Introduction

Hi, there. Thanks for visiting. I'm starting this blog as an advocate for mental and physical health. I'm a freelance writer and also own a home based medical transcription business. I was diagnosed in 1978 with paranoid schizophrenia and started to become acutely ill three years prior to that, unmedicated, frightened, confused, and in trouble with the law. I graduated from university with distinction the year I became ill. I've never regretted learning how to think at university. I struggled with my illness for 35 years and have reached the top of the mountain now, I think, or the other side, where the grass is greener and the path easier. There's hope for all of us, the whole human race, and never think there isn't hope or joy no matter your circumstances. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences with mental illness in all its forms: depression, brain injury, autism, schizophrenia, bipolar, anxiety disorders, etc. and your positive experiences as well as those lies and half truths society and even therapists would have us believe about ourselves.

We are different folks, and we are beautiful. The whole human race is beautiful. Let's celebrate life.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Not Even A Bird on a Wire

"It is not what they take away from you that counts. It's what you do with what you have left." - Hubert H. Humphrey
There's someone out there who has less than I have and she lives in a fancy neighborhood with a good husband. Arthritis is a crippling and painful disease. She used to jog every Friday. I knew her when she was young. I was young then, too, and I retain the strength and fitness I had back then. But not everyone is as fortunate, and I think there's both physical and mental anguish for the autumn sprite I knew so long ago.

My SZ has taken away much from me. But it has given me strength, compassion and insight into the human soul. It's given me back the emotions that were stunted as a child. I've rejected the dire prophesies of those who would make me a lesser human being, including past therapists, doctors, relatives, co-workers and acquaintances - I've eventually moved on.

Like a bird on a wire I sing. I sing of freedom although my life is presently constrained by law. I sing of happiness and delight in waking up every day although I awake in a single bed in a small suite. Although it's small, there are two large windows facing east, and I see the sun rise every morning and I see the moon rise every night.

I'm sentenced to get help and that's what all this was about in the first place. I was looking for help and I found it. There are doctors and nurses I can call on. My medicines are monitored and provided for me. My psychiatrist will see me indefinitely once a month. I was sentenced to 100 hours of community service and I like the 12 Step Club where I work those hours out. I'll be finished before the end of August. A nurse at the clinic I now attend gave me the number of a Crisis Team I can call anytime 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If I need it. I don't know that I will. But if I need the help it's here.

I don't have to reoffend. And I won't. I'm very sorry I hurt the autumn sprite. She hurt me, too. But a star led me here to a better place. There will be peace in the world; there will be peace in our world; there will be peace in MY world.

I'm not a canary. I'm not even a bird on a wire. I'm a dodo bird, hopping about awkwardly on the ground, unable to fly yet. I've not flown all my life. But yes, I will fly.

I watched The Sting a couple of days ago, starring a young Robert Redford and Paul Newman. What a good movie but you really have to focus to follow the plot.





Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Out of the Sandbox

Saw my psych today. She will take charge of my meds. She said I don't have a problem with boundaries other than within the confines of a delusional illness. I'll get my injections there, too. I'm delighted. She wants to see me once a month indefinitely.

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's Their Sandbox

I love my little playground and I presume my friends and family love their sandboxes, too. So they can have their sandbox and I won't tromp on the grass in their playground. But I wasn't friends with my mother until I was 46 years old and I think Judi is right, it was that magic age that I began to understand my mother and where she was coming from all those years. That being said, I may have a problem with boundaries. That's been brought up by a rather abusive therapist many years ago, and she didn't have any answers other than I have a problem with boundaries, never mind the delusions and obsessions I was trying to discuss.

video
But I see my new psych tomorrow for assessment and if I'm given a chance to raise my own issues at this initial appointment I'll ask her about boundaries. A valuable lesson one of my family has taught me if that's the case, and I'm beginning to suspect it is.

I was talking about animals with someone today at my community service work, and he used to have a pet raccoon. Somebody shot the raccoon by mistake because he was too tame and didn't run away, like Bambi's mom, a very sad story but all too common with wildlife who are made into pets. This guy wanted a cougar (mountain lion or puma) for a pet, and I know they're an endangered species, also dangerous but I did watch Born Free with Elsa and she was a lion. Sometimes a wild predator or other wild thing will turn on their captors, though; for example as a child a neighbor had a deer he had "tamed" in an enclosure in his yard and the deer grew magnificent antlers - he was a buck or stag - and in rutting season one year the neighbor ventured into the enclosure and was found dead by friends later that day. The deer had run him through. But who knows, maybe he was teasing the pore thing...or you know, as my mother always said about the wildlife, they were here first. We're invading their territory.

OMG, my mother was right about EVERYTHING!!!

Age Gap

Bob's Journal said in response to "Lewis Carrol" - "But the truth is there. The age gap remains. We used to be that way, at least I know I was, and now I see it in younger souls, and you can't give them all the answers, but maybe give the young the right questions that they can figure them out, so they too can become fat, old and flabby jawed."
Well, it was one of the younger generation who said I want a relationship they don't want (one of my family). I guess I succeeded in raising independent, intelligent children who give back to society. I've said that before but must say it until I believe it. I may be fat, old and flabby jawed in their eyes, but perhaps not, Bob. I wasn't friends with my parents. They were my parents. Now the trend seems to be pals with your kids. Is that healthy? I don't know but I'm not pals with my kids. I'm their mom.

However, the lesson remains. The age gap is there, as you said.

"Be off or I'll kick you downstairs..." Very well said, Father William.

You know, this poem was written in response to Robert Southey's pontifications, to deflate his pomposity. I sometimes do the same but people don't like it, do they?

I'm wondering if I should care. Or if I should simply balance an eel on the end of my nose and kick the naysayers in their rump.

It's true, I feel more at ease with people of my own generation.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Relationships

Someone advised me tonight that I can't demand a relationship just because I want it. Story of my life. But that has another side to it - nobody else can force ME into a relationship I don't want!

Back to the sandbox.

The Sandbox of my Childhood

I went to the RCIA (Rites of Catholic Initiation) today after mass. Very welcoming and pleasant group of people, seem intelligent and most are younger than I am by quite a bit. The priest I saw last week was there, too, and the Coordinator of the program. They want a document giving proof that I was baptized and that's basically all that stands in my way as I don't plan to marry again. The priest said my second marriage was valid and would have to be annulled if I married again. God forbid! Marriage that is, not the annulment.

Anyhow, I'm scurrying back to the sandbox but will keep my eyes open for adult fun.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Universe of my Soul

I've been given a universe to mold and which, in turn, will mold me. We've all been given our individual universes and what we do with them is up to us -- they can be viewed as talents given by the Lord which we may bury in the dirt, spend unwisely (an option not given in the Bible), put in the bank to garner simple interest, or invested. The investment intimates risk of losing it all, but gives the most dividend, and that is what I have done - taken risks. And now I have a universe to manage, brand new, waiting for my touch. My universe will be fair and just, safe, loving, innovative, exciting, intelligent, funny and creative. My universe will mold me just as I mold it, and I've already started. I must be careful and the responsibility is great, but it's fun and it's necessary. The universe of my soul.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

TICKLED PINK

Photos taken at sunrise today, Saturday morning, one day before we turn our clocks ahead to Mountain Daylight Time. Can spring be far behind?






"He who is not busy being born is busy dying."
~Bob Dylan

By Lewis Carroll

"You are old, Father William," the young man said,
"And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head—
Do you think, at your age, it is right?"

"In my youth," Father William replied to his son,
"I feared it might injure the brain;
But now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again."



"You are old," said the youth, "As I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door—
Pray, what is the reason of that?"

"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
"I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment—one shilling the box—
Allow me to sell you a couple?"

"You are old," said the youth, "And your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak—
Pray, how did you manage to do it?"

"In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life."

"You are old," said the youth, "one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose—
What made you so awfully clever?"

"I have answered three questions, and that is enough,"
Said his father; "don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you down stairs!"

To Robert Southey. Lighten up.

I'm just fine and my shoulders are strong from doing headstands when I was younger. Life is a cabaret, old chum. Come to the cabaret.

Clear the track here comes Shack.

SERENADE

The Highwayman a poem by Alfred Noyes




The Highwayman

The wind was a torrent of darkness upon the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight looping the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding
Riding riding
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn door.

He'd a French cocked hat on his forehead, and a bunch of lace at his chin;
He'd a coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of fine doe-skin.
They fitted with never a wrinkle; his boots were up to his thigh!
And he rode with a jeweled twinkle
His rapier hilt a-twinkle
His pistol butts a-twinkle, under the jeweled sky.

Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
He tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred,
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter
Bess, the landlord's daughter
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

Dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim, the ostler listened--his face was white and peaked
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord's daughter
The landlord's black-eyed daughter;
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say:

"One kiss, my bonny sweetheart; I'm after a prize tonight,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light.
Yet if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way."

He stood upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair in the casement! His face burnt like a brand
As the sweet black waves of perfume came tumbling o'er his breast,
Then he kissed its waves in the moonlight
(O sweet black waves in the moonlight!),
And he tugged at his reins in the moonlight, and galloped away to the west.

He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon.
And out of the tawny sunset, before the rise of the moon,
When the road was a gypsy's ribbon over the purple moor,
The redcoat troops came marching
Marching marching
King George's men came marching, up to the old inn-door.

They said no word to the landlord; they drank his ale instead,
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed.
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets by their side;
There was Death at every window,
And Hell at one dark window,
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.

They had bound her up at attention, with many a sniggering jest!
They had tied a rifle beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast!
"Now keep good watch!" and they kissed her. She heard the dead man say,
"Look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though Hell should bar the way."

She twisted her hands behind her, but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years,
Till, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!

The tip of one finger touched it, she strove no more for the rest;
Up, she stood up at attention, with the barrel beneath her breast.
She would not risk their hearing, she would not strive again,
For the road lay bare in the moonlight,
Blank and bare in the moonlight,
And the blood in her veins, in the moonlight, throbbed to her love's refrain.

Tlot tlot, tlot tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hooves, ringing clear;
Tlot tlot, tlot tlot, in the distance! Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
The highwayman came riding
Riding riding
The redcoats looked to their priming! She stood up straight and still.

Tlot tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
Her eyes grew wide for a moment, she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight
Her musket shattered the moonlight
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him with her death.

He turned, he spurred to the West; he did not know who stood
Bowed, with her head o'er the casement, drenched in her own red blood!
Not till the dawn did he hear it, and his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord's daughter,
The landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.

Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!
Blood-red were his spurs in the golden noon, wine-red was his velvet coat
When they shot him down in the highway,
Down like a dog in the highway,
And he lay in his blood in the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.

And still on a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a gypsy's ribbon looping the purple moor,
The highwayman comes riding
Riding riding
The highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard,
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred,
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter
Bess, the landlord's daughter
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair

The Blarney Stone

"I'll tell you of more, and lie...so you will come."
Catullus

Why? Isn't the truth enough?

Here we must consider authenticity.

One is not authentic but is looking for companionship or a relationship. So one is starving and refusing food. It makes just as much sense.

There are many things left unsaid here, many issues that Catullus in spinning his web for his visitor perhaps didn't consider. Those who kiss the Blarney Stone must first put themselves in a very precarious position. Is Catullus terrified that the trust he placed in his companion's hands will not be vindicated? There's hope here, swinging from the lie, and faith.

If love is strong enough then Catullus was not only right but very clever. It comes down to discernment at the end. Not desperate but a game.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Rose and the Giants

I'm reading a book about a man's recovery from SZ. It's called The Day the Voices Stopped, by Ken Steele. He went on to become a strong advocate for those with mental illness in the US and was awarded at least one prestigious honor. He was instrumental in getting the vote in the USA for mentally ill people. I'm very fortunate I have never heard voices. That must be very frightening. I've never thought of it, but according to Ken Steele, 1 out of 13 schizophrenics commit suicide, and it just occurred to me after starting this book that it's because their voices tell them to kill themselves and how. His voices continually told him to die and gave him detailed instructions how to kill himself from the age of 14. He doesn't blame his parents although they appear to have been unsupportive. Neither do I blame mine. They did the best they could.

Ken Steele died of a heart attack in 2000.

This yellow rose (exuberance and joy) is for all the Roses in my life who supplied me with both beauty to make me caring, and thorns to make me strong.
I would give only the daintiest miniature chocolates dusted lightly with confectioner's sugar to the men who supported me and who supported those I love. You all know who you are.

And a basket of nuts complete with fragments of shell to all of you who believed in me but thought my path through the Forest of Crazy had to echo Pilgrim's Progress.

It was more like the Man of La Mancha. Unfortunately, the giants were real. Sort of. If I take this lifestyle seriously, teacher, does that preclude moments of play?