Monthly Archives: November 2012

Living Poor Can Make You Rich (or Poor people are…)

Poor people are…(fill in the blanks)

How would you “fill in the blanks”? I will share my answers in a moment.

I want to begin this post by letting you know that I grew up fairly well-off financially – especially for the small town in which I was raised. My parents were both teachers and while we struggled a bit in the early years, financially speaking our situation got better pretty quickly.

By many standards, the house where I grew up was nice; the neighborhood was filled primarily with college-educated, fairly affluent citizens.

I started my college career in 1989. I graduated in 1994 having studied a pre-med curriculum. My intent was to go on to medical school, and part of the reason for me doing so was the money and prestige that comes with that place in society. I didn’t make it to medical school.

Know what? I’m glad I didn’t. Prestige, power, and dollars can be a pitfall for some. I know they were for me. And, they all led to one combined thought, feeling, and attitude: “I’m better than you are.”

Shrugging that superiority complex has been a long, difficult process. I thank numerous people for helping me along the way — too many people to count. I also thank my disorder. Without it, I would most likely be a very different person, a person that today’s version of me would have trouble looking at in the mirror.

One of the best things to come out of my schizophrenia experience can be summed up in one sentence: I’m not important.

Maybe a more politically correct sentence would be: I’m no more important than anyone else. And, even when I had money, I was no important than anyone else. 

That is one very important lesson that I have learned by living poor.

So, here are my “fill in the blanks,” kind of a before and after snapshot:

BEFORE

Poor people are – lazy, dirty, needy, unworthy of respect, less important, dangerous

AFTER

Poor people are – not necessarily lazy or dirty, not always needy*, definitely worthy of respect, equally as important as anyone else, humble, oftentimes brutally honest, community-driven (we tend to take care of each other), no more dangerous than the rest of the population, just trying to survive like most everyone else

*I put this asterisk after “not always needy,” because some poor people are in fact needy. However, that isn’t always our fault. Sometimes, due to disability or societal constraints and discrimination, we don’t get that lucrative job or that well-deserved promotion. Besides, when it comes to “needy,” can you say “corporate welfare”?

In closing, many good things have happened to me because I am financially poor. I have definitely seen another side of life. And, this experience has made me richer than I have ever imagined I would be.

Hope you enjoyed this weekend’s offering and that you are well.

Take care and best wishes…

Ed

Update: The Good, The Better, and The Best!

Hello, All! Nice to see that we have some new faces here. Just want to give everyone a great big THANK YOU!! for stopping by my blog. I really do hope that the information you find on here is worthwhile to you.

And now for a less topic-driven post, an update on how and what I am doing:

THE GOOD

This is really good news that I just received yesterday. It was something I already kind of knew but to hear it from my psychologist was very gratifying and rewarding. What did he say?

“You’re stable.”

Sigh. I feel good.  The fight has been worth it. There are still challenges that I face, but most of those seem to be related to my goals and ambitions for the future (more on that in a bit).

So, I’m stable. I mean, I’M STABLE!! 🙂 I owe a great big thanks to a lot of people. One of those persons is a past psychologist of mine who allowed me to grow and explore and believe in myself. Dr. Nancy, if you’re reading this, thank you. It was my pleasure to work with you. You taught me a great, great deal.

And, although we’re no longer on speaking terms, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my biological family. Although our relationship may be irreparable, there were times when they tried. And that is worth noting.

Lots of others I’d like to thank. My South Carolina friend. My California chat buddy…especially her, because of the crap she puts up with me! And, all of my friends from the NAMI message boards. Thanks to everyone there, too! And, to those of you who have spent time on my blog…thank you.

THE BETTER

Yes, it gets better! I’m going back to school in the spring! Going to take Introduction to Business, and if all goes well with that course, I’ll go for an advanced accounting certificate. So, I am very excited about that!

THE BEST!

The best by far? I get to see my daughter today. That’s way better than any of the other great things that are happening in my life right now.

Hey, I hope that you are doing well…or at least okay. And, if you are struggling on this day, please drop me a line. You can post a comment here or I’ll leave my e-mail address at the end of this post. If I can, I will try to help. After all, we have two hands…one for helping ourselves and one for helping others (Audrey Hepburn said that).

Take care and best wishes…

Edd

The Quicksand of Insanity

 

This was not the pressure you feel before a big exam, an important job interview, or a first date. That’s apprehension and anticipation. This pressure was complete physical pain, more consuming than a mile-wide F-Five twister barreling down on an unincorporated settlement, more enduring than being stripped and strapped to a hornet’s nest, a stinging purgatory from which no escape is possible.

It was as if, over the years, a pair of vise grips had been built just inside my cranium, and slowly but persistently – one turn at a time – my brain was being squeezed from all sides. I was certain cerebral matter would spurt out of my ears and erupt from my scalp, spewing its neurotransmitters and myelin to volcanic heights before falling down upon me, a sadistic gift from my body to my soul.

I fought it. Damn, how I fought it. I struggled to keep my head above but, once there, I couldn’t breathe. And the more I fought, the more I gasped for breath, and I just wanted the pain to stop. Someone, please make the pain stop. And I fought. And fought. And fought…until I couldn’t fight any longer. Seemingly, escape was beyond my grasps and, as the vise turned one more time and then another, deeper and deeper I sank into the quicksand of insanity.

I let myself be consumed. Willingly – desperately – sinking into the soothing warmness of the quicksand, I let it consume me because fighting it was to no avail. Completely submerged in its heavenly muck, I finally caught my breath. And it felt sooooo good.

The pain subsided momentarily. Complete deliverance would have been too merciful, but the vise grips loosened their hold a few turns. A morbid breath of oxygen filled my hungry lungs, and a modicum of relief abated my suffering. Then, as soon as I caught my breath, a ledge – a feeling from a long-ago time when I knew killing was wrong – appeared in the pit, and some masochistic force coerced me to push with all my might on that ledge. First, I caught my footing and made sure the ledge was stable. Then, with a strength I had never experienced, I pushed…up, up, and up until my head broke the surface, where the F-Five twister and hornets were waiting. And – once more – I could not breathe. The vice-grips tightened one turn at a time.

February 14, 2002

Three Great Books About Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia Revealed: From Neurons to Social Interactions by Michael Foster Green, Ph.D.

It’s been some time since I’ve read this book, and it may be a little dated.  However, I recall this being my favorite book on the subject that was written by a mental health professional.  Very clear and very concise.  Green does a magnificent job of explaining in simple terms the biology of the brain and how schizophrenia is involved in that biology.

He also does a masterful job of explaining the social/psychological side of this disorder.  If the biology of schizophrenia is its inner workings, then the social/psychological side is its outward manifestations.

I believe there is only one edition of this book (2003), so it is a little dated; however, of the books I’ve read on the subject, this is the best one in my opinion.  This book is well worth the money, too.

 

Surviving Schizophrenia: A Manual for Families, Patients, and Providers by E. Fuller Torrey, MD

An exhaustive manual on “today’s most misunderstood illness.”  From describing the inner world of this disorder to theories of causes to treatment options (and a whole lot more), this book is a must read. Torrey’s expertise and dedication to helping make sense of schizophrenia and providing a road map for recovery (partial) is invaluable.

Incidentally, there is a link at the bottom of this page to the “Treatment Advocacy Center,” of which Torrey is the founder.  Very good website, packed full of a lot of worthwhile information.

As of this post, the latest edition of this book is the 5th edition (2006).  A little dated maybe, but still very much salient.

 

When The Music’s Over: My Journey into Schizophrenia by Ross David Burke

This is the only memoir I have read on the subject of schizophrenia, so I can’t compare it to others. I will simply say that this is an astoundingly accurate written account of what it is like to be in the throes of paranoid schizophrenia.

The author suffered greatly from this disorder, and that shows on every page of this book. As a survivor, I associated well with Burke and the inner workings of his mind. To the average layperson, I think if you are totally confused by the book’s end, then you’ve probably come away with a decent grasp of what it is like to live in a world where very few people “speak your language.”

This is not a reflective memoir, meaning that it was not written post-treatment. While Burke did receive some treatment, his treatment was sporadic. The majority of this book was written while Ross was fully symptomatic, which is an incredible feat. It is a special read.

Sadly, soon after finishing his book, Ross succumbed to the disorder and died in 1985. He was 32 years-old. Schizophrenia was the cause of death. The method was suicide.

 

This is a very short list. There are dozens and dozens of books on the subject, and I would encourage you to read as much as you can, especially if you or your loved one has this disorder.

Do you have your own list of favorite books on this subject? If you do, please feel free to share that list in the “Comments” section of this post. The more we share, the more we’ll help others.

Infinity Cubed

I looked in from the out
At Infinity's domain
I chuckled and I jeered
At such a silly name

Breathing its stale air
Of mine so few they knew
One more sparsity
Exceptions were in lieu

I took another glance
Then thrice a second time
Pondering the lack
Justice unfit the crime

For trapped inside my cube
Seemed smaller than the rest
Unending darkness fell
Upon my bended crest

Entombed within my cube
Infinite appeared without
REASONINGS WITHOUT GOOD THOUGHTS!
Screamed me a silent shout

With founded keys in hand
Broke I my blackened cube
To catch a glimpse of real
An Infinity of a rube

To say The Evermore
Is possessed in one small space
Would be a paradox
Most regard uncommonplace

But in my mind of plenty
A theory such is lubed
For in the schizophrenic
Infinity is always cubed

February 02, 2002

 

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