A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The People Of The Lie

The using addicts of this world
Have taken up residence in my mind
Hiding from their realities
In denial that there is a reality
To be found amidst their illusions.
They think that they are the serpents
In the garden of Eden
Tempting me with misdirection
Telling me to eat the fruit
Though I am not hungry
Nor interested in deceptions.
They are the sad creatures
I must protect
In this dying world
Where the serpents put on
Business suits
And paint the walls
Either black or white.
There are young ones
There are old ones
There are those all in between
Crying out like children
Trying to eat the weeds.
The blind leading the blind
Thinking they can see
With the sight of a Tiresias.




The Language Of Wings

After Icarus lost his wings
And fell into the water
He swam ashore a forgotten place
And let his body dry in the sun.
He would never forget
Those moments of flight
And how close he came to understanding
The language of birds,
Not their cries, but the music
In the wind gone through their wings.

You Are, I Am


You are a man in flight
With heavy laden wings
Glued on, but melting fast
Dipping down towards the sea
While the seagulls bob in the water
And cry out relentlessly.

I am a woman
Standing on a planet
In a desert
In the middle of a huge continent
Watching the vultures fly above me
Circling over the carrion at my feet.

You are a lost lamb
Caught in the delusion of being a wolf
Preying on the grasses and flowers,
Stalking the trees.

I am the tree shading the lamb
Thirsty for rain
My limbs bending in the breeze
Silently watching.

Divine Plan

There's a divine plan for everyone.
It doesn't matter where you stand
High or low.

Sometimes it shows itself in the distance
Or even up close
When you're least expecting it
Some times you're in the flow of it
Carried along effortlessly
As far as the eye can see
With everything in its proper place.

The light shines in every face you meet
And the sunlight is everywhere
And the clouds all disappear
Into the blue of the sky.

Freedom

On a long straight highway
Somewhere out on the Great Plains
My family drove by
A herd of antelope
Startled and racing.

The road trip lasted for days
From a certain spot in Brooklyn
To here where there was not a human soul
But us driving between lightning strikes.

I was the girl in the backseat
Prone to moving sickness
Fed dramamine before I inhaled
The gas fumes at the gas station.

But here, amidst the break in family bickering
I was mesmerized by the racing wild ones
But with our unfair advantage
We would cross the finish line
Somewhere by the Californian coast.
But we would never be as free as they were.

Stop Pleasing Others

Stop pleasing others.
Start pleasing yourself.
Take a look around
There's a Higher Power here
You just have to get past your fear
Of the unknown and familiar.

They will fight you every step of the way
As you detach from their games.
Codependent living is addictive
But it has got to change.

Don't you want to finally fly away
And see things from a broader view?
Can't you get past the stage
Where others still define you?

Stop pleasing others.
Start pleasing yourself.

What Might True Love Be

What might true love be if it came from the sea
Washed up like some drift wood
Picked up by a child
Brought home to the mother
Passed on to the father
Thrown into the bonfire by the bay
Turned into ashes sunk into the sand
And gone up in smoke towards the stars?

What Love Is Not

Love is not hidden in a box that lies beneath your bed.
You cannot take it out and look at it
Size it up, turn it over or put it on a pedestal.

Love is not sunken treasure at the bottom of the sea
Left behind by dying pirates
To be found by you at some later date.

Love is not a perfect snowflake
Gently floating down to earth
Where it melts into the soil.

Love is not in the rays of the sun
That scorch the desert
Impartial to all the dying life.

Love



Love is patient.

There is love in the monk who is teaching the small, orphaned child to walk.

Love is kind.

There is love in the kindness between strangers who don't presume to know each other's depth of sorrow.

Love does not envy.

There is love in the hand that does not grasp at another's good fortune.

Love does not boast.

There is love in the man who is secure enough to remain silent in the face of a challenge.

Love is not proud.

There is love in the woman who has no need of raising herself above those she loves.

Love does not dishonor others.

There is love in the field worker who wastes no time measuring her co-workers progress in order to outdo her.

Love is not self-seeking.

There is love in the mother who does not seek to see herself in her children.

Love is not easily angered.

There is love in the father who will not turn away from the son when the son yells "NO."

Love keeps no records of wrongs.

There is love in the wife who can bend with the changes that join and separate her from a love that cannot be contained.

Love does not delight in evil.

There is love in the lover who will not clip the wings of the beloved choosing to watch him in his freedom learn to fly.

Love always protects.

There is love in the group that nurtures its weakest members through the labyrinth of their mental illnesses.

Love always trusts.

There is love in the children who willingly hold hands as they follow their teachers down different paths.

Love always hopes.

There is love in the parents as they wait on the sidelines for their children to stand up after they have taken a hard fall.

Love always perseveres.

There is love in the friend who turns the other cheek when struck by a friend who has lost his way.

Love never fails.

There is love in the tribe that makes peace with its neighbors.




Saturday, April 25, 2015

Caged: Sexually Abused Boys




Caged

The teenage boys on the coast of California
Runaway youths from families of abuse
Had to cater to those older ladies
Who paid for fantasy instead of truth.

The boys' mothers taught them well
How to feed these women's egos
How to surf those waves of hell
With their damaged hearts and chained libidos.

Taught sexual addiction
By experts in disease.
The female pedophiles con themselves
And say they're out to please

But all these ladies do
Is to corrupt the bloom of youth
To rob the boys of their right to choose
To be free and not be used.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Story About Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD)






Imagine entering into this world from the body of a 16 year old girl, a girl who had been abused sexually as a child, a girl who had sexually abused her younger siblings because she was taught to by her family, a girl with an abusive alcoholic father, a girl who endured poverty, a girl rejected by her family when she got pregnant, a girl now living with her teenage abusive alcoholic boyfriend somewhere in a big city.  She has just returned to their apartment from the hospital with her newborn son.  She must take care of her son's bodily needs, feed and clean him as she did with her siblings.  Anal penetration with her finger or other tools is a part of her idea of normal cleaning.  Genital molestation was common in the bathtub afterwards.  She took care of her infant this way while engaging in domestic violence with her boyfriend.  This infant was repeatedly exposed to violence, to danger.

An infant's mind is naturally extremely sensitive and vulnerable in any situation from very safe to very dangerous.  In this situation this little boy's mind began to split up into defenses.  Whether he ever had the chance to develop a core personality is questionable.  Normal for him is to go through his life with multiple personality parts.  And each personality part has its own center, a vulnerable core.  I imagine it as a kind of kaleidoscope that shifts as the child reacts and responds to stimuli.  But it is different from the average kaleidoscope in that some parts recede and others parts come forward or one part expands and overtakes the other parts.  Parts go in and out of focus while changing colors and temperatures.  Some parts over attach to the environment (people, places, things) while others become very detached.

I imagine that it is very normal for an infant in a dangerous environment that involves sexual molestation/rape to develop a serious personality disorder and also to develop obsessive/compulsive disorder simultaneously.  Obsessive compulsiveness revolves around fear.  Because the infant's life is in danger, he attaches intensely to his environment (people, places, things) searching for a way to protect himself, to survive.  But too many repetitions of this overly attached state of being must mean that parts of the personality would have to detach from the situation to ultimately protect the most vulnerable center of the soul.

So in this scene we've got a mind split into personality parts becoming obsessive compulsive in some parts and extremely (perhaps even psychopathically) detached in other parts.  All inside an infant's mind.  This is his "normal".  This begins happening way before any language is learned.  And it is geared around a self preservation instinct.

For this child the sexual abuse continues and turns into full blown incest until he runs away from home at age 15.  All this time, at different times, in different stages, his mind keeps splitting.  He has an incredibly resilient, intelligent spirit and he survives the experience.  But this is all he knows and other people start to prey on his vulnerability.  For a time he becomes homeless and a prostitute.  He joins a Christian cult and finds a measure of safety for a few years while continuing to be sexually abused by older adults.  He doesn't realize that he's become a sexual/romance/relationship addict.

What must it be like to be practically born with multiple personalities and to remain in that condition till the age of 50?  To always have multiple lovers for the multiple parts and remain in an addicted state?  The boy was forced to adapt to a sick circumstance; he had no choice, especially with the lack of resources available when he was a child and adolescence.  Lying became second nature in order to protect himself and his first lover, his mother.  Later, the lying became compulsive.

His body matured into adulthood, but did his mind and spirit?  No.  The parts that continued to grow past adulthood progressed more deeply into sexual/romance/relationship addiction and yet managed through diligence and a resilient intelligence to become financially successful.  Unfortunately this financial protection also protected his personality disorder and various addictions.  Also a large part of this wealth was due to other people exploiting his natural talents, which were many.  He became locked in, emotionally and sexually dependent on his group.  Addicted.  The group, the lovers came to replace the mother.

When he became financially successful parts of him became aware that he was a sexual addict.  The more addicted parts remained in denial.  The hardcore addict parts had much more invested in the group and its business and so they remained in the body much more than other younger, healthier parts.

The boy and then the man (with many boy parts) responded normally to a severely abusive setup.  One of the normal reactions from children who have been severely abused, especially sexually, is to think that they did something wrong or were in some way deserving of having been abused over and over and over again.  They internalize the sickness and live a shame based life.  Ironically, deep shame can be a great motivator and can lead to perfectionism and workaholism which can lead to creativity which can lead to "success" especially in the capitalistic United States.  And so it was for this man.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Traveling

Out West 1980s

My three week trip has come to an end and I am home once again.  My brother and I cleared out my father's apartment and he is now permanently in the nursing home of his retirement community.  This marks a life change for me.  I am in the youth of my old age, one parent gone and one starting to disappear.  I will turn 53 in a couple of weeks.  It's a sad, tired, sweet transition and I'm still journeying.  I cannot remember much of my life with clarity and yet I feel the past still within me or connected to me.  Turning my black and white negatives into digital images has helped to reconnect me to me.  But I remain a mystery to myself.  I'm not sure who I was as a child, adolescent and young adult.  Even my memory of my middle age is a bit hazy.

I do know my present moment.  I am much more mindful of now and less mindful of regrets about the past or worries about the future.  I accept myself.  More than that, I respect myself.  I've always been a basically kindhearted person.  I needed to learn to be a more kindhearted person towards the one person I mistreated the most, myself.  The only way I could profoundly learn that lesson was through the extreme loss of balance inherent in psychosis.  If I couldn't accept myself during the worst of circumstances I would never be able to truly appreciate myself in the best of circumstances.

It is uncanny looking at photographic self portraits I took in my twenties.  It's like looking at someone else.  I don't identify with me back then.  I identify with me now, but even there there is a lot of blank space.  Right now, I feel good even with all the not knowing of the bigger picture that surrounds my small world.  As for the big, big, big picture I know that I cannot know and that is part of the spirit of fresh wonder.  I stay open and waiting and hope that I die that way too.

I feel peaceful in this moment.  I don't need to know who I was in order to love and accept myself now.  I believe I fought the good fight and will continue to do so as long as I'm allowed to be here.  The good fight is the fight for self honesty and honesty with others.  That has the core of integrity in it.  Living in the present with mostly acceptance is liberation.  The motive for existence is clear:  to be a peaceful, peace loving being.  When I keep it simple, I can be that.

I keep it simple by asking for guidance each day and night from the powers that be.  There are three moves that can be made - move forward, stay still, fall back.  We live lives within interconnecting rhythms.  Loud and soft, complex and simple, moving towards and away, up or down.  Whatever we focus on whether it be thinking, speaking or acting there are phrases that connect one section to another.  There's the music and there's the pause to the music.  There can be a lot of freedom in either part, but the pause is key.  That's where I ask and listen, intuit and feel.

And then I act.  Or wait staying open so that my spirit, which must go beyond my consciousness, can receive the guidance I keep returning to.  I've been guided to live a simple life.  Work, rest and play interconnect and there can be an interplay between them.  Because I commit to seeking the help I need within my spirit, I know my place.  I am humble towards the higher power(s).  My orientation is not particularly egotistic.  I am no longer self centered; I am higher power centered.  I'm no saint, instead I'm am a small being acknowledging that I am contained within a greater spirit.

Something greater can show something smaller how to expand.  Expansion is about joyful exertion.  Something greater can support something smaller as it grows and also give it plenty of space.  Because I've felt so much support and space for so long now, even through this last psychotic break, I live with a lot of gratitude.  I know what it is like to have that support and space partially withdrawn. Even a partial withdrawal for me was quite traumatic.  I feel relief and happiness.  For so long I experienced life in a partial darkness, somewhat blindly.  Now I see better than before even though I have farther to go to see as best as I can in this lifetime.

My faith is vague yet not shallow.  It has a powerful substance.  The only reason it is vague is that though I can see, I am near sighted and what's in the distance is blurry.  But I do believe it will become clearer and clearer as I continue traveling.