A Sumtyme Blog of Knowthing

Fineding one or two selfs

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light converswayshyns with my drk side

Back in the 1960’s the term schizophrenia was a term that has now been divided into other sub category, who knows whatever it is, check the latest DSM which is always  subject to changes by some phd in psychology trying to find a career for themselves. From Kant with the concept of the divided self through Freud, Horney, Jung,  Maslow, Szasz, and so many more it seems to me that phycology is more about the person who likes to be called a psychologist  than about people.

However that said, in the 1960s three times I had the experience of sharing personal living quarters with people who presented  behaviours which would fall in that category.

While in university a friend from a small town asked me if I would let a hometown friend, J,  stay in my apartment for awhile as he had no place to stay. He could pay, I was a poor student, so it was alright with me. However he continiously paced around the apartment, not sleeping and talking nonsense, mostly paranoid stuff.

His family came down and tok him away, admitting him to a “public mental hospital,” a type of institution which was more common then than now. I later moved into a house which was shared with a few other students.

One day J appeared at the door seeking me out, needing a “place to crash” and I refused. However the other members of the house felt sympathy for him, criticized my lack of  compassion and empathy, and as he was not at the moment  presenting his “problem behavior,” they voted to allow him to sleep on the couch. Of course he did not sleep and in the night was walking around the house, entering the rooms of others who were sleeping or doing other, sometimes personal, things. In one night my house mates had enough,expressed this, and I had to help him find another place to stay.

A second time  when I entered graduate school my first place to live was with a fellow new grad student, D, in the same field—Sociology. Within a month D was exhibiting those same qualities, I moved out into a large house which I shared with a man called “Moose,” who was engaged and soon to be married, moving out and Ron moved in, soon joined by his girl friend.

D had moved to his own apartment and was showing up at the university sporadically and then he had an episode and entered a public mental institution. I visited him a few times, it was sad, D was very bright and had a good grasp of Sociology. A little ground work, at this time “One Flew Over a Cuckoo’s Nest” was a popular book. When I would visit D he would be in the company of “fellow travelers” and they would all be discussing, in pleasant anticipation, their next shock therapy treatment. They looked forward to it.

A few months went by, D was released and I thought he returned home to his family. However one night he appeared at my door, in the cold and rain, needing a place to stay. I did not want to allow it, however, again the other members of the house thought it would be alright.  It was supposed to be for one night but it ended up lasting a couple of months. D was undergoing therapy and was taking Thorazine —a large  amount—not sleeping  and continuously pacing around the house, entering the room of Ron and girlfriend over and over.

He was supposed to sleep in one part of the living room, but  of course he did not sleep. He did not wash his clothes, rather when he would change he would take off clothes, put them in a pile on one side of the room and put on other clothes chosen from a pile on the other side of the room. When that pile was depleted, with all of his clothes in a pile on the other side except for what he was wearing, the next move was to reverse the process, never washing them in between. Finally we put him out.

In the upstairs apartment lived Terry, who had just  drawn #12 in the Vietnam War Draft Lottery and his wife who was expecting a baby—thery  felt sorry for him and took him in—it lasted an afternoon.

At that point we worked with his family and he returned home.

The third time I shared a large house in Maine. One couple, he was Vietnam vet, she was his high school sweetheart and she paced around the house, entering people’s rooms and doing weird things. In house meetings while I strongly urged we put some pressure on him to get her into therapy, before something bad happened.  The others thought we as “hippies or enlightened whatever” should not surrender her to the establishment and life went on.

Until one night people came home and she was burning stuff on the stove, all the gas burners flaming high and the other members of the house panicked,  grabbed her, forced her into a car and took her to the local public mental hosptial. It must have been very traumatic for her, it obviously was for them.

At that point her role as mentally ill was clearly defined. by her environment  Who knows.

It could be that this thing, “Mental Health”  is a quality which is distributed throughout society like a normal curve distribution and that such a distribution of behaviour  is normal in society. But psychology and psychiatry view mental health solely as a personal quality quite separate  from and clearly unrelated to the mystical workings of a “social structure.”

I guess being able to market oneself as a saviour is better for a career and personal self esteem but I don’t know if it does much for people in general.


Written by Steve

December 17th, 2013 at 9:36 am

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