When enough insane people scream in harmony that they really are healthy, they can actually start to believe themselves. Or put even more simply: people with overlapping delusions get along wonderfully.
― Daniel Mackler, Toward truth: A psychological guide to enlightenment
A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary. A person with delusional disorder may be high functioning in daily life as this disorder bears no relation to one’s IQ, and may not exhibit odd or bizarre behavior aside from these delusions. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) defines six subtypes of the disorder characterized as erotomanic (believes that someone is in love with him/her), grandiose (believes that he/she is the greatest, strongest, fastest, richest, and/or most intelligent person ever), jealous (believes that the love partner is cheating on him/her), persecutory (believes that someone is following him/her to do some harm in some way), somatic (believes that he/she has a disease or medical condition), and mixed, i.e., having features of more than one subtype.
Delusions are probably the second largest barrier to success in life behind fear. Make no mistake, you have been delusional to one degree or another about something at some point in your life. Don’t take this personal, we all have. The important thing is to be aware of the delusions that have developed or are developing in your mind and take steps to redirect your neural pathways. Whilst you may be a relatively well adjusted/high functioning person outside of these delusions they are like terrorists inside your mind seeking to destroy your real perception of the world and even your own actions.
Also, remember that a delusion doesn’t have to be negative in appearance. For example, you might have the delusion that you are a great athlete, an extremely caring person, a ladies man, you are trustworthy, etc. These perceptions are positively framed, however, they are delusional if your reality does not coincide. Just to be clear, do not confuse having a positive mind set and believing you will achieve things that you have not yet accomplished with being delusional. A quote from, Unlimited Power, by Tony Robbins sums this principle up elequantly:
Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion.
Or, to put it another way, if you are steadfastly confident in achieving a goal of any kind but are unwilling to apply the discipline to direct your energy toward the realization of that goal you run the very real risk of becoming delusional. You know the guy or girl who has been telling you for years he or she is gonna do x,y,or z but you haven’t seen them do anything to make it happen. If that person believes they have or are achieving that goal they have become delusional.
Now you might be saying, “but common Nick, that’s not really that big of a deal”. Your right, by itself it’s just a person who people think is full of shit, but that takes me to the reason why it is a big deal. Remember that our theme is regarding the oneness of us all and the constant connection of energy. Many delusions are focused energies cloaked in the disguise of positivity.
Take the case study of a person we’ll call Tom.
(Names and some insignificant details have been changed in the interest of maintaining anonymity.) Tom is a 45 year old man with a wife and two kids. Tom is a mathematician by degree and works as a writer; although this has not been particularly lucrative for him due to his relative inability to finish most projects within a reasonable time frame or at all. Tom reads extensively and could be described as well educated. Tom’s problem is excessive exercise and taking of supplements. He will often exercise as many as 8 times a day and take in excess of 30 pills. According to him, all of this behavior is done in an effort to stay alive long enough for advances in technology allow us to extend our current expected lifetimes through multiple means. He further states that the excessive exercise and related activities help reduce the stress related to his fear of death.
Tom’s diagnosis is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). However, the real foundation of his issues, is arguably multiple delusions, but primarily the delusion that his actions are having a positive or productive impact in his life. The reality is that its more likely that his behaviors are either shortening his life or having no real impact at all and, of equal significance, they are negatively affecting his performance in his personal and professional life.
Recognize the power of the energies at play here. At some point there was an energy transferred to him creating the seed of the fear of death. Eventually, this blossomed into strong neural pathways supporting that thought process. As a result, he directed his energy toward the realization of the solution and support of the strong neural framework now constructed. This circular pattern is the base of almost any mental disorder. Remember, energy does not have morality or values; instead it has force and forms.
Just as communicated energy between people can instigate action and/or other responses, the energy of a delusional mental framework will build and reinforce that framework. In many cases the efforts to support this initial burst of energy that created the strengthening neural pathway will branch of to create new delusions to support the original. This is largely what the foundation of techniques like Neuro-Linguistic Programming seek to address. Only when you shift the energy within our own mind to a new neural framework can you deconstruct those that are delusional.
 “Delusion”. Princeton – Wordnet. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
 Winokur, G. (1977). Delusional Disorder (Paranoia). Comprehensive Psychiatry, 18(6), 513. Retrieved March 17, 2012, from <http://resolver.scholarsportal.info.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/resolve/0010440x/v18i0006/511_dd>
 American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (4th ed., text revision). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.