March 22, 2012 here”>2012
As you might or might not know already, I’m a recovering schizophrenic, with PTSD and Tourette’s syndrome. The Tourette’s is considered “severe” as I am 36 years old, an adult with Tourette’s still present. I’ve had Tourette since I was very young; actually I was about 2 when I showed the first signs. Then officially diagnosed with Tourette’s and possible adolescent onset schizophrenia at age 12 in 1988. I have a mood disorder component (thus Schizoaffective) and I’m coming upon my 10 years of sobriety off of drug and alcohol addiction. Yes, you could say I’ve been through the ringer!
Opening up and sharing my world and my experiences, with hope, and participation in my own recovery and metacognition (usually in deficit for those with schizophrenia) and mindfulness—these all have been helping me become who I am today: an accomplished writer (literature and film/TV) technically a professional author of erotic fiction. I often laugh at this because there are so many sides of me—the “angel demon human dichotomy” – I use various outlets to express my creativity. I have an education in the arts primarily but have worked on Wall St. in my “healthier” days, so I know a bit about that field—I chose ultimately to do what I am doing now—which is just this. I am also a film producer and a musician. My new full 15-track LP will be arriving at over 60 retailers in the coming weeks under the band name Schizophrenic and Caregiver. All my work is also available for free, and always free, as far as I know. My thoughts are free—my public life, my ‘open source’ information-life of J.H.
Having lived in New York, Connecticut, Paris France, Los Angeles, and now New Mexico, I am now married and I blog and podcast mostly about mental illness, inspiration, New Age ideas and transgressive material—transgressional fiction—[If you’ve seen or read <a class="StrictlyAutoTagAnchor" href="http://www.jharnisch.com/tag/fight-club" title="View all articles about Fight Club here”>Fight Club—it’s pretty much like that!]
I am myself—an expert on myself, and my own experiences, that’s about all I’m an expert on. I am not a doctor of any kind. I enjoy learning, reading and communicating—whatever I say, or write, I like to add, “take what you will, leave the rest.” I try my best to speak for myself when it comes down to it—
I just love what I do. I love who I am. I have accepted that which was taken away from me including some cognition, some intellectual and artistic credits not given to me due to silly and ignorant stigma—the bottom line—my money, the companies I’ve owned, and some I still do, as majority shareholder but the power ever-so-creatively taken away from me because of stigma.
I do understand stigmatic judgments—the mindset; it’s almost “sociopathic,” but I do understand “greed” for example, but moreover, stigma—I don’t believe in stigma. It doesn’t work. Nor do I agree with it or think it’s right, but I understand how some people’s minds work, and how they just won’t, or might not ever change—not knowing and not wanting to know. Further, I accept that stigma exists and is real, and rampant in our society and culture.
Again, I love what I do, what I create, what I believe in, my own Porcelain Utopia—the hub of it all—I love the Internet and computers, reading, learning and getting frustrated, figuring out ways of fixing some computer glitch that presents a mental challenge for me—Of course, my life would be easier without schizophrenia (Sz)—sure, I wish I didn’t have this condition. But I do, and I accept it.
Since losing my financial abundance, I have had to and I’ve succeeded and continue to succeed (though the memories and thus the traumatic element creeps up on me at times) but I have thus redefined and continue to “refine this redefining” of what I truly value in my life: I value time and love. I value connecting with others. I value my “life situation.” I value mindfulness—that I can use self-awareness, with the more positive experiences I gather and in building up my own sustained healthy mindset and reality. I value using my mind, which is the one part of me that is, in fact where the problem is—in order to come to terms with it…. Mindfulness, and cognition; being self-aware—
Yesterday I was in a state of “hell” at one point—spot on. Bottom line: I didn’t want to be there. I used my “thinking about thinking” to get me out in time. In time for my therapy appointment so that I’d have the little “thrill,” if you will, by the time of my psychologist’s appointment, I could sit there and tell my doctor that I had just been through hell and I am now back this is how I did it—what do you think, Doc, feedback? —This, instead of needing him to help me get out of the negativity, the schizophrenic mindset—I did it myself, and lived to tell about within about a hour’s time total.
Challenges: to treat life like a game in a way. To accept what you’ve got—let go of the rest and just do your best. This is all 100% much easier said than done and is a full time job. But I live in an overall (yes, overall) state of gratitude and peace of mind. Today is once again, the Best Day of My Life, and it’s not all that bad, depending on how one decides to see it—I invite you to consider that this is likely the Best Day of Your Life.
I woke up and wasn’t hungry. Guess what I did? I ate breakfast—just small. It’s the culmination of these kinds of routines, or lifestyle changes that altogether help me feel at my best.
Self-awareness: thinking about thinking, knowing about knowing. Can we use our minds, which are literally diseased with Sz in order to cope and enjoy the sustained peace of mind I’ve been podcasting about recently on The Real Me?
This is a new subject I’m endeavoring to learn more about—the subjects of cognition, mindfulness, even science itself, and if it might already be or possibly become a part of your own individual healing process—There is not much study nor literature I have read thus far, on metacognition, for example, compared to mindfulness or general cognition itself. So far it’s fascinating me, because my doctor says that I have enormous awareness, or metacognition while it appears that most schizophrenics lack it— generally speaking. I can often speak about my hallucinations and voices while they’re active while being totally detached from them. This fascinates me so much.
I feel proud and smart because of the things my psychologist tells me, while he is perhaps one of the most pragmatic and tell-it-like-it-is, matter-of-fact people I’ve ever come across.
Just a couple footnotes: In science, cognition refers to mental processes. Attention, remembering, producing and understanding language, solving problems, and making decisions.
Metacognition refers to one’s knowledge concerning one’s own cognitive processes or anything related to them, e.g., the learning-relevant properties of information or data. For example, I am engaging in metacognition if I notice that I am having more trouble learning A than B; if it strikes me that I should double check C before accepting it as fact.
Quite scientific so I’m not going to write much more about it until I finish more of my crash course during my free time these days, which is sparse.
May I dedicate this particular blog post to the following:
- NAMI: the National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Sz Magazine
- Healthy Place – healthyplace.com
- Friends and acquaintances on Twitter, Porcelain Utopia and everything online—social networks—all of you guys:
Thank you so very much! You are perfect just the way you are!
You are all, in fact, my rock of support!
My trapeze net!
So, once again, I have lots of work to get to now—freelance writing and things, meditation, friends to see, food to eat, medicine to take, and life to live.
“You yourself are absolutely amazing! I watched your movie, then read your blog. Your enthusiasm about life, people and how they have made a difference in your life is priceless. I’m sure that is how everyone feels about you and the positive difference you make in his or her lives and of course mine. ♥”