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.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

A Brief Note

I did two things today, I read the first 17 pages of the William Styron memoir Darkness Visible and I saw the film SICKO by Micheal Moore.

I know of William Styron because I read a very good book of his years ago called Sophie’s Choice. There was also a very good film done of it starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. I recommend both, but I picked up Darkness Visible at the library because it is an account of his experience of severe depression. I hadn’t known that he had suffered from mental illness. It’s a short book, a mere 84 pages, but so far he writes convincingly of the first major symptoms of his illness. He writes of “panic and dislocation, and a sense that my thought processes were being engulfed by a toxic and unnameable tide that obliterated any enjoyable response to the living world.” (16) He also writes about sleeplessness and “confusion, failure of mental focus and lapse of memory.” (14) This breakdown occurs while he is in Paris in 1985 about to get a $25,000 award. He makes it through the award ceremony, lunch and a publicized visit to a newly opened museum for Picasso but just barely and that is where I stopped...

I have experience with severe depression, mainly during the months after I came out of my major delusions. I remember feeling suicidal because of it. So I can identify with the image of thoughts being engulfed in a toxic force but for me that toxic force was most especially the schizophrenia. The depression just made it much harder to function. I almost dropped out of school. It’s weird, I still get depressed but it’s qualitatively different from before. I was so raw then, just coming out of my third and final psychotic break. Now, despite the blues, despite the anxiety I have more hope than I did then. There is some fragility but no more being devastated. This is an important difference to me.

More on this and SICKO hopefully tomorrow.

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