Friday, 26 February 2010


Over and over again since I found myself part of the blogosphere (how the fuck did that happen?) I have been incensed by the blatant sexism that appears to be part and parcel of the UK MH services.

How to get treated with respect? Be a man (and preferably an articulate and well-spoken man)*.

It makes me sick. I would gladly be treated with less respect if all women were treated with more. It is so bloody wrong it makes me want to puke and do horrible things to consultants etc.

How dare they? How DARE they?

That is all.

* It's not just sexism, it's snobbery too. Bloody posh twats thinking they can flick and fuck people into left right and centre for their own good. Fast-tracked by Daddy's friends at the hospital. Flummoxed when a patient debates in detail back at them. Bastards.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

This Mud Will Pass

For everyone stood on the platform, huddled in their soggy, heavy overcoats, waiting on the delayed arrival of the Springtime Express. Dx


Wednesday, 24 February 2010

When Will This Bloody Spring Arrive?

deadpan interrogator snips my strings,
chokes puppet limbjoints with molasses, filth,
old rust and lassitude -
resistance spurs
flinging of firecrackers, drawing-pin dances,
submersion under ice: with blowtorch, wrench,
unseize stiff knees and elbows -
nothing works
absolute zero has its boring logic
that dirty substance, out-of-sell-by, rank,
unseasoned, clock-stopping, ear-stopping, sight
stopping and heart-stopping, a frozen muck
brimful with troubles -
drown in peace awhile
til by the actions of the stars and seasons,
though flotsam, castaway, a sodden wretch:
by draining of the tides, re-learn to breathe

Monday, 22 February 2010

Snowed In and Escape

Well, we went to Wales on Thursday, just in time to get caught by the latest load of snow. Very pleasant it was too, though fearfully chilly. Not so chilly that I didn't manage to have a near daily bathe in the stream though! This morning the stream was half-frozen, so I abstained.

I walked up over the hill at the back yesterday - Llyn T-- ---- and Llyn P----- were both completely frozen. Just as well - it would have been stupid to have had a swim in those conditions by myself. (I did consider smashing a big enough hole for a Finnish-Style plunge, but it was four inches thick - a weird mixture of water ice and refrozen snow in layers like shale). The silence was utterly unnerving. I felt that I was being stalked by something - a white tiger maybe, or just some disembodied and malevolent ice spirit. I don't spook easily, but my spine was bristling.

Amused myself by reading the first twenty pages of Malone Dies by Beckett to the boys for their bedtime story. They quite enjoyed it too for the first two days, then started to get bored. They're healthy wee lads.

Oh well, just a quickie. Will post some pictures when I've developed the films. Hope all are well and safe. Dx

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Notes on the Vivids

Just a general suffering

nothing special
nor of note
just an endless banal fizz
my mind is gushing down the pan
I furiously fill it
with anything to stave off... what?

Looking around the world, things in the world seem to take on equal significance whether near or far. Perspective is flattened. Tables, a cloud, people, distant trees, all equal. Everything has a halo, VanGoghVisionTM. It's rather wearing after a while. The brain gets tired assigning ranks of meaning, stacking significance, in an effort to be normal.

As with vision, also sound. The vivids intensify sound. There is an element of the flattening of distance but not so pronounced as with vision. And all the time it feels as if someone has lifted the top of my skull off, and swabs the top of my brain with a burning rag.

There is a sense that my brain is emptying, sloshing too fast down a drain, and there is an imperative to fill it up with information, doesn't matter what, so long as it makes the brain work. I'm afraid of letting it empty. I think that if I do, or if I get too tired to keep refilling it - if it drains away, then that will be that and I'll be down in the deep cold black. But the effort is sometimes enormous. Every morning I wake and hope it'll be a calm day, normal, not this banal intensity. I need the intensity - I'd die without it. But sometimes I need a break.
(excerpted repost from AbMu)

Pointings Out: Notes On CPN Visit

Tediums: some blasted form to do with the Care Something Approach, or Something Care Approach, which is changing, due to some tedious government initiative, because a new system is coming in, so the old system has to be updated at great tedium so the new system can then be all updated again at great tedium. I read through the form, and he knew I wouldn't like it and offered to take it away and fill it in for me, and I agreed with him politely: "To be honest, P---, it would fucking aggravate me at the moment."

Positives: when he mentioned that I was 'labelled' on their system as 'untreated', I pointed out that despite the ostensible trumpeting of a range of treatments, that language was talking only of medication, and of medication only. I pointed out that I was treating myself, using my mind, and he agreed forthrightly. He knows the flaws of the system, and is happy to admit them.

Apparently, I'm classed as an 'expert patient' whatever the fuck that means. I asked if I'd get a gold badge to wear, and he said it could be arranged.

Been flip-flop and hanging on to my tightrope using my fingerends recently. He could tell I was having some trouble, and probed, gently. I pointed out that all definitions of a mental illness require subjective distress to be experienced. I am feeling rather horrid, but I know what it is, and I know it will go away again, therefore I am not 'distressed' by the experience. (I don't like having root-canal work done either, but I know it only lasts an hour in that chair, therefore it is fucking painful, but not distressing in the sense that it would be if I thought I was going for a trim and a shave.)

Also pointed out that at present I am coping by intentionally living the live of a hermit, and it is working for me. Financially unethical, maybe, regarding the state, moderately expensive, regarding my pride, but cheaper than getting bloody ill again.

And finally, pointed out that being diagnosed in the blink of an eye at the grand old age of 37 is a bit late in the day to humbly submit to having my personality changed. Mood and personality are tangled together like the pubes of two lovers. Treat the mood, you are treating the self. CPN said with some vehemence that I was absolutely right, and that everyone has a right to retain their own self.

Right, call that a general update. This winter has been a bit better than the last, and the last was a bit better than the ghastly one before that. Hope is in the air.

Keep safe all Dx

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

On the benign species of ecstacy

- I write of the enthusiastic, dilated, receptive phase between euthymia and hypomania -

(much of what follows is in notational form and an explanation of why this should be is proffered at the end)

In its beginnings there is first the quickening and the brightening; an excitation of the skin, a tantalising of the taste-buds, a clarification of vision. Expansions occur; in the visual field and in the availability and accessibility of sensory data. Focus is simultaneously sharpened and honed.

The skin of the mind stretches and thins to a translucent film. The pores in the brain-filter dilate.
Thought is fluid, sinuous or dendritic. It darts from node to node, unfurls spectacularly at each apex. Mind-buds shed their integuments and expand. Their petals relax and spread, revealing intricate, endless whorls.

Vision is keener, sharper and brighter. The world’s resolution is higher. Subtle yet distinct auras emanate from the most ordinary of objects. Colours are purer with a richer gloss. They vibrate and shimmer – a dance of atoms conducted by light.

- The intense blue of the neighbour’s door: the dazzling ultramarine of a clear, bright sky in midsummer. A Titian sky. Supreme blueness. The blue of Our Lady’s robes. Exquisite. Lustrous. Vitreous. As if installed by the medieval monks of Chartres. A shrill and startling blue. The glass shattering soprano’s high C. The blue of the deepest moment of fire. The cold at the very heart of the flame.

All colours lustrous, glowing, numinous, illuminated from within.

Attention to detail and its compelling allure. An intense, singular yet effortless focus penetrates and comprehends at a glance the infinite patterns in things; veins branching, whorls diminishing, ripples radiating and receding. The eye’s lens is both telescopic and microscopic but the lure is towards myopia, the rapt fascination with the intricacies of surface; the labyrinthine cracks in the tree’s bark, the swirling paisley and voluted patterns in a spread of tarmac. Reflections transgress the rules of verisimilitude.

The grubby veil through which we ordinarily apprehend the world dully, is, for now, lifted and removed.

The nascent raptures of the early, elevated stage of hypo-mania are similar and sometimes identical to the early onset of effects from psychedelic agents such as LSD (d-lysergic acid diethylamide), ‘magic-mushrooms’ (psilocybin), 2CB (4-bromo-2, 5-dimethoxyphenethylamine – a synthetic hallucinogen chemically similar to mescaline), and to some extent MDMA (3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine). There are many others, but the above list comprises the extent of my own experience. Some claim to arrive at these euphoric planes through preparatory acts such as meditation, fasting, austerities or other forms of sensory deprivation. They should count themselves lucky (I can do none of these things) just as I do for having access to such rich distractions through the better part of an intrinsic condition. I haven’t used hallucinogens in almost 20 years. I don’t need to. They’ve taught me sufficient to enjoy and manage well the wonderful, perceptual wierdnesses wrought by my ‘condition’ that might otherwise provoke distress.

I hope to return and edit or supplement here and there. Grammar and syntax were not a priority whist simultaneously scrawling on the back of a cereal-box and stirring the soup.

These lists of impressions, perceptions, clarifications and distortions will hopefully be soon extended with further explorations into the more aggressive forms of hypo-mania and its evil cousin - the ‘mixed state’. Forgive me if I baulk at producing an excursus on depression. Just as the mere thought of vomit compels me to retch, pre-meditations on gloom have a similar effect.

End of an Era

Well, we are saying goodbye to our car that has faithfully served us for nine years, and that we have added 110000 miles to the clock, thereof. The pink, tiny yet wonderful Flying Condom, nicknamed Fuff by the kids (and I can now stop sawing an inch of their legs each month) is sorely trashed, and is at the point where it will cost us more money than we have. Maybe I should have serviced it more than the couple of desultory oil-changes and filter changes that I mustered. (In my defence, I have in the past done all of the head-reconditioning, valve grinding, points-setting, carb-tuning shite to the point where I just am not interested anymore).

But this is not a defence of my carelessness. This is a eulogy.

It is a truism to say that most of us in the western world live in a symbiotic relationship with our cars. They eat, excrete, etc, and they have these strange little parasites that often clump together in groups of one, two, three or four, or sometime five, but rarely more. They have a yet unexplained function (the predominant hypotheses speculate that they are a type of cancer), running up and down the grey network of veins and arteries that serve the greater organism that is the aforementioned Western World and Beyond.

But that aside. We do - some of us who grind our host-species into the ground - get quite attached. So forgive me a moment of gentle sentimentality.

D (no better than a louse, and whom due to the kindness of family with gifts and loans is getting a bigger car, still old, but probably better looked after - I pray) x


p.s. I posted this separately, but then reconsidered, and then decided it deserved to be only a footnote:


The Thatcherite Revolution.

I am on the cusp. I can see and feel before, as well as after. Balanced, beautifully. An intelligent eight-year-old in 1979 is perfectly poised to imbibe the dirty chalice.

It struck me, this evening, that every teacher from the age of thirty-one and downwards, was born post-Thatcher. It also struck me that there is a hope that weeps in my breast that for every one of them that has been infected, there is another who has been innoculated by the past.

What happened? What changed? In one sentence...

Stupidity and selfishness became the norm.

That is the legacy. From WWII, and expressed in the Labour Government of 45 onwards, there was a time when we had two or three decades of social optimism and enlightenment, no matter which party was in power. Then it changed to selfishness and stupidity.

Thatcher, the personality, isn't to blame for the change. She was just one of the many mouthpieces. (I'm still going to set off a fucking big firework when she dies. I hope you will all join me in that distasteful expression of distaste.)

I want to know just what it was that changed.

Personally I blame the hippies. :-) (joke)

[this post could be titled, lament for the baby-boomers and their fucking failure]

Up to us now, folks.

p.s. This post has been in no way influenced by my yearly half-an-hour of current telly, via the iplayer. What morons talking. What morons clapping! I fucking despair.

A Discarded Draft For A Eulogy

They say that to the male moth, the sight of a candle-flame sounds like the scent of the female moth on heat. My learned friend, Dr S----- could have explained more succinctly than I the synaesthetic paradox that arises from the combination of antennal sensilla and pheronomal-chemo-luminescence under the light of the infra-red spectrum - but alas, today, via the unwelcome medium of a manilla-enveloped missive from his executors, I learn that he has been killed in a tragic accident: which, from the few, terse sentences I have been furnished with, appears to have been involved with a moonlit perambulation along his beloved cliffs at St D----'s.

With the letter, by separate carrier, I received a notebook: a plain and scuffed exterior, unlined, and filled with the crabbed roundels of Dr. S-----'s minuscule hand. I am uncertain at present whether he intended it to fall to me, or if an oversight has been commited by the no-doubt worthy practice of P---, P---, P--- & P---; however, out of a sense of curiosity, and partly impelled - I must admit - by my own personal sense of loss, I have read it, insofar as it is legible.

The diary is concerned in the main part by his lepidopterical studies. I cannot recall him without seeing him bumping around the table of stacked cases of neatly pinned and labelled specimens, their wings symmetrically arranged, the polished glass flawless, bar the grey snow of dandruff that was his constant and - to him, I presume - invisible companion.

The first pages are concerned with the standard fare of the collector of butterflies and moths: remarks pertaining to time, date, weather, location, occurrence of flowering plants, the particular scent of the landscape, the types of clouds, the hue of the sky; various addenda that belong properly within the domain of the killing-bottle, the chemistries of backing-card, pins; a few vague notes on his temperament each day, his lament for his batchelorhood, his varied prospective appetite for his supper. But then there comes a certain change: almost a slippage of sorts, as if inspired by a tedium that is unnameable to any who have not experienced it.

The first new classification is by smell. Fustian. Hessian. Caulking rope. Aspirin. Lemongrass. Bleach. I recall quite distinctly his habit of opening his cases and while gazing upon each specimen, a certain inhalation - an almost ecstatic qualification of the odours would come over him. I was typically sat upon the fireside couch, and the sight of his shoulder-blades straining the powder-grey cloth of his evening-coat like two sharp hills scattered with the inevitable silver snowfall of the evening never failed to rouse both amusement and sympathy in me. To hide my smile, I would turn to the mantelpiece, and regard his incongruous gilt statuette of Cupid.

This particular taxonomy of smell was discarded swiftly, for he found it difficult to separate adequately the scent of one specimen from its neighbours, and he moved to a simple scheme of colour, such as a child might devise in his first forays into the art of the collector (there are also some remarks and hypotheses laid out that speculate on the feasibility of using the ear to distinguish each from each: various techniques are posited: stroking with a crow's feather, tapping with a fine spill, scraping with a gentle fingernail; but this was abandoned before practical experimentation was assayed).

With colour, he seems to have become unstuck. He starts well enough, relating the primaries to the major species. But then it appears that he would shuffle and rearrange his specimens to a new configuration, and - I can only assume - then attempt to reconcile the new colours to the old. What was mainly black was now the red butterfly. The blue was now the gold-green. The red was the dun. This procedure evidently exasperated him. There is much rending of the surface of the paper by the action of the pen, and all is coated with the copious fine glitter of what, I fear, will be his most lasting legacy. When Papilio Machaon switched places in the night with Lampides Boeticus, his handwriting deserted him. The only words thereafter I could read were the last: "He cannot find her. The moon is too bright."

I hesitate to draw my conclusion. Instead I content myself with my memories of his clumsy bustle around the room, and the gilt Cupid smeared with golden dust on the mantel.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

The Headloom

"I seem to have climbed into my own head, like the contortionist might or some one attempting to eat themselves until all that remains are a few essential organs." - Kate.

Is it like a sense of oppression and expectation, like that feeling before a thunderstorm, and that the psychic butterfly wings of the mind are slowly furling from the back of the head towards the ears? Simultaneously, the inner eyesight seems to curl in more and more crossed-eyed until it's staring out through the back of the head, blindly? And then the slow crawling unfolding and tightening carries on: a bivalve-corkscrew, getting ever more tense?


The peculiar anger of righteous indignation. Accused of guilt when innocent. Called dirt when generous. Always ever only in my head, of course. The hand, open, proffers a jewel. The definition is a grasping turd. These things run true to the blood. They walk throughout the long corridors of the cloister - monks debating Plato's horses. Ever the same. Things that are marred. Purest of thoughts transmute to blood and shit; they cluster on the eye of the onlooker. Greasy palimpsests, hiding gentleness. The ineluctability of the rubber-band attentiveness. Jongleurs under the star named Disaster. Accusation brings forth pity. Defence is postponed, lest it raise ruthlessness. All these are true, in all manners.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

The Order of Things..

... 'These ambiguities, redundancies and deficiencies remind us of those which doctor Franz Kuhn attributes to a certain Chinese encyclopaedia entitled 'Celestial Empire of benevolent Knowledge. In its remote pages it is written that the animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies.'* ... In our taxonomies it is written that The HeadFucks are divided into:

(a) having just thrown pills into the river, (b) silvery, (c) without tobacco, (d) vitrious, (e) water-proof, (f) having just filled out forms, (g) indiscernible, (h) claimed as a parliamentary expenses i) while speaking to the Buddha-surrounded car-salesman j) enduring the scraping of snow off frozen logs k) nibbling rinds of parmesan l) dressed in a kaftan m) inspecting flypaper n) resembling dropsy o) having an eroded or jagged margin p) those which are bred in murky and standing waters and have a taste of mud q) dust-worms r) anointed with hare's blood and ox gall s) pertaining to funambulism t) squamous u) whilst troubling an occasional table v) atrophied w) in the strange stillness between shampoo and conditioner x) in this blog [...]

*from Jorge Luis Borges, 'The Analytical Language of John Wilkins.' 

You Don't Speak For Me

I get angry when I read remarks about manic-depression (etc) that insist that it is nothing but an illness. I would call it a description of a broad variety of people who for better or for worse, inhabit the very edges of their skin. Thin-skinned. Flayed. Excoriated.

These people often suffer horribly. We go through periods of illness, sometimes continually so. But it is not who we are that is the basis of those illnesses. Illness is the reaction of who we are to our lives in this unamenable world.

It becomes very difficult at times to act within society in a manner that is acceptable to our so-called shared norms. But to call it an illness in social terms, presupposes the need or imperative for a cure. If you can't fit in, you need to be made to fit in. That leads to a whole disgusting fascist mindset. If I break a law of the land - THEN you can make me fit in, and I won't quibble.

I have come to the conclusion that I am lucky. I have no idea if my personal intelligence and creativity comes joined at the hip with my volatile and infinitely curious, indefatigable personality, but I have a gut feeling that it does. I also have a wise monkey writing on my solar plexus that all the breakups and violence of childhood, going back through the generations is as much a cause as a putative genetic disease that predisposes people to those turmoils. Chicken or egg? Cluck cluck off.

I don't want to be 'cured', because I am who am, and I am what I am. I desperately wish I could function better (that old 90% perspiration clause), but not at the expense of the perspicacity that is me.

My life is my bloody fate, and I'm not scared of it. Don't assume in my name that I need or want to be made 'better'. I'm busy making my world around me 'better'.

Ok, rant over. Somedays I prefer the visible enemy of the psychiatric profession to the bromide-laced teacups of the mental health charities.


Edit. This is basically a plea for live and let live. If you are happier calling it a disease, or thinking of it as an illness that 'attacks from without'*, then do so if it helps you. Just don't automatically apply what helps you to me. I view my troubles as parts of me attacking other parts of me. My role is internal peacemaker, in my particular circumstances.

We are all entitled to form our own strategies for survival.

Take care all, I'm in a good mood today. Dx

* there must be a pedantic latin tag I could have used there, but I don't know it.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

It's Just Pantomime

And so it is.

Regarding the music below: Mozart, Magic Flute. Wait til the singing starts, then you won't stop til the end I hope. The first two minutes of speech are amusing if you are like me and find impassioned German very like inappropriate swearing - no offence meant, of course. One or three of my best friends are German. But can't help giggling at semenfucker etc... But the singing, listen to the singing, and see her acting as she sings... superb.

I would far rather blog about great singing, opera, human and humane accomplishment in any field or sphere than about the dunghill of the DSM. So take this as an antidote to the whole shebang.

I was listening to the Bergman version earlier with the kids, which I love for the imagery - but was irritated by the out-of-tuneness (don't worry, nothing to bother yourselves about) and this was the best I found on youtube - a feisty woman there to be sure!

Light relief, heavy relief, man and womankind have all been there before us, and for as long as we've all been here. Just listen, rejoice, and dark theme or not, just enjoy the pantomime.


p.s. oops forgot the music! Diana Damrau singing btw.

Well don't let me set one version. Here's the Bergman one - more dramatic; Birgit Nordin.

And I quite liked this one too; Edda Moser:

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

First Thoughts on DSM-V

Well, like everyone else it seems, I just had to go and see which way the wind was blowing, and what a faff and compromise it appears to be.

Here's my uncouth summary, with esp relevance to manic-depression through to schizophrenia.

Clinicians want categories retained for simplicity's sake, although state they find dimensional scoring more useful. Therefore we now have CATEGORIES! AND!!!! DIMENSIONS!!!!

Everything with a hint of psychosis appears to have been shifted onto the schizophrenia side of things (hinting at a psychotic-affective axis in the works (or maybe two axes) in the distant future - say DSM-VI). And the dimensional table (see below, for schizophrenia now includes mania and depression. I am imagining the reason for this is to improve the data for statistical analysis at this point, assuming that manicdep and schizophrenia are two outposts of the same continuum.

If it hasn't been openly admitted that Kraepelin has died, people are ostentatiously starting to sniff the air, while wrinkling their noses and their brows.

Downsides - on paper, it looks easier to get labelled with schizophrenia than before. I'll be keeping even more quiet about 'florid' symptoms to the shrinks than I already am. Also, clinicians hardly pay attention to the detail of symptoms in the current system as it is. I can't see them looking beyond the end of their god-given-biros to inspect the 'patients' more closely. Also, there is still the ridiculous set up where you can't have manic depression if it's more easily accounted for by schizophrenia, and VICE VERSA! And they are merging schizo-affective with schizophrenia, by the sound of it.

In summa: they are merging the main traits of illness, ostensibly for improved research purposes, and under the umbrella of schizophrenia. However, they are still keeping most of the separate categories separate for now.

Oh yes, mixed state has become now, mania with mixed features, or depression with mixed features. Which makes sense.

Enough for now, take care all. Just remember it's all a steaming pile of bollocks! Dx

Severity ratings for different dimensions (2 is enough to be diagnosed): (scroll down, and down, and down and down and down and you'll find it. Don't ask me why c&p the code didn't work. I blame the DSM.

Link: here.

Seriously, scroll down, or click here.

Keep going, or click here.

Are we there yet?!! or click here.

Wanna go pee-pee!!! or click here.

Can you see the sea yet, kids? (cue interminable a sailor went to etc), or click here.

We're lost, aren't we? (cue generalised temper-tantrums all round, stoppings of the car, roaring and suddenly... the scent of ozone on the air...) or click here.




Abnormal Psychomotor Behavior

Restricted Emotional Expression


Impaired Cognition




Not Present

Not Present

Not Present

Not Present

Not Present

Not Present

Not Present

Not Present

Not Present


Equivocal (severity or duration not sufficient to be considered psychosis)

Equivocal (severity or duration not sufficient to be considered psychosis)

Equivocal (severity or duration not sufficient to be considered disorganization)

Equivocal (severity or duration not sufficient to be considered abnormal psychomotor behavior)

Equivocal decrease in facial expressivity, prosody, or gestures

Equivocal decrease in self-initiated behavior

Equivocal (cognitive function not clearly outside the range expected for age or SES, i.e., within 1 SD of mean)

Equivocal (some depressed mood, but insufficient symptoms, duration or severity to meet diagnostic criteria)

Equivocal (some inflated or irritable mood, but insufficient symptoms, duration, or severity to meet diagnostic criteria)


Present, but mild (little pressure to act upon voices, not very bothered by voices)

Present, but mild (delusions are not bizarre, or little pressure to act upon delusional beliefs, not very bothered by beliefs)

Present, but mild (some difficulty following speech and/or occasional bizarre behavior)

Present, but mild (occasional abnormal motor behavior)

Present, but mild decrease in facial expressivity, prosody, or gestures

Present, but mild in self-initiated behavior

Present, but mild (some reduction in cognitive function below expected for age and SES, b/w 1 and 2 SD from mean)

Present, but mild (meets criteria for Major Depression, with minimum number of symptoms, duration, and severity)

Present, but mild (meets criteria for Mania with minimum number of symptoms, duration, and severity)


Present and moderate (some pressure to respond to voices, or is somewhat bothered by voices)

Present and moderate (some pressure to act upon beliefs, or is somewhat bothered by beliefs)

Present and moderate (speech often difficult to follow and/or frequent bizarre behavior)

Present and moderate (frequent abnormal motor behavior)

Present and moderate decrease in facial expressivity, prosody, or gestures

Present and moderate in self-initiated behavior

Present and moderate (clear reduction in cognitive function below expected for age and SES, b/w 2 and 3 SD from mean)

Present and moderate (meets criteria for Major Depression with somewhat more than the minimum number of symptoms, duration, and/or severity

Present and moderate (meets criteria for Mania with somewhat more than the minimum number of symptoms duration, and/or severity)


Present and severe (severe pressure to respond to voices, or is very bothered by voices)

Present and severe (severe pressure to act upon beliefs, or is very bothered by beliefs)

Present and severe (speech almost impossible to follow and/or behavior almost always bizarre)

Present and severe (abnormal motor behavior almost constant)

Present and severe decrease in facial expressivity, prosody, or gestures

Present and severe in self-initiated behavior

Present and severe (severe reduction in cognitive function below expected for age and SES, > 3SD from mean)

Present and severe (meets criteria for Major Depression with many more than the minimum number of symptoms and/or severity)

Present and severe (meets criteria for Mania with many more than the minimum umber of symptoms and/or severity)

Interlude. I Hate Historical Novels.

And here's a story I wrote and another I retold for my wee sister's birthday... I suppose she was about to be 12. Sorry about the formatting - rescued from the old disk of a very old computer. It makes me squirm, but maybe a dose of squirming is exactly what I need at the moment.

JACK DOLESON - 14th/10/1993

The Fourteenth of October --93

There is one thing I say which youths the flesh, firms the
soul, and blesses spirit, and it is the god-given barm. For
without it, the drink is temperant, the dance courtly, the
sleep peaceful, and so the ruin of men, weres and wives all.
Give me a good jug of ale, and I'll make a dance; with the
dance, if it be properly wild, I'll win a partner; and after
that happy girl, the morning will see me walking with lark's
whistle, my twice-thrice-dozen fall'n three-score but five,
and a fortunate stout remembrance left behind me. And now
you know the limit, stretch and bound of my reason.

What is my trade? I have no trade to speak of. I take
tribute for my playing and singing and entertaining, I aid
at the sowing and harvest; with fithel or chanter or my
lungs I help out the weddings and funerals; I tell my
stories; I'm fed and sheltered for my blessings; I make the
whirling of the dance, and I call the tunes, aye, and I know
the old songs; sometimes I do a bit of fixing work for any
who need it, or a spot of labour work, or any odds and ends;
I've made the flutes, the pipes, the fiddle and the lute;
I've taught the childrens their math and physic, and their
medicine, history, enough philosophy for common sense; I can
set a limb, mend fevers or plagues; I've fought the priests,
the landlords, the Kings' men and their horses, the Queens'
men and their horses; and never taken payment for any of it.
A bit of food, a bed down by the fire, a mug of ale, when
needed or not, have been all given without grudge or ill
feeling. I've never called any wight master, not in all my
days, but for my father and my grandfather. Trade. I've
fished for my supper on sea and land, poached, stole from
them that don't miss, eaten the haws, poor fare, and
brambles and elderberrys and hazelnuts when I could get no
else. I've been in the four lands of Britain, and sprang
from the seed of them all.

And if I've a day free, like today, then I'm content to
sit here in the sunny lee of this hedge, for what else does
a man need in the day? I won't be hungry til eventide, and
I'll find food then. And I won't be wet or cold or in need
of shelter til even, when a storm's coming. Those clouds up
there against the sky, that look like battlements. Well,
they're called turret-tops, and mean the stormy castles are
building themselves up for a battle. But I'll be warm by a
fire by then. It was cold last night, bitter, but pleasant
enough today, out of the wind. I thought snow might be on
its way, ready to confound the cold walker of the lanes,
white-furred twigs ready to rap the wrist or snap the cheek,
deep-heaped whiteness all along the paths, dark holes of the
struggler gaping as you go, but no, only a bitter frost. The
winters are hardening and hardening, and where will poor
Jack be then, then?

That puts me in mind of a story. There was this man
once, and he got himself lost in the snow. No matter which
way he tried, he found himself plunging through drifts
deeper, I should say, than the keelbone of a man's chest.
His feet were terrible: when he stopped to warm them, they
were blue to the bone, and his hands were red and raw with
ploughing through it, and what with the cold and the effort
and the bare hillsides, and the snow driving like daggers in
his face, he was wondering if he'd ever get back to his
house. But just as he was thinking of sitting down and
letting the snows cover him up for a poor grave cloth, he
heard this singing in the distance.

Now it didn't seem the weather for singing, and he was
afraid his wits were turning in the cold, but it got louder
as he struggled towards it, and he saw this rough hut, like
a shepherd's hut, and there was firelight coming out the
window. And still this deep rough singing came from the hut,
so he battered and banged at the door until it opened.

What should the singer be but a naked hairy giant? By
all the old stories, I'm told that there was no more room
left inside that hut than the space inside a coffin. How the
giant got in the hut, I don't pretend to know. Perhaps he
just lifted up the roof-beams, and crouched inside, pulling
it closed behind him; or perhaps he knocked down a wall or
built the hut around him, or something. But anyway, the man
was just wondering and worrying whether to run away and
brave the blizzard, or ask for gracious hospitality, when
the giant seized him with a greasy muttony hand and dragged
him in.

- Well, thank you very much, said the man, who was sore
afraid at the sight of this giant snarling and drooling. -
May I move up to the fire? - Sure, thou canst have the fire,
and sure I'll have thee for breakfast in the morning, the
giant replied, in a voice that deafened the man like the
thunder. Well, the man didn't like the sound of that, and
I'm sure I wouldn't either. But as he was nerveless still
with the cold he squeezed between this giant's thighs, and
crouched by the fire.

- A fine vinegar pickle I'm in, he thought, pressed up
between the stinking giant the smell of whom was making him
feel sick and the blazing fire which with his coldness seem-
ed like Saint John's lake. And he wondered what he could do,
to avoid being made a breakfast of in the morning.

The hours fled by with his worrying, and the daylight
started coming cold through the window. Now I've been told
by my mother that there's three ways to be eaten by a giant,
just as there's three similar ways to be eaten by the parli-
ament's taxes. The first is to make a fight of it, and be
torn limb from limb by his clayey teeth; the second is to
surrender yourself peacefully and be spitted and roasted;
the third is to do the preparation of the cooking yourself
and be swallowed alive. It was the last of these this man

There was this big bag of onions and turnips nearby, and
the man chopped a few, and rubbed the chopped onions with
some salt all over himself, and tied turnips all over him
with some cord. Then he stood by the fire, waiting for the
giant to wake up, which he soon did with a groaning and a
roaring, and then the man said: - I've cooked and seasoned
myself, Master Giant, in gratitude for your hospitality. I'm
hoping that you'll find me a tasty dainty.

- Well, I thank thee much for thy promptitude, the giant
said. And he seized him, tilted back his head, and flung him
straight down the gullet of him, without so much as a chew
or bite.

Now the man, being cunning at heart, had concealed his
knife behind a turnip. When he found himself slithering
about in the giant's belly, safe from the teeth and hands,
he pulled it out, and with a: - Take this and that, thou
uncouth host, stabbed and slashed all about him as if there
was no tomorrow, which, unless he did something about his
situation, probably wouldn't be.

Well! It must have been like an earthquake for the man
in the giant. He was thrown up and down, round and round,
hearing a horrid roaring and cursing echoing from upstairs:
- Ah, this cursed bastard indigestion! Ah my belly! O! but
kept on with his knife-work, until he reached the heart. Now
it was, so I was told, as big as a barrel, and leaped back
and forth like a hammer in the giant's chest. But the man
took his knife in both hands and pierced it through and
through. A thundrous blow hit him, and then the world was
still and silent.

The man, who was sorely in need of air by now, busily
hacked his way until he'd opened a doorway in the side of
the giant, and stuck his head out into the cold morning, and
looked about himself. They were a distance from the remains
of the hut, and the giant lay dead in the snow. Well, the
man got out, washed quickly in the snow, and put his clothes
back on, and found his way home. Of course no-one believed
him. But he never got himself lost in the snow again. And
there's a moral with this story: don't swallow your meat
without chewing it first, unless you're wanting a giant
stomach ache.

Well, that's a story I tell for the children you know,
to keep them amused in the evenings, and so on, but with the
thought of the snow in the air, and the cold winters, it put
my mind to it. And oh, what can an old man do but tell his
stories? And sure I'm grateful for a spot of company today,
for I've had dour dreams the last nights, and need shaking
them away.

There was another man once, who lived in Ireland in the
old days, and his name was Oisin. His father was the famous
Finn, his mother was the beautiful Grainne. When Finn died,
Oisin became King of the Fenians, (they were the followers
of Finn) and there's never been so courageous or generous a
warrior in the length, breadth, height or width of the four
realms of Britain as he. They said of Oisin Mac Finn that if
gold was the stuff of the leaves of the trees, and silver
were the clear white waves of the sea, then Oisin would cast
it all away to his friends.

One bright fair day, Oisin and the Fenians were out on
the hunt, chasing the boars and wolves of the forests. They
were riding through a sunny glade swimming with bluebells
when Oisin stopped his horse, and turned towards his friend
Cailte. - There is a white hind over there, Cailte, he said
pointing with his spear. - There is, replied Cailte. - I
will try to make a triumph of hunting it, Oisin declared. He
stood in his stirrups and blew a long note on his horn. His
horn had the power to be heard by the Fenians wherever he
might be in the land. Then he clapped his horse to a gallop,
and began to chase the white hind through the trees.

They went up and down the hills and through the forests,
and Oisin was always in the front, but the hind was in front
of him. His miraculous horse that never tired or wearied
could not manage to gain ground on the fleet-limbed hind,
and they galloped on and on, fording rivers, climbing the
dark mountains, plunging into the silent forests for three
days and three nights, but the hind always kept three spear-
throws ahead in the distance.

On the third night, as the sun was setting, Oisin was
following the hind across a hill that poked its bald head
from the surrounding woods. But he lost sight of it in the
trees, and after searching and searching, he got down from
his horse, and slumped down on the ground. His heart was
sore indeed, what with losing the hind after chasing it so
long, and he muttered and swore the tale of his misfortunes
up towards the moon.

But as he was sitting there, on the sweet-smelling damp
clover, staring up at the white-faced moon, a faint music
and ringing of bells echoed across the hills. He stood, and
stretched his ears to their utmost, and again, he heard the
distant music. All he could see was a white-swirling mist,
that from time to time, rang with the delicate and eerie
sound of faery music, and what music it was. They say that
if you ever hear faery music, then you're powerless to do
anything but listen to it because of its enchantment, and
that it can take over the whole life of a man, so that he
spends the rest of his days trying to remember the sweet
melodies he heard and lost, for only when the music is made
a gift by the faeries can it be remembered.

But a woman came riding out of the mist on a white horse
with twenty-seven silver bells tinkling the music on its
harness. She stopped before Oisin, and regarded him. He
stood up quickly, and was struck speechless by her beauty.
Her hair was golden, and hung as low as her feet in the
stirrups. It was braided into five tresses, and each tress
was made of five plaits. Her eyes were sharper and gladder-
gleaming than a hawks, and her skin was white as the moon.
She wore a tunic greener than the grass in Munster, and a
cloak as red as blood. There could have no woman more fair
or beautiful in the world.

Oisin bowed, and found his voice. - Who are you, lady?
For I never saw one among mortals as fair as you. - I am
Niamh of the Golden Hair, she replied, - and I am come to
take you as husband back to the Land of the Young, Tir Nan
Og, where the faery-folk called the Tuatha De Danan live
joyfully and never want. Mount up behind on my horse, and I
shall take you there.

He quickly sprang up behind her, and they rode faster
than the wind when it comes of the heavy seas that snarl
away the shores in the storms. They rode across the land,
until they reached the sea, and she spurred the horse across
the tops of the waves, its hooves flashing through the foam,
neighing terribly, and strange sights assailed them there,
castles rising out of the waves, and islands of fire and
ice, and great serpents swimming beneath the waves, and all
manner of strange and awful things. But soon they reached
the Land of the Young, and all was as Niamh had promised.
All good things grew there in a profusion, and no crop need-
ed sowing, no orchard planting, all was there to be had. No
disease or death was there, and the dancing and feasting and
pleasure-making went on each day fresh as the last so that
no body ever tired of it.

Oisin dwelt there with his love Niamh of the Golden Hair
for three-hundred years, and sweet was each morning to him.
But a day came, when Niamh found him by a dark still pool,
sadly gazing down into the waters, and she asked him what
was the cause of his sadness. - I feel an inclination and
yearning coming over me to return so that I may see my bold
Fenians, and to assure them that I am well and happy, and to
ensure that they are safe and prosperous themselves. - That
is what I thought, she replied, for I have seen it in your
eyes and speech for many days. If it so, and you must go a
while, then go you must, and I will provide you with a faery
horse and food for your journey. But on no account, on pain
of death and misery, must you set your mortal foot or flesh
upon earthly soil, stone or water. You must give me your
word that you will not do that thing. - I give it freely, he
replied readily, and will return soon to you.

He went with her to the shores of Tir Nan Og, and leaped
up onto the horse she gave him. Galloping across the waves,
he turned back and saw her watching him in the distance, her
marvellous hair touched by the sun was a flaming cloud upon
the white beach, and her long hand raised in a wave of fare-
well. His steed quickly carried him home to Ireland, and he
rode up onto the beach there, and mindful of her words, he
did not dismount.

Riding through the fields, he saw some men gathering the
harvest. They seemed small and shrunken to him, most unlike
the men he had left behind. They gazed at him in awe and
fear, for he had the appearance of a god to them. - Know you
aught of the Fenians? he asked, hoping to get knowledge of
their whereabouts. - Nay, they answered, still afraid of
him. He left them then, seeing that no answer of sense could
be had from them.

He remembered his horn, that the Fenians always heard,
and he blew thrice upon it, great long drawn out wailings,
that echoed far across the land. But no-one came at its call
although he waited three days.

Riding on, he came across some men fishing in their
coracles upon a brown river. He hailed them from the bank,
and asked them of of Fenians, and where they might be. - In
Hell, they replied, looking at him as if he was a madman. -
Where is this place Hell? he asked, no ever having heard of
it before. - Is it far from here. They laughed, and he could
get no more sense from them either.

Later he met three men straining to erect a large stone.
It was too heavy for their little frames, and he pitied them
as he watched their labours. - Know you where the Fenians
are? he asked. - Who or what are the Fenians? asked one of
the men. And then Oisin knew that he would not find his old
companions and followers, for they had passed into death
many years ago, and were forgotten across the face of the
land. He still pitied the men in their struggling, and so
leaned out, reaching a hand from his horse to lift the rock
for them. The moment he touched it, his saddle-girth, the
strap that holds the saddle upon the horse's broad back,
snapped and he tumbled down to fall upon the ground, and at
that instant, his horse and his youth and his handsomeness
and strength vanished, leaving him a blind and crippled and
useless old man. The three men fled, seeing this miracle,
leaving him alone entire.

He struggled weakly to sit up, but could only support
himself enough to lean against the stone. - Ah, woe has come
now to Oisin, he lamented, and all the toils and troubles of
age have stooped me in one blow. The wind blew sadly through
his hair and beard as he lay there, and tears fell from his
blind, ancient-wrinkled eyes. - Ah wind that blows softly on
my face, will you take message of my misery to my sweet and
golden Niamh, or will you lose my lament in the woods and
waves, to whisper alone? Or best it were for her to never
set her incomparable eyes upon me again, to save me the pain
of her disgust and banishment. O this misfortune!

As he was lying there, Saint Patrick (who had recently
converted Ireland to the holy church of Christ) walked by,
and seeing him in distress, helped him to his house. It was
clear to see that death was upon him. Patrick asked him -
Will you not confess the Christ, and be assured of a place
in Heaven? - Where is this heaven? asked Oisin, - Is it Tir
Nan Og, where my sweet Niamh dwells? - No, Patrick replied.
- That is neither Heaven nor Hell, and cannot be reached by
mortals after death. - Where is this hell? Oisin asked, -
For I have heard tell that the Fenians dwell there. - Hell
is the abode of the damned who would not confess the Christ,
replied Patrick. - Was not Heaven eager to welcome the bold
Fenians and honoured to give them hospitality? I cannot
understand a God who would not be glad to welcome the
followers of Finn. And what is the point of life eternal if
there is no hunting or dancing or loving of women? I will
follow the Fenians to Hell, where at least the doors were
opened and welcome to them.

With that, he turned his face resolutely to the north,
where the chill wind blew from, and where Niamh reigned in
the Land of the Young, and then heedless of Patrick and his
remonstrances, Oisin fell into forgetful death, loyal to his
love, and to his people, and glory to his name, Amen!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Description or Diagnosis? Part Two.

Just for the Sake of Diversion. And because I'm feeling sad and useless in the wider sphere of help in the world. Not manic. Not depressed. Just sad and useless.

Edit. And it is pertinent to the general thesis.



By Jorge Luis Borges

I have noticed that the 14th edition of Encyclopedia Britannica does not include the article on John Wilkins. This omission can be considered justified if we remember how trivial this article was (20 lines of purely biographical data: Wilkins was born in 1614, Wilkins died in 1672, Wilkins was chaplain of Charles Louis, Elector Palatine; Wilkins was principal of one of Oxford's colleges, Wilkins was the first secretary of the Royal Society of London, etc.); it is an error if we consider the speculative works of Wilkins. He was interested in several different topics: theology, cryptography, music, the building of transparent beehives, the orbit of an invisible planet, the possibility of a trip to the moon, the possibility and principles of an universal language. To this latter problem he dedicated the book 'An Essay Towards a Real Character and a Philosophical Language' (600 pages in large quarto, 1668). There are no copies of this book in our National Library, I have consulted, to write the present article, 'The Life and Times of John Wilkins' (1910), by P. A. Wright Henderson; the 'Wörterbuch der Philosophie' (1935), by Fritz Mauthner; 'Delphos' (1935), by E. Sylvia Pankhurst; 'Dangerous Thoughts' (1939), by Lancelot Hogben.

All of us have once experienced those neverending discussions in which a dame, using lots of interjections and incoherences, swears to you that the word 'luna' is more (or less) expressive than the word 'moon'. Apart from the evident observation that the monosyllable 'moon' perhaps is a more suitable representation of such a very simple object than the bisyllable 'luna', there is nothing to add to such a discussion; apart from the composed words and the derivations, all the languages in the world (including the 'Volapük' of Johann Martin Schleyer and the romantic 'Interlingua' of Peano) are equally inexpressive. There is not one issue of the Grammar of the Royal Spanish Academy that does not ponder "the enormous treasure of pitoresque, bright and expressive words of the extremely rich Spanish language", but it is mere bragging, without corroboration. In fact, this same Royal Academy edits every few years a dictionary, defining Spanish words... In the universal language which Wilkins invented in the seventeenth century, each word is defined by itself. Descartes, in a letter dated November 1629, had already noticed that, using the decimal number system, it may take only one day to learn how to name all the numbers up to infinity and how to write them in a new language, namely that of ciphers (1); he did also suggest the creation of a language similar to this former system, a general language, organizing and covering all human ideas. John Wilkins, around 1664, started to work on this task.

He divided the universe in forty categories or classes, these being further subdivided into differences, which was then subdivided into species. He assigned to each class a monosyllable of two letters; to each difference, a consonant; to each species, a vowel. For example: de, which means an element; deb, the first of the elements, fire; deba, a part of the element fire, a flame. In a similar language invented by Letellier (1850) a means animal; ab, mammal; abo, carnivore; aboj, feline; aboje, cat; abi, herbivore; abiv, horse; etc. In the language of Bonifacio Sotos Ochando (1845) imaba means building; imaca, harem; imafe, hospital; imafo, pesthouse; imari, house; imaru, country house; imedo, coloumn; imede, pillar; imego, floor; imela, ceiling; imogo, window; bire, bookbinder; birer, bookbinding. (This last list belongs to a book printed in Buenos Aires in 1886, the 'Curso de Lengua Universal', by Dr. Pedro Mata.)

The words of the analytical language created by John Wilkins are not mere arbitrary symbols; each letter in them has a meaning, like those from the Holy Writ had for the Cabbalists. Mauthner points out that children would be able to learn this language without knowing it be artificial; afterwards, at school, they would discover it being an universal code and a secret encyclopaedia.

Once we have defined Wilkins' procedure, it is time to examine a problem which could be impossible or at least difficult to postpone: the value of this four-level table which is the base of the language. Let us consider the eighth category, the category of stones. Wilkins divides them into common (silica, gravel, schist), modics (marble, amber, coral), precious (pearl, opal), transparent (amethyst, sapphire) and insolubles (chalk, arsenic). Almost as surprising as the eighth, is the ninth category. This one reveals to us that metals can be imperfect (cinnabar, mercury), artificial (bronze, brass), recremental (filings, rust) and natural (gold, tin, copper). Beauty belongs to the sixteenth category; it is a living brood fish, an oblong one.

These ambiguities, redundancies and deficiencies remind us of those which doctor Franz Kuhn attributes to a certain Chinese encyclopaedia entitled 'Celestial Empire of benevolent Knowledge'. In its remote pages it is written that the animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies.

The Bibliographic Institute of Brussels exerts chaos too: it has divided the universe into 1000 subdivisions, from which number 262 is the pope; number 282, the Roman Catholic Church; 263, the Day of the Lord; 268 Sunday schools; 298, mormonism; and number 294, brahmanism, buddhism, shintoism and taoism. It doesn't reject heterogene subdivisions as, for example, 179: "Cruelty towards animals. Animals protection. Duel and suicide seen through moral values. Various vices and disadvantages. Advantages and various qualities."

I have registered the arbitrarities of Wilkins, of the unknown (or false) Chinese encyclopaedia writer and of the Bibliographic Institute of Brussels; it is clear that there is no classification of the Universe not being arbitrary and full of conjectures. The reason for this is very simple: we do not know what thing the universe is. "The world - David Hume writes - is perhaps the rudimentary sketch of a childish god, who left it half done, ashamed by his deficient work; it is created by a subordinate god, at whom the superior gods laugh; it is the confused production of a decrepit and retiring divinity, who has already died" ('Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion', V. 1779). We are allowed to go further; we can suspect that there is no universe in the organic, unifying sense, that this ambitious term has. If there is a universe, it's aim is not conjectured yet; we have not yet conjectured the words, the definitions, the etymologies, the synonyms, from the secret dictionary of God.

The impossibility of penetrating the divine pattern of the universe cannot stop us from planning human patterns, even though we are concious they are not definitive. The analytic language of Wilkins is not the least admirable of such patterns. The classes and species that compose it are contradictory and vague; the nimbleness of letters in the words meaning subdivisions and divisions is, no doubt, gifted. The word salmon does not tell us anything; zana, the corresponding word, defines (for the man knowing the forty categories and the species of these categories) a scaled river fish, with ruddy meat. (Theoretically, it is not impossible to think of a language where the name of each thing says all the details of its destiny, past and future).

Leaving hopes and utopias apart, probably the most lucid ever written about language are the following words by Chesterton: "He knows that there are in the soul tints more bewildering, more numberless, and more nameless than the colours of an autumn forest... Yet he seriously believes that these things can every one of them, in all their tones and semitones, in all their blends and unions, be accurately represented by an arbitrary system of grunts and squeals. He believes that an ordinary civilized stockbroker can really produce out of this own inside noises which denote all the mysteries of memory and all the agonies of desire" (G. F. Watts, page 88, 1904).


(1) Theoretically, the number of numbering systems is unlimited. The most complete (used by the divinities and the angels) has an infinite number of symbols, one for each individual number; the simplest needs only two. Zero is written as 0, one 1, two 10, three 11, four 100, five 101, six 110, seven 111, eight 1000... This is an invention by Leibniz, who was stimulated (it seems) by the enigmatic hexagrammes of I Ching.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Description or Diagnosis? Part One.

I've been meaning to write this post for a long time, but the prospect of it has always seemed like hard work. Let me begin with some personal reminiscences, and maybe I'll be able to get down to the nitty-gritty afterwards.

I am a manic-depressive. I know that because a doctor and a psychiatrist took all of ten minutes to write it down on their piece of paper. As far as I'm concerned, that gives me all the holy and most apostolic rights and privileges of a manic-depressive, until they declare otherwise. That is as far as it goes, and as far as I'm concerned.

A set of 'symptoms', or complaints, or just a shaking, sobbing wreck veering from muteness and being unable to talk unless it sounds like a thousand words vomiting from the lips... or veering into archaic, cutting and vilely humourous and pompous replies when my brain was calm enough to get words out in a string instead of a polyphonous bfdsafsfdscgcgsgccgh...

Well, I can't blame them for their initial description of me. After all, they saw me at a bad time. Probably one of my worst times, if I disregard the times when I was worse after they put me on some of their pills which made me worse. (Manic + low-quetiapine dose = more manic, despite the initial sleep. Google it if you don't believe me.)

However, I still maintain that they applied their clinical description to me. A shorthand. "Oh yes, Giles, I'd say he fits most of the criteria for manic-depression, don't you?" "Oh yes, Josephine, definitely a classic mixed-state." "Ok, shall I write him up, or shall you?" "Oh I don't mind? Where shall we go for supper?" "I think the little inn down the road has a Michelin Star." "No, no, I think you'll find they've had it struck off..." "Oh, damned shame..."

It has nothing to do with the reality of me. All they had to go on was the apparent me of the me of me at that particular minute.

There are many symptoms. In fact there is a nice and tidy little bag of not-too-many symptoms (well quite a few really, but really not too many) according to the literature. And depending on which ones fit the face on the day, and the bias of the person ticking the boxes, determines whether they say schizophrenia, manic-depression, or psychotic-depression. (I know there are others too. I'm limiting myself to the 'psychoses', if that is alright with you lot. Else I'd be here all night.)

What are these symptoms. Let's just list them all jumbled up. And I might throw in one or two of the 'symptoms' the doctors use in their internal debate (although it is debatable that they are conscious that they are even considering them): symptoms never mentioned in the literature.

Part Two to follow. But I have to sleep. Need to get up early. Children being dropped back. A friend's birthday lunch to attend. And shopping to do beforehand. Take care all, Dx

p.s. Watch this: Mozart, the Magic Flute. Watch all of it (only 6 minutes). The best bit is when they tear each other's clothes off near the end.

ok, so seven and a half.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Kazimierz Dabrowski

He wrote a poem. This psychologist and psychiatrist could easily be a saint to any of us somewhat troubled types. For once, someone completely on our side.

Be greeted psychoneurotics!

For you see sensitivity in the insensitivity of the world,
uncertainty among the world's certainties.

For you often feel others as you feel yourselves.

For you feel the anxiety of the world, and
its bottomless narrowness and self-assurance.

For your phobia of washing your hands from the dirt of the world,
for your fear of being locked in the world's limitations.
for your fear of the absurdity of existence.

For your subtlety in not telling others what you see in them.

For your awkwardness in dealing with practical things, and
for your practicalness in dealing with unknown things,
for your transcendental realism and lack of everyday realism,
for your exclusiveness and fear of losing close friends,
for your creativity and ecstasy,
for your maladjustment to that "which is" and adjustment to that which "ought to be",
for your great but unutilized abilities.

For the belated appreciation of the real value of your greatness
which never allows the appreciation of the greatness
of those who will come after you.

For your being treated instead of treating others,
for your heavenly power being forever pushed down by brutal force;
for that which is prescient, unsaid, infinite in you.

For the loneliness and strangeness of your ways.

Be greeted!

An interesting character - Polish Resistance, imprisoned by the Nazis and then the Soviets, and spent decades researching personal creativity and self-development in Poland during the Cold War. Hardly surprising he didn't make it big. (Biography here.) (Wiki here.)

As far as I can tell at the moment, his ideas remind me of Neitzsche, once one learns to read Neitzsche between the lines (I did all that decades ago, so easy for me). We can transcend the moronic 'givens' of society - because when we start to think (assuming we're lucky enough) and question the norms we've been forcefed, it makes us ill, and from that illness (if we're lucky) we can grow and subsequently forge our own ethics, morality and self according to our ideals of how we want the world to be, and how we want ourselves to be.

It's a lot more hopeful a model than "You're ill. Forever. Take your medicine and shut up."

Take care all, I hope some of you enjoy this. It was like a little sunbeam shining into my life yesterday when I found this. Took me back to the days when I believed in this sort of stuff, before trying to become responsible according to society.