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.

Friday, June 1, 2012

An Apology

I'd like to apologize to Karen especially and to those of you who have been reading my blog lately.  I acted impulsively when I wrote that my ex-boyfriend was a psychopath just because I read a list of psychopathic traits.  I did not do the research and feel as if I have painted a false or misleading picture.  That was not my intention.  I was so into my own perspective, doing a lot of remembering, but I don't know exactly what was wrong with Brendan.  And so I've changed the titles of my previous blogs from "The Ghost of a Psychopath" to "The Ghost of a Young Man" into order to not draw readers who may be pulled in by the word psychopath in the title.  I considered deleting the three entries, but decided against it.  Instead I put a cautionary note at the beginning of each entry saying that I may have misdiagnosed Brendan.  Hopefully this will suffice.

My voices drew me to the word psychopathic early on in the acute stage of my illness.  They encouraged me to buy books on evil, on psychopaths, on violence and prejudice, most of which I only partially read.  It was too much for me at the time to make a serious study and so I stopped.  Even now, years later it is still difficult to approach and I have been having psychotic symptoms surfacing in response to me writing about the idea of Brendan as a psychopath.  Some of my remembering and writing was helpful to me and some of it made me vulnerable to an old delusion.  The delusion centers around me being psychically connected to a famous man, a man who the voices have claimed is a psychopathic serial killer.  I was in the grips of that delusion for most of the acute stage of my illness and I have thought about it in the intervening years.  I have often wondered why I was directed to this particular delusion.  I have thought that maybe it was Brendan who was the serial killer and I didn't know it and so the delusion was a kind of punishment for me.

In the beginning of my illness the voices did a curious thing, they painted a picture of Brendan as a devilish angel, a teacher for me, someone with a good heart; they even called him Saint Brendan.  I could identify with some of that because I had seen the healthier parts of him and I knew he had it in him to be an upstanding person.  I imagined him becoming active in a 12 Step program and going on to be a speaker at meetings, warning especially young people not to do what he had done.  I thought Brendan could have led people who were like him -- addicted and mentally ill.  In my psychotic state I gave him one of my Al-Anon daily readers and encouraged him to go to meetings.  Unfortunately, that didn't happen and then he took his life, but the delusion of the psychopathic serial killer remained strong for a couple more years.

So I have a history of identifying the famous man in my delusion as a psychopath, but I never quite stuck the label on Brendan until recently.  All I can say is that it made sense to do that at the time.  I got intense about the apparent discovery and wrote a lot about it in a short time period.  My problem was that I was taking the position that I had the knowledge to make this claim, when I did not.  Thankfully Karen and another person tried to tell me that I was on the wrong path.  At first I resisted, but then I saw that I was being irresponsible in making a claim that I couldn't quite back up and that I might be misleading the people who read my blog entries.  I saw that I was at fault, which is why I am apologizing now.  There is no point in claiming to be an honest person if I can't admit to my own mistakes.
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