Feeling like my thoughts were being broadcast to the world was a really difficult symptom to deal with during and after my episodes of schizoaffective disorder. Before my second hospitalization, I somehow believed stepping foot outside of a car would cause a nuclear holocaust due to “thought broadcasting”. Having the weight of such immense repercussions due to the actions of simply thinking and feeling thoughts and emotions caused an extreme level of psychosis. It was also really crippling mentally and emotionally and created a ton of fear and hyper-scrupulosity as I thought everything I did, said, thought, and felt would have tremendous repercussions.
The psychosis from the belief in thought-broadcasting came from several sources. For one, I was afraid people would think I was a strange person due to all the strange thoughts I had been having. This caused me initially to repress thoughts and emotions that were normal to have as a part of my brain’s regular functioning. This repression caused phenomenology such as seeing visions of people, having my mind fog up, and getting ice pick type headaches in random parts of my brain.
Initially after my episode, I talked to my therapist and I realized strange thoughts are a normal thing for everyone to have. In later years I realized that if everyone was hearing everything I was thinking and feeling they obviously didn’t care about what was happening inside my mind, and the world was exactly the same even if all these strange thoughts and emotions were being broadcast. It also told me that no one was treating me any differently even if they could perceive everything going on inside my brain.
I also used to think if I was broadcasting thoughts it was my responsibility to make sure the world was getting good information to create a golden age and to save everyone and this practice made me a messiah. During my episodes, I thought I had to save the world by learning good values and morals and by becoming a really good person. I thought that everything I was thinking and feeling was being disseminated to the entire world. I think a part of this belief had to do with having a mental awakening during my episode.
Having awareness that people were reacting to me due to autonomous decisions made me feel I had agency over my life and unfortunately over the entire world. A part of adopting this belief was that I was only sleeping two to three hours per night and my mind wasn’t functioning normally. Even in later years I knew these things weren’t true but I had never really refuted them on paper. Pining through these thoughts and refuting them helped to alleviate their residual burden, as they still existed within my unconscious mind. I eventually refuted these delusions realizing I don’t have control over the world and I don’t want control over the world and this was a relief.
Realizing I wasn’t a messiah also made me realize even if everyone could hear my thoughts and emotions, no one was out to get me. Thinking I was a messiah had given me a great deal of paranoia in years past because of the thought that if there are people for me there must be people against me. However, when I realized if for the past eight years someone has been out to get me, and they still haven’t, I think I’m relatively safe.
I also realized I had been having a number of different thoughts, ideas, and emotions some of which were good and others of which were bad, and the world had remained exactly the same. Nothing I was thinking or feeling had any influence on the way the world was functioning, operating, and on any global events. The news reports, newspapers, and other media outlets still had the same types of melancholy stories despite my efforts to constantly think good thoughts and to have the right meaning assigned to each and every thought and emotion. Realizing this helped me to let go of having to assign the correct meaning to each and every thought realizing it was fruitless to do so in terms of my delusions of trying to save the world.
I think another part of this had to do with the mania involved as well. Mania provides an intense and almost euphoric and constant adrenaline rush, so it was addicting in some ways. This happened in direct correlation to me doing, thinking, saying, and feeling things I thought were all correct. This delusion also led me to believe I was a messiah as I thought I must feel this way for a reason.
When I was willing to let go of the mania telling myself that I’m not a messiah and I’m not in control of the world, this helped clarify my thinking immensely. I started thinking more rationally and seeing things more clearly. Letting go of the mania for better emotional composure was a tremendous relief and the placidness of not feeling I was a messiah has felt a lot better than the adrenaline of thinking I was saving the world somehow.