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Walking with gods

Although many do "suffer" from mental illness and schizophrenia, I take exception to the term "suffering", "survivors" or "victims" as it can be fun to be delusional and hallucinate, something most mentally ill will not admit to, but true; I know fro

Although many do "suffer" from mental illness and schizophrenia, I take exception to the term "suffering", "survivors" or "victims" as it can be fun to be delusional and hallucinate, something most mentally ill will not admit to, but true; I know from experience. From my first conversation with a fellow in a psych ward who saw the sun rising in the west in glory, and was convinced it was God communicating with him and that he must pass on the vision to someone like me who would know what to do with it, to myself who thought yes, I am that special person and must save the world. It was fun to "walk with gods" and to enjoy the freedom of no restraints for that brief period of time before the law intervened, fun to think I was the center of a universe created especially for me, fun to believe that Nana Mouskouri and Tom Jones were singing only for me, and the "special messages" that came from the late night radio were meant for me, proving to my delusional mind once again that I was a special agent of God. Exhilarated and in love with a nonexistent vision, I lived in a sort of a dream from which I awoke periodically to find it had ended in nightmare.

I remember, though, consciously choosing sanity at one point but being almost persuaded by my darker side to remain in the region of visions and delusions, the magnificent obsessions, and the ease with which I could slide into mental illness and irresponsibility. My actions began to take on significance more mundane than expectations for unreal rewards in this life or some afterlife. Much later, I began to relate to the human beings around me, and differentiate between them and me. That was the beginning of health.

A process called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has proven to be helpful both with depression and schizophrenia, but is seldom used by those with bipolar or schizophrenia illnesses. Why, if it can help? They find it "cold" as it's mentally stimulating and uses thought to control emotions and thus the manifestations of illness, something I did myself to good effect without any help. The CBT therapists seem to focus on depression, a relatively innocuous illness in comparison, and more prevalent in the population than bipolar or schizophrenia. More easily "fixed", perhaps?

I had much to "fix" in my personality, character, upbringing and spirit. I relished the opportunity, took advantage of all avenues open to me, and it took forty years to recover to the point I am now. I miss the fierce joy of sudden illumination and the visions of immortality, the special agent of God which I took myself to be, and the unrequited peculiar love affair with a former female professor which, queerly, did not result in any physical manifestations other than a curiosity as to whether I was a lesbian (not true).

Creativity and schizophrenia? My psychiatrist told me this week that schizophrenia doesn't disappear, but in my 70th year it seems to have mellowed as did I, with experience, new medications, and proper professional help. With that mellowing comes the loss of walking with gods.