less sleep?
     
  • do you believe you have discovered something no one else knows and are you trying to keep it a secret?
     
  • do you dream of fame and fortune as the result of your plans?
     
  • do you expect quick and lasting success from your efforts?
     
  • are you on a “natural high” much of the time?
     
  • do you think you can predict the future?
     
  • do your plans dominate conversations?
     
  • do you ignore less optimistic opinions?
     
  • would you prefer not to write out a detailed plan of action?

If you answered yes to many of the above questions, you may be in a delusion. The longer you remain in this state of mind, the greater your chances of “flying into a window,” and the more painful your awakening will be. Try to consider more factors to balance your outlook. How realistic are your predictions? Ask a true friend, relative or impartial person for an honest opinion of your situation and what you should do next.

If the above analysis has exposed a delusion, you may find yourself in a crisis and feel intensely anxious and depressed. You may not be able to sleep, eat or sit still. You may abuse alcohol and drugs to calm your nerves and quiet your racing mind. You may desperately focus on doing little things in order to distract yourself from the big problem. You may feel suicidal, and if so, seek help. Everyone deserves a second chance.

The crisis will pass more quickly if you retrace your steps to the point where you left the rational path and lost track of reality. Find someone who has more experience with the issues you are grappling with. Swallow your pride and listen to his or her advice carefully. Taking steps to avoid a catastrophe is nothing to be ashamed of. The crisis created by an exposed delusion will crush your spirit and confidence for awhile. You will not trust your judgement for a long time. However, as you take steps to clean up the mess, your confidence will return and you are unlikely to repeat the same mistakes. You may also discover that recovering from a delusion is a fertile source of wisdom.

Many of my clients have great difficulty forgiving themselves for errors that have caused major losses or harm. To foster a sense of understanding and forgiveness, I have them compare their mistakes to ones made by others. You may use the following information to do the same.


Blunder City

Newspapers regularly publish articles that clearly illustrate the concept and consequences of mistakes caused by delusions and other temporary lapses in judgement.

Religious cultists, convinced that flat tires are the key to salvation, created major traffic jams in Manila by deflating tires on scores of buses and cars.

As long as he can remember, Judge Charles H. has put a happy face on his signature in hopes of brightening someone’s day. After he signed a man’s execution date with his usual flourish, he provoked an outcry.

A Church of England vicar said that women priests were “bloody bitches” who should be burned at the stake like medieval witches.
“I would shoot the bastards,” he added for good measure.

Police in Vinton, Louisiana, were surprised to find 20 people crammed into a 1990 Pontiac Grand Am. And they were dismayed to discover that all 20 were completely nude. The Vinton police chief says the naked travellers were Pentecostalists from Texas who claim the Lord told them to get rid of their belongings—including their clothes—and go to Louisiana.

A former Police Chief was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for embezzling $2.34 million from a police fund and for income tax evasion.

A fight over a dollar coin has resulted in Toronto’s 37th killing of the year, police said.

Four young men killed by a freight train as they lay on the tracks in Manassas, Va., may have been playing “chicken.”

A rock singer who defecated on stage and tossed excrement at his audience was convicted by a jury that rejected his argument of artistic freedom.

An unemployed Italian smashed a toe on Michelangelo’s David with a hammer. He claims a Renaissance ghost told him to do it.

A Russian poacher was electrocuted when he tried to catch fish by putting a live electric cable into a pond.

A woman who tried to hire a hit man from a company listed in the telephone book as Guns for Hire has been sentenced to 4½ years in prison for plotting to kill her husband.

Television evangelist Jimmy S. made only one reference to the incident in California, where he was discovered in a car with a prostitute. “The Lord told me it’s flat none of your business,” he told worshippers.

A 14 year-old boy has been expelled from school in Colorado City, Arizona, for wearing a T-shirt depicting The Penguin, Batman’s arch enemy, which the principal complained was a sign of devil worship.

Rodney K., the black motorist whose videotaped beating by police led to the Los Angeles riots, was arrested on a charge of drunken driving.

A motorist, upset his car broke down in New York City traffic, shot it.

A woman psychologist has been charged with illegal confinement, dangerous use of a firearm and uttering death threats after she allegedly tried to force a male psychologist to impregnate her.

Staff at a British hospital for the mentally ill mocked and terrorised patients, using one as a “human ashtray” and putting pictures of human brains in a lobotomy victim’s locker. Another patient was sent a live snake in a package.

Two Minneapolis police officers were suspended for taking two apparently drunken native Americans to the hospital in the trunk of their squad car.

A former New York chief judge was indicted on charges he extorted $20,000 US from an ex-lover.

A former Suicide Prevention Centre volunteer confessed he slit the wrists of a chronic caller who became too demanding.

A man turned in a [live] artillery shell at a suburban Scarborough station house saying the First World War relic had been used for years as a doorstop.

An Internal Revenue Service agent was suspended after it was discovered that he had filed false tax returns and failed to report income he had earned.

The St. Louis prosecutor, who has crusaded against prostitution and pornography, was charged with soliciting a prostitute.

A man who wanted “to see if he had the power to derail” an Amtrak passenger liner got a 17½-year sentence.

A teenage couple in Bossier City, La. chose a department store’s bedding display for a display of midday sex.

A man has been charged with sexual assault after a customs officer was grabbed by her breasts as she searched a car.

People shouting their sexual organs had been stolen have set off riots in Nigeria in which several people have been killed.

Michigan teachers have stifled plans to include a breathing exercise as part of a health course, bowing to opponents who are worried the deep breathing could promote devil-worship or mysticism.

The first of six British women who had hoped to give birth among dolphins in the Red Sea delivered a baby boy at an Eilat hospital instead.

Three deaf-mutes who broke into the music room of a New Zealand high school were arrested after they failed to hear a burglar alarm go off.

The only drug and alcohol counsellor in the remote community of Wrigley has been charged with bootlegging.

A drowsy asthma sufferer who grabbed the gun under her pillow rather than the inhaler she keeps there was taken to hospital with a bullet wound to the face.

Cooking Italian could endanger your freedom in Arkansas. A bill introduced in the legislature could make possession of oregano illegal, and punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

A Brantford drug dealer who brought a gym bag full of marijuana to court has been sentenced to 22 months in jail.

An investment banker accused of assaulting a flight attendant and defecating on a food-service cart during a United Airlines flight was grounded Monday.

A Honolulu man who was beaten into a coma, allegedly by his anger-management counsellor, has died.

A woman with a painful callus used a shotgun and a lot of vodka to try to remove it after a razor failed.

A bill-collecting company that used curses and death threats while mercilessly hounding a couple over a $2,000 US credit-card debt has been ordered to pay them $11 million.

Mike T. came home to a hero’s welcome Tuesday after three years in prison, basking in the cheers of a sweltering crowd and shielded from questions about his rape of a beauty queen.

An Italian man who was late for his plane called police on his cellular telephone to say there was a bomb on board so the flight would be delayed.

A 17-year old was arrested for allegedly selling cocaine in the back parking lot of the London, Ontario police station.

The entire community (20) of the remote Long Dog Reserve has been airlifted out after being spooked by stories their homes are haunted.

A Thai Buddhist monk who wanted to uphold the honour of the clergy decapitated the abbot of his temple for having an affair with a nun.

A Swedish teacher who undressed in front of her class to spice up a lesson has been forced to resign.

An Italian woman who taught her talking blackbird to make death threats against her neighbour has been told to move the winged messenger out of earshot.

Twenty-three third graders were strip-searched by a teacher and crossing guard looking for about $20 a pupil had reported missing.

North Carolina officials have suspended a brain surgeon’s license because of “erratic behaviour,” such as leaving for lunch in the middle of an operation.

Four Britons skied naked down a mountain in the French Alps for a wager and met with a frosty reception from police.

New York police officers are accused of drunken debauchery that included pawing women and sliding naked down a beer-slicked escalator.

The jilted lover who dive-bombed his small Cessna into the living room of his pregnant former girlfriend is dead.

The former owner of the Los Angeles Kings pleaded guilty to defrauding several banks of more than $236 million.

One fire-fighter was taken off active duty and another suspended after investigators blamed them for setting last year’s Malibu wildfire that killed three people and destroyed 350 homes.

The police chief of Camden Point has resigned amid charges he made $27,600 Cdn. worth of calls to a psychic hot line at taxpayer expense.

A San Francisco woman says her boyfriend stabbed her and drank her blood two days after they saw the movie Interview With The Vampire.

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