Tag Archives: journal

Another Adjustment

The next big adjustment I want to try and discuss is getting use to the idea that I couldn’t trust my senses, principally seeing and hearing but to a much lesser degree sense of smell and touch.

When a Mental Health Professional states to some one like myself that what they are seeing or feeling is not real, they, the Professional, don’t seem to understand what a profound task they are asking us to undertake.  People don’t generally question their senses.  As the old statement goes, seeing is believing.  Many of the Schizophrenics I have been able to talk to on the subject have made it clear to me that eventually they learn to play a long.  Imagine for a moment that some one told you that your family was not real, that they were a hallucination and, just for the sake of argument, you love your family, they were a vital part of your life, how would you react?  I am beginning to think that this contributes to the problem of medication compliance.  The is something about the hallucinations and the world they help the sufferer to create that is seductive.  Chronic sufferers have a hard time reentering the mainstream simply because they lack a certain social understanding leaving them feeling awkward.  Suddenly they crave that world they knew so well.  The regular world is an alien land and they are way behind the curve.

The second issue with the problem of accepting that one cannot trust their own senses is that a hallucination is so much more than just an image or a sound.  There is a complex set of other physical sensations that go along with them.  I remember digging out my Abnormal Psych text book to look up physiological phenomena that accompany mental illness.  Top of the list was Hypertension, somewhere else on the list I found Diabetes but no where did I find a discussion of these other sensations.  If the sufferer perceives a thing that is terrifying then their heart rate increases, the respiration increases, muscles tense and a liberal dose of adrenaline is dumped into their blood stream.  For people who lack any real awareness of their body this may result in nothing other than a panic attack.  On the other hand if they perceive a thing that is loved and is believed to love back they’ll get a very different set of feelings almost opposite of the last description.  They may even be a scent involved or a very rare touch.  In both cases these reactions are either instinctive, emotional or both.

I had a strange advantage, again I must pay tribute at least in word to abnormal Psych which I took my sophomore year.  I was already in a state of doubting my senses, particularly eyes, ears and touch.  I don’t think this was good for me in the long run as my Major at the time was Physics and Chemistry.  I think it might have promoted the eventual breakdown.  On the other hand it might have given me the tools to deal with this very issue.  The whole thing sounds crazy.  I could tell when I was Hallucinating and when I wasn’t.  I remember describing it to Meta like this:

Imagine that you are looking at a movie screen.  There are two movies playing on that single screen at the same time.  One film is black and white and it is a comedy/mystery and the other film is science fiction and in color.  Both sound tracks are playing at the same time and at the same volume.  One film is reality and the other film is not.  In time, a human with enough concentration and patience will be able to tell one from the other, in parts.

The weird thing about this is even though I could tell and know that a thing I was experiencing was not real my body still reacted as though it was.  This has taken a toll on me.

Also when I am away from familiar surroundings I must spend extra energy reality testing, some thing that Meta often helps me with, but often I carry out a silent survey of the area.  This is an effort to catch anything unreal before it creeps into the world.  Visual experiences creep into the viewers world generally from the side of the eye or the corners of the room and sneak up on you, at least that has been my experience.  If I catch the experience early I can’t circumvent the worst of the physical reactions.  Plus I don’t always see the people I am interacting with true. This requires a certain level of concentration and at the same time a social awareness to void appearing “creepy.”  The whole exercise is quite exhausting.

I have been trying to discuss this with the various individuals I work with through the clinic but they don’t seem much interested.  I can assume that their are many different reasons for this most of which are not unkind nor untoward.  For some reason I feel that it needs to be out in the world so I write it here.  Maybe some one can get some use out of it or maybe I am just crazy.

Either way, have a better than average day.

Acknowledgement of a Man 8/7/2017

It was just a few days ago, Tuesday or Wednesday that Meta and I found out that our Psychiatrist had passed away the weekend before.

Meta was on the phone talking to someone about our Psych Prescriptions.  I was only really listening out of the side of my ear, not paying particular attention.  There wasn’t any change in the tone of Meta’s voice as far as my ear could consciously detect.  New appointments were made for our case manager and so the conversation went.  I was struggling with some piece of software or some other ridiculous bit of semi-make work in my hole that I commonly refer to as my cubby.   I practically live in the place.  That’s when she broke from her phone call for a minute stating to the person on the other side “Wait a minute I got to tell Iba.”

I didn’t give her the chance.  I simply stated that “Doctor Lee is dead, Right?”

She wasn’t shocked or amazed as this type of response has happened before.  There is a logic to it but I will spare you that.  She quickly returned to her conversation.

Doctor Lee was our third personal headshrinker and practitioner of the mental health medical arts.  My first Doc was one Dr. Funk.  I know and I am not making it up.  I don’t think I worked with her for a full year before she had moved on to a private practice.  The second Doctor was one Dr. Zick for a little over two years.  Then, after a long distance relocation, a new apartment and finally a new Doc, Dr. Lee.  Dr. Lee was our longest, time wise, psychiatrist at a little over twenty three years.

Doctors Funk and Zick both worked at a mental health clinic in a college town that was at the center of an otherwise rural county.  It was entirely funded by a small percentage added onto the local sales tax, if memory serves.  Our appointments were frequent, sometimes twice a month and generally about a half an hour.  That clinic didn’t have admitting privileges at any hospital so they dealt with everything that they could out patient.  They also had a lower number of clients or consumers if you prefer.

Doctor Lee on the other hand worked in many clinics, all in the same system, over several counties in a far more urban area.  He had admitting privileges at the Psych Ward of the local hospital as well as the Psych Wards at some of the larger hospitals in a very large near by City.  This system was largely federally funded and, I think, served as a magnate for people needing treatment.  Each appointment that either Meta or I had with Doctor Lee was about 15 minutes long,  This is clinical work and many do not know that this is a clinical quarter hour so I actually spent about 7 minutes talking with the Doc which was fine by me.

For most of the time I have been seeing him, he had slightly over two thousand patients or clients under his supervision.  Just a few years ago he reduced the number to about 800.  I think I maybe have spent more actual time talking to him than doctor Funk but because it was spread out over all those years and in small doses it gave me time to acclimate.  Meta explained to me that he had been practicing here since the early 80s.  Not a glorious job or even a well respected position but he stayed at his post.

I had grown accustom to the fact that he would always be here.  I wasn’t conscious of that fact until the other day.   I fully expect that any morning that I awake my family, those few that remain, and close friends will all be dead and I am grateful when they are not.  The thought as far as Doctor Lee was concerned never crossed my mind.  I may have been able to get more out of, or put more into the relationship if such a thought had crossed my mind.

I will remember him.


Well, its a new year.  I have to say that solstice was pleasant and tiring.  There were a few memebers of my family, new and old and we kept it simple but I still can’t get over how tiring it was.  Or how tired I was.  I’d like to think that it was because of my very low kidney function, but some many others have been saying the same thing.  So I have no idea what to make of it.  If you found yourself unusually tired this season feel free to leave a comment on it.  I’m curios if its just me or my imagination.

Another dear friend that we have not seen in some time stopped by and we shared space for a while.  She would be Susann, a poet and writer whose advice I appreciate, even when I resist and is always something of a comfort.  Unfortunately she entered, what my father would have called a sick house.  Step son A who shall remain nameless because of his incredible levels of paranoia came home one even sick with something that pretty much laid him out.  He doesn’t have access to medical care , lack of funds, so her resorted to over the counter cough and cold medicines.  I assume that this is what he had.  It would only be a couple days later that I would find myself with some kind of a chest cold.  It vaguely resembled bronchitis.  This would have been on the evening of the third, they day Susann had stopped by.  I certainly hope I did not pass it to her.  The bronchitis part last about 36 hours and pass through the throat, standard sore throat bordering on laryngitis and by the sixth it was entirely in my head.  All in all it could have been much worse, basically it made me feel miserable and messed with my ability to concentrate.  I did nothing more than force fluids.  Today I still have a touch of it but I am thinking it is on its way out.  Would some one out there knock on wood for me, please?

Meta now is seem ing like she might be wanting to come down with it.  we will see how she is feeling tomorrow.

I’ve been hearing rumors about something like this or some variation of a flu being passed around.  If you’ve been hearing the same, well I guess you can add this to your anecdotal evidence file.

It really has had a damping effect on my writing.  I think that is the most disappointing part of it.

Have a good new year any how, take it any way you can get it and by all means enjoy!