I’ve been spending so much time in my quiet little room, all by myself, trying to believe in myself, as I write things down for public enjoyment and education. I’ve done this so much, recently, I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve got to have the radio on, just to have a little white noise in the background, to keep myself from going mad.
That’s right, schizophrenics can go crazy, too. My mind is not big enough to be out by itself, like some other people’s are. A good popular radio station is plenty good enough for a little background noise, so all I have to do is some concentrating, to keep my train of thought going.
I finally heard from a friend, whom I contacted over email, when I thought I was the last breathing person on the planet. A friend sent me an email, and then another friend returned my phone call later on. I have a wealth of friends. There’s a lot to say for friends who will respond when you’re in need of them.
It’s not like I can go down to the lobby of the retirement community late in the evening, to go hang out with the other people down there. Late in the evening, there’s not one soul sitting around or hanging out in the lobby. All those old folks have gone to bed by now, every last one of them. A nice, newsie little email and a nice personal chat over the local phone have resolved a lot of my isolation issues for the moment. Thank you, my friends.
I decided to invest in a modest radio/CD player, and I’m enjoying having the set playing its radio while I’m working this evening. The darkness was closing in on me. There are plenty of thoughts on my mind. It’s just a little more challenging to focus when there’s music playing. I’m a trained musician; that is, I’m trained to listen to music. This is only while noise, though. It won’t kill my train of thought. It just might help me with my ailing self-concept in this vacuous night.
I got suicidal in 1975 over something that doesn’t make any sense. I took a razor blade to my own wrist, trying to save the world from myself, because I believed I was a monster.. I have permanent nerve and tendon damage to my left wrist for doing that violence to myself. I wish I hadn’t hurt myself over something that didn’t make any sense. It’s kind of a sad note on the way my illness has effected myself and others. Schizophrenia is just not fair to anyone who happens to get involved in it.
That’s why I got a vasectomy. I don’t want to have any schizophrenic kids.
My dad was a schizophrenic who refused to take his medication. Can’t hardly blame him for that though. In those days the few medications they had developed for schizophrenia were so primitive it was ridiculous. I always thought my dad was a monster when I was a kid, so when I came down with his illness when I was twenty, when I was in music school as a young man, I thought I was a monster, too. I came up with all these weird ideas I was thinking about, which were what my illness was telling me, before I ever understood that I should not feed my head alcohol and other mind-altering chemicals to help me feel better. It doesn’t work. After I stopped feeding my head mind-altering chemicals, I began to understand life a lot better. My illness slowed down on the tricks it was playing on me eventually, after I stopped feeding my head mind altering chemicals.
It just never totally straightens out, although I wish it would.
In this country, it is lawful to put a human being behind a locked door he does not have a key to, and to keep him locked up indefinitely, if two medical doctors certify that he might be a danger to himself or to someone else. That’s the big farce about this country the whole darned place is making so much noise about, how it’s supposed to be so darned free. America is not a free country. It’s a capitalist country. You’d better have the money for what you want to get in America, because if you don’t, you’re likely to get locked up without criminal charges against you and without a trial. If they don’t call it anything else in the police report, they’ll call it vagrancy or trespassing. The police and the medical doctors are the one’s with all the power to lock a man up whenever they want to.
If you try to get any of your needs met, by threatening your own life, you can possibly be locked away for as long as the doctors think it’s reasonable for you to be incarcerated. You don’t go to jail. You go to a funny farm; a laughing academy. It’s called a state hospital, or a state hospital center. The newest version for the short term lockup of the psychiatric patient is to take a person to a psych ward in a general hospital. Free standing mental institutions are getting more and more rare. There are a lot of amateur mental patients in those places who think they can manipulate the staff into unlocking the ward, so they’ll be more comfortable. They’re Americans, and they think they have the right to be free while they’re incarcerated by medical or police petition.
They are sorely mistaken.
There’s no way a general hospital psych ward is going to unlock it’s doors for everyone to be free to come and go from the ward, to cater to the feelings of all these crazy flag waving freedom fighters who don’t understand the system. The human race is afraid of mentally ill people, because there are so many people who don’t understand mental illness. People fear what they don’t understand. What I’m trying to do is give a body of work about mental illness for the ordinary individual to have the opportunity to understand the issue. I’m not a doctor. I’m a chronic, lifetime mental patient, and have been a mental patient for better than 40 years now. I have this absurd notion that I know a little bit about what I’m talking about.
The United States is one of the largest countries in the world, and it is very adept at controlling it’s population. The police even have helicopters equipped with heat seeking camera’s which can locate a live individual from the air, based on heat-seeking technology, when they’re in whisper mode in their stealth helicopters. The fugitive doesn’t even realize he’s being tracked, until all of a sudden the police descend upon him, directed by radio from the chopper overhead. You can run but you cannot hide in this country.
Whenever there’s a holiday that touts America’s freedom, I think about all the time I spent locked away in solitary confinement in some kind of mental institution, just because I’ve got schizophrenia. I’ve been literally stripped and threatened over the problems I’ve had with my mental instability from time to time. I suppose I should be more grateful for being given the rare opportunity to survive all my terrible troubles in my youth, and I am now enjoying the privilege of growing old. It’s just that I’ve always felt discriminated against in this world, ever since I was 20 years old. That feeling is getting to be passe for me by this time.
A lot of my friends are very nice and kind to me, and my terrible troubles mostly leave me be.
The last time I had a car and thought to drive thru the grounds of the state hospital, I saw an old friend who used to be a strong, strapping young man. Now he’s a worn out, dissipated old lifer in the state hospital, who can hardly walk, because he broke both of his legs and both of his feet jumping off a bridge trying to kill himself. I got the grace to understand that I don’t have to treat myself that way. When I feel like doing something like that to myself, I go get help.
I’ve gotten along a lot better in my day. I’ve not only survived my youth and gotten sober, only to have fall down accidentally and broken my hip; I’ve also triumphed over a lot of issues which have claimed the lives of many of the people I’ve known and loved in my life. I don’t live in a state hospital anymore. I live in assisted living. There’s a big difference. It’s a real nice place to stay, and I have the access code for my going out and coming in from this place. I’m at liberty to come and go as I please.
There was a time I had doctor’s certificates against my sanity, and earned them, too. My illness takes me back to psych wards and state hospitals, from time to time. There are times my medications stop working, and I need help from the professionals to get stabilized again. But learning about how to be a harmless person over every and all circumstances, has stood me in good stead all my life. I learned to be unremittingly passive in my behavior, if not in my speech, from knowing my father’s violence when I was a child. He taught me to be harmless, by being harmful. It was an unforgettable education.
The holiday is hanging on, and the radio is playing something familiar, so I really don’t have to listen to it. It holds not surprises for me at the moment.