Since he deleted his blogs ‘Marty’ and I have exchanged a few emails… the thing is, I don’t really know ‘Marty’ (I’ve changed his name for this post). I only looked at his blog occasionally. But I think I recognize ‘Marty’.
A friend of mine… a former best-friend of mine took a left turn about ten years ago, now he thinks the American government have set up concentration camps all across their country, ready for the coming coup in November. My friend watches planes crisscross the Ottawa skyline, but for him their contrails aren’t exhaust it’s chemicals being sprayed over all of us… he’s not clear as to the why.
My friend spends his days getting high and staring into a camera and speaking about global-wide conspiracies to a mostly nonexistent audience.
‘Marty’s’ blog was almost entirely taken up with anti-psychiatry conspiracies. There were fifteen or twenty pages made up of proof of a cabal of psychiatrists who take people off the streets and against their will subject them to ECT treatments and medication regimes. Thousands and thousands of people have been subjected to these experiments.
I think we all have some aspects of this before we come to treatment, and even for some time afterwards. And I think it gets much, much worse when all we have is ourselves to act as both speaker and audience.
We don’t know who we are, how fucking crazy we are, until we start saying the things in our head out loud. Until we place ourselves in situations where we have to talk, speak our opinions, to people and not just to the three other voices in our head.
And the more we’re alone the more we limit ourselves to having conversations solely in our heads.
There’s a program called Futurama, it’s done by the same people who put The Simpsons on TV… only it’s funnier. Tonight the cable station it plays on started playing it from Episode One again. The difference between the first episodes and the last episodes are almost like watching a different program. As a series progresses it becomes a parody of itself. Each season the hijinks get a little wackier, the characters get more ridiculous. Each action and reaction piles on top of the last until you have a doctor on “ER” killed off by having a helicopter land on him and explode. Or Sam wanting desperately to marry Diane on “Cheers”… or Fonzie jumping a shark in “Happy Days”.
These are not natural evolutions. These are situations forced into very narrow parameters which only make sense within the parameters. These are situations based around very limited casts, which then limit the story lines. The cast of “Cheers” could never meet new people, so their situations were limited to interactions with the cast.
Being on our own is the same thing. Instead of getting out and interacting with new people and expanding our understanding of who we are, people in our situation speak only to ourselves. And after time stuck within those narrowest of parameters we become parodies of ourselves.
I think the biggest problem for myself and ‘Marty’ and my friend, is no one listens to us like we do to ourselves. Nobody reacts to us in ways which make it easy for us to react better than ourselves.
I’ve known my friend since high school. It’s easy for me to remember how funny he used to be. When I see him now I see a parody of that person. Even when he does speak with other people now it’s in speeches, like he’s orating to a class. He has been talking to himself for so long I’m not sure if he’ll really ever be able to have a normal Out Loud conversation again. It’s like he has talked himself into being a True Believer five years after walking into a church looking for the bathroom.
I’ve never met ‘Marty’, I didn’t even know he was schizophrenic until he told me in an email not too long ago. But from what I’ve seen of his blogs, and from the mini-conversations we’ve had online, ‘Marty’ is funny and intelligent. He was able to poke back when poked.
But when we blog, when we write to people we’ve never met and never seen, we’re not really writing to them… we’re writing to who we think you are. To the attributes we’ve assigned to you, I don’t know what makes people I blog with smile or cock their eyebrow. I’ve never seen your mouth move. And ‘Marty’ doesn’t know who I am anymore than I know him.
But I do know when we’re in pain and no one listens or gives us the attention we think we deserve, we moan a little louder, our limp gets deeper… we complain a little louder. Now what happens if you’re a daily drug user, like my friend, or if you’re delusional like people with schizophrenia, and you take the time line to years… it may start at “I’m not getting the attention I deserve” but without the proper treatment, or family or even just friendship, it becomes “there must be a reason why…”. And when you can’t see a rational reason why, then the irrational makes sense because there still Has to be a reason.
When I was untreated and trapped inside the manic depression I could never leave the house, find a bus, get to a clinic, explain myself coherently, get a prescription, bus to a pharmacy, fill the prescription out, go home and take the pills regularly. I could barely brush my teeth.
Right now ‘Marty’ is an untreated schizophrenic who believes psychiatry is wrong, his offline support system is almost non-existent and he has deleted almost all of his online identity. I’ve checked online and couldn’t find any support groups not related to the Canadian Mental Health Association, that doesn’t mean they’re not there, but it does mean ‘Marty’ will have to look through the phone book and start calling…
There should be more we can do…