A Li’l E.M.W. [Early Morning Writing] Session
A Re-Introduction of Jonathan Harnisch’s Schizophrenia:
In medicine, the term comorbidity is either the presence of one or more disorders (or diseases) in addition to a primary disease or disorder, or the effect of such additional disorders or diseases—I have a form of schizophrenia called schizoaffective disorder. Schizophrenia is a disease of the brain that affects cognition, behavior, and social functioning. Schizoaffective disorder is schizophrenia plus a mood disorder. In my case: bipolar disorder. Both are complex disorders, and both fascinate me. I’m always trying to understand my own mind and experiences. Schizophrenia, by itself is known to be a long-term mental disorder, or disease, depending on the source, which involves a breakdown in the relationship between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to inaccurate perceptions and faulty interpretations of reality as compared to the interpretation of reality by someone who is mentally healthy. In addition, inappropriate actions and feelings tend to occur, withdrawal from reality, “dissociation,” withdrawal from personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation. That is why I think I have chosen art as my hobby—not as my profession, but my life.
My entire life is a work-in-progress, a work of art that is fueled by my illness. Recently, I have been on my way to being “recovered not cured.” My entire life is spent recovering. My life in general hasn’t always been this way but, in short, as many thought processes and systems seem to play a large part of my experiences, my life frequently feels like an LSD trip—sometimes for the better sometimes not. Sure, hallucinations, voices, and all the well-known symptoms are involved, and I prefer not to be beaten by something I can laugh at—so yes, of course it’s devastating and debilitating, day by day, minute by minute, but when I can, I laugh, as laughter is, indeed, the ultimate medicine. Some days I have schizophrenia; schizophrenia doesn’t have me, and some days, schizophrenia completely has me. Today, for example, is not the best day, but I believe it is—so it is. It is the best day of my life. I playfully, but with all sincerity, believe that I am schizophrenia, in the sense that the mechanisms of the illness dictate my experiences, actions, and so on. I just do my best to have my say, to use my mind, which is the “problem” in order to fix my mind, which again is the problem—sure that’s “insanity!”
I tend to have a very difficult time with having a “pressure” of thought and thus often a pressure in communicating—not that oh, I just talk too much—it’s real. What’s called my executive thinking has declined over the years, since I was a teenager—and yet I went to the best schools, lived a pretty interesting and intense life, certainly a privileged life—yet most of it has been lost. Rather, not completely lost—I have gained as well as I have lost. As I said, I have a form of schizophrenia called schizoaffective, and a personality disorder not otherwise specified which means that it does not fit any single one in particular—but a “landscape,” perhaps. I have Tourette’s syndrome, even now as an adult. And anxiety, which for the most part derives from a series of traumatic events in my life—Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is the medical diagnosis. It has taken years for psychiatrists to put that much together, and yes, it’s a handful, to say the least.
I accept my illnesses and yet I take it as simply being my eccentricity and just rolling with that! Making it as good and as fun as I can! What are my other options? Accept or not accept. How can you not accept who you are?
I consider myself an accomplished writer, producer, and musician. I blog and I host a podcast about mental illness and inspiration, and I write transgressive fiction. Transgressive fiction is, in a way, similar to erotica, but with a twist of some more disturbing elements. Fight Club is considered transgressive fiction, and it’s one of my favorite films. This might come across as controversial but Fight Club actually mirrors a lot of my experiences, though even in the book, or the movie—it is not about schizophrenia, or multiple personality disorder. Neither the book nor the movie ever even mentions the word.
I subscribe to the idea—the action—the results and consequences of doing something each day—even today, and for now, just today—doing something today that my future self will thank me for. I’m always preparing for that: my future, my future life, my next incarnation—always doing and creating—my art. My life.
Day-to-day? I’ll start and stay right here and now and I choose… I choose to live my life today by choice, not by chance. To make changes, not excuses, to be motivated, not manipulated.
I choose self-esteem. As I create my day, as I set it up, doing my part so that the illness doesn’t do it for me, I choose self-esteem not pity. My inner voice—not the schizophrenic voices of, call me crazy—but Satan, OK? I know him well. Actually get along with him these days, and see? I have what’s called an insight or high metacognition, which is again, quite rare in schizophrenics, yes, I’m a schizo—I can laugh at that idea—I take responsibility for that. I own it. And I love it. It makes me feel good. Helps exorcise the demons—and I know that sounds ridiculous—it is ridiculous! It’s not necessarily real. But it is to me, even while I am aware that it is simply, a symptom of my illness.
My inner voice: I live a very spiritual life a New Age kind of life. I’m interested in that. I let my intuition—my sometimes, rather psychic abilities—guide me. Yet there’s a gray area, because this is yet another overlapping effect: is this my schizophrenia? Or are some of the impressions I get—or even voice—are they the Voice of God, or Spirit, or simply nothing at all? Why did a voice tell me randomly, just a few weeks ago, the square root of 587? I typed it into my calculator and it was right. I called my wife once—she was out one day, and I asked her what happened, that something was wrong. And she had had a small car accident I believe—everything was OK but there still seems to be a lot of misunderstandings of what this is all about. Mental illness, in general, is what I’m referring to, the further we can get in and articulate what is inside the mentally ill mind the better able we’ll be to understand what we consider “illness.” And, maybe one day with this understanding, science might be able to cure more disabilities.
My future self will thank me for what I am doing today. So, that’s my little off-the-cuff introduction. I hope to inspire courage and break stigma, and to express myself, because that, to me, is what being an artist is about.
The world is working in your favor; overall, of course. Be sure to get on board with the new Porcelain Utopia Facebook Group:
“The Porcelain Utopia Gang” is our official forum-based platform for all to post, comment and interact. Be true to yourself and say Yes to Life.
The Porcelain Utopia Gang:
6:30 PM 6 JUNE 2012
To The Gang: Just returned from the Salon for the newest of wild afro dews. Photos and Video Documentary is in the can–up for an edit and share. Porcelain Utopia is my Life and I’m here working on a variety of new and some older projects while rebuilding the Blog & Website from its unfortunate ‘database massacre.’ Always coming through. Happiness is the Overall Picture and I invite you all to share your stories, big and small. Be sure to Like the actual page for Porcelain Utopia at http://www.facebook.com/porcelainutopiablog We’ve got over 1,200 friends [the Us’] of PU in its first month. As always, be true to yourself, and believe in it all; say Yes to Life. It works and the world is working in your favor, overall, of course. A new clearer Self in this constantly unraveling mystery of Jonathan Harnisch is taking place due to the start of a new medication for schizophrenia called Latuda. And look forward to a project that is just in its beginning: a blogger who is working with me through a series of interviews, developing a website that enters deep into the minds of thought-provoking artists with so-called mental disorders. Be well and be yourself! May your journey be continually blessed.
Let’s get this group and all else really running now! Today, as for my own things, ah…see, I made long a list of about 30 items: small things like ordering AA batteries, and to begin such-and-such film or book project, as there are literally 30-50 pretty major undertakings [unfinished larger-scale projects in the archives]… That small personal stuff aside, I’m feeling a big “NO.” In other words, it’s Saturday; it’s the weekend, for crying out loud. Jonathan needs, as we all do, to Let It Go and be easy of the self. Seriously. So, to take the day as it comes, ride with the ebb and flow, and “GO.” But…that’s it. To just do ‘whatever,’ and without any pressure… Today is just today, just a time in the landscape of my life. And I’m choosing it. Ah, now I’ll have my coffee and a ciggie (I know, I know…) but hey; a good day, it is. Indeed! May your day and your journey be blessed and real and true, to yourself! That’s it for now!
“Maybe [mental illness] is not that bad,” explains psychiatrist Dr. Gorman; I recommend excellent study:
…with renowned author Andy Behrman: http://twitter.com/electroboyusa
…interviewing for his first time, smashingly well, as guest-host on this interaction-focused discussion of group therapy models and other treatment-related topics. Well worth a listen. Fresh & new material. Stigma is tackled. Follow:
–Jonathan Harnisch [The Real Me Podcast]: