008-Light Under the Shade-Memoir


It’s a new day now. The sun shines bright as I suck in the last draft of my cigarette, and suck the very end of my fourth cup of coffee.

I notice Steve is still waking up, slowly, as he sits at the other patio table. I want to talk with him, to check in with him but I don’t want to interfere with his just-getting-out-of-bed-leave-me-alone state of mind, which I, too, seem to get every morning.

So, now that I am sitting at the desk in our room, and have lodged a lower-case dip in my mouth, and those four cups of coffee were brewed strong, they’ve definitely given me that Edge which feels like it’ll last all day… I feel pressed again to sit here and write to you—I don’t know who you are or where you are, but I still write to you, from here, from the past, from this ongoing Trial with the Mind.

The main reason is, that besides the fact that this writing is totally saving my life and helping, last night was hell again. The evening had my mind racing (God, when is this going to stop…my prayer trails on…) filled with frustration, antagonism and confusion…“Cognitive Symptoms…”

But now to the point (if I can get there…)

I fell asleep around midnight (again) and although I generally need twelve hours of sleep, thank god for having to pee real badly, again, ‘cause by wake up call at 8 AM, I was just getting up…to pee. So I stayed up.

I went to the nurse’s station, and got my morning meds. I noticed one of the pills was missing so I showed the nurse (one hell of a fat bitch…) my hand indicating that the Klonopin was missing. I picked up their mistake, their human error…This would happen six more times, and each time it frustrated the hell out of me because they had been under the impression that I was a drug addict (my family told them so, but it’s the furthest thing from the truth—that family of mine, as they try to get me institutionalized or homeless, as they try to destroy me and my wife—the Living Colorful Bitch.)

I showered and dressed, had coffee, and said my Good Mornings to the only two other guys who were awake at the time—watching TV with the volume off—Albino Bob and Catatonic Chris. Their affects were Das Blunted.

I learned that the doctor, the Head Master, drives a Honda. Is he in it for the money, or is the Honda just a cover-up? He would be seeing me later in the morning, which I was excited about. I am still excited that: 1. I will be meeting with him and, 2. The later in the day, the better.

I usually set up all of my appointments for later in the day. I am always in better mental shape around 3:00 in the afternoon. But here in Sz School, I have to see the doctor on his time, not mine.

I came to realize—to actually, sincerely realize—that I can’t plan the next day, nor am I able (is anyone able?) to plan any future. I mean I can plan an appointment. I can plan to bring up a certain issue to discuss with the doctor… But last night, I “planned” to get up real late. I planned to be a dick all day. And I planned to not talk to anybody—maybe just Steve.

But the weather was pleasant when I awoke and the overall landscape of situations, the overall mood of the staff—the way I perceived Reality—and in this morning’s case, I couldn’t have planned for such a positive outlook. I couldn’t plan (or execute the plan) that I would not hold the Big Grudge against myself for ruining everybody’s life—from last night—things all just fell into place. Naturally.

The Divine, the Universe—it did what it did. It put me in the place I am in. It set me up for being OK…for right now at least.

I’m a believer in the New Age concept of what’s called “manifestation.” I hadn’t a clue of my thoughts about going to sleep last night, that I’d been manifesting anything good, as for the impeding morning hours.

I have hope for a more sustainable peace of mind and LIFE. Deep inside me, underneath the trapezoidal confusion from last night…I must have manifested my waking up on a good note.

My thoughts are petty and small, my heart is huge—what I really feel is HUGE.

It would seem like no big deal—waking up without the imp of the mind on my back…


But it’s exciting for me—(I know, Ben, I know. Don’t get too excited. It won’t last forever).

It’s just that I feel I have a running start for the day ahead, and perhaps the week ahead. After all, today is Monday.

I usually love Mondays because that’s when things happen.

I enjoy my own space and time…and maybe even some TV. And there’s usually more to observe on the news, out the window—on a Monday—rather than say, on a Plain ‘Ole Sunday, when all that’s on TV are the Evangelical Broadcasts and…infomercials.

My plan for the doctor’s meeting coming up, is to see about my blood test, which may or may not be ready…the results, I mean…and to tell him that my Sz can get bad, but not just bad, really bad. So much for use of good words, like “bad.”

(I write this weeks after the fact, still transcribing from the notebook I had when I was in inpatient—and rarely did I write, but now, it’s been taking me weeks to transcribe, maybe ten pages so far, of hand writing…not to bore you, I’m just trying my darnedest to finish the notes from then and put them onto the computer, because at the very moment, I am utterly messed up…and once again, as rare as the moments come when I have enough motivation to write, or to do anything for that matter, I seem to have caught a glimpse into what could be at least a ten minute writing session…so please bear with me).

…That it gets “bad,” traumatic, terrifying…that better? The split mind, the cement holding the Self (good, innocent Ben) together, crumbles. The Sz part of the split, might not be collapsing, but controls what feels like a good 85% of the regular Self, the healthy Self, while like right now, the Ben Self can barely even remember the attacks that happen—the Sz has that much control, and a certain kind of amnesia is rampant.

I’m still in the fog. I have things like group therapy that I kind of have to do—to get over with—I rarely do anything, I fake my way out of the group events, and certain therapies, and junk.

I do my darnedest to stay involved and not think that the day is another day in hell…but it is nearly impossible.

See? See? I already find myself slipping again. I guess that’s why I get to see the doctor soon.

I am crying again, now…I miss my cats so much.

Why can’t my brain just basically stay intact? Somebody needs to find a cure for this thing.


OK, I’m staying…I’m staying positive. (Ben, stay positive. Go downstairs and have a smoke. Say hello to someone else. They just might be able to help—the facility in general.) Help sustain the brain even ever so slightly, more than it’s being sustained right now. I see myself in others. I see them in me, too.

I promise not to bring up Georgie or Claudia… or any of the fantasies from this point forward. I mean that, but I’m afraid I might not be able to mean that unconditionally, because if something happens (and I know I am projecting…), I need to make sure I have a place, or rather a person, with whom I can dissociate if I feel the need, or if it happens on its own…

I’ve got to just stick to My True and Only Self—The Ben in me. Maybe, just maybe—the, dare I say it without tearing up as I am—maybe even the Jonathan in me.

The home (the Sz School)—as more clients came in and went out—the place became more of a school for the Druggies and Alkies. Clients started to drink beer from the gas station and drug up on cough syrup. And nobody was being kicked out. The place became more of just a business and some sort of legal crack house if you catch my drift.

Staff became more and more distant, and although I continued to believe that the M.D.—the head guy—really knew his stuff about Sz—I made a valiant effort to move out, having only been there that one-week, and a day.

So I have to keep this short because my hand is already cramping up—

I’ve been living in a little garden motel. And now, as an outpatient, my only requirements are to take the public bus in every day to get my meds, which, of course, is a royal pain in the ass. Besides, they keep messing up the meds. Convinced that I am addicted to the benzodiazepine (Klonopin)—because my stepmother convinced them I was, while I am not. Rather, of course I am addicted, but I am not abusing them—that’s what I mean—the nurses on staff have been leaving out my 3X/day doses of the Klonopin. Once I show visual proof that the pills are missing, they eventually give in to what they’re calling human error—but 5 times or so!

I’ll write more about this on the computer when my wife is able to bring it to me, but I made contact with some old friends in L.A. (ironically near Long Beach), and it appears that I had simply left the circle for five years—five years of paranoid delusions that they had been out to get me—all the time, it turns out, they had been waiting for me to come back, at some point, with their undying love and prayers.

One of them is Bobby Banks (from Porcelain Utopia Parts 1 & 2) and it looks like he wasn’t after me, wanted something from me—nothing like that.

Now, Bobby is working his ass off to save me. And it actually looks like I will be getting my old life back. I hope I do, and that I am not just being carried along, given the run around, etc., from the ‘ole boys back in California.

My wife’s book, Money and Madness (I recently read her first chapter and I love it so far…) will be running kind of parallel to this PU series of mine…So I’ve got to keep some details, like the big-family-legal-mumbo-jumbo for her book…Unless it gets too overbearing for me, and I end up writing for therapy…

About them—about Those Nutcases, as I call them—the Living Colorful Rich.

For here, for now, I will continue to write about whatever it is that I am writing about, whether it can be labeled as “stream-of-thought,” or “transgressive” or “coming of age.”

I’m actually going to make it.

Georgie always said that, so I must have said that.

I’m going to be just fine, though I can never deny the Big Sz.

As my phone charges, I keep to myself, until, as Bobby just texted me, “The Calvary is Coming!!!”

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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