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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Acknowledging My Father On Father's Day, For His Efforts In Helping Me Succeed Through Out My Life, Especially While Diagnosed With Schizophrenia

My Father is a very special Dad that has always been there for me through out my life! I choose the Kings from my Rider-Waite Tarot Card Deck for an image for this posting. The Kings are symbolic for how he has been an extraordinary man to my Mom and his children, through our battles and struggles, financing us, being a friend and teaching me power of prayer. Dedicated to raising his family with ultimate ability, he has aways been there for me in countless ways as far back as I can remember. He worked as a researcher and problem solver in the Canadian Military Engineering field and had excellent skills as a Father and family man. He taught me how to bate my first hook for fishing and was there for me as an assistant leader in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts for the camping excursions that we did. When I was a paper boy delivering the Montreal Gazette as a teenager, on really bad stormy mornings he would get up early with me and drive me in the car through my paper route so the papers would not get soaking wet while I was delivering them before school. I have many a fond memory of him leading the family through cost effective summer camping vacations in the Adirondack Mountains in the Northern USA along with through eastern Canada. The family car broke down once pretty badly and the engine needed a complete over haul, I worked with him rebuilding the engine and diligently instructed me on proper engineering practice, it was a step up from rebuilding my ten speed bike that's for sure! When I was planning to go into the Canadian Coast Guard College after high school, he got permission to take me on sea trials he was part of, on a Canadian Naval Destroyer to give me a taste of sea life before I tried to get into the Canadian Coast Guard College. During my seafaring voyage with him, he even poured me my first beer from his hand while among men at sea, it really made for something special for me! While in College following his foot steps in engineering, Dad always tried strenghtening my engineering skills with his own expertise, I know I made proud at graduation. When I returned from the coast diagnosed with schizophrenia and shattered dreams he was there for me through trying to guide my future as a person with schizophrenia. I remember one time that I was pumped full of anti psychotic medication I made him angry and proud at the same time. He had a small piece of mechanical mechanism home from work studying it and trying to solve the problem with its malfunctioning. I was just bumbling around the house and came across him at work, I stood watching him for a bit and I figure I knew what type of military equipment the mechanism was from. So I asked him, "Is that off a.........?" It pissed him off a bit because I figured out classified information but it made him proud that his son still had engineering skills in his head while working out his schizophrenia. When I finally got back working in the engineering field as an industrial mechanic he was always there with his wallet helping me with engineering courses I could not afford while studying at night and working while taking my medication. When my life fell apart while standing up for the Canadian National Building Code and I ended up on Court Ordered injections when I was disagreeing with my Psychiatrist on medication levels, he bought me my computer when I got out of hospital at Christmas. He wanted me to have a future and learn something new while living out the Court Order. We really have a good relationship now and he is as proud as ever with me pursuing my art career as I work with my Doctor controlling my Extra Pyramidal Side Effects from long term use of anti psychotic medication. Dad still pours me a beer, sneaks puffs from my cigarette when Mom in not in the room, (he quit smoking for Mom) and is still there for me with moral support and always thinking of something special I need to get ahead for birthdays and Christmas. May God bless his soul and take special care of him in his old age, he is not young anymore and I worry about him as he worries about me!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Words Of Poetry Voice Thoughts And Feelings Of Being
A Mental Health Consumer

Sometimes poetry can be therapeutic in expressing ones feelings about certain issues, along with being a common voice for a community. The poems published in this posting were written in the last nine years when I went through a lot in the Mental Health System, even although I can be some what critical of the system, the Medical Professions that deal with me take it in stride and do try to improve the system from my voice of constructive criticism. Since I started in the Mental Health System twenty three years ago, a lot has changed, more will change for the positive in the system, as voices of concern by Consumers are heard and poetry is one avenue in the arts that can portray a message to try and implement change for the better. So here are four poems that were written when I was bitter about the system that was treating me, hope you enjoy them!

Lies Society Told Me

I always dreamed of having a semi-normal life
Chasing my own desired fife and drum
While marching to the beat of my own success

A Psychiatrist said, "He will amount to nothing but a dysfunctional schizophrenic"
Chasing legal drugs of mental ruin
While strapped to a bed without my own success

Now I am having a semi-normal life
Chasing my own fife and drum again
Marching to the beat of my own success

Society gives me the psychiatric stigma
As I play life's melody
While keeping my marching beat on my drum of life

Psychiatrists told me many a psychiatric lie
Chasing their own demented psychotic bluff
They were making the money so I had no personal success

Mutual philosophical investment came to pass
As we both chased my desired fife and drum
Propelling me into some formal success

The Political Asylum

Overtaken with the burden of the "schizo"
Every graduation through society's system
Reels me back a notch or two in survival
Its not my mind that rots my life as a "schizo"
Its how the system is designed for us not to survive
What is there to boast about the system
That processed me with the burden of the "schizo"

Overtaken by the metaphysical, hence "schizo"
Changing in graduations through my psychological system
Taking back a notch or two in survival
Its not the metaphysical that rots my life, its the label "schizo"
The striving force to design a system to better survive
Is where I have to boast about my system
To process the Political Asylum as not to be "schizo"

Mystic Prison

Caught up in the demolition of my sacred soul
The Courts rule the injectable poison
Smothering my inner desires to be free
Of my delusional medical overseer
Who is caught up in his own dogma of thought

My past is held against my intellect
The present brings conflicting ideologies
Which makes the future not so quite mine
Modern science has put the mystic in prison
The psychiatric rule of thumb is up their ass

The power of one's mind is a delicate issue
It can self destruct the body of being
Then again it equates the justice of freedom
Finding balance through the knowledge of the years
Which is disregarded with an injectable cure

The middle ground for survival is torment
Living out Court orders is not a cure
It robs one of intellectual integrity
Delusional at what may I ask
Being a mystic at heart and lived it


Does poverty breed its offspring into poverty
Or is it cast onto individuals like a heavy shadow
The chains of poverty rattle around our ankles
Like shackles of condemnation in a system
That blames nobody but the poverty-strickened

What makes some of us poverty-strickened
Were our past lives to blame for our present paths
An avenue which has very little compassion hanging in the air
I really think that poverty is truly unfair
Because some of us have to live in such despair

The glimmer of hope is not just a hand out
Helping us to attain our long forgotten goals
We do want to march to the tide of success
For at present we don't have much left
I never came from a poverty-strickened system

It was the system that condemned me to its shackles of despair
But the system did not know that I really cared
About one day riding the powerful tide of success
A priceless thought for the poverty-strickened
For it is the system that is loaded down with the fool's gold

Fool or no fool, some how I'll find that gold mine
I paid for my plot of poverty over and over again
Staying sane through laughing off my despair
One day my prayers will be answered by an angel
My labours can not go unanswered for ever

Hope you enjoyed these words and reflect on our system of humanity, to one day make it better for those concerned!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Art Created Out Of Fear From Recent Lung Problems Due To Smoking
Putting together some words on my bad smoking habit, I am still trying to find a direction to write about this subject, I started smoking cigarettes a long time ago when I was fifteen, when I quit at the age of sixteen I should have stayed off the dependence of tobacco products! It becomes a hard subject to tackle but I am getting there. After I moved into this new apartment to start a new life while pursuing the arts, I got run down physically a bit and had to take neocitroen for a touch of a bug that got the better of me. During this time period my lungs got sore when I smoked and breathed, flashes of a woman from the local News that caught lung cancer from smoking slidderd into my thought process evoking fear of the worst possible state of my lungs from smoking. I got up early one Sunday morning in April with sore lungs and I headed for the Emergency at the Hospital, it was a good time to go, it was very quite this time of day on the weekend at the Hospital and I figured I would be processed quickly. I saw the Doctor soon enough and had to go for a lung X-ray. I have had pneumonia in the lungs before and it was like what my lungs felt like at that time. It was not long before I was taken for my X-ray from the back and side of the lungs. After getting through with X-ray I told the front desk that I was going out for my cigarette, even although I was scared of what the Doctor would say. While out for the cigarette and smoking away in the part of the Hospital parking lot, the Doctor treating me comes out the Hospital doors looking for me and finds me sucking on my cigarette butt. I tossed the butt and jogged lightly across the parking lot (you are not aloud to smoke too close to Hospital doors), and the Doctor informs me that it is my dam smoking that is causing my sore lungs and I was to take tylenol for the pain while doing something about my smoking. It gave me a bit to think about, I always saw the cigarette as another nail in the coffin but smoked it any way. There was a light drizzle in the air as I walked down the hill from the Hospital to a Metro Station and a Pharmacy. I picked up the tylenol and took them right away from the on going pain in my lungs, what was I going to do, there is more than the nicotine addiction, there is the nervous habit of reaching for a smoke under stress and my life had been stressful inducing some chain smoking at times. Like I said the the Doctor in the Hospital Emergency, they will never take away a cigarette from a Psychiatric Patient but I had to do something. OK, start cutting down and see my Psychiatrist for the patch, it became my game plan! Early in the week I got a hold of my Psychiatrist and booked an appointment to see about the patch to help me stop smoking to save my lungs from any more damage. Thursday came and I saw my Doctor and discussed the idea I had of going on the patch to help me with my smoking problem. Her common sense dictated that I was not ready for it, I had to over come the nervous habit of reaching for a cigarette. After being on the tylenol for a bit the pain in my lungs disappeared even although I was still smoking with consciously making an effort to reduce my daily consumption of cigarettes. I started a Stress Management and Health Awareness Group at the Hospital out of it to help me find a direction in overcoming my smoking habit. Here I am smoking the worst of cigarettes rolled by hand out of the rolling papers. There is no filter except for a piece of cardboard to keep the papers open when the cigarette is in ones mouth. Hence I made my collage with the tylenol for eyes, I drew on cross bones in the tylenol which can not be seen in the image posted. I do not smoke usually between buses and metros when getting around town now and walk further between cigarette breaks. With my life becoming less stressful with having my own place, I feel a lot more relaxed and can go with out a cigarette more often. The only good thing about my hand rolled cigarettes is that they are biodegradable being made of only paper, cardboard and tobacco. Till later, smokers beware and may non smokers be tolerant of our bad smoking habit until we get over it!