Tag Archive | psychiatry

Schizophrenia and Poverty, Crime and Violence

Schizophrenia and Poverty, Crime and Violence
For people who have schizophrenia, and don’t get treatment, the result is far too often that they end up homeless or in jail (most often due to minor offenses).

  • Approximately 200,000 individuals with schizophrenia or manic-depressive (bipolar disorder) illness are homeless, constituting one-third of the approximately 600,000 homeless population (total homeless population statistic based on data from Department of Health and Human Services). These 200,000 individuals comprise more than the entire population of many U.S. cities, such as Hartford, Connecticut; Charleston, South Carolina; Reno, Nevada; Boise, Idaho; Scottsdale, Arizona; Orlando, Florida; Winston Salem, North Carolina; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Abilene, Texas or Topeka, Kansas.
  • At any given time, there are more people with untreated severe psychiatric illnesses living on America’s streets than are receiving care in hospitals. Approximately 90,000 individuals with schizophrenia or manic-depressive illness are in hospitals receiving treatment for their disease.
    Source: Treatment Advocacy Center

Schizophrenia and Violence

People with schizophrenia are far more likely to harm themselves than be violent toward the public. Violence is not a symptom of schizophrenia.

News and entertainment media tend to link mental illnesses including schizophrenia to criminal violence. Most people with schizophrenia, however, are not violent toward others but are withdrawn and prefer to be left alone. Drug or alcohol abuse raises the risk of violence in people with schizophrenia, particularly if the illness is untreated, but also in people who have no mental illness. When violence does occur, it is most frequently targeted at family members and friends, and more often takes place at home.


What is Schizophrenia?

What is Schizophrenia?  

“A good question, with no simple, short, or straightforward answer, since each sufferer is unique and schizophrenia is a complex phenomenon. In general, schizophrenia is an extremely introverted, psychospiritual mode of perception, or way of relating to the world; or state of consciousness involving (what I have called) ‘extreme empathy’. This simultaneous blessing and curse is due to a fragile, fragmented, dead, or lost ego, or conscious personality structure. The normal, ego-enforced boundaries between the self and the world have broken down, such that schizophrenia sufferers – for better and worse – find themselves identifying with everything within their scope of perception. It is because of this ego loss, or ‘dis-integration’ that psychosis, shamanic initiation and mystical experience are so inextricably bound. The schizophrenic person may appear to family, friends and doctors to be lacking in emotion, but in reality is in a state of intense empathy, such that extreme sensations of joy and fear are usual. Because of their fragile personal boundaries, schizophrenic folk typically see, hear, sense, perceive and understand things that others are unaware of. Secret, or symbolic meanings are seen and heard in everything, and the schizophrenia sufferer typically feels responsible for the fate of the world.” ~~Maureen B. Roberts, PhD. Jungian Therapist & Specialist Consultant on Soul-centred Wholistic Psychiatry Founder & Co-ordinator: Schizophrenia Crisis Centre & Drug-free Helpline [Australia]  

Further reading: “Schizophrenia: The Shaman Sickness” by Sam Malone (former sufferer). 


The schizophrenic experiences a stunning barrage of continuous, horrifying symptoms: auditory hallucinations, delusions, ideas of reference, paranoia, etc. The “indescribable severe torture” is unrelenting and can go on except during sometimes restless sleep, at whichtime the symptoms are even active when one becomes conscious at all. This experience is so overwhelming it is beyond the imagination. It cannot be conceived of intellectually. By its very nature it in fact necessitates the concept of religion in order to relate to it at all. This continuous experience of psychotic symptoms can be viewed as “spiritual exercises in perfection”. The effect on the schizophrenic is similar to that of monks when practicing their rituals in monasteries. When these spirited exercises become a lifestyle for the schizophrenic (lasting 8-10 years) with no real evidence given to the schizophrenic that he will ever recover, a fascinating thing happens to the psyche of that schizophrenic—he loses the perspective of “ego”. Ego consists of all his identifying factors in the world: his age, sex, race, religious affiliation or lack thereof, education level, social class, political affiliations, nationality, etc. He begins to see his environment with the eyes of a newborn, without the bias or prejudices, preconditions of his particular circumstances. It can be seen as a sort of continuous baptism by fire, a kind of purification, enabling him to see reality for what it is in actuality, rather than being viewed through the preconceptions of his individual mental, emotional, and behavioural repertoire instilled in him from birth. The schizophrenic in this condition is able in his interior to walk around in someone else’s moccasins with perfection. This can be seen as loving your neighbour as you love yourself, perfectly. I do not believe it is a condition that can be acquired by a “normal” individual by any method, because the horror of the symptoms of schizophrenia are unduplicable by man. (Religious persons would call this condition repentance for all one’s sins, e.g. “perfect repentance”.) ~Source

Torture, Pain and Suffering can be Good

stevenlogI am no one special. I am not smart. I was diagnosed mentally retarded when I was 13. I have also been diagnosed with Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Bipolar Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder. I have also been labeled a terrorist and a criminal. That sure is a lot of contradictions, but they aren’t mine.

I spent 3 years in Special Education coloring, drawing, and counting change until I dropped out of school. I just never could do schoolwork, I thought it was absurd. I don’t have any letters after my name, I haven’t attended and/or graduated from any prestigious schools, I haven’t even dropped out of any prestigious schools demonstrating my self-motivation and non-conformity. I don’t have a degree that automatically makes whatever I attach my name to an instant voice of veracity.

I was beaten almost daily as a child. Many were so severe that I couldn’t even stand, walk or get out of bed. I missed a lot days at school because of the beatings. My Grandmothers tried to help me. They even hid me a few times, but they were unable to stop it. I lived in terror every moment of my childhood.

When I was a child, I was also strapped down to a table with wires glued to my head. Everyone couldn’t figure out why I wouldn’t do school work so I was sent off to the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville Pennsylvania for  tests.  After that, I was placed in Special Ed.

When I was in my early 20s, I barely escaped a lobotomy. They said a lobotomy could cure me. This was from a well-meaning Psychiatrist in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. He knew I was in severe mental pain, but he didn’t know what to do about it.

I’ve been surrounded by S.W.A.T 3 times. I’ve played cards with serial killers and mass murderers during my 3 stays at Mayview State Hospital a maximum security forensic hospital.  I’ve had to go months without bathing, brushing my teeth, or shaving while in the hole in Dauphin County Prison. My teeth rotted, just like the clothes I wore.  Living in and never leaving a 4×8, room for a few months brings on higher states of consciousness—so it was a good thing.  Also in prison, I was stripped naked, handcuffed behind my back and strapped in a chair for days at a time. It’s not much fun sitting in your own excrement and urine, but the pain and suffering make for a wonderful teacher. It gave me a deeper understanding of torture. The people who commit acts of torture are more afraid than those that they torture and they don’t know what they are doing.

I’ve been homeless, hungry and cold. This was also a good thing. It let me know what the homeless really face on a daily basis.

Knowing this may make you into an automatic skeptic, which is fine, but it does more for me. It makes me free to say and do whatever I want.  And what is it that I do and want? I want to share my experiences with others, ease their pain and suffering. Why?  Because I empathize with, have compassion for, love for everyone.  I have tried, oh, believe me, I have tried not to empathize, have compassion and love for others, but it is something I just can’t turn off. People may consider me an enemy, but I never can be. I just can’t hate.

Because I am not confined by letters after my name, a piece of paper certifying my pedigree, any school, business or institution that pays my bills to disappoint or offend, no will whatsoever to uphold my good name. I am neither obligated nor bound to carry out the will of someone else. I realize that pain and suffering are a gift, not a curse. What could be freer than that?

I’ve always been free, because I’ve never been broken. I can’t break, I can’t change, so there is no escape. It is not will or defiance. I can’t do things that I consider wrong or absurd, believe me I have tried.  I can’t give up my freedom, believe me I have tried. The very thought of stealing, lying, cheating, or being deceptive or doing something absurd causes my mind to schism, my heart to race and the sweat pours out of me, it drives me insane. I have always been like this and it has caused me to go through what many consider terrible situations.

I’ve never wanted to be or trade places with anyone else. I’ve been fortunate to see and experience things that most people only read about. I got to experience all of this not by hurting anyone, stealing, lying , etc., no, these events all happened because I couldn’t do what I was told to do. I couldn’t be a slave. Pain and suffering are a gift…probably the greatest gift one could receive.

Pain and suffering can teach one to have empathy, compassion and love for everyone, including those who have committed wrongs against you.  So, if you’re in pain and suffering, it may not seem like it at the moment but, you are surely blessed.


Reality Is. . .

America Institution

Okay, people, one last chance. Reality:

Reality is: Government
Reality is: Bills, inspections, gods, licenses, laws, taxes, pension funds, slavery, tax refunds, war, religion, money, countries, nations, insurance, inflation, debt, and freedom.
Reality is: None of the above are real, only reified by you because. . .
Reality is: You’re a slave.
Reality is: Malevolence, malice, murder, rape, plunder, tyranny, oppression, violence, crime, television, and death.
Reality is: You’re not going to get what you want except a pre-determined settlement in place of what you wanted, but . . .
Reality is: That Settlement is an illusion or a delusion to distract you from the aforementioned Reality.
Reality is: You hate your children, your children hate you, your husband hates you, you hate your husband; your therapist, representatives, lawyers, politicians, congressmen, bosses are lying to you to effect the aforementioned Settlement.
Reality is: You agreed to Settle.
Reality is: You will never think for yourself, and even if you could (which you can’t, but if you could) you won’t be allowed to, because . . .
Reality is: People who are much, much smarter than you (or who consider themselves to be) will think, and are already, thinking for you.
Reality is: You accepted this Settlement.
Reality is: Your mind is full of illusions, delusions, distractions, amusements, entertainments, and trivial and superficial information, because . . .
Reality is: You want all the illusions, delusions, etc. in your mind to be real, because. .
Reality is: You can’t face Reality, and if you did, you’d shatter into pieces, crawl into a hole, get religion, find a god, pray, do drugs, drink, commit suicide, watch television, overeat, get therapy, or something else to escape Reality.
Reality is: You don’t care about anything beyond your Settlement and defend it no matter what the consequences.
Reality is: You superimpose your emotions onto external sources (other people), because . . .
Reality is: You don’t possess any original or independent thought, because . . .
Reality is: You are neither original nor independent.
Reality is: You will accept a Settlement, but you will not accept responsibility for your deluded, self-serving, self-centered actions to keep and hoard that Settlement, because . . .
Reality is: You’re just a passing fad, and . . .
Reality is: So is everyone else, because . . .
Reality is: You are a slave and allways will be.
Reality is: There are gay people, fat people, thin people, black people, white people, stupidity, intelligence, etc. etc., and . . .
Reality is: You’ll never fit any of them into your deluded pseudo-reality (Settlement), so . . .
Reality is: You’re trapped in your pseudo-reality, but the good thing about . . .
Reality is: You’re absolved, because . . .
Reality is: The people who do your thinking for you know you’re deluded and forgive you for it.
Reality is: You can’t do anything about it until you face Reality, which . . .
Reality is: You can’t, because no matter what you say, you prefer your Settlement.
Reality is: Unless you Realize, you’re “The Herd.”
Reality is: You lie to yourself and everyone else to excuse your agreement of Settlement, so . . .
Reality is: You’ll die and be forgotten because you’re anonymous, therefore unthinking.
That is Reality. Now deal with it, but . . .
(Reality is: You won’t because you can’t, because . . .
Reality is: You’re a slave who doesn’t care you’re a slave as long as you can have your Settlement.)


Nearly every day now, Stephen and I walk around the woods, slowly, taking one careful step after another, highly aware of where our feet will next land and the degree of vibrations, knowing that the slightest molecule out of place will alert any insect basking on a leaf to our presence, and they will flit away. So, we have to be more than quiet; we have to know where each body part will next end up, while our eyes scan the many, many branches and leaves for the tiniest movement, like a flicker of imagination.

Hence, we find it difficult to define a particular significant event in our lives that has prompted us to embark upon this journey of exploring the lateral, as what finally prompted us to break free of civilization and its psychoses was not any single event or whether any single event is significant or insignificant. Every happening we have witnessed since we were borne is still present in our lives, continuously with distinction, but without detachment. Therefore, we are incapable of a vantage point of reference objective enough to separate any singular event from a continuous, lateral stream constantly evolving. Is not the expression, experience, and exercise of Curiosity, want of learning, and awe of the unknown the very drives of any journey?

That we were involuntarily committed to State Hospitals and diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder may seem like a significant event. That we are mentally disabled and social security disability recipients might seem like a significant event. However, each of these happenings obviously have impact upon our lives, they are not peculiar in life, because they are not the result of cause and effect, but a current constant presence.  Our psychiatrists pointed out to us that our diagnoses are simply a manifestation of the way our minds work and the way we perceive the world in which we are aware. Our minds pay exacting attention to detail; our minds metabolize every environment. Although, it may seem as if being committed to the State Hospital, being on social security disability and diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are significant events in our lives, they are not. . . at least not to us. They are among all that composes our lives, merely threads in a tapestry of an existence. And it is that tapestry that prompted us to seek the freedom of the Out Side, the Out of Doors, not any particular event, significant, insignificant or otherwise.  Minds like ours love information and knowledge, because we can then comprehend the How’s and Why’s involved in truly living (whatever that may turn out to be), that connection to the only home Stephen and I regard, Earth. This same sense of mind, this imagination, that we apply to seeking information and knowing, we also apply when we are walking in the woods, something we love to do and do as much as possible.  We see a reciprocal relationship among the trees and soil and rain and sunshine and shadow and elevation, etc. and can perceive how the forest works together and how we are part of that forest.

Richard Feynman is quoted as saying

“People say to me, “Are you looking for the ultimate laws of physics?” No, I’m not… If it turns out there is a simple ultimate law which explains everything, so be it — that would be very nice to discover. If it turns out it’s like an onion with millions of layers… then that’s the way it is. But either way there’s Nature and she’s going to come out the way She is. So therefore when we go to investigate we shouldn’t predecide what it is we’re looking for only to find out more about it. Now you ask: “Why do you try to find out more about it?” If you began your investigation to get an answer to some deep philosophical question, you may be wrong. It may be that you can’t get an answer to that particular question just by finding out more about the character of Nature. But that’s not my interest in science; my interest in science is to simply find out about the world and the more I find out the better it is, I like to find out…”

~The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, 1981 filmed interview

This same pleasure of finding things out, the ‘unknown’, prompts us to seek, not only the unknown, but to seek at all. We have minds; therefore, we seek. . . as simple as that. And like Richard Feynman says of the character of Nature, we cannot define a particular significant event, because we cannot define an insignificant event.  We seek, so every event is as significant as it is insignificant; we do not see a difference.  See, it is more than just numbers (mathematics, or science, if you will, as Richard Feynman also points out), but the deeper meanings behind the numbers, like deciphering an elaborate chaotic, spiraling mystery. For this same “unseen force” also drives the quantum mechanizations of human systems, i.e. society, industry, etc.

Sometimes, while we walk or during the interesting and wonderful evenings beneath the open sky and weaving, tussling tree branches or in a perfect pause of stillness, we push all of that aside for a moment, and think about sitting behind desks, sitting behind the wheel of a car, sitting in a waiting room, standing in line, talking on the phone, texting, watching TV, plugged in…and are marvelled at the possibility that others would choose that over walking around seeing what you can see.  Instead, why not walk around on the planet seeing what you can see? Not hurting anyone, not harming anyone, not fighting, just walking around seeing what we can see. Every so often, one or more of us will meet, as friends, and converse, sharing with one another all things that we can see.

What will we learn from this? We don’t know, but we are learning to really observe, to be aware of our surroundings, to examine what our eyes see, to intuit motion, breathing, air, aromas. What we learn expands with each new time we are outside, seeing what we can see. It has only been about two months and we have seen such wonders of life that we are humbled.

We all have but a minute length of time to spend on the planet, why should we want to spend it sitting down, standing up, opening our mouths only when someone tells us that we can?

Why not see what we can see. . .?