Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Mental Breakdown: Onset of Depersonalization/Derealization

In December of 1990 I was doing well in school, making plans for college, and working about thirty hours a week at Walmart. We lived in Compton, just moving there from Gladstil (where I had gone to school since kindergarten) in June of 1990. School in Compton was great. I had wished that I had gone to school there far longer than just my senior year. I actually had a few friends, who were fairly popular in the school system, but much nicer and more accepting than the bunch at Gladstil. I had been working at Walmart as a stockman and a layaway associate. I developed a friendship with our school counselor, who advised me on various degree programs. I was taking some fairly sophisticated courses, well, your usual college prep courses, anyway. I managed to get out of school around one o'clock and even have one study hall during the day.

I was very interested in Medicine, a worthy vocation and education it would provide. In particular, I was planning on applying to an accelerated program at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Instead of the usual four year undergraduate degree and the four year medical curriculum, they would be combined into six total years of training, with about a month off each year. Wow, I would be an MD at the age of 23, and could be earning the average physician salary at 26. Plus, I would be doing something challenging and worthwhile. Restoring and rejuvenating the human body, and psyche. I really wanted to help people and be a benefit to society, and this was the perfect way to do it.

My grades were really good, A's mostly. Socially, I felt more comfortable than I ever had at Gladstil. It seems like I was more accepted. This was just the fresh beginning I needed. It seemed like things were finally going my way.

Everything I had become and worked for came to a catastrophic halt on December 14, 1990. It's really hard to explain what happened. It's so dark, vague, cloudy and surreal. We moved from Compton to Clovil (just 3 miles from Gladstil and 9 miles from Compton) around the last week in November, or it could have been the first few days of December. For me, it was a desolate maneuver, spooky. My mother's sister's children, who had lived with us for about four years were all between the ages of four and ten. There was six of them in all. The move affected me the most. I didn't have to switch schools; I wouldn't have, anyway. Especially Clovil, in the middle of my senior year; hell no! So, I drove the nine miles to school everyday. Clovil was a rundown town, lots of thugs and the like, you know. Not that I think I'm any better. The town just looked dismal, lacking in life and any fervor whatsoever. The trees were all barren of their leaves. I just could not see the dormant life that lay within.

This was analogous to the way I had felt inside for quite some time. It was very confusing for me. On the inside, my mind felt fragmented. On the outside, I wore my Gladstil school jacket, lived in Clovil, and went to high school in Compton. And I worked at Malden. Boy, if that were the only problem. Problem was, I was gnawing away at my mind, little by little. Whittling at my sanity. I asked a bunch of philosophical questions, trying to answer them, trying to make some sense of the world. I was confused about social structures, and how we humans really perceive each other, and how we portray ourselves to different people. It just depended on who was looking at us, or who we were looking at.

I began to question how people, other humans could be so cruel and malevolent towards each other, and impassive. Like they couldn't care less if you were an inanimate rock in their path. They would just kick you out of the way. Or pretend like you weren't even there; so high and mighty these people were. Quite a lot of people, especially the people in my grade, and the ones directly below and directly above. But most of all, those that were in my grade at Gladstil High School. Such snobbish and pretentious pigs they were. They were interested in themselves and only themselves.

On December 14, 1990, around six thirty in the evening, I was getting ready to go to the annual Walmart Christmas party. It was supposed to be held where the old store used to be. It was dark, the sun had set about forty minutes earlier. Cloud and rain saturated the atmosphere. It was unusually cold for the date. Once I got to Madison, I tried to locate the place where the party was to be held. For some reason, I couldn't find it. I can't remember if it was because I really couldn't find the physical location or they had changed locations last minute and I wasn't notified. Never the less, I couldn't find it so I left for home.

On my way home, I began to think about how little my biological mother really cared about me. How little she expressed any care at all, and at how other kids, and their hundred dollar picture packages, showboated for everyone to see. Prestige. That's all it was. I began to think of those in my grade, who had belittled me in various ways throughout my life. Them and their little fucking cliques. I hated them. I didn't want to be anything like them. But when you are from a small rural community that's pretty much all you know. I projected this feeling to the world. I didn't want to be anything like the world (at least my world) as it was. When these kids grew up, would they be the same? To my mind, they would. Well, I thought, if they will be like that then, then what about the ones who are adults and passed the adolescent phase? Were they arrogant asses and bitches, and stuck up, pretentious pricks when they were in high school, too? Were they still that way? Maybe not, I decided, but there was still that element of possibility that lay within. I couldn't deal with it. I also projected something else. Something else that would metaphorically and perhaps literally take me far from this very world. If I was so different from them, then what about God? The very God I worshiped before then couldn't be the same God that THEY worshiped. Their God would have thought He or She was too good for me, for sure. That is, even if their God was what they thought IT was.

And for some reason, I have no idea why, I began thinking about a common philosophical or scientific question (depends on how you classify the question). Here is the hypothetical question: If a tree in a forest or woods, or any where for that matter, falls and there is nobody there to hear it, does it make a sound? I know. Ludicrous, you say. How could a question like that precipitate a mental breakdown? Well, at the time, I didn't have the science education that I now possess. But I don't think it would have really mattered then. My brain was already fucked. I projected this question into another frame: If I don't see someone or perceive them, how do I know they really exist? Yeah, I know.

Some how, my brain linked the two situations (the existence or reality situation and the feeling unwanted by the world) and went into some sort of lock down. I beat my fists against the steering wheel, tears flooding my eyes and then streaming their way down my face. "Why God! Why! Why me! Why me!" At the same time I felt a moderate burning and numbing sensation on the top of my head. It felt like it was on fire. In retrospect, it was like my life force was leaving my body via this route.

And all at once, I metaphorically entered the dream-time. Physically, I felt unreal, like I was in a dream, not fully awake but here, some how. I was scared for a while, then a degree of apathy settled in. It seemed like I was looking through a fog; it was everywhere, obscuring my view of the real world. I saw through a glass, or a scanner darkly.

When I got home, I told my mom and step dad that "something had happened to me" and that "I didn't feel right". I don't know why she couldn't see that I was in trouble, that I was hurting, broken. I think I had a few more days of school after that weekend before the Christmas break. I did go those first few days, even though I felt dead, the living dead, a zombie I was. I was determined though. I knew I was supposed to do this, even though I was only going through the motions. It was like my body was being controlled by another mind, not my own. Like I was a walking robot, an automaton. My lights were dim, nobody home. Wasn't quite sure. Didn't know where I was.

This continued in a severe state for about 6 months. I missed quite a lot of school, and nearly flunked out. I went from straight A's to D's. I think the only reason I graduated was because I was such a good student before "the mental breakdown" and the school system felt pity for me. Needless to say, severe depression accompanied this change of mental status. I lost somewhere between twenty and thirty pounds over the course of the first three months. Now why didn't my mother see that? Probably she was too busy whoring around. She and my step dad had just separated a month after the breakdown, and she was going through some hormonal "I just gotta have a man" stage. So fucking weak. She couldn't even see that if her only blood child thought he could have killed himself he most likely would have. However, I didn't have the cognition for it. It was like I was a baby just born, but left in some isolated area where no contact with life of what ever kind could take place. I had to learn everything on my own. Everything was new and strange to me. I was even afraid to drive my car at one point, having to relearn, or reacquaint myself.

I would look in the mirror and find what I saw totally unfamiliar, in fact, the concept of I, was even unfamiliar. It was like I had dissociated with this world, living on two planes of existence. I felt alien here.

For some reason, I must have presented myself socially acceptable on the outside, except for being withdrawn, depressed, and apathetic. But I didn't act out. Mom finally took me to see a counselor and a psychiatrist. The shrink asked me if the change I felt was on the outside or the inside. Well, I told her it seemed like it was the outside, but I knew it was the inside. In retrospect, I guess that kept me from the psychosis defining diagnosis of schizophrenia.

I've had these feelings of unreality and dream state before, on just a few occasions. They cleared up in a day or less, and didn't hit me near as strong as this one had. So I was unable to correlate those at the time, and thus the counselors and doctors were unaware of this. I eventually stopped going to counciling because nobody could really help me. I don't remember anyone actually putting a name to what I have, or knowing any one who had similar symptoms. Of course, over the years, I have learned that it is a combination of a two disorders that often occur together known as depersonalization and derealization

ADDENDUM:  4/20/2017

There are a few things I neglected to mention in the preceding paragraphs. In the weeks before the Depersonalization breakdown of 12/14/1990 I was experiencing what I believe to be information overload. I was anxious and upset that I couldn't identify which type of grass was in your yard, what were the common and species names for all the flora I could see. I wanted to know specifics of everything; animate and inanimate. That only served to highten my already overloaded state of mind.
I've since been diagnosed with ASD - high functioning and now my life makes total sense. It doesn't make it easier, but I've had problems throughout my life that fit the autism bracket so accurately. I just don't know what to do with that now...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Alas, I Am He

Alas, who is this face in the mirror
This stranger, whom I know not

A gentle disposition he, yet I am overcome with strife
Casually looking down and then at my adversary
I poke at him with my finger, and yet
He stares, a serene statue, flinching not

His lips begin to part, an utterance comes forth
“Don’t be afraid, man. You know who I am”
An issuance of pink rays, and phosphene images
Flood my mind, information overload

That stranger, whom I knew not, now known
Was and is that face in the mirror.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Immortal Transendence

For all your young life
You’ve lived, not knowing why
Why you live with such strife

One summer at your father’s house
At least you say, you saw your self
A mirror reflection displayed on the tv
It must have been some hidden compartment

Almost forgotten, this magical time that night
You’ve suddenly remembered,
The Pink beam, bright iridescent, that hit you
Transcribing, no… translating, no that can’t be right

You fall to the floor, hair wadded in hands
I tell you that everything is ok
It was me on the other side
You are on your way
To Immortal Transcendence

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Valis: The Method

This, to me, is one of the most revealing and sincere quotes that Phil has ever made. Whatever exactly Valis is, it does seem to work this way. It is also one of the many "saving graces" that I attribute to Phil that helped me during a very difficult time. The only con is that when something extraordinary occurs, Valis is always there peeking around the corner, and then tweeking to make a liar out of ya'. Oh well, what will be, Will Be.

Here it is:

"Therefore it can be reasoned that Valis will show as few times as possible, and, if he does reaveal himself to a person, Valis will becloud the situation so that the person cannot make the knowledge he has- hence the real situation- generally well known."

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Writer's Market

Woo hoo! I'm so excited! We received a hospital wide bonus yesterday. I took the family out for dinner, a movie: Meet the Robinsons (possible review or summary to come later), and then a Blizzard for my daughter and French Vanilla Moo Latte's for the GF and me.

I also purchased the 2007 Writer's Market: Deluxe Edition. It includes a complimentary year's subscription to the website version of Writer's Market. Not like my reading project list will let me devour it all immediately, but I am planning to scan over everything and narrow in on some markets of interests. Fiction is what I'm primarily in to, however, I am thinking about broadening out to the non-fiction magazine markets.

Their website has a submission tracker, as well as "folders" you can direct your canditate markets to. Well, you can organize it any way that works best for you. I think it will be quite convenient. I'm an organization freak, ya know.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Alienus Tractus - Part 1 - Moby and Dick

Twigs, leaves and branches blown onto the road from the recent storm cracked and popped beneath the tires of my '90 maroon Daytona as we drove down Mulberry street. We, Tabitha and I, had left our daughter, Elizabeth, with my biological cousin (adopted sister) at my mother's house. We had just finished watching a couple movies in our home town, Capeston.

We had watched Spiderman II together, and I stayed and watched "Minority Report" while Tabby went home. She won't watch, read, or hear anything that pertains to Tom Cruise, or for that matter, Steven Spielberg. I guess you could say it's my fault. After the movies, we went to Tabby's mothers house. Well, I dropped her off (she lives in Clovil) and I went riding around in Gladstil, just 3 miles east. Gladstil is where I grew up. I don't go there often, and when I do, it's just to cruise the few streets and reminisce about all the houses We had lived in while I grew up.

Mom had gone to Bingo, leaving Liza with Britney, my sister. Liza was riding a tricycle, and when we pulled up, she looked up and grinned at us. Britney, and my other sister Shelly, and another girl; the two twins, Darel and Darek, and two other boys whom I did not know were all lounging about a yard swing in the front yard.

"Hey Bub," Britney said. "Have you met our friend? His name is Moby Dix, but we call him Moby Dick, you know, like the one in that book?"

Trying to keep from grinning too conspicuously I gave a curt nod to Moby Dick. He may have been white, but I didn't see what was so great about him. They can play innocent all they want, but I knew the joke behind the name. If they were my daughters. Well, I didn't want to get into that at that moment.

After a few minutes of meaningless talk, Liza, Tabby and I left for home, Capeston. Driving down the broken branch road, I thought, "Moby Dick, huh?". In my minds ear I began to hear that song that used to play on the radio all the time. But I haven't heard it in over two years. What was it called?

After turning left onto Business 82 I glanced at Tabby, "Do you care if I turn the radio on?"

"It's okay, go ahead", she said.

I turned the radio on to the station already preset. To my surprise, the song that would not go away in my mind was actually playing.

"Tabby," I said. "What's the name of the group that plays this song?"

"I'm not sure," she said. "But I think it's that guy Moby. He's bald and does a lot of electronica and dance music."

My mind reeled momentarily. What a coincidence!

First, when I usually go south of Capeston, it is almost always to take Liza to visit my mother. I hardly ever go to Gladstil, and when I do go there, I never stop and talk to anybody. But guess who I stopped and spoke with that day. Philip Rankins. And then, Britney's friend Moby Dick. And then (later I found out that song was "Southside" by the Group "Moby") hearing that song by Moby in my head and then hearing that as I first turned the radio on. With everything else that had happened, this was like a beacon in a storm. The movie I was going to see later was called "Minority Report" based on a short story by the science fiction writer Philip K Dick. This inevitably led to my pondering this author's middle name.

What did the K stand for? This was major Jungian type synchronicity coming into play. It had to be, with everything else that had occurred recently. It's like my own IDIOS KOSMOS has been altered from what it once was, in preparation to receive this information. It was like there was some sort of master mind controlling the way reality works. This couldn't have been just me. Certainly there was some outside objectivity to it. Either that or I truly am crazy, or um, sick.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Alienus Tractus

They say that when you are in the throes of mental illness, when you are truly crazy, that you are unaware of what the reality of the situation really is. That you are totally immersed in and absorbed by irrationality and delusion. So that must indeed settle it then. I am not crazy, or mentally ill. Somewhat confused, possibly; for I live in two worlds, now. A KOINOS KOSMOS and an IDIOS KOSMOS, the shared reality and a personal reality. There are some that probably will think that when the IDIOS KOSMOS weights more heavily then you are crazy. I would like to say that is a possibility, but would also add that if your IDIOS KOSMOS is not in alignment with the KOINOS KOSMOS then you may not be balanced. You are missing part of the picture. You can't have your yin without your yan. I have a healthy dose of IDIOS KOSMOS and should be balanced, but I am not. There has been an assault on my faculties and for some reason, I am not in control as I used to be. There is Another; another me, that seeks to restore balance, but in doing so, has shaken the very fabric of my reality, and I would argue, the KOINOS KOSMOS as well, except for that it is still hidden, but in place. Occult. Waiting for the opportunity when its interest would be best served. This great delivering force, of which one particular science fiction writer referred to as VALIS, must have considered June 23, 2002 to be such an opportunity.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Left side and slightly from beneath
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Right side view
Bottom view

Even more Brains

I discovered this piece of popcorn just in time. Ain't it cool!

Top (or what I consider the top (with respect to a brain)) view
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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Speaking of Brains II

Now, if you invert the image and use a little subjective contourage, then to the left you may be able to see a lady seemingly kneeling either in prayer or meditation. Neat!

Can't wait to put the next picture up. Stay tuned!
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Speaking of Brains

Take a good look at this picture. This was my daughter's balloon. I can't remember where she got it, at the present. Doesn't it sort of look like a brain? Complete with convolutions of the cerebral cortex and all. This was really neat. Just thought I would share it with everyone who might be interested.
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Sunday, April 1, 2007

Brain Clutter

Maybe I'm the only one I know like this, but I feel extremely "fragmented", especially when my house is a mess and unorganized. My study room has been a tragedy for a few months now, worsening nearly every day with pile upon pile of bills, papers, magazines and other personal items. The more messy it is, the more fragmented I feel and thus less able to do anything about it. Today, I finally physcically initiated what I have been procrastinating against for so long. Yes, I'm organizing the study room at this very moment (aside from this brief interlude).

Come on dust bunnies! I've got my Swiffer ready and then for round two, my Pledge and microfiber towels. I'm also rearraging my books on all my book cases. I'm attempting to keep the taller books on the ends with the shortest in the center. However, it's a little tricky when trying to keep all the subjects together. Arrggh! Not enough shelves!

To the point, I feel so much better and "defragmented" already. My mind is beginning to clear somewhat. Hopefully, this will help me get my "butt-on chair" and write more fiction. Well, any writing is good.