Tag Archives: memory

A Sidebar on freedom of Speech

First I feel the\ need to say that I support the second amendment.

That being said, I have a question to ask.  That question is what constitutes Hate speech?

You can define it how ever you like, it makes no difference to me.

So if we as American’s suppress any from of speech because it is hateful what purpose does that serve?

Does it simply serve the elimination of speech that makes us uncomfortable, that feels threatening?

So this is a move to eliminate speech that we, whom ever we maybe, from feeling discomfort from the speaker.

This is censure ship.

Okay

I can deal with that but I have a question, what is the purpose of this action?

If it is to eliminate hate I fear that it will fail.

what THIS DOES IS FORCE HATE INTO PRIVATE GATHERINGS WHERE IT FESTERS, IT IS NOT allowed to be discussed in public where the every day CITIZEN can HAVE A CHANCE TO HEAR THE ARGUMENT AND DECIDE. It allows evil to fester under the skin where only the privileged have the opportunity to speak and there is were the real violent danger lies.

Have a better than average day.

Meta Mumbles from the Past

Iba and I were both surprised to learn that it was during the Chicago’s World Fair of 1893 when the competition between Westinghouse and Edison flooded the place with white light – that 3 new foods where introduced:

Hamburgers

Ice Cream Sandwiches

and

Diet Soda

How American.

Side note:  One day after the fair opened the bank panic of 1893 started.

Source:  Spanish American War Documentary, PBS.  YouTube

Have a better than average day

Side Eye

We select what we see

with careful unexpected ill intention

shapes our expectation

so everything is as it should be

rather than what it could be

it is those haunted strange occurrences

that cause a backward step

hard heartless hesitation

it seems

in the final accounting

we hold others to a longer stick

then we do ourselves

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.

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

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.

Creation

I stand in the shadowy late hours

one flat foot

disoriented

my kidneys dwindling fast

maybe

my life would have been better spent in front of a television set

It seems that I can not resist

I must slug through the horrors of dark daily chores

In hope

of a few hours

of clear headed creativity

I take it as it comes

It can not be tricked

as if by a thief

lured like a lover

trapped like an animal

or snared by Magick

as though

It were a spirit or a demon

It comes as it chooses

It gives what it will

all one can do is practice

hone their meager skills

so when it comes they will be ready

as vacant as life can be

this capricious giver of gifts

laughing chooses with out reason

It will come

and when it touches you

If it touches you

If you be ready

It will touch you again

Sometime

Silent Thunder

I remember that we would get together, during the long warm or hot summer’s afternoon to listen to the rain.  It seems in my memory that this happened many times, everyday.  This could just be an illusion of memory.  It likes those type of jokes as it has a sense of humor all its own.

It would be with the first rumble of distant thunder, the skies just beginning to change to that soft grey.  We would gather on the front porch on a side street near the downtown each of us taking one of the many chairs trying to find the spot we thought would best keep us dry.  Dad would have his highball glass freshly filled with bourbon and water poured over an excess of ice and the remains of a long cold cigar stuck in the corner of his mouth.  On occasion these storms could be a bit hostile.  The thunder grew loud and angry either coughing racking cracks, loud or some times rolling like falling bowling pins.  The pale grey could get dark as though a blanket had been pulled over the sky.  It never got like night but it did sometimes turn to a slate grey green.

The wind would whip passed us and we would only leave the porch if it was impossible to stay some what dry, a little wet was to be expected.

When the sky was at its darkest on these summer afternoons would be the time that the lightening would show itself most brightly flashing wildly.  I know that the loud thunder and bright electric gripped me hard with cold tingling fear,  I don’t know about my brothers or mother.  What chatter there was between us would cease when those explosions of thunder occurred around the bright flashes of lightening.  Dad would laugh.  Maybe fear grabbed him too and laughter was just his way of dealing with it.

It was a summer tradition.

In time I would laugh too, when the fear that accompanied nature’s fireworks was at it worst.  This type of weather is like scotch, an acquired taste.  My memory shows me and tells me that both my brothers, brother number four was still a life time away, would laugh as well, the youngest being the last to begin the practice.

In time the laughter faded and we just sat, immersed in the moment.

Over time soda pop became beer and brother and I added tobacco, all at a legal age.  Mom fades from the picture in my head as well as the youngest brother.  We just sat in silence during those summer storms, in the moment until I had become to busy and I fade from the picture as well.

I don’t know how often mom joined us for those events or even the youngest brother but that may have nothing to do with the actual event.  It could be a trick of memory.  Maybe my mothers death back in 1988 at the age of 49 changed the way of where and when I remember her.  Youngest brother ceased any real participation in my life back in the early 1990s.  It could be the same type of phenomena.  It might be that the whole family gathered on that big front porch covered with a thick sturdy roof to watch the summer storms often and the events after the fact changed the way I remembered this.

I’ve noticed over the years, Meta and I had talked about it, that memory is quite strange.  Sometimes I see myself in my own memories, sometimes I do not.  Stranger yet I see the memory from strange angles, like a corner near the ceiling of the room of the event that I am remembering takes place.

The recollections of those summer storms seems like they came from a whole other life time.  My Mom would die a few years after these memories and my mental collapse came on the heels of that particular event, no big surprise in retrospect.  So when I look back from now I am not the same person as I was when the event I am recalling takes place.

Remembering is the the act of taking the pieces of a thing that has been dismembered and trying to put it back together.  That definition comes from the back of the cassette This Winters Night by the neopagan music group, MOTHER”S TONGUE.  Whenever I think about this I get the feeling that the thing dismembered has lost an indeterminate number of pieces.  That the reassembly is a difficult task.

I have spent time in my own memory making serious effort to avoid blame shifting and just trying to understand what’s has happened and why.  It is a task that will never be completed as memory is an imperfect thing.

Rather than remembering the dismembered it strikes me that memory is more like echos from some type of alien environment.  They are mix of known and unknowable some times in a language we recognize and sometimes in a tongue foreign to our ear and under the worst of circumstances a series of sounds not recognizable as a language at all.

Trying to remember anything with any form of relative accuracy is extremely difficult when I find my mind awash in hot sharp emotion.  It is possible to learn from such a thing and I have learned one important idea.

You can never know what is in the mind or heart of another person.

Its best not to assume otherwise.