Tuesday, July 12, 2011

E. Fuller Torrey a texbook case

I haven't been posting for a while, and thought I should stir the pot a little lest this blog be forgotten. Trolling the Internet today for ideas I came across this article in Salon on Jared Loughner, the Arizona gunman, that dates back to January this year.

I have never liked Dr. E. Fuller Torrey because I think he lacks empathy. He compartmentalizes people at best and wants to institutionalize and drug them at worst. He's determined to force medicate people, which I know has it's appeal for many, but not for me. However, I came across this quote from an article in Salon, and it's so weird that Torrey thinks lucid dreaming is for sickos. It's not just E. Fuller Torrey. Most psychiatrists think lucid dreaming is a dangerous sign of psychosis. (I'm trying to teach myself how to do it.) What planet do they live on?

Salon: I was struck by his obsession with "lucid dreaming."

Torrey: When someone comes in and talks about lucid dreaming, drugs are the first thing I wonder about. But with schizophrenia, you can get almost anything that's weird like that. In itself, it didn't stand out to me.

Comments to this article

Hepola said that stood out to her, and Torrey seems to see it as a sign of mental disturbance or drug use. Anyone know why? I though lucid dreaming was just an interest of some people. I remember Omni publishing an article, back in the 80's, on learning to lucid dream. How is it, or an interest in it, connected to mental disorders?


This is the first I read about Loughner's interest in lucid dreaming. My first thought was: There's nothing insane about it, and in his case, perhaps he was desperate to try to control nightmares. It's possible that a normal person's worst occasional nightmare is the stuff of a schizophrenic's nightly experience.

—Quiet Type

I object to the characterization that lucid dreaming is the result of a drug addled brain, or something that signals mental illness.

I've been lucid dreaming for most of my adult life but didn't know it had a title until a dozen or so years ago---and I'm a senior citizen.

Lucid dreaming means that I can not only remember dreams and recount them in detail, but I can wake up briefly (for instance, to go to the bathroom or reclaim the covers from under my husband) and return to the dream when I fall back asleep. And sometimes I can change things in the dream when it continues.

It's a pleasurable experience in general. In fact, I also used to be able to fly in my dreams but that "ability" seems to have left me as the years passed. I miss the feeling of taking off and soaring just as if it were happening in the waking world. In fact, I've actually said to people how much I miss flying in my dreams---and I'm far from crazy. Also, when I have the rare nightmare, I actually have to get out of bed, walk around, and do something to wake myself fully before attempting to sleep again because those kinds of dreams can -- and have -- also continued, and can be a horrible experience.

When I discovered information on the internet about studies done on lucid dreaming, I also read about keeping a dream journal. But that seemed stupid to me because I didn't feel the dreams were sending me messages (although they are often based on memories of people and places--oftentimes out of their normal context) and I figured they were meant for me to enjoy and not analyze.

Having explained all of that, I need to say that I've only been "under the influence" of drugs twice in my life when the doctor gave me something to ease migraines. That was a long time ago and the second time (when I took it before bed) I clearly was able to "talk" myself through the dream it produced. (This is the result of the pill. It will wear off and you'll be OK...) That drug was eventually removed from the market but not before I flushed my bottle full down the toilet.

The only "mental illness" I've experienced is SADD (seasonal affected disorder--a form of depression resulting from lack of sunshine in winter months).

Moreover, there are probably millions of us lucid dreamers in the world. We are of danger to no one. I think it's unfortunate that the "respected psychiatrist" didn't challenge the questioner. Lucid dreaming (I believe Loughner called it by another name in his YouTube ramblings) is not responsible for the actions of that young on Saturday.



  1. We don't like Mr. Torrey because of his feelings on cats and schizophrenia. The cat and I are starting a movement, for all good cats to find Mr. Torrey and leave some hair balls in his shoes. Also use his shoes for litter boxes.

    (I am acting as a cat secretary at 5am)

    Susan in behalf of Hollycat


I am no longer approving comments. All I ask is that you be respectful of others and refrain from using profanity.