Monthly Archives: August 2017

The Art of Adjustment

I have a hazy recollection of the day I was finally diagnosed as a schizophrenic.  I remember the intense sensation of relief.  As far as the date goes, I am far less certain.  That question I always answer as late spring early summer of 1989.  I want to say 1990 but I moved in with Meta around December 6th 1989.  That occurred after I was instructed that I had to stop working.

I had no idea how I was about to eat and put a roof over my head with out work but the alternative was institutionalization.  I can say I was the most not cooperative client the clinic had on this issue, but I was fully well aware that there was no real way I could resist if such a decision was made so I acquiesced.

I am pretty sure that I have talked about this before.

The label, Schizophrenic, like anything else, is a double edged sword.  One of the hardest things to cope with as the moment the sense of relief wore off was shame.  Wu live in a culture that has an individual-centric meaning with which every good thing that comes our way is the direct result of our individual merit and every bad thing that comes our way is also the direct result of our lack merit.  This is true it the very least in the working class and the lower middle class where I formed the basis of my world view.  This is a hard thing to cope with and it took many years, decades to be fair, to work passed this.  The most important step in this adjustment was resignation.  I mean this in the sense that Kierkegaard discusses in his work Fear and Trembling. 

I am getting a head of myself.

The first big adjustment that most people like me have to make, if we want to live, is medication.  I had taken a few Psych courses while I was at the university one being abnormal psychology and I had a distinct recollection of the subject matter the day I received my diagnosis.  That was “The number one problem with the treatment of schizophrenia is medication noncompliance.”  I remember saying to the Doc that day.  One of the big problem with Meds is side effects.  These are often hard to describe other than dry mouth, stiffness of the joints and one of the stranger effects for me was vivid dreaming and the sudden sensitivity to sunlight.  Now once a doctor has chosen a med for a client, such as myself, they generally don’t like to change it right away.  They want to give the medication a chance to work.  Often the recourse is to increase Meds if the desired effect hasn’t been achieved.  This causes side effects to intensify.  This will lead to other Medication being prescribed to deal with side effects.  I like to call this the Medication Pyramid.  I am a medication minimalist.   It best to learn to trust the Doctors.  When some one feels both vulnerable and powerless this is a lot to ask.  I remember the feeling of being threatened.  It was an intense experience and it took a couple of years and a change of doctors before I could make the least little bit of head way in this respect.

It was a tiny, tiny bit of head way.

When an individual is vulnerable and powerless the act of trusting requires a leap of faith.  This is a very difficult thing to accomplish.  The first few times it is a gut wrenching experience.  It isn’t like a great leap you might see in various action type films for the leap of faith is taken in an environment where you can not see the other side.  You have no real idea how the doctor, in this case, is going to react.  We like to paint doctors as great humanitarians but they are still human beings like you and me…well maybe not that much like me.  They have their own problems to deal with.

In my experience just being real with a person I barely know requires this leap.  There are repercussions to being mentally ill, especially schizophrenic. in a social and economic sense.  These are unpredictable.

I guess that I am writing this to get across one idea.  As a persons moorings give and they find themselves falling uncontrollably into a new unknown world where they don’t know the rules or how to work the system they will find that they too may have to take this fated leap.  I hope this provides some help.

Post Industrial

Welcome to my desolation

post industrial rust pile

cold home

There are others here

shades paler and darker

in the streets

as shackled spirit eyes

with out vision

Once greatness was here

it still whispers

from the dark corners

of any winter’s night

but we walk child like

unknowing

empty gazes haunted

by impossible futures

The Searcher

I search

in the eyes

of those who pass

for something unproven

a thing rumored

a hope

peace

I am paranoid

they say

you know how they are

and they are mistaken

I am aware of my surroundings

Am I or I am, I think

I search

for a softer trait

but, the all too human darkness

hides in shadow

what is kind

in our kindred

even faith succumbs

and still

I search

Wanna Bet?

It was late that dark night thou no real starlight penetrated past the dim city lights. Beneath his toes sprawled the decayed remnants of a once thriving industrial and port city on the Great Lake of Erie.  A gentle breeze blew over the cooling waters and through the city, the great lake had yet to freeze this winter and the chill in the air drew no response from the youthful shadow.  He stood at the edge of the recently re-roofed building from passed the past its bricks laid before the great bank panics of the 1890s, the Great Depression from before the Great Depression.  None of this was taught at school and the youthful shadow was unaware of these dark echoes as his own murky world allowed no further thought or perception.  He stood there swaying hypnotically above the concrete and brick like a morbid dance.

The weak yellow street lights far below casting the narrow fingers of light up towards the unrelenting night left their echos in the odd finger cast shadows hiding the soft footsteps as another had found its way onto the roof and began to slowly stalk towards the strange swaying youth.  This new one was tall and lean towering over the troubled interloper with long arms and large hands.  When it had drawn close enough to see clearly it paused.  Slow thoughtful breaths slipped from and back into the cold night air.  It waited, silently.

Minutes turned into a half hour yet the swaying shadow perched at the edge had neither moved towards safety nor had taken the final leap.

“Its not high enough,” The second taller shadow said in a deep masculine voice.

The youthful shadow started, swaying and jerking dangerously staggering back to a more secure spot on the thick rubber roofing.

“You can’t stop me!” fright running under his words as he moved back into the ready position.

“I’m not trying to stop you,” The new shadow stated.

“Better not.” The younger shadow stated confidently as he resumed the ready to plunge position.  He began to sway again as the icy wet wind breathed its first from over the cold lake.

“Its not high enough.”

The youthful death athlete stepped back again from the edge turning just enough to try and focus on this  insistent irritant.

“I told you you can’t stop me,” the voice, though definitely male, had reached the pitch and tone of a high whine.

“I’m not trying to stop you,” The older shadow insisted, moving closer, “I am simply stating the fact that this building is not high enough.”

There was a long thunderous silence that hung in the air allowing the growing cat call whistle of the strengthening breeze to sound around them.  The taller shade stepped closer though his form and detail still held hidden in deep shadow.

“I’m gonna jump,” The younger steady stepping back to the edge.

“It is a free country.”

The youthful shadow once again began to sway as though attempting to reach some altered state of consciousness.  Maybe he was waiting for some strange voice to call to him.  The beckoning song that had called so many before.

“Not high enough.”

“It is high enough,” The youth said strongly, stills swaying waiting for the call.

“This is only three stories high,” The second shadow said strangely soft, “The Stadtmiller Insurance Building is three doors down, its seven stories high…better odds.”

“I’m planning on taking a header into the roof of that car right there,” The youthful shadow pointed at the street below, “The white one, its an easy target.”

“You’ll probably just break an arm or a leg, unless your really unlucky then you’ll fracture your skull or break your neck,” The shadow said, voice closer, so much so that the jumper startled again stepping away from the edge.

“you can’t stop me!” The younger shadow stepped again to the edge and began to sway, listening for the call.

“How’s your luck been,” The older shadow asked, unmoved, “I mean if you real lucky that might…”

“Don’t come any closer,” The youthful shadow again stepped back from the edge, holding his left hand up palm out.

“I’ll bet you five dollars that your still alive…after you…”

“Five dollars, is that it?” There was something pained and shallow in the sound of the would be jumpers voice.

“Its all I have, so how’s your luck?”

“Its a bet,” The younger shadow stated, taking that final step into the empty air.

“Shit.”

It was less than a minute before a loud crunching thump sounded from below.  A car alarm screamed for attention into the night.  No one would come, no one ever did.  The older tall lean shadow stepped towards the edge and leaned forward enough to see clearly.  The younger had made good, his body stopped from colliding with the pavement by an unsuspecting automobile, late model, white.

He waited.

With on a few minutes he could clearly hear a cry of pain from the street below.

“Help,” the voice wound around in sharp shrill pain, “Somebody call 911”

The taller older man leaned out over the edge of destiny glaring at the crushed car roof some distance below.  The young jumper had made good on his word and hit the white colored car.  It must have been the target being the only car of such tone anywhere in sight.

“Call 911”  the pain under his words could be clearly heard.

The taller shadow fished a cell phone from his left back pocket pausing before dailing.

“You owe me five dollars!”

Aide for the Constipated

Feeling bound up?  Moving a little slow?  In need of a good purge?

Try Lay’s Potato Chips.

Before I go any further I would like to make two statements.

The first is that Lays Potato Chips did, in no way, sponsor this content.  Secondly, I have yet to try this remedy myself, but my brother swears by it.

So if it has been a few too many days since you have taken a proper dump and you find that you are moving just a bit to slow.  And you don’t care for commercial chemical stool softeners or laxatives.  Try a half of a bag of Lay’s Potato Chips.  That’s the Lay’s Classic thin chips in the yellow family sized bag.  Don’t let the size of the bag freak you out as they are no where near as big as they use to be.  You need to consume about a half of the contents of said bag.  This should be done earlier in the day and it probably should be a day that you’ll be staying in your home.

Brother states that with in eight hours or so you should experience a sudden and complete evacuation of the contents of not only your colon but a large percentage of the large intestine as well.  He states that it never fails.

As I said earlier, I have never tried this remedy myself and neither has Meta.

Happy pooping.

Have a better than average day.

Meta’s Sleep Workings

While writing out my 60s jokes for this blog, because it had been so many years since telling them last, I just couldn’t remember the second stanza of the elephant trilogy.  I asked others and then scanned their lists of elephant jokes on the internet to no avail.

Finally I thought of my memory aids.  The first ones that I had learned in a memory course that I took during the 70s.  As I cozied into my bed for the night I thought about what I wanted to remember then let myself forget it and relax into sleep.

Sure enough, still in bed the following morning it came to me without bidding.  If you are puzzling over a project or choice think over the problem – forget it- sleep – the answer will occur to you shortly after waking.

If you have things on your mind that you want to accomplish the next day that are keeping you awake try writing them down.  Afterwards forget about them as you cuddle back onto your pillow.  Rest soon follows.

Another technique to bring rest – picture yourself lying in the sand on a warm beach with sea breezes keeping you totally comfortable – feel your body grow heavy – sinking into the nice warm sand.  You will soon fall asleep.

My grand mother taught me that if I concentrated on the time I wanted to wake – then glanced at the clock – I could wake at the time I wanted with out the use of the alarm.

These sleep workings have rarely failed me – nor Iba after I taught him.