To heal the broken-hearted
When the third person in my immediate family of four was diagnosed
schizophrenic in 1976, I knew somebody had to do something to save my
children and grandchildren. Since I've never been one to wait around
for someone else to do everything, or to give me "permission," I
followed in my father's footsteps and volunteered. Besides, I was that
kid in second grade who wanted to find out if the teachers knew what
they were talking about during a partial solar eclipse when they said,
"Don't look without the smoked glass, it'll make you blind." I looked,
I saw, it didn't make me blind.
So prompted by the extremely inadequate, dehumanizing and at times
life threatening experiences with most of the mental health system, the
consistent failure of psychiatry to deal with, or even acknowledge the
spiritual aspects of my psyche, and what was becoming an outbreak of
schizophrenia in my family, I dared to confront the core of my "mental
illness" ALONE and dared to challenge orthodox psychiatry. I now have
the story of an 18 year period of my life, from 1971 to 1989, 13 years
of which were spent in my personal version of research of my mind.
Purely an independent research, it was conducted in the ultimate natural
setting, without benefit of funding, facilities or camaraderie.
UNKNOWINGLY, WITH ONLY INSTINCT AS GUIDE, I DESCRIBE THE PROCESS BY
WHICH I WAS BROUGHT OUT OF A "SCHIZOID" EXISTENCE.
There were to be some books, articles and movies I purposely avoided
in an effort to limit contamination with the result that my work is a
quite pure relation of experience making it valuable anecdotal
material. I would remain totally ignorant of the newer developing
theories about schizophrenia as transformative experience until I
reached the end of my journey into inner space.
STUDENTS OF C.G. JUNG AND JOSEPH CAMPBELL WILL RECOGNIZE MYTHOLOGICAL
AND ARCHETYPICAL ELEMENTS THROUGHOUT MY EXPERIENCE.
Though I'd never heard of either Jung or Campbell and knew nothing
of mythology or archetypes, I was able to make sense out of what seemed
nonsense, i.e. delusions. This was a critical factor in enabling me to
move on, not getting stuck in literal interpretations. My knowledge of
the conceptual element in sign language for the deaf opened this door
I detail some of the dehumanizing and dangerous experiences in
mental hospitals, the traumatic reaction of my biological system to the
dehumanizing and potentially lethal life-controlling, life-negating
medications, the chemical straitjackets that eradicate FEELINGS (the
very thing that was trying to come back to life in me!) and keep one's
mind on the straight and narrow of divided, segmented,
compartmentalized, linear, logical, socially approved experience.
Although I had been subjected to extensive and consistent emotional
trauma from the age of five when my father was killed in WWII,
I NEVER EXPERIENCED MY PAIN UNTIL I WAS THROWN INTO AN ALTERED STATE.
As the years and "psychotic" episodes went by, I plowed through layers
and layers of pain - alone. I resolved at least one major trauma during
each episode - alone. (Including the trauma of having had a child as a
result of rape.) I came to recognize there were gradually lengthening
periods during the "episodes,"
THE ONLY TIME OF MY EXISTENCE, THAT I WAS FREE FROM WHAT I WOULD COME TO
CALL AN "UNDERCURRENT OF PAIN."
It would not be til it was lifted permanently, sometime during 1985,
that I would be able to name it. I came to see that during these
altered states was the ONLY TIME I experienced differentiation of
feelings. It would be early 1987 before I began to recognize this as
part of my "normal" experience.
Because of my recording of events, thoughts, feelings, delusions,
dreams, hypnogogic visions, etc. I learned that some "delusions" turned
out to be actual future events, I had pre-cognitive dreams, sometimes
knew about events happening in other places through some unknown means
and went through periods of quite intense synchronicity with the
environment. I gradually became able to ACCEPT personal "psychic"
phenomena without coming unhinged, a crucial step in not being locked
into the myth of "mental illness."
I SHOW THE STEP-BY-STEP DEVELOPMENT OF MY ABILITY TO FANTASIZE,
starting at the intellectual level in 1976 during minimal fantasy work
with my therapist to the culmination on August 20, 1985, with the
dramatic, and for the first time, conscious realization of the FEELINGS
of fantasy. I had somehow managed to make a critical leap to discover a
facet of my psychic life that had continued to exist only at a
subterranean level since the loss of my father. I had always known the
WORD "fantasy" but I had to learn the MEANING. I realized a stage of my
development had been interrupted in childhood and it needed to be
completed before I would be able to move on, that the childhood fantasy
stage could appear as "psychosis" in an adult.
Through the altered states I gradually recovered deeply repressed
feelings of the relationship I'd had with my father. Not until I lost
control of my conscious mind were the good feelings able to surface.
After reclaiming those feelings, I was able to emotionally bury him at
last - in August, 1985.
Though my writing may appear orderly and purposeful, let me
emphasize that living through it all those years, it seemed anything but
orderly or purposeful. To my rational ego in a "quick fix" society, it
was pure chaos. It has only been since 1984 that it begins to "make
sense," like the pieces of the puzzle falling into place at last. Like
so much of nature, the leaf skeleton of a poplar, the honeycomb of a bee
and the Colorado River Delta show connections, a pattern, the "purpose"
TOWARD WHICH it was being formed over some period of time. Even though
we have egotistic "dominion over the earth" we can only sit back and
watch it BECOMING. If we've never seen one before and see it in
PROCESS, or we see it at only one point in time in process, it appears
total "nonsense," we see "no reason," it "doesn't make sense." It is
only AFTER it is finished that the pattern is apparent and suddenly it
makes the most perfectly beautiful awe-inspiring kind of sense.
SO IT IS WITH THIS 18 YEAR PERIOD OF MY LIFE.
The full book can be found at http://home.earthlink.net/~onthe8thday
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