Saturday Morning

Eight twenty five.

I paid my utility bill this morning. It was very low again due to the summertime. It amazes me that fall is almost here. I’m thankful that people treat me with respect these days, and actually care what I have to say. My relationship with my family is changing for the better. But I still prefer WordPress to Facebook; it seems a more intelligent platform because you have to be able to write… Today I’m trying not to put pressure on myself to be perfect. A song comes to me, “Walking on Air” by King Crimson. It makes me want to learn to play my Stratocaster better. But there’s that pressure again. Maybe I’ll just listen to the CD and admire Adrian Belew. If I do pick up my Strat today, I’ll be languid about it. I won’t expect too much of myself. I want to enjoy the experience and not be frustrated.

Quarter of eleven. I bought some mint ice cream and shared two dollops with Aesop. The conversation at the salon turned political again, accusing the other side of being political and hateful. It was typical redneck philosophy. I didn’t stay very long because I didn’t agree, and it was awkward for me. Under my conservative clothes I’m still an educated person. People can bray their ignorant opinions and I won’t say anything to their face, but as long as this is my domain, I will write about it. The same people are the ones who hate Mexican immigrants and refuse to learn Spanish to accommodate them. It was always an atrocious attitude. We treat nonwhites very shabbily, and at some point justice must be carried. I’m tired of seeing red everywhere I go, and I’m not the only one… Now I want to play my guitar for a while. 

Long Post: A Thousand Starless Words

Warning: Intense religious content
Eight thirty five.

I caught myself having an episode of psychosis this morning. I emailed Suz about what was happening and she replied very nicely. I have the food pantry this morning; must take off in twenty minutes, or maybe a bit later. I usually get there too early. Cathy should be there with her cookies, which are always welcome. The milk of human kindness is a far cry from delusions about the devil. I don’t know where my religious delusions come from, but they are terrible. As for Sheryl, I still think she was a lousy therapist. Or maybe not qualified to work with schizophrenic people. Funny how I fired her, and then, PeaceHealth was just as bad. I didn’t care for Bonnie very much. Finally I came full circle to Laurel Hill, and that was a lot better. I will tell Dominic that I don’t want to work a job. I can tell him about my episode today. And really, I’ve been under unusual stress lately. Psychosis is very uncomfortable and frightening. No one seems to understand it. However, I do want to stick out playing music with other people. It’s something I’m really good at, and hang the delusions. They are not real. I’ve had all kinds of delusions and hallucinations in my life, but none of them was real. The sexuality stuff could be yet another delusion. I might as well take the benefit of the doubt. Keep in mind not the therapists I’ve had, but rather the psychiatrist I used to see. It’s ok to pick and choose among my experiences with providers. I know my own illness very well. Only a few minutes to go. Think about how glad they’ll be to see me…

Noon hour. The food pantry went as usual, nothing extraordinary happened. When I got home, I rested for a few minutes, then I went and bought some food for Aesop. Now he’s been fed and I can relax with my ginger ale. The sun is out in a partly cloudy sky. People are out walking their dogs, children are playing, and the temperature is unusually warm for winter. I went out in just a sweatshirt, no jacket. It’s good to see the sunshine after a week of solid overcast skies. You tend to forget that the sun even exists in winter. The deprivation of light makes you depressed and a little hopeless. Right now the silence is almost unbroken. Two nights ago it rained super hard, but I hardly heard anything because of my new storm windows. My brain is playing a song called “Starless” by King Crimson. The lyric to it is awfully depressing. My conscious mind can’t retrieve the words, but my subconscious probably knows the whole thing. I bought the album Red at Earth River Records when I was still 17 years old. At the time, I already had a vague notion of what the band was about. It wasn’t very healthy for me to be listening to. I knew that my Spanish teacher was a Christian, so in part I rebelled against her beliefs. I don’t know why. High school was a bizarre time for me, with not very many choices of ideology. Pretty much, it was only Christianity and rock and roll, and reactions to both. College was a much better atmosphere, and I learned about this thing called philosophy, which enabled me to think critically about anything under the sun. My whole education after high school was an exposure to philosophy. We were taught how to think, not what to think. Across all disciplines, the underlying theme was philosophy; it was logic and reason.

One forty. I’m in a rut I need to get out of. The episode I had this morning was alarming. It reminded me that I indeed have the illness, and sometimes even the medication can’t block the symptoms. I might take an afternoon nap, because I know I didn’t sleep well last night. Until then, the ginger ale tastes really good.

Five twenty. Wow, Chris K posted a note on my blog that was very heartfelt and nice. He believes that I’m very brave for putting it out there about my illness. I suppose that he’s right. He’s probably sleeping right now, but I replied to his comment… I practiced my bass guitar for a while, and it sounded good to me. It makes a difference when I wash my hands with soap prior to playing. It just feels better. My chops work better that way. I like the sound of my red Precision copy. I think Ron would like it too. I never did get a phone call from Bruce from church. He said he wanted to jam with me. Actions speak louder than words. But the jam with Ron and Mike is already set up. I’ve just closed the blinds and turned on the porch light. It’s raining outside, and I can hear it. It’s nice to have things quiet… Whoa, I just had a psychotic thought. Is the band King Crimson expecting Armageddon? I was watching a YouTube video of them doing “Starless.” Not a smile on anybody’s face. It looked like a recent performance. Robert Fripp had white hair. I need to get myself out of this funk. I’ve experienced enough of being a prophet. Now put away the bass guitar and steer clear of rock and roll. Just go to church and sing in the choir. This is sheer lunacy. If the Bible is the truth, I don’t want to know about it. Very strange week I’ve had. Perhaps it started a week ago, or whenever it was I dug out my red Precision copy and played John Wetton lines. What compelled me to do that? Was it like God inspiring me to pick up the instrument and begin prophesying? I remember: it was last Sunday afternoon. But surely I am delusional? And maybe King Crimson is too…

Priorities

Quarter of one. I teetered on the brink of relapse this early afternoon. Thought I would have a nervous breakdown if I couldn’t drink. I don’t know how close I was to actually going to the store for a six pack. I killed the time by taking a nap; it was futile to try to think my way out of it. I should probably give up Coca-Cola, for this is a placebo for the real thing. Eliminate the hand to mouth behavior completely. I felt guilty for skipping church again yesterday, and this produced a paranoia about my sobriety. But I honestly still doubt that belief in Jesus makes any difference. Or rather, I know I don’t believe except for when I feel psychotic. The catalyst for my episode was listening to King Crimson again. My brain is very sensitive to spiritual suggestion. It was my mistake to put that Cd on and absorb it. I admit that I admire the talent of those musicians, and I may still be inspired by their stuff. But I might have to put on the full armor of God to defend myself from relapse. It’s true that 1995 was a long time ago, yet those mental states still lurk dormant in my subconscious. It doesn’t take much to wake them up. The number one thing for me is sobriety, whatever it takes.

Insight

Night has fallen. A while ago I found my favorite D H Lawrence book, Collected Stories, a fat Everyman’s volume. I bought it from the UO Bookstore in spring 1994, the term I graduated. The bibliomania was pretty bad that year, yet it made me happy. My parents never said anything about it. No one ever told me how to spend my money. So I started building an empire of books and music. Jeez, my Fender Strat is coming Monday! The year 1995 was rather odd for me. King Crimson and E E Cummings, mostly. Some Eugene O’Neill and Proust. Goethe and Shelley. I actually believed that my copy of Cummings was the satanic bible. I also discovered Bartok that winter. I was overcome by demonic thoughts and I didn’t know why, or if it was normal. I assumed that it was the illness and not me. I reread The Odyssey that summer and ordered in Aeschylus in the Loeb editions. The little green books suggested something Romantic to my mind. My dad drove me around places. I guess I wasn’t very happy in 1995. Life was better the next few years…

Music is often a powerful memory cue. Simply listening to Thrak again revived old thinking patterns of the year it was released. I imagine that avoiding this King Crimson music will perish the thoughts. The present can be none other than the present, yet surveying old things like books and music can reopen old wounds. Keeping some perspective is a good idea.

Platonism for Real

Two o’clock. The psychosis has departed to leave me reflective and a little sad. I feel like the lyric to a 1995 King Crimson song, “One Time.” It basically wishes for a one time reprieve from everything that is bad in life and hopes for an open hand. I like the song just for its honest expression of depression. If it weren’t a progressive rock tune, it’d be the blues. Now I wonder concerning the relationship between depression and the more severe mental illnesses. It seems to me that our natural state is to be happy, or anyway, happiness is our duty to society. Perhaps the farthest thing removed from joy is schizophrenia, and yet I never did anything to deserve it. Genetics is genetics. How amazing it would be if biology could be entirely psychologized. If the physics could be reduced to a state of behavior, an attitude of mind— to a verb rather than a noun, it would revolutionize the field of behavioral health. And this may be the trend anyway. On the other hand, could any schizophrenic person ever function without medication? Imagine finding a way to modify gene expressions just by altering the behavior. What we call “spiritual” could be the underpinning for mood, and in turn, mood could give rise to material reality as we know it. Then the songs we play and sing actually form moods into concrete existence. Therefore, depressing songs like “One Time” may someday be eliminated as unhealthy and counterproductive… Just thinking aloud…

Impression from the Jam

Quarter of ten. I had some technical difficulties with my bass at the jam. It was hard to stay in tune. My strings kept popping out of the saddle notches, so I’ll have to repair that and adjust the intonation. I really like this bass however. Mark thought I was too loud, so output isn’t a problem. Paul is really good, and his originals sound young and fresh. He does mostly rhythm playing, not so much lead. I managed to follow him pretty well in drop D, but it’s something I need to practice on as a homework assignment. We’ve agreed to meet up again a week from Wednesday evening. I have an idea what sort of sound to cultivate that will mesh with Paul’s style. He’s familiar with the old King Crimson with John Wetton on bass. I liked the way Paul could just kind of plug in and start playing without a warmup. Mark on drum kit was like me in simply trying to complement Paul’s playing. Our development together will be interesting to see. Not to count our chickens before they’re hatched, but I believe this project could lead to something.