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KONY 2012 filmaker Jason Russell is diagnosed with a Brief Psychotic Disorder

Posted Mar 21 2012 12:00am

Most of you have heard about KONY 2012 filmmaker Jason Russell having some type of breakdown.  I found out today that he was diagnosed with a Brief  Psychotic Disorder.  You might say...what, I've never heard of it!"  "It is just an excuse." Actually, most have not heard of it because it is rare in the United States and other developed countries.  But, it is a very difficult and scary disorder that lasts one day, but less than a month, in which, the person returns to his/her regularly expected behavior.  I REALLY HOPE THAT THIS WILL HELP TO END THE STIGMA OF MENTAL ILLNESS AND NOT PERPETUATE IT!!

From what I know of Jason Russell, the sudden, whirlwind and emotional and behavioral demands that KONY 2012 is more than enough to be a stressor to trigger this disorder.  Psychosis means that one has a break from reality and may have delusions (having odd thoughts that one believes are real) and hallucinations (hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting, smelling, etc things that no one else experiences).  It is marked by poor judgement, cognitive impairment or acting on the basis of a delusion or hallucination. 
As with all mental illness and disorders, they are very real and not an excuse for inappropriate behavior.  In this case, he did not have the resources to deal with his mounting stress.  It is not a character flaw and does not mean that he cannot continue to make fantastic work.  It does mean that he needs a support system and resources to manage his stress levels. 
The following is from http://www.sabp.nhs.uk/eiip/index_html/client/what-is-psychosis :

What is Psychosis?

The symptoms of psychosis vary a lot between individuals and not everyone will experience those that we have listed.
  • HALLUCINATIONS – Unusual or strange experiences (eg) Hearing, smelling and/ or seeing things that other people do not.
  • DELUSIONS include: thinking people are conspiring against you, that you have special powers or skills OR that people on TV or radio are talking to or about you.
  • Distressing Thoughts & Beliefs e.g. you may believe that someone is following you, watching you or listening to your conversations.
  • EXPERIENCE OF EXTERNAL CONTROL - You may feel that a force or person outside you is interfering with your thoughts, body or actions.
  • THOUGHT DISORDER - your thoughts maybe very jumbled and confused, and you cannot hold a clear train of thought.
  • You may become suspicious and hostile.
  • Change in behaviour, may become withdrawn and communicate less.
  • Mood swings and increased anxiety or low mood.
  • Loss of energy and feeling withdrawn.
  • The symptoms of psychosis vary a lot between individuals and not everyone will experience those that we have listed.

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