• THE ANOIKSIS EXPERIMENT

    manifesto - theory - map - experience

    MIND HACKING CONDITIONS OF (DI)STRESS 

  • ANOIKSIS...BECAUSE OUR MINDS MATTER...

    What if one word could help change the world?

     FOR (SELF)EMPAT

    IMAGINE

    Imagine a life in which we have a sense of what to expect and know what to do for ourselves and for others when we enter conditions of (di)stress within our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual realms. What if change could be achieved by adding a 'simple' word to our vocabulary? The Anoiksis Experiment is an artistic installation of the word Anoiksis into society - one mind at a time...

    WE ARE NOT ALONE

    We often think we are alone when we enter conditions of distress, but we are not:

     

    1 in 2 people will deal with a mental health crisis in their lives. 

    1 in 13 people will have a psychotic experience before the age of 75

    1 in 14 people will self-harm

    1 in 5 people have suicidal thoughts

    1 in 15 people attempt suicide

    1 in 5 people will be suffering right now but are afraid to talk about it...

     

    Why are we so afraid to talk about our experiences? 

     

    This is my Anoiksis speaking...

    OUR STORIES MATTER

    The story-lens from which we view conditions of distress shapes how we manage the distress: as individuals, as families, as healthcare professionals, and as a society. Just look at history. When we thought distress to be an evil spirit or a fly stuck in our skull, we attempted to let it out by creating a hole- otherwise known as trepanation. When we thought mental distress to be related to bad blood, we developed bloodletting. This cannot be stressed enough: The story we tell, determines how we act!

    WHAT STORY ARE WE TELLING OURSELVES NOW?

    In our society there are a lot of taboos surrounding our conditions of distress. Be it a combination of physical, emotional, mental or spiritual crisis. The current story-lens tends to focus on conditions of distress as illness. The story of illness has consequences for how we act. If associate illness with 'weakness' or 'broken'. We do not want to be perceived as weak or as being broken, so we tend to hide or suppress our conditions of distress. Even to the point that we do not recognize our own conditions of distress until it is too late. 

    CHANGE IS NEEDED

    When we do not know how talk about the subjective experiences of distress, we do not know how to recognize distress as we enter it, or what to do when we are in deep distress. We don’t recognize what is happening or respond until there is a crisis in our distress. Our broader society is too often avoidant, fearful, and dismissive of extreme conditions of distress. We easily become disconnected from our family members, friends, and or colleagues. Change is needed. The current way of how we manage extreme conditions of distress is costing billions in society each year. 

    BRIDGING THE EMPATHY GAP

    To deal with our extreme conditions of distress we tend to give labels. Psychosis, depression, addiction. But giving a name to an experience does not help us understand or talk about an experience. Without a deeper understanding of the subjective experiences of our distress, labels will continue to perpetuate stereotypes, fear and stigma. Our current story lens of distress is fragmented, incomplete, and, as such, can be harmful in many ways. What if one word could help bridge this gap? 

    THIS IS AN EXPERIMENT

     

    EXPERIMENT?

    If you are seeking a practical way to make a small change in your life with a potentially big impact in a life, then join us on this quest to have better (self)support when we experience distress. Is this for real? How do you think this can be achieved? 

    STEP 1

    Simply decide to add the word Anoiksis to your vocabulary. A strange word, but I can do that!

    STEP 2

    Learn what the word Anoiksis represents by reading the manifesto. Sounds simple enough, where is the catch?

    STEP 3

    Practice using the word when your mind, body, heart, spirit are in distress. Ah, there is the catch...I need to activate my brain to understand just how radical the change this word represents...

  • JOIN THE EXPERIMENT

    Okay, I'm Curious

  • WHAT IS ANOIKSIS?

     

    MEANING

    Anoiksis is the name of the Dutch association run by and for those of with experience of psychotic states.  Anoiksis is an ancient Greek word meaning ‘Open Mind’.  Wait! What? Why are we talking about psychosis?

    DISTRESS AND PSYCHOSIS

    Psychosis may be seen as the most extreme condition of distress

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     We are working towards a new premise for psychosis that is inspired by Anoiksis. In which we take data from lived experiences as crucial.  Anoiksis is important because it moves beyond a diagnosis, challenging us to look at what it may feel like to be in Anoiksis.

     

    In this, we view Anoiksis as a survival mechanism in reaction to high-impact life events (positive and negative). Where we go when change is needed, be it emotional change, mental change, spiritual change, emotional change, or physical change. We view Anoiksis as an altered state of consciousness, much like fever or delirium, in which sense-perceptions and forms of thought change drastically in order to disrupt. Be it in reaction to an infection, inflammation, spiritual emergency, mental or emotional patterns, and provide new possibilities.

     

    By activating one's imagination in this state, people are able to generate life-altering insights and have the potential for positive personal, relational, and more broad systemic transformation. In this state, the brain is an ally, not an enemy. However, if we don’t have the right navigation tools in Anoiksis, we can get stuck and suffer. We call this (Deep) Anoiksis.Gebruik een tekstgedeelte om uw waarden te beschrijven, of laat meer informatie zien, vat een onderwerp samen of vertel een verhaal. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore.

    FROM PSYCHOSIS TO ANOIKSIS - BREAKING THE MYTHS

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  • Hello & Welcome!

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  • A SUMMARY OF THE ANOIKSIS THEORY

    AND HOW TO USE IT

     

    THE ANOIKSIS THEORY consists of five exploration themes or 'Five Pillars of Consideration'. By identifying these themes and how they are related, we can recognize and shift the system. When we learn to navigate the map that this theory represents, the state of Anoiksis provides clues for deeper, fundamental needs. By identifying and serving those needs, it’s possible to move through disruptive and transformative states. There is no set process or a specific order in which to explore these themes. Depending on the situation, it may be more relevant to first look at: ‘what is needed’ or ‘what has happened?’

    WHAT IS EXPERIENCED?

    The key: Identify how senses and perceptions are altered in an experience of Anoiksis.

    In (Deep) Anoiksis our sense-perceptions alter more extremely - they can become hypersensitive or hypo sensitive.

     

    EXAMPLE: Early recognition may be in experiences of colors changing. They may become more vivid or they may seem dull and off. Background noises may come to the foreground. We may experience time running faster or slower. We may become thin-skinned. Emotions or words may hit us very hard.

    TIP: Think of it as suddenly being sensitive to sunlight. The light of the sun has not changed, the sensitivity to the light has changed.

    WHAT MEANING IS MADE?

    The key: Discover the link between sensory experience and the story created and distinguish metaphorical significance from literal sense-making.

    We rely so heavily on our senses that it does not occur to us to question them. Instead, we create stories, even if that story seems unusual because it supports our experience. In this stage, we can learn to distinguish metaphorical significance from what may feel like a literal truth.

     

    EXAMPLE: Prevention can be found in understanding the play between the senses and the metaphorical and literal (underlying) meaning that is created. See a literal thought that “someone is poisoning me” as potentially born from a heightened sense of taste. Investigate personal significance: feeling unsafe? Alone or abandoned? Recognize the underlying need and act on it

    TIP: Think of it as ‘WAKING DREAMING’ in which all associations can be experienced as literal or metaphorical realities.

    WHAT DISRUPTION HAPPENED?

    The key: identify high impact life events and discover links between these events, sensory experiences, and meaning created.

    In a model of Anoiksis, we enter the altered sense state of waking-dreaming in reaction to a disruption in our spiritual/mental/physical/emotional stories. A series of high-impact life events may instigate such a disruption.

     

    EXAMPLE: Being in love. Deep loneliness. Significant loss or death. Not fitting in. A broken heart, love-sickness, a messy divorce. Moving away from loved ones, forced migration, moving to a strange city, or a trip abroad.

    TIP: Positive high-impact life events can be just as impactful

    WHAT VULNERABILITIES?

    The key: identify how certain internal and external bio-psycho-social triggers influence altered sense-perception and meaning-making. Discover links between triggers and high-impact events.

    In an Anoiksis Model, there are several major risk factors that (speculatively) influence the evolution of high-impact life events.

     

    EXAMPLE: Sleep disruption, chronic stress, hormonal disruptions (puberty, menopause, pregnancy) nutritional disruption (vitamin deficiency), intergenerational trauma, fetus development, medicine, recreational drugs, poor nutrition, vitamin deficiency.

    TIP: Think of Anoiksis as a system, imagine a knot of string. Pull-on one loop and all the others may follow…they are interconnected and often feedback on each other. Focus on the system, on the phenomena, and how they relate. Don't focus solely on symptoms.

    WHAT NEEDS?

    The Key: Identify the deeper, core needs by piecing together information from all five themes. Create ways to practically serve those needs.

    Deeply ingrained in the stories of our minds, bodies, and spirits lay our cultural metaphorical and literal influences in relation to our needs. The clues we have gathered from the previous themes - how our senses change, the stories we create, what disruption events happened, and our triggers - can help us discover what we need.

     

    EXAMPLE: Needs can be basic such as financial security, healthy nutrition, safe shelter, or loving connections. When we are followed by the FBI, we may hold a need to feel safe. How to help a person feel safe? Needs are diverse. Some need to suppress experiences. Some need to make art. It is the job of ourselves, and our carers to listen to those needs and act.

     

    TIP: Engage in authentic Deep Listening. Under a symbolic need is a need, is a need. Ask the same question 5 x and you will get a different answer.

  • Are you ready to deep dive into understanding psychosis?

    "This is really good [...] So clear and so important. I don't think I remember reading something so comprehensive about the experience of psychosis. I felt it was really connected to my own experiences, and also deeply resonates with the theories I found myself more connected to. I really hope you get this published. [...] I think there are very few clinicians that understand the experience of psychosis... [...] your work is priceless." - Renana

  • WHY THE ANOIKSIS MAP?

    BREAKING OUTDATED MYTHS ABOUT PSYCHOSIS

     

    When we can’t understand it's harder to connect. When we don’t connect, we’re left to our own assumptions, fears, and outdated myths. Like these:

     

    MYTH: Psychosis as only a destructive phenomenon, one that should be avoided at all costs, as deteriorating the brain each time someone enters into this state.

    TO: Psychosis is not to be feared, it is the coolest thing our brain does to protect us. Our brain is not our enemy, it is our biggest ally, but if we don't listen, we will suffer.

     

    MYTH: Psychosis as a disorder of symptoms, with no meaning or value - a misfiring of neurons, a chemical imbalance. Any thought, idea, sense, experience in this state is seen as nonsense and ignored.

    TO: Psychosis is a collection of phenomena, full of meaning and valuable information about our needs, and how to address those needs. Needs can be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.

     

    MYTH: Psychosis as a binary state - there is no spectrum with which it exists, making it incredibly hard to identify early sensory experiences.

    TO: Psychosis as a spectrum state - recognizing a descent into psychosis is not only possible, it can be a choice.

     

    MYTH: Psychosis as a biomedical disorder - treatment primarily consists of medicine and research/treatment methods are narrowly focused on this area.

    TO: Psychosis as a transformative system collapse - Support is system focussed, Deep Listening to underlying needs, and addressing multiple areas at the same time. Sleep patterns, nutrition, thought patterns, inflammation, etc.

     

    MYTH: Psychosis as solely a problem of the client - discounts the value of context (life experience, relationships) on the experience.

    TO: Psychosis as a social systems problem - taking into account the value of context to an individual, as well as a social system

     

    The lack of understanding results in a lack of action with missed windows for prevention and early detection, unnecessary emotional suffering, physical and emotional escalation.

    UNDERSTANDING PSYCHOSIS IS HARD

    We know that understanding what it is like to experience psychotic phenomena is difficult. Those of us who have experience with it find it hard to describe, and those of us who do not have that experience find it hard to envision. We know the pain and struggle of this confusion. After all, We are family members, mental healthcare practitioners, and people with our own lived experience of psychosis.

    CRACKING THE CODE OF PSYCHOSIS

    We have dedicated the last 14 years to researching, developing, building, and helping people learn about what it is like to be in psychosis. We worked with over 60+ stakeholders, among many with experiences of psychosis, to capture the breadth and richness of this phenomena and place it into a model that helps us to make sense.

    THE ANOIKSIS MAP VALUE

     

    A comprehensive framework to navigate the complexity of psychosis for empathy early recognition and prevention. THE ANOIKSIS MAP helps with the following:

     

    • Brings clarity - The Anoiksis Map appreciates the diversity of subjective experience but identifies patterns and structures that bring an overall framework to a variety of subjective stories. The map holds space for a range of subjective experiences, both glorious and terrifying, both exaggerated and subdued.

     

    • Helps with early recognition & prevention - This map helps us to recognize early signs ahead of time and process these experiences before they escalate. When psychosis is recognized on time it can be dimmed, subdued, or even prevented (if desired). But also better navigated and channeled.

     

    • Improves care & understanding - This map provides a frame to understand the subjective experiences of psychosis. This map helps us distinguish subjective reality from literal truth - when we can look at someone’s subjective experiences from a distance, we have the potential to learn more.

     

    • Builds empathy skills - This map puts psychosis on a spectrum of experience and creates bridges between psychosis and other human experiences.

     

    • Improves treatment strategies - We can help discover the significant metaphorical meaning coming through the experience - if the experience is arising for a reason, we may even benefit from why it arises in the first place. We can connect subjective sensory experiences to wisdom about oneself, his/her relationships, and the broader world.

     

    THE ANOIKSIS MAP shows the experience as a reaction to a wide range of mental, physical, and or spiritual high-impact life events. By taking a holistic frame to this experience, we can begin to take a collective and systemic approach to recovery.

  • WHY THE ANOIKSIS MAP?

    UNDERSTANDING PSYCHOSIS IS HARD

    We know that understanding what it is like to experience psychotic phenomena is difficult. Those of us who have experience with it find it hard to describe, and those of us who do not have that experience find it hard to envision. We know the pain and struggle of this confusion. After all, We are family members, mental healthcare practitioners, and people with our own lived experience of psychosis.

    CRACKING THE CODE OF PSYCHOSIS

    We have dedicated the last 14 years to researching, developing, building, and helping people learn about what it is like to be in psychosis. We worked with over 60+ stakeholders, among many with experiences of psychosis, to capture the breadth and richness of this phenomena and place it into a model that helps us to make sense.

    THE ANOIKSIS MAP VALUE

     

    A comprehensive framework to navigate the complexity of psychosis for empathy early recognition and prevention. THE ANOIKSIS MAP helps with the following:

     

    • Brings clarity - The Anoiksis Map appreciates the diversity of subjective experience but identifies patterns and structures that bring an overall framework to a variety of subjective stories. The map holds space for a range of subjective experiences, both glorious and terrifying, both exaggerated and subdued.

     

    • Helps with early recognition & prevention - This map helps us to recognize early signs ahead of time and process these experiences before they escalate. When psychosis is recognized on time it can be dimmed, subdued, or even prevented (if desired). But also better navigated and channeled.

     

    • Improves care & understanding - This map provides a frame to understand the subjective experiences of psychosis. This map helps us distinguish subjective reality from literal truth - when we can look at someone’s subjective experiences from a distance, we have the potential to learn more.

     

    • Builds empathy skills - This map puts psychosis on a spectrum of experience and creates bridges between psychosis and other human experiences.

     

    • Improves treatment strategies - We can help discover the significant metaphorical meaning coming through the experience - if the experience is arising for a reason, we may even benefit from why it arises in the first place. We can connect subjective sensory experiences to wisdom about oneself, his/her relationships, and the broader world.

     

    THE ANOIKSIS MAP shows the experience as a reaction to a wide range of mental, physical, and or spiritual high-impact life events. By taking a holistic frame to this experience, we can begin to take a collective and systemic approach to recovery.

    BREAKING OUTDATED MYTHS ABOUT PSYCHOSIS

     

    When we can’t understand it's harder to connect. When we don’t connect, we’re left to our own assumptions, fears, and outdated myths. Like these:

     

    MYTH: Psychosis as only a destructive phenomenon, one that should be avoided at all costs, as deteriorating the brain each time someone enters into this state. 

    TO: Psychosis is not to be feared, it is the coolest thing our brain does to protect us. Our brain is not our enemy, it is our biggest ally, but if we don't listen, we will suffer.

     

    MYTH: Psychosis as a disorder of symptoms, with no meaning or value - a misfiring of neurons, a chemical imbalance. Any thought, idea, sense, experience in this state is seen as nonsense and ignored. 

    TO: Psychosis is a collection of phenomena, full of meaning and valuable information about our needs, and how to address those needs. Needs can be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.

     

    MYTH: Psychosis as a binary state - there is no spectrum with which it exists, making it incredibly hard to identify early sensory experiences.

    TO: Psychosis as a spectrum state - recognizing a descent into psychosis is not only possible, it can be a choice. 

     

    MYTH: Psychosis as a biomedical disorder - treatment primarily consists of medicine and research/treatment methods are narrowly focused on this area.

    TO: Psychosis as a transformative system collapse - Support is system focussed, Deep Listening to underlying needs, and addressing multiple areas at the same time. Sleep patterns, nutrition, thought patterns, inflammation, etc. 

     

    MYTH: Psychosis as solely a problem of the client - discounts the value of context (life experience, relationships) on the experience. 

    TO: Psychosis as a social systems problem - taking into account the value of context to an individual, as well as a social system

     

    The lack of understanding results in a lack of action with missed windows for prevention and early detection, unnecessary emotional suffering, physical and emotional escalation. 

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