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Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Lot Of People Seem To Want To Write About Schizophrenia & Shamanism, To Bad They Can Not Communicate With Such a Person First
So I spent my Saturday night going through search engines on various subjects relating to schizophrenia, more people have something to say about the subject of schizophrenia & shamanism than I care to shake a Shaman's stick at!!! It seems like this is becoming a hot topic to write about, no Psychiatrist even provoked this subject when dealing with me, now we have all sorts of writers trying to be an authority on schizophrenia, why do they not leave it alone for the "persons with schizophrenia" to come out of the closet slowly but surely on this subject. Get strapped to a bed and pumped full of anti-psychotic drugs for having schizophrenic/shaman type experiences, then try and enlighten people on the subject, as I do! Like a Psychiatrist said to me in the parking lot of the Montreal General Hospital, "there are many ways to approach schizophrenia", plenty of people make money off schizophrenia, where as the person living with the condition usually lives in poverty. All that has to change and it will as the general population gets more insight into what gets a person is given the diagnoses' for. I have my own approach to dealing with my diagnoses, that tends to lean towards Shaman ideologies. Some of us that carry the schizophrenia diagnoses, hate the "hallucinations" that we live with, while others feel comfortable living with the subject matter of the "apparitions/hallucinations, as in my case. When I was a younger man, the a/h did lead me into a semi psychotic state of mind as I practiced a form of Shamanism in a belief system, to develop a rapore with the subject matter. If I was to converse with another person on how I felt about my a/h and what them meant to me, most people would find me eccentric as I find fellow persons with schizophrenia eccentric, when they are describing their relationship with our manifestations. Somewhere in all the vastness of the human mind, one can find a comfortable place of thought, to live a wholesome life with the diagnoses for the "hallucination". Yes in the privacy of closed quarters, I play around with my Shaman antics on a semi regular bases. The religious calling is in me, thus I do practice a form of Christianity revolving within a belief system that was built around concepts surrounding my apparitions/hallucinations. They gave me insight into the power of believing in something greater than myself, I owe a lot of this insight I have today, to my educational environment I was exposed to while growing with my diagnoses as a man. I could not except my sightings as mere "hallucinations", there had to be something more to it that no one had figured out yet, time its self gave me answers as I fought against over sedation for my eccentric approach to dealing with my life. If one considers the genetic approach to schizophrenia, do we have the genetic make up that tends to make more Shaman like, visionaries in a sort. Sure you can find all sorts of information on madness and genius, no one really treats the person with schizophrenia in this fashion. It was never mentioned to my parents that perhaps your son is some sort of engineering genius that has to be nurtured and harvested properly to make him a place in society that would pay his bills. When I first returned to Montreal with the diagnoses and got hospitalized here, I was pumped full of anti-psychotic medication with little or no talk therapy, while my parents were told I would amount to nothing but a disfunctional person with schizophrenia. At least in today's world of Psychiatry, there is more of a positive out look for the future of a person with schizophrenia in the long run. Drug therapy is only a small part of of a treatment plan, the individual with the schizophrenia diagnoses must continue his educational foundations no matter how hard it may be. As one develops an insight into different dogmas, in the various Doctrines in the educational field, he/she will be capable of conveying their own dogma surrounding the apparitions/hallucinations that they experience in a cohearent manner. When I spoke of the sightings of the visual nature that I witnessed, I was driven into being a cast away in the society that called me part of it. No one wanted to converse theoretically about the possibilities of the meaning to my a/h. Through this isolation and being somewhat of a social out cast, I continued my education in my field of expertise and expanded my horizons in other fields of study that seemed relevant to me gaining some understanding of my a/h. I could be having one of my a/h while talking to a person and they would never know, I kept this insanity to my self and maintained my own journal on the subject. I discovered that there does seem to be a pattern in dealing with the a/h that I had. It was like a Godly sightings of the unknown, that was there to fashion my mind to an openness to the unknown. The strong sense of engineering logic in me, kept me on a even keel, when I was drawn to the more eccentric side of my thinking process, over the nature of the visual images I could see that others could not. At times my Shaman antics of ritual, due to believing, got me in trouble with the people close to me, I never found a problem with these people and their organized religious antics over their own God. Due to having the schizophrenia diagnoses, people were always trying to pick holes in my character. Last time I was in hospital for extra pyramidal side effects, I even had a fellow patient arguing with me, that I was not even a person with schizophrenia because I was too high functioning. Doctors and Medical Staff that over saw my condition, have even tried to change my diagnoses' as I improved my life style with work and education. Try arguing with a Psychiatrist that you are a person with schizophrenia and not bipolar for a convent diagnostic treatment. The Medical Staff that were always pumping me full of anti-psychotic medication, did want to change my diagnoses when I started to make something of my life while on medication. Psychiatry is not one of the more exact sciences in Medicine, a lot of an individuals success has to do with the relationship he/she learns to have with the subject matter of the a/h. OK, so I see things that other people do not, like an ancient Shaman, I am involved in the arts like an ancient Shaman's role in his/her society, so I naturally feel like a bit of a Shaman in a modern society. The power of knowing things that I have not studied, came to me easily. An example of this is when I started doing an art design around what I call my seven colours of creation that I witness in the form of a/h. I took a circle of certain geometrical dimensions and broke it down into seven equal sections through geometry, adding my colours in sequence as they had meaning to me. Here I am years later in my art group at the Montreal General Hospital's Out Patient Clinic, and starting to study Mandala design as an Artist. Well, Lordy Lordy, I was doing this on my own with my colours of creation that I witness, as a way of having a focusing tool for them. Another example of doing something correct, with really knowing nothing on the subject, is when I put a cord progression together on my guitar on my own. The Student Music Therapist at the time, explained the music theorey to me, for what I had created. I had put together six cords, starting with C and played the sequence in what is known as the "Circle of the Fifth", I felt like a musical genius for a moment! For every little eccentric quirk the person with schizophrenia comes up with, it is not totally original, no doubt the concept can be found somewhere in practice in humanity or in our histroy, it just how well we stay sane pursuing the subject and developing our genius.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Walking A Picket Fence Through The Mental Health System, Like I Always Did, It Has strengthen My Character Watching My Step To Survive The System
Well, here I am once again turning to my blog on a Friday night, revealing parts of my character through my writings on schizophrenic issues. Hopefully through revealing parts of my own life while dealing with the schizophrenia diagnose, it will help others to understand something about mental health issues. In my blog writings I have come down quite hard on Psychiatrists, how should I put it? Someone had to point to the Psychiatrist's failing and the reality of the mental health system. It is like the song "Hotel California", once you enter the mental health system, you can never leave! For this reason, one will find that there is a shortage of Psychiatrists where ever you go. More people enter the mental health system as time passes, and the old timers can never break free. Some do but the majority never can. From my own personal experience, I have an understanding why, the Psychiatrists never dealt with the actual issues that lead me into Psychiatry in the first place. It has always been, "Take the medication, never stop taking it!" I end up getting really humoured out of it, the medication is to stop the hallucinations that Medical Professions say were the cause of me going psychotic. Here is some real humour, the medication never stopped my visual hallucinations, I still "hallucinate" by seeing the occasional ghost or religious type apparitions. After twenty three years as a mental health consumer, I am yet to discuss my "hallucinations" with a Psychiatrist. It is like they are not even interested in the subject matter. Ok, so I am forced to see a man/woman of science for a religious dis-order, the two do not mix to well, science and religion. After all, my first time going dellusional was from being shunned by the people around me for speaking about seeing a ghost and having witnessed a religious apparition. Everyone told me I was crazy and needed a Psychiatrist, even although a person would would be wearing a religious cross, I was crazy for even speaking of the subject. Forced into isolation from ridicule about the subject matter at hand, yes I went into my own head too much with out intelligent feed back on the nature of my experiences, which lead me into a semi psychotic state from drawing the wrong conclusion from my sightings at the time as a young man. I was thinking over time about a subject that I could not totally fathom at this point in my life and yes it drove me over the edge. One thing about being human, we are able to adapt to our environment, it took me time to adapt to a life of seeing ghosts and all on occasion. I was able to learn how to cope and dealt with the subject matter that I was faced with, that no one wanted to talk over with me. If I was to babble to my Psychiatrist about my recent sighting and how I feel about them, I would be pumped so full of psychiatric drugs, I would not be able to function to pay taxes like a lot of people in the mental health system. Going back sixteen years now, I tried reaching out to my Psychiatrist on the subject matter of my "hallucination". At the time, he was punching in figures into his calculator to convert one medication dosage into the correct dosage of another medication. His flippant response was "O'yea, you like playing with your hallucinations", while he continued working his calculator. The only thing I ever talked to my Psychiatrist about in my half hour visit, was medication levels and side effects. If I was able to verbally communicate this information, I was basically not going psychotic, too bad he/she could not see inside my head, if they could, a lobotomy would probalaly have been done. I always get the best of comments that help me, from Psychiatrists in parking lots of the hospital, instead of in the clinical setting of the Psychiatrist's office. Like I once discussed with a Psychiatrist out side of the clinical setting, if I "hallucinate" the things I do and create art out of it or get philosophical about it, who am I hurting if I do not go into psychosis over the subject matter? I can not remember the exact response, it was in the line of "Can not be done!" Talk about giving me the challenge of the life time, I responded with "How do you know I am not hallucinating now, which helps me size you up on this subject and direct the conversation?" The conversation ended, he had to go. Talk about closed mindedness, it was like I already knew the end result, I was stretching the boundary limits and would be cut off like usual. From the lack of conversation about my "hallucinations", I never knew that I had the rarest form of schizophrenia until a couple of years ago when I read it on the Internet. Shows how much talk therapy I have had over my "hallucinations", I learned how to cope and deal with them on my own while fighting so that I was not over medicated to the point where I can not work and pay taxes. Even now, while working with a research Psychiatrist, I think she feels that I am not on enough medication. Well there is no money for the pharmaceutical industry if all persons with schizophrenia were on my medication levels. I am on so little meds, they are not clinically effective. A lot of hard work on my part with going out and finding people to talk to about my "hallucinations", reading up on material by great Philosophers, studying in school and strengthening my theological foundations along with my engineering logic, to deal with the subject matter of my "hallucinations" to get me where I am today. How should I put it, I always wake up with a morning erection these days like a man usually does, compared to when Psychiatrists were pumping full of anti-psychotic medication. This fact alone is worth its weight in gold for self dignity and pride around my manly blessing. It is like I once said to a Social Worker, "Your medication makes me impetent, I guess it is not in your best interests to give anti-psychotic medication that would make a "schizo" want to screw like rabbits, then you would probably have another "schizo" to deal with". There was a silence on the other end of the phone, it was like "schizo's" are not allowed to speak up for things they believe in without getting a dead end in Psychiatry. So I believe in minimal medication levels and for the individual concerned getting a grip on their life through education and talk therapy. Here I am, I got my educational foundation as a Engineering Technician, working part time, trying to make something of my life as a Outsider Artist with my artistic talent via the Internet and local art shows. Having no signs of psychosis and my attending Psychiatrist insists on upping my medication level when I am starting to get extra pyramidal side effects slightly once again. Oh, because no other person with schizophrenia has succeeded on such a low medication level, if this education/talk therapy effect snowballed to make more tax payers out of "schizo's, pharmaceutical company's would start loosing money from lack of sales. I once met a person that escaped from the grips of Psychiatry, when they were treated for depression, she found her way with her life like I am doing , she is blessed with no longer having to take medication for depression and has a life! Rare as it is, it can happen, just as I can live on a minimal amount of medication, contrary to common Psychiatric practice. There are approxiamatly 30,000 persons with schizophrenia in Montreal, only a handful have their disability pension like myself because they have worked enough on a real job, I guess I did something right not totally listening to Psychiatrists! I hope they can take the constructive criticism as well as I took there over medicating. I could write a medical thesis on this very subject about medication levels verses education and talk therapy when dealing with "visual hallucinations" or "religious apparitions". Psychiatrists can drive me more crazy and depressed when insisting on upper medication than my "sighting" do. When I do not talk about my apparitions/hallucinations no one finds a problem with me, some women even like curling up to me and listening to me tell them about the spirits I see in the night air!!! Sure medication helped me when I was angry about being a mental health consumer that was always stone walled by the system. What? Am I the first to questioned mordern Psychiatric practise as a consumer with intelligencia! Even in the movie "The Planet of the Apes", there was the first ape that talked human words, just like I seem to be the first "schizo" to openly challenge the Psychiatric practise. I seem to be the only "schizo" thats says my schizophrenia is cured, all the others seem to find it a handi-cap, my only handi-cap is the stigma of psychiatry!!!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Back To More Guitar Lessons & Planning Art Strategies With Other Artists, As September Ends The Art Filled Summer
It proved to be a creative summer playing my guitar and doing the visual arts in sketching and photography. A friend of mine and myself used to get together a fare number of times each month during the summer to be creative with the guitar and pencil with paper through sketching out door scenes around Montreal. I even got out of the city for a weekend, to my 25 year class reunion from the Canadian Coast Guard College. I took it upon myself to prepare for the get together, by practicing to have a few beers again and still sound half decent on guitar, for around the fire pit on the farm where we have been meeting in Ontario. It was really good seeing some of the people that I went to College with, we ended up being quite the united class for moral support for each other, after we got through being the brunt of dorm pranks on each other in first year. That same moral support was there at the reunion for me with my plight to succeed as an sort of Urban Outsider Artist that has the schizophrenia diagnoses as an individual. Playing the guitar at the fire pit on the Saturday night was the first real taste of entertaining with my guitar. The experience put my sense of drive to succeed as an Artist into a super charged turbo drive sort of frame of mind. By applying the two form of the arts together I created a wordpad document with writing, along with a still image and a sound track in sound wave. I always wanted to put some of my guitar playing to a piece of art in the form of a painting or drawing, my enhanced personal drive got me around to doing it. Apparently I should get "Power Point" ,to put my sound track to still pictures as a document, this way it can not be altered as in Wordpad. When ever one goes to do something around the arts there is always an added expense somewhere, now I have to look into getting Power Point software to work with. Perhaps I will be able to learn more about it through my sessions with the Music Therapist at the Hospital. We have a new Therapist to work with us now, he is young and has experience in the digital age for music. Arrangements have been made for me to start music therapy sessions, I always get some new insight into playing music out of it. With the varying array of instruments available in the music therapy sessions, one always gets a new sound to work with during spouts of creativity. The guitar lessons are given over and above the regular music therapy sessions, I built my song book which I play from, through getting score sheets off the old Music Therapist that used to work at the Hospital. I should be starting with the new Music Therapist next week, then the art group that I am part of at the Hospital starts meeting again as well. Here too, we are getting a new Animator to over see our group to keep it in a productive direction. The School Board switched our old Animator to another position in the Mental Health System, he did make the art group a success from when we started meeting together, after three years together I believe, we were part of an art show at the Musee des Beaux-Art de Montreal. I was very proud of the works of art I created for this art show we did, as we all were of of works of art. I have even been offered money for some of the art I did for the show but I can not break up the set of seven works of art as a series. I have them packaged and stored here at home for now, I put one piece up on the Birks House Artists website on "Other Art" page , site located at:
During the summer I ended up getting a commission for doing a clay sculpture for someone, it will be the third peice I have sold besides greeting cards. It would be nice if we got an art show somewhere else, through the new Animator of the art group, as we strive to be in shows around the city. Finding that time really flies as I pursue the arts on my own, I am looking forward to inter-relating with more artists this session, I find new directions in the arts through bouncing off other Artists and experimenting in different ways. Between learning more on guitar through lessons and continuation of attending the art group this fall, I intend to take the challenge of the arts with a vigor through my natural creativity. Readers can view other art work of mine on my own website located at: , good viewing and enjoy.