The Day I Became Schizophrenic

Eric Coates
32
2382

A few months after I left the hospital, a voice dictated this poem to me, meant to describe my fate.

Heaven and Hell (My Fate)

Your sorrow will be

to always come back

exactly the way you were.

 

Never to have any freedom.

Never in anything but the same body.

Never to have your own voice.

Always there — to never escape.

 

God has spoken.

That is all.

I’d started having things dictated to me a couple days before I got out of the hospital. I’d been scheduled to get out soon, and as part of getting me ready my psychiatrist had suggested “community visits,” which was Psychiatric Speak for letting me leave the hospital and go out somewhere in town — for dinner with Mom, or whatever the particular excuse for being out might be, to see if I could handle myself amongst people. So I was out with Mom, and the first thing I’d done was to buy a pack of cigarettes, and I was out in the street, smoking my brains out and roaming the free streets for a minute, looking around at the first architecture I’d seen in three months that wasn’t designed for containing someone and that actually had some beauty and grace and style to it, when all of a sudden a voice started dictating a poem to me, a poem which I have since lost among my things but which described —  and which was composed in the same kind of poetic voice that I used when I wrote poetry at the age of maybe 25 — a woman that I had met in the psych ward.

I had actually seen this woman once many years before, when I was a college senior and she was a young girl, a teenager, and she came to check out the school I went to and we passed each other on the hill outside the dining commons. I looked at her just for a moment, but for some reason the picture of her had stuck in my memory. Twenty-five years later she looked exactly the same, and it turned out that she had, in fact, gone to the same college that I had, and we became very good friends, and the truth was that I had a little bit — just a little bit — of a crush on her. So the poem was about remembering seeing her that day.

The really significant things about this were that 1) it was my first poem in more than 20 years, a period in which I had not consciously been engaged with poetry at all; 2) it was dictated out of nowhere by a voice, with no planning or preparation on my part, exactly as it was supposed to be, and 3) this whole experience was something I was to get used to over the days and months that followed. More than used to. This whole writing process would become the basis of my life.

* * *

The way I see things, psychosis — not the same thing as schizophrenia, which is only one of many different experiences that involve psychosis — has to be defined as a kind of spiritual experience. Spirituality, for me, can be connected to just about anything. It might be about God. It might be about aliens. It might be about spirits, or about collective consciousness or about some sort of universal archetype or the consciousness of the planet dreaming us all. Who knows? All it takes for something to be “spiritual” is to have some weird thoughts and experiences, and maybe those thoughts and experiences give you some deeper thoughts  about how everything works, and that’s pretty much all there is to it.

Does it matter that my version of being saved is that I’ll be taken up by the aliens? I’m still saved, aren’t I? And any reasonable examination of what I’m going through indicates that what’s making me act so funny is not some sort of brain disease or genetic defect or so-called “psychosis,” but some sort of weird contact with something, some outside intelligence, a mind so vast that it can reach right into our minds and alter our perception of the way the world works. Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed — all of them had these kinds of experiences, which today we’d call psychosis. These experiences and perceptions are not some strange thing. Millions of people have them all the time.

So lots of people experience psychosis — that weird, freaky, electric feeling as you realize what bizarre truths underlie the world in some mystical way, whether it’s that the CIA is watching your every move and using you to study mind control, or that the Grand Cosmic Consciousness itself is talking to you through microwaves — but don’t end up as schizophrenics. Assuming, of course, that you believe in “schizophrenia” at all.

Schizophrenia, to me, is nothing more than a word. All it really means is that you experience psychosis on a regular enough basis that it’s a factor in your life and that you actually do, as the word “schizophrenia” indicates, have a mind that you share with some sort of outside presence. “Schizophrenia” means “split senses” or “split mind,” because it was clearly recognized at the time that your senses and your mind are essentially the same thing; you sense your own mind thinking, observing, and so forth. When you split them, permanently, you get two minds in one body: a schizophrenic, a split consciousness. So the really important question is whether you believe that the psychosis is actually a problem, as most of society does, or whether you might see it as an opportunity, a positive, as I do: one of the rare chances for a normal human being to see and feel and experience what some other kind of conscious entities — gods? aliens? — have chosen to show you.

I suppose that there could be “former” schizophrenics, but that would be strange. Once you’re in, you’re in, I figure: You’ve seen the magical mystery tour itself, and you’ll never be the same. But is there anything else really strange about it? Not really. Schizophrenia is common, and “schizophrenia” itself just a word that someone made up to try to connect some of the bizarre things he saw happening as a result of that divided consciousness. He was most likely just trying to help out and clear up a confusing situation — someone who wanted to “help” who might not have realized that his “help” wasn’t needed. Unfortunately, he was a medical doctor, and he and his friends tended to try to blame what they saw as a person’s “problem” on that person’s biology, like their neurology or their brain chemistry or their genes. So the label stuck, and I’m tired of sitting around waiting for someone to come up with another term for it that doesn’t get someone offended.

So I’m neither offended by the term nor really worried about what it’s defined exactly to mean; the problem is simpler than that. What do people really say? Well, I want to communicate with more people, and while it’s offensive to define me only as a so-called illness, “schizophrenia” does convey some information about what it’s about. It’s what most people say, so I say it too, and I’ll keep saying schizophrenia until everyone reaches a common consensus and chooses another term. It saves time, like when you need to fill out a form, and there’s no box to check for “hear the voices of entities which he believes are either alien and/or God,” but they do have a box for “schizophrenia.” I see my use of this term as simply taking it over like some sort of hermit crab crawling into some other kind of creature’s shell. Which is, interestingly enough, an apt metaphor for what is happening in my own schizophrenia, which is that another kind of intelligence has somehow crawled its way inside of me, and it’s there all the time.

What do I mean by “another intelligence”? It might help if I told you about some precursors to the poetry-dictation experience.

One day, only a few weeks before, when I was still living a normal life, having had psychotic experiences, been medicated for them for a few years in which I didn’t have them, and now drug-free and living normally, I was on the elliptical one day at the gym when I suddenly had the feeling that a killer was staring out through my eyes. I could feel its mood: dark, menacing, alert. I could feel it moving my body, flexing the muscles, stretching them like an animal ready to pounce.

But the feeling passed, and I didn’t worry about it again.

By a few days later, circumstances had changed. Voices had begun to take over my life, threatening to kill me, and I was having all sorts of visions and other experiences, such as looking out over a gym full of people one day in the sunshine and seeing it all transformed into a field full of blooming flowers materializing, ghostly and pale, like dust in the sunlight. One day I was at the gym again, where I’d gone to take refuge from the storm that it seemed was about to take over my life, or even result in my death. Voices were talking incessantly, and from what they said I believed they were the members of some sort of an international conspiracy of psychics — a kind of universal consciousness and power in my private cosmology.

As I stood there that day, terrified and weakened at what I assumed was about to happen to me, I listened as a committee meeting of voices told me that my body would be taken over by a writer who would use me for the rest of my life as his body, and they went on to deliberate about what kinds of books they wanted me to write, and I knew that it meant that I would be trapped inside while some Other was the one who lived my life and wrote my works. They talked about things that I had never thought about before: stories I hadn’t even imagined yet, stories that were striking and different. And then, just for a few moments, I felt this endless, ages-deep disgust and boredom fill me as the writer’s presence filled me, and he walked around in my body for a few moments and then was gone.

It was a couple days after that that I went to the emergency room, thinking that I was about to die and that maybe someone could help me, and that’s how I ended up in the hospital and having this whole adventure to begin with.

So there are two things I imagine anyone might want to know at this point.

1) What does the voice write about?

2) What is the split consciousness like?

So what does the voice write about? Well, there’s a wide range of material. On the one hand, I am slowly — agonizingly slowly — having a novel dictated to me, and it’s a nice enough, mass-market kind of thing that kids and old people might read. It’s a fun, fantastical story. Who knows? It might even get a real publisher. But that book won’t be appearing soon; like I said, it’s moving along very slowly. The voice is also slowly dictating a translation of parts of the book of Genesis, if not the whole thing eventually, where what I do is simply look at a few versions of the Bible and go back to the Hebrew for a sense of the original and then listen as the voice dictates its own version.

It’s a very interesting translation, actually. It makes sense out of sections that don’t seem to make sense at first because of the way it was first written and then translated without taking the time to get it exactly right. The voice also dictates translations of the poet Rilke in much the same way — I look at a translation or two, just to get a sense of it, then go back to the German. I have no idea how much Rilke the voice intends to translate, but I have to say that they are the best translations of Rilke’s work that I have seen.

There is a lot of poetry. Some of it is supposed to be “mine” — it’s written in what used to be my own, Eric Coates’, original voice — but some of it is dictated in German and then immediately translated into English. Some of these poems are supposed to be by other authors, including some very famous dead German poets. In addition to liking poetry in general, the voice apparently likes traditional forms of poetry in particular, such as mostly forgotten forms like sea shanties and drinking songs and limericks— the dirtier the better. The voice once got me out of bed at 10 p.m. and, over the course of exactly two hours, dictated 17 filthy limericks in a row. That’s one limerick every seven minutes. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t write a limerick once every seven years. I challenge you to produce a good limerick every seven minutes, or even a bad one.

One of the milder examples is this:

There once was a man who liked farts

almost as much as his darts.

He liked to bend down

and act like a clown

right before he practiced his arts.

These are the kinds of things that make you question what kind of Higher Intelligence or what representation of the Cosmic Experience might deem it necessary to include filthy limericks in its glorious array, but these are apparently the kinds of things it finds indispensable. For me it’s no longer surprising what it might talk about, or who it might say is talking.

The first time I realized that I actually was dealing with something that clearly had to be from the beyond was when I was dictated a rhyming poem, a sort of Shakespearean ditty, about taking a shit. Which might sound odd, but once you think about it you will realize that if any classic poet actually had written a poem about taking a shit, of course it would have been Shakespeare. When I first saw this poem as it was dictated to me in two minutes or so (it has never been changed), I was rather confused and disoriented. What was this? I can’t rhyme, I don’t think in meter. It’s a completely different mind that produced this. It was only when the image of medieval paintings, with their portraits of devils poking their snouts out of sinners’ rear ends, that I realized just how far back this sort of indulgence in filth really is. What made me realize it was more than earthly, however — that it could not possibly be a production of my own “subconscious” — was not only that I am both unable to rhyme and unable to write at all metrically, let alone come up with some of these phrases, but also that it’s just so obviously an intelligence possessed of its own individual and dexterous turn of mind. This one goes:

A Shakespahearing Moment

Oh, foul beast, what rude production!

I dare not look at what reduction

My gut has made of what I ate

Yesterday from off my plate.

What thing just slithered from betwixt my legs?

Not the thing in front, although that begs

For some excuse for what it’s done

When it has finished with its fun.

No, what troubles and disturbs my mind

Is the nasty thing I’ve left behind,

For crueler much than you would think

Is this thing which surely stinks.

I don’t know, I just leapt up

And hit the lever that sticks up

Waiting for to be removed

This thing which has surely proved

How rude a beast a man must be

When he does that and stops to pee,

Not satisfied with what he’s done

When surely, surely anyone

Would be ashamed to just look back

At that monster, thick and black.

But Bible translations and dirty poems aren’t the limit of what the voice writes. At times, it talks about the way the universe works. According to one of the voices’ stories, the universe is all contained in a game — a simulation that is essentially a glorified video game — being played between the members of two cosmic species we would describe as being highly evolved moths and flies in their battle for intergalactic dominance. At first this story might not seem plausible, but when you consider evolution and the fact that in some universe at some time somewhere, it might very well be that two species evolved and played a game called Universe wherein they agreed on the rules of a whole new universe every time and then fought it out in that universe for dominance. A universe in which they are taken for gods, and if you’re me, you end up saying, Hey, why not? It’s no stranger than the stories most religions tell about the origins of the universe, although, like most cosmologies, it doesn’t really answer the question of where it all came from, of why there even is a universe to exist in. God created our universe; Who created His? Does even He know why we’re here?

So it’s interesting, in all, listening to what the voice has to say. It’s not what you’d expect, anyway, although I have no idea what one would rationally expect a disembodied voice to dictate under normal circumstances.

•  •  •

On to question 2: What is the split consciousness like?

What my voices told me is that reincarnation is the connecting of one living person in a living body with other spirits who may or may not be dead, so that mentally they are all linked to one another and become able to use each other’s talents and strengths and so forth via the person through which they manifest, and even to share experiences. My voices also told me that I myself was being reincarnated, and that everyone I was being connected to in this way — becoming, essentially, a sort of hybrid being or consciousness — would all sort of meld together in my writing. And because each of these people was also connected to twelve others of their own, and those to twelve others, and so on, it all became a vast network of minds. In some way, they conveyed, this was how humanity united into the consciousness of God or some sort of god-like being. A great, universal consciousness of everyone coming together was the ultimate goal and purpose of it all.

I didn’t know this at the time it started. At the time it started I thought I was going to die, or be tormented, or something. Nothing was clear. All I knew was that I was sitting in my car across the street from my mother’s, with no place to go for the night in this freaky town where everyone seemed to be running on some sort of freaky automatic defense system that was keeping me out, and I could feel this hellish sense of the night opening up. Voices had begun hissing in my head, heightening the sense that I was doomed. They were going to kill me, I believed. And then, as I sat there paralyzed, I felt something like a kind of hook enter the back of my head, in the hollow just above the bone where the neck muscles connect to the back of the skull, and a pain went through my head as the hook passed through and came out the other side, and I knew that I had died.

I’ve heard other people in psych wards say that they had died, and knew the date. There was a woman I knew, a sort of fiendishly minded little psychotic, very devilish sense of humor, who once cackled out loud: “I sold my soul to the Devil in 1979.” I told everyone right then that I believed she had, because that’s just not the sort of specific thing you go and make up. Another man said he’d died in 1969, but he never said what the circumstances were, only that he had died. He would come up to you, smile, start talking pleasantly, and then, as soon as he got going, would suddenly go from whatever he was talking about to screaming about the Psychiatric Genocide That’s Killed Five Hundred Million People, so he did have a clue.

So when I say that May 17, 2015 was the day that I died, that the old Eric Coates ceased for all intents and purposes to exist as a solitary individual  and was reborn immediately into a new, different kind of existence — well, I can only hope that you realize that that is not the sort of thing you just make up, and it was quite the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced.

So what it’s like to be the conduit for The Writer?

Well, there’s the body. It’s his. He walks, talks, writes, goes to the bathroom, reads articles, laughs, goes for walks with Mom, smokes pot, has a cat. While he’s doing all this, I am looking out through his/our eyes in a way that is very similar to how being inside someone was portrayed in the movie Being John Malkovich. I mean, there’s no cinematic shadowy tunnel you’re looking down, but there is a sense of viewing everything from a distance, from far behind the eyes. There is also no sense beforehand of when I am about to move or pick my nose or get up and go for another cup of coffee or something. That is, I am not the one doing it. There is no volition involved. He just gets up and does it, and I’m along for the ride.

Now, you know he’s thinking, because he says things to people all day long. He writes essays, and little poems, and works on books, and posts on Facebook, and talks to his mother and all that sort of thing, and it’s almost always pretty interesting to see what he’s got to say. He doesn’t bother too much with domestic details. No, he wants to talk about genocide today. Later on, let’s look at that novel about the two kids in the concentration camp. Why not work in a children’s song in German? Oh, let’s go for a walk, and, surprise of surprise, you walk by an old friend and have a good laugh.

To tell the truth, it’s sort of entertaining.

But there is no face-to-face meeting. The face I see in the mirror is the old Eric Coates’, and it’s still me looking out through the eyes. But it is he who is looking back in, and the grim expression on my face is his. The strange thing is that slowly, more and more, he is coming to mirror me. When I feel a little depressed now, he seems to feel it too. He seems to notice that getting older is painful. He smokes pot to make life more interesting for me, I think, but it also seems to relieve his boredom at being human. He tends to neglect things like exercise and eating when he doesn’t feel like bothering. Otherwise, living with him is like living with a neighbor you never see but whom you know is around all the time. You walk down the street and it is your street, but the one walking down it is him, the one who does everything now but who never thinks in a way that I might share, in our thoughts, although he knows what mine are. There is only what he writes to really know him by, only voices in my head that describe what he is saying, what he means, what he intends to do about it all. He is nothing more than a will really: a ghost, a presence, sort of a faceless government bureaucrat, expressionless as stone.

•  •  •

There’s one last thing you might want to ask about, which is: Why you?

What the voice tells me is that I made a sort of promise to God as a very young man. I was about 19 years old and very interested in religion and spirituality. I had come to believe that religion was essentially a psychological need of some kind, and that if you could somehow find the common ground of all the different faiths, it would show you how people’s minds worked. I felt so strongly about this idea that I had applied only to colleges with a religion department. The sole reason I didn’t pursue either formal academic religious studies or the priesthood is because, even if I believed in the power of religion itself, I didn’t yet relate to any specific religious tradition or know where my own spiritual inclinations lay. What God tells me now — or what a voice says God says — is that one reason I was chosen for the whole voice-hearing and visions and revelations thing was because you have to have the experience yourself to really understand religious experiences had by others.

My other interest at the age of 19 was learning to write well, and I resolved right then that, even if I had to work for 20 or 30 years to become a really good writer, then that was what I was willing to do. That’s the other thing my voice says God took notice of. God looked at that, the voice says, and said, “All right, We can work with that.” That’s a promise God’s willing to make: Put in your 30 years and I’ll take care of the rest. So that’s what The Writer gets for Eric: the chance to produce a lot of decent work, even if it really isn’t his, even if it’s the work of writers who never had a chance to tell their own stories or who died a long time ago.

It’s a very interesting experience, and I have no doubt it was worth the trade for “normalcy,” since from what the voices tell me, it’s an eternal situation. I’m stuck with The Writer, and The Writer is stuck with me, not just in this life, but in the next. Always there — with him. As the poem said:

Your sorrow will be

to always come back

exactly the way you were.

Never to have any freedom.

Never in anything but the same body.

Never to have your own voice.

Always there — to never escape.

God has spoken.

That is all.

 

It’s both a reward and a punishment.

And that is how I became schizophrenic.

32 COMMENTS

  1. That is brilliant. I can relate to a lot of your story (I died on April 15 2014).

    I never got any sort of diagnosis, but a few weeks ago I went into hospital and told them that while I would never harm myself or others, I often hear voices asking me if I want to, which of course makes me think of the act. Needless to say, the voices soon started, and I was pleased to note they were all external and coming from people who worked at the hospital. After a brief 8 hour pause, to get dragged off to my little concrete cell, get forcibly drugged and have a long dreamless nap, I eventually got to see a psychiatrist. After learning that I had pet quail I had to feed, she was nice enough not to keep me over night.

    God often tells me that the mental health system must have some purpose that I am too uneducated to see. That it’s not just some weird relic of a Christian society that feels the need to punish anyone else to tries to pass on messages from God. The only thing I know for certain, is that God is possible, and He definitely tests me with lies.

    I would not feel right claiming to be schizophrenic when no doctors have said that is the case. But I don’t think I’d really want to anyway, since people fail to realize that stigma isn’t found in how we treat mentally ill people, stigma is found in treating people as mentally ill.

    I think a self-diagnosable label of ‘Angel’ would cover anyone who wants it. There is no hierarchy in Heaven anyway, but we’re not there yet, since all we have at this point is a weird-ass Thing that plants creativity bombs in our souls, and then detonates them seemingly at random, often at the most inappropriate times.

    My sorrow will be
    To Fall and come back
    Exactly the way I was
    All the freedom in all the worlds
    In the same body
    With my own voice
    With God’s own choice
    God is unspoken
    That is all

  2. TLDR. But I will later….
    But I really like the 6th line in the opening poem:
    “Never to have your own voice”.

    Unless he’s moved away, I am personally familiar with the “local Community Mental Health Center” that Mr. Eric Coates has to deal with…. They’re horrible. I have a close lady friend, – whom Eric knows, – and the staff at this “CMHC” rountinely LIE about my friend, use those lies to put her in the isolation holding cells, then drive her to the State Mental Hospital in handcuffs and shackles, in the back of a Sheriff’s cruiser….
    ….She often gets sent home in a Taxi Cab….

    In my opinion, and given the little I know personally of Eric’s story, – we’ve met and talked before…,-here we see the abject failure of the “mental illness system”, and their genocidal paradigm….Thanks, Eric!

  3. Eric, I’m amazed that you can write that much. I wish I could write as much. A lot of people don’t write. They just don’t.

    I hope you enjoy it and that it provides pleasure and/or relief. Why not write a book or a few? Do what you like. Do what you enjoy.

    I may share your point of view on certain issues.

    The general use of terms relating to “madness” has become diluted.

    What is it really? What is “madness”? It’s a manufactured term that propels people to act – medication must be given to thwart “madness”.

    I don’t know. I’ve seen people blow a fuse and not get labelled “psychotic” and I’ve seen people sneer at a certain angle and they’ve been labelled “psychotic”.

    What’s the difference?

    The intent of the person wanting to medicate or forcibly treat? I hate to bring up the concept of “rape” but wasn’t that deemed therapeutic, ages back?

    Violating patients rights is a horror. I refuse to get caught up in the labelling used to justify these violations. He is this – so we do that.

    At the same time, there are people on the street that I would not get close to because they could harm and there’s no chances to be taken, with people on crack for example. So, I don’t beleive in labelling but I don’t get close to a nut on the run. I wouldn’t generalise to either extreme.

    It’s what I hate about the psychiatric system – they don’t let up. Once you’ve got that label – you’re branded. AND you have to end up on your knees and thank them for their services. You have to be compliant or they don’t let you go. Then they want to get the parents and the sibblings envolved. It’s every thing else analysed rather than – FORCED TREATMENT. The system provokes fear to control. Hence – scary labels. Very scary scary words.

    I don’t know a lot of companies that would tie me up and force me to wear their clothes, so why do that with medications?

    It’s archaic. Their methods are dark, aged and cruel. If I don’t wear a t-shirt, no company will force me to wear their t-shirt. But at a hospital, if you don’t tie your hospital gown properly (and there are more than one way to skin a cat) you’ll be noted for an incapacity to take care of yourself (or labelled “psychotic” because you’re underwear is showing). It never ends.

    As for what you are …I don’t know what to say. Who cares what I think.

    Personally, I’ve got no intent in labelling you. You have written a lengthy original article and I enjoyed reading it and I thank you for it.

  4. Hi Eric. Thank you for your highly interesting piece (that made me laugh at some points though it’s highly serious too). I have had some unusual experiences as well. I have had a voice in my head since 2017 during a few months long episode of “psychosis”. I have been a mental “patient” since 2006 when i was 13.

    I know for a fact that this voice is NOT a part of myself, a made up working of my brain. I believe that it’s a sinister presence that wishes me harm though I am now very attached to it (him). I haven’t ever felt like my body was being lived in by the presence but the voice has stayed and I don’t think it has any intention of leaving (more likely that I dont want it to leave). I am not in a state of distress anymore but the voice is still here. I still feel dark presences near me every now and then and senses of someone’s “mood” around me, most noticeably an emotion of irritation or anger. I am a Christian and believe it’s an evil spirit. I’m not here to argue or convince anybody here. I just thought your point about “why not” is important. I hope your article and my comment could open up a discussion of people’s experiences. I guess I’ll just wrap it up.

    Why are voices and hallucinations generally in the “mental health” community thought of as just meaningless workings of a mad mind?Why couldn’t these voices, presences, be something from a different realm whether you think/believe of them as aliens, demons, or dead people? Just an interesting thought but I think it’s really important to find meaning in your experiences and your post was very validating for me as another “experiencer” of these things. Thank you for writing about your experience. After I get my thoughts in order I’d also like to write about my experiences one day.

  5. Great article! Some thoughts:

    Carl Jung was aware that there really isn’t any limit to what we might find in as we go deeper beneath consciousness. (First there might be our subconscious, then our personal unconscious, which is understood to be deeper, then Jung thought we could encounter the collective unconscious, which includes all of the mental forms which are possible for us, and contact with all sorts of characters who are “not us” but part of what we can access in our minds.)

    Of course, that relates to the idea that “mind” is not really something that has clear boundaries – in some sense there is just one mind.

    And any kind of creativity requires stretching in some sense beyond what we previously have know as our selves – because what we previously thought of as our self hadn’t done or said what we are now creating.

    I think many writers find the process is often more like being dictated to, at least at times. Your process seems more so than most, but not an entirely different kind of thing.

    Lots of us in dreams find there is something very creative in us that is very different from our conscious mind. For example, I know nothing about making music, yet in my dreams I have sometimes heard very impressive music that did not seem to be anything I had heard anywhere: it seems that my mind had composed it. Too bad I could not recreate it while awake!

    Leonard Cohen has written about the sense of not being the writer, for example as in the following lyrics from “Going Home”:

    “I love to speak with Leonard
    He’s a sportsman and a shepherd
    He’s a lazy bastard
    Living in a suit
    But he does say what I tell him
    Even though it isn’t welcome
    He just doesn’t have the freedom
    To refuse
    He will speak these words of wisdom
    Like a sage, a man of vision
    Though he knows he’s really nothing
    But the brief elaboration of a tube”

    Anyway, I really agree with Russel Razzique when he says the function of the mental health system should be to help people with any distress they may be having without dismissing the spiritual or creative value of what they may be experiencing – the point should be to help them find ways to hold on to what is valuable in their experience while reducing the trouble it is causing them. If they find a way to do this, then it no longer makes sense to consider them as a person with a mental health problem.

    Last year I put together an online course “Addressing Spiritual Issues within Treatment for Psychosis and Bipolar” https://www.udemy.com/course/spiritual-issues-psychosis-and-bipolar/ which is my attempt to convey this message to the mental health field….

    • I think Jung was much closer to understanding the psyche and the truth, than today’s DSM believers. “Mental health” workers, who do systemically, medically unnecessarily, defame and poison, even attempt to steal from, and steal from, the Spirit led artists.

      I’m quite certain this is because the “mental health” workers entered into a faustian deal with the mainstream religions long ago. The “mental health” workers’ job is to cover up the sins of the mainstream religions, the wealthy, and maintain the status quo. An ethical pastor did confess to me that this is “the dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.”

      One of the many flaws in this plan, of the religions’ and “mental health” workers’, is that “Satan” is “god of this world.” Thus maintaining the status quo is a dumb idea. The religious leaders should know this, but it seems too many of them today are too “obsessed with sex,” and maintaining their multibillion dollar, primarily child abuse and rape covering up, “mental health” system. To see the truth, or want the truth to be known.

      https://books.google.com/books?id=xI01AlxH1uAC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
      https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/23/18820633.php?fbclid=IwAR2-cgZPcEvbz7yFqMuUwneIuaqGleGiOzackY4N2sPeVXolwmEga5iKxdo
      https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/04/heal-for-life/

      But this “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions” is destroying all of Western civilization.

      https://www.amazon.com/Pedophilia-Empire-Chapter-Introduction-Disorder-ebook/dp/B0773QHGPT

      Thanks for sharing your experience with “psychosis,” Eric. My experience with “psychosis,” was also a spiritual experience. Most definitely, I lived “the magical mystery tour itself.” And you’re right, once you’ve seen the millions of signs of God’s existence, the staggering serendipity, the connectivity of all, “you’ll never be the same.” “Psychosis” can be an awakening to one’s subconscious, and the “collective unconscious.” It can be mind blowing, in a very cool and positive way, contrary to the misperceptions of the DSM deluded “mental health” workers.

      Thanks to Ron, too, for attempting to educate our “mental health” workers about the spiritual side. And I think someone should remind the “mental health” workers that it is still illegal to defame and poison people for belief in God and the Holy Spirit in the US. It’s illegal to cover up child abuse. They also need to be reminded that attempting to steal all one’s “too truthful,” “insightful,” “work of smart female,” “prophetic” artwork, is also illegal.

  6. Hi Eric,
    Great writing.
    I think no matter how we try to convey our experiences to others, it can only ever be interpreted through
    their views, and so I often find it frustrating to explain ME.
    How we become the individuals we are is quite fascinating to me and it also was to a few people who later deemed themselves as “doctors”, doctors of the mind.
    How that ever came to pass, is what really interests me, for there seems to be no logical reason, except as a social control.
    And here, for many years I thought they were there to fix the individual, to make them better, yet even as a youngster I, at the same time, felt something sinister, cloaked in “help”….something of low intellect established to MAKE others conform to their way of thinking.

    One has to question on what is generally harmful to society, and we can’t ignore that the practice of psychiatry has been horribly harmful, contributing to beliefs that we have a kind of norm. It has always been there, the “group” mentality, isolating a kid at recess, or the kid isolating themselves, yet within the group, anything can change at any minute, with everyone being uniquely different from each other.
    And most often, we have only the bullying in common with each other.

    I often think a psychiatrist was most likely the kid who had to ‘fight’ something within himself and outside of himself, but never visible enough that it required outside ‘help’.
    It’s kind of like the squeaked through the ‘system’ and through their travels within their minds, and society/parental, formed their own narrative, not about themselves, but about others.
    I do think that their experiences made them very closed minded about the world in general.

    So that leaves them with a complete inability to try and co-habit, understand anyone outside of their realm of thought.
    Only through their personality did psychiatry come to be and that is simply not good enough to run a good society. I need to see a much greater interest within psychiatry, not in viewing minds as oddities, or some experiment, but rather an attempt at understanding. Understanding things that seem distant from our own minds.
    This is difficult even as I talk to my neighbour.

    As far as Eric the writer, I still see the writings as Eric’s, and appreciate you being the conduit… but through a collective of creativeness. I often thought of myself as a weirdo and psychiatry could give me many labels. In fact if I read the DSM, I might nearly fit all of the diagnosis. It was the simplest book ever written, amazing it carries weight.
    But part of me believed it, kind of like subliminal messages, but my family had a part to play also.
    We all live through subliminal messaging. Who are we anyway?
    My inner dialogue is rife, yet I have (at least I feel I don’t) any artistic ability. I could perhaps write, because after all, we have thought and language, or should I say, language and thought?
    Which is interesting because of your immersion in german language.
    It seems your brain soaked up much more german than you realized and our memories are so far away, not reachable often just by process of thought.
    I love my google and my questions I type in often lead me to information that is rife with the model of medicalizing, albeit in disguised manner (at least an attempt at disguise) but if I continue my search, I most often find language that speaks to me. And this more so in the last 5 years…perhaps because I reframe my wording or perhaps because indeed there are more choices as to “truths” out there.
    But these truths have validated me more often than ever.
    On “inner dialogue”, which many don’t even know they have, I came upon this and it spoke to me.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/11/figuring-out-how-and-why-we-talk-to-ourselves/508487/
    And I feel that if two people speak from inner dialogue, to each other, more can be understood, instead of covering up dialogue with prejudices.
    It is the medicalization, the pathologizing of experience that kills communication. Even psychiatry must realize that they have engaged in a very simplistic paradigm. In it’s difficulty, it’s language, it has become it’s own narrow tunnel.
    I can see why you don’t bother much with the diagnosis word, since it has become meaningless and has no capability of describing Eric.
    Eric has the describing words. And words that would be great in a novel.

  7. I thought about your article some more. I agree with Mr. Ungers comments about dreams. People have complex detailed dreams where a sleeping mind creates actors, stages, music, dialogue, content, context, architechture…basically the same things we encounter in real life. And more. These sleeping minds are fantastic, amazing and creative. Dreams are great.

    Now you may have a dream that has a plot fit for the movies. I could never take the time, as you did, to write about the very complicated and original dream that I experienced. If you have the talent to put on paper your thoughts, I applaud you. Yet, I don’t agree with the label you yourself choose. I hope you don’t find that insulting. Why wouldn’t your label be “writer” or “author” or “creative mind”. You choose what you want it to be not them.

  8. All I can add here is that regardless of the brilliance of anyone’s insight, the term “psychotic” always confuses things. Both “psychosis” and “schizophrenia” are forms of “mental illness”; the whole nomenclature needs to be scrapped.

  9. So in the Guardian inform us: “Schizophrenia study finds evidence of reduced links between brain cells”

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/jan/14/schizophrenia-reduced-brain-cell-links

    “Howes and colleagues are also running a clinical trial, which is expected to be completed next year, that aims to prevent the loss of brain connections in patients.”

    “Aims to prevent the loss of brain connections in the patient”

    Really.

    And the drug they are seeking to trial/push, maybe eventually force on people already forcibly subject to the horrors of antipsychotics is: Natalizumab

    https://fda-recalls.us/tysabri_pml_lawsuit

  10. Just reading this for the first time. Thank you. Thank YOU. I hope we have not sustained enough damage to our body minds not to inundate desiccated gardens with the fertile shit of new poetics. New shit here. New fresh manure over there. No one person has the organic shit to cover the endless plains. Disemminate the sustenance. The abundance. By tractor, video or sermon.

  11. Your experience causes me a significant amount of distress. My greatest horror is of losing my individuality or identity. Would you feel you have lost such things? That my own schizophrenia might eventually lead me there would be a terror.

    In more positive news, your article inspired me to write some thoughts, which I merely shared on facebook(should you somehow find my post, I hope you’ll forgive me for the line hypothesizing that you aren’t 100% rational. Please understand that that is a preliminary impression, and that, well, I’m not 100% rational either, so it isn’t meant as an insult.).

    I’d love to be a writer, but for the moment, my illness still generates too much pain and fear when I push myself in anything, and trying to push through that pain and fear just leads to worsening into tormented psychosis.

    Maybe one day, though. But in the passion for writing and spirituality, and a few other areas, I find we are very similar. If we differ it is in that I still feel very much that I am me and only me(and I’m very content with that). I have my apparent delusions/obsessions and quite a lot of paranoia, but I do not hear voices.

    I appreciate your ability to illustrate the possibility that schizophrenia might be more than just a mental illness. I do think it clearly comes with some dysfunction. The FBI were very very probably not chasing schizophrenic mathematician John Nash, for instance. Yet at the same time, perhaps we do simply have a bit of a larger window to the divine than most, and it is merely our tiny mortal brain’s inability to cope with that which drives us mad.

    Now if only most of my visions weren’t horrifying, that might be great comfort. I pray I am no prophet, for if I am we are all in a dire situation indeed.

    • Is psychiatry the opposite to irrational? The word rational has no definition. I bet a shrink is rational in some areas, not so much in others.
      Are they the ones to tell someone that the connections and pathways, perceptions and experience is “illness”?
      The brain has a difficult time trying to make sense of it’s interpretations. So psychiatry interprets it for us, and in all cases, it is “illness”.
      Obsessions? Psychiatry is obsessed, but not knowingly so. Paranoia? There is danger in that and is evident in psychiatry and big pharm drugging little kids. Drugging kids or anyone is done by people who think they can read minds. They drug kids because of behaviour and the delusion that they can read the mind of the child, and predict the child’s outcome by it’s behaviour. When in truth we can almost predict outcome by social constructs. Yet no matter, no one ever can predict.
      Our minds are inventing new possibilities, it is evident by our ability to change beliefs.
      I find psychiatry stagnant in that it kills all it’s possibilities by naming experiences as illness. This is what is referred to as inflexibility, which psychiatry suffers from.
      I think everyone has certain areas where they find a feeling of safety. Often it is a matter of finding it. It might be in nature.
      In my head I also wish I could write and use language to fully express myself. However I think that is a universal desire to be able to express oneself and within that expression also receive some recognition or validation.
      I envy some people on here, amazing ability to converse via paper and pen. Yet I will accept the fact that I can write what little I am able. Perhaps you should too?
      I have had to be content with limitations whether self imposed, genetic or nurture/nature. If I was not content (and I struggle lol) then I become part of a system that pretends we should ALL be capable and if we are not, then we are incapable.
      Such wretched expectations have been a huge part of the rise to psychiatry and is why it coincides with our fast forward, competitive capitalist society.
      Society NEEDS the “failures” that it points fingers at. Should we then help them by pointing back at ourselves?