007-Light Under the Shade-Memoir


Throughout the morning, I’ve been Zombie again.

With a few more cups of coffee, the anxieties started to melt away.

I’ve actually been at peace for the past three hours or so, knowing that the terror will eventually have to come back. It’s just the nature of this split mind.

There are still a couple of hours until I have to do my Schizophrenia School chore, which is that I assist with the preparation of dinner.

Now, since the time for doing this once-overly-dreaded-upon-chore is closer than it was yesterday, and last night, ironically I have a lot less anxiety about it. I know it will be done soon.

Note: I did a fantastic job, later on, and the house of roughly 15 people loved the meal. Thank heavens! Made me feel good though I never wanted to do it again—and certainly didn’t need to, for I’d be transitioning to outpatient status before the next week would come.

But for now, this place I’m in, that I call Sz School—which it technically is—is a sort of halfway house. Or, how they describe it: Assisted Living—an alternative to the Ward—a common ground for people with severe mental illnesses, namely those with Sz.

I probably will not incorporate many of the other patients (or characters?) here into this book project. Mostly because I still barely know any of them, and as usual, I have little or no inclination to socialize with anyone except El-Steve-O.

Some, or even most of the Schizophrenics here have totally blunted affects. That’s the state of mind where I want to be—it appears to be, as I see some of these guys just staring off into outer space, that they are blunted inside, too. (Steve-O told me that he asked one of them, and they are actually still beyond torment in there…) But that’s where I wish I was—in a place they only appear to be in…I guess it’s just that outer appearance that’s appealing. Sometimes I just want to go totally numb and limp. Their moods, their energy levels seem to never change—all of that appears to be their outward projection of their inner peace and great sense of “bliss” (if that’s the right word?)… Well, anyway, you see where I am going with this, I’m sure. I just hope that they’re not dealing with the demons, and torment (no matter what Steve-O told me), the terror, which otherwise seeps through every wall of The Inner Void.

My definition of “joy” is being able to stare into The Black Void, like it’s some kind of scrying mirror and being deeply embraced by it, with the epitome of fearless love—unconditional love.

My idea of joy is peace of mind… to just … float…

Anytime I pass anyone, I can (I’d die to) just smile, with no questions, no introductions, no having to get to know one another, and never, ever having to take that big Buddhist breath, feeling more and more alive and alert and having to come out of a lifelong meditation. I long for the blunted, non-violent affect I see in some others. I yearn to be present in the place where I see these other schizophrenics suffering, all by themselves.

I ask myself, “Are they worse off than me?” I question this, because they all seem to be less aware of reality. “Is it their meds doing that to them?” I ask myself. I ask myself lots and lots of questions, needing to be satisfied with the answers, and craving to understand the world at large with a full and complete understanding.

I’ve read quite a bit about Sz since I was officially diagnosed, and I know from my reading that each Schizophrenic has unique symptoms and general conditions.

Nonetheless, Steve-O and I feel like identical twins—our symptoms, we both even have an addictive personality. It’s like without him—for example, if I never met him—if I was put into a single bedroom, I wouldn’t be able to see myself in anyone.

They say that everything happens for a reason, so my rooming with Steve had to happen. Even if I was to never see him again from this point forward, I’ve already learned that I am not alone in my own miniature world. I’m working on cursing less. Screw it—about the Tourette’s—if I want to clean up my act, even if I am not required to, then that’s what I’ll do. I don’t truly believe in anyone “healing” from anything—at least by means of the mind.

Especially when the mind is fractured.

The noun itself makes better sense: Fracture.

The split mind:

I observe the part of me that is split, between the innocent, fragile, and vulnerable—Ben. The split part is the tormented Schizophrenic part of the Self—the psychotic mind that lacks any Divine sensations—the part that needs the medicine.

The psychotic breaks where the actual split is—that’s where…well, one could imagine them as a picture. Where the edges overlap—doing so-so—dealing with the symptoms but still connected to the awareness of it all.

When the rubber holding the split together turns to cement (from stress, from the environment) and it cracks, the side of the split that is purely The Illness takes over completely, like the Hitler of the Mind. Start hallucinating like John Nash in A Beautiful Mind. Complete paranoia overcomes every aspect of the Innocent Little Ben.

When the cement cracks, that’s when I become basically impressed with the need to be chained up in restraints, although believe me, restraints and psych wards are hell, but when that stuff cracks—and I’m having a break, it is literally you, me (whomever) versus the entire galaxy.

It can honestly get that bad. The worst acid trip one can imagine.

I never, ever want that to happen to me again—a “relapse,” as they call it. I wish it upon nobody, not even Hitler himself. (Hitler? Hitler’s dead, anyway.)

I’m better off with the profoundly smaller “episodes”, even though a one-hour episode (I call them “spells”) can seem just as terrifyingly dreadful.

I’m going to take a break now—a break from writing—now that I’ve broken more ice. Some of this is quite difficult to write. Fears arise that concern me. I want to present something special to my readers and I want what I write to be written well, and clear. I want to give you something you can enjoy and embrace. The fears that surface concern my questioning myself. Am I doing this right? Is my story line too similar to others’ with similar life scenarios? I resolve some of these fears with the knowledge that some of our life stories follow similar scripts, in general, but it’s how we react to them and cope. The fact that some of us have similar storylines, I think it makes us have something in common. I believe that the desire to be unique can be quelled by replacing it with the feeling that we are not alone, and that regardless, we are all definitely unique.

Aside from the Schizophrenia and the Porcelain Utopia—I’ve just got to use the bathroom. Nothing crazy. Just have to pee. Thank God for that.

About Jonathan Harnisch

Author | Mental Health Advocate | Schizophrenia | Artist | Blogger | Podcast Host | Patent Holder | Hedge Fund Manager | Film & TV Producer | Musician
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