Social Distancing And the Schizophrenic

In less exceptional times, when people practiced social welcoming, there was always the outlier: the schizophrenic. You know, that lurking, dark presence that seemed so out of place with his restlessness and psychotic staring. You never knew if he was ready to jump you or jump in front of a moving truck. You just wanted to get the hell away.

That’s the ultimate social distancing. Not this wussy I-feel-so-sorry-for-myself-because-I-have-to-be-quaranteened-fourteen-days gig. Try fourteen years. Or in my case, try going on thirty.

There is nothing like social distancing to trigger the resentment of a person with schizophrenia. While you stand on your balconies to bang pots and catcall first responders, we stay inside—mindful that your attempts at socializing probably doesn’t apply to us, anyways.

We know you don’t want us around. We know you don’t want us to even pop out onto the balcony to stick out like a sore thumb in your solidarity within social distancing. You wish us away. Even our lit and curtained balcony window stands out to you as an anathema, a rebuke within its expected and sanctioned place in the pecking order. You wish us dead or institutionalized.

That is the problem with the dearth of eugenic planning. You don’t prevent this while in the womb or egg or sperm; you get a lifetime of trouble, instead. It should be universal knowledge now that schizophrenia has no evolutionary purpose, no religious blessing, no ontological meaning. It is simply a bad, genetic/epidemiological defect. It should be dealt with in the womb, or tested in the genome of each person, so as not to proliferate through procreation. Once your child has it, s/he has it. Then to add insult to injury, literally, they are reviled, bullied, beaten, misunderstood, stigmatized, and condemned to a lifetime of isolation on top of the ravages of the illness. It is, simply speaking, vile, social neglect.

So if you think 14 or 28 days is a loooooong time, just pray and hope in your agnosticism that you kids or grandkids won’t get a thirty year sentence of schizophrenia. Or even you, yourself or your S.O. It would be such a pity.

©️Vic Young 2020-2023 All Rights Reserved

Excluded From Normal Society, Expected To Pull Own Weight

“Please note that X Counselling does not have the resources needed to support clients who have an active addiction, are mandated by the courts, have acute trauma, are suicidal, have a diagnosis of a severe personality disorder or a diagnosis of schizophrenia or other major mental illness, have a recent (less than 2 years) history of psychotic episodes or hospitalization, or have very severe depressive or anxiety symptoms that prevent the client from attending work/school, or significantly interferes with usual eating or sleeping patterns.

We do not provide ongoing counselling for chronic or recurring mental health issues.”

Well, to be frank, I didn’t want them either. Now, I really don’t want them. Not wanted. No, they’re not.

The question remains “Who will take care of the mentally ill?” Especially, if the Access & Assessment Centre at the Joe Segal Family Clinic won’t— unless you’re high on drugs or actively psychotic or have tried suicide in the last 45 minutes? They won’t triage a distressed schizophrenic with first world problems. (Sorry, we DO live in Canada, eh?)

When I call in because I have chronic issues of depression and negative symptoms, I am judged over the phone to be not acceptable for triaging. If you come, the doctor says, you won’t be seen. We’ll be prioritizing others sicker than you and send you home. We’ll tell you to come back the next day you want to see someone, but you’ll be sent home again. This will happen day after week after..until you finally get the message we won’t triage you. Go home. Well at least they had the decency to tell me over the phone not to bother coming—twice. See, no one in the Lower Mainland will see an emotionally disturbed, stress-adverse schizophrenic who doesn’t pose an imminent danger to themselves or others. The system is stretched and the people who are supposed to help send you on a runaround.

I’ve wondered whether they would question me on my self-therapy through craft-making. I’ve been in love with paper crafts for years. I was once boarding a bus with a few large, rolled up sheets of top-notch paper (Here where I live, it’s either nice paper or cheap paper that bleeds or fades.) This loud woman in sassy heels and heavy makeup, yelled out, “Did you see that girl? She has a welfare bus pass and has art paper with her, and it’s the expensive kind!” I was so embarrassed. I slunk into my seat a bit lower. Honestly, if I have no therapist, the AAC won’t see me, and my GP isn’t trained to do mental health therapy, to whom do I turn? People in my city can actually be quite mean for being called Canadian. I wanted to go up to her and take my paper out, and shove it in front of her sloppily made-up face, and say, “THIS IS MY THERPAIST.” But, I resisted that temptation. Aggression by a drunk idiot is completely excusable by the Supreme Court. Aggression by a mentally imbalanced person carries a lifetime of consequences and is by default, your burden, no matter what the law says about NCR status.

So, with my expensive paper and even more expensive tools, I started cutting out shapes of cats and more cats, in different poses and all freehand. In fact, I’ve gotten good reviews from an art friend and a few other ladies at the office, both doctors and staff alike. I even had my first customized request. I don’t call it a commission. I did it for free. The recipient was so happy with it that she gave me a big hug and words of gratitude. Isn’t that the best kind of therapy? The least harmful? In keeping with the Hippocratic oath of “do no harm”, which that career bus slut probably didn’t know about, I am, by keeping well, doing the therapy a therapist would do. My expensive paper actually saved the biatch and all taxpayers “real” therapy money ($195/hour every two weeks), but it just didn’t save mine. In the end, everybody wins. What’s the problem, Madame?

You know, having said all that, I remember watching a program that featured published authors, where one interviewee was a writer researching “the clinically insane” and the attitudes towards the mentally ill, as well as the manifestations of the illnesses in patients. She studied from the medieval times, when records of biological topics became more reliable, up until her present time. She mentioned with a lilt of surprise in her voice that, (and I paraphrase)“you want to know something? The phenomenon we call insanity and its manifestations have not changed much at all over millennia. What’s even more interesting is that societal attitudes towards mental illness hasn’t changed at all or very little.” Interesting? Surprising? Nay, it’s downright discouraging and defeating. But yeah, if you want to pique it, observe it as a social scientist. Hard to do as someone with the illness, but, heck, we’re used to cognitive dissonance and entertaining two opposing thoughts at the same time. (How else do you think I passed three years of IB English?)

I’m convinced that I am going to heaven at the point of death sometime far in the future. Why? Because trusted preachers make the schizophrenic an exception to their preaching. Yes, both Billy Graham and A.W. Tozer mention it specifically in their sermons. So, though I’m circumspect, I am glad I know that now. That mention of exclusion can also be noted in speeches made by motivational speakers, instructors, mentors, well-meaning relatives, etcetera. I can just give up on money management gurus and any kind of normal instructional pep talk because even these speakers make exceptions for us by saying, “We’re not talking about the mentally defective or psychotics.” O.K. I get it. So now I can turn you all off and listen to my gut and my heart. And my religion goes as far as praying and worshiping—both, privately. My witness doesn’t count, not only because I am female, but because my experience has exempted me from qualifying for normal theological discourse. So go away. I am not listening to what to me is literally nonsensical, even by your own standards.

Why is mental health such a hot button for me? Because I know no matter how much I impress you, no matter the achievements or any residual charm, once I say I’m Paranoid Schizophrenic, all my other excellent attributes become enshrouded under the pall of dark dismissal. The real question is, what if this happened to your child?

©️Veek Young 2020-2023 All Rights Reserved

Baby, It’s PC Outside

Political correctness doesn’t always mean respect. Sometimes, it just means replacing one set of customs with another under the guise of benevolence—almost always coercively.

A couple of Christmases ago a “professional” musician and her sidekick tried not only to rewrite “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, but attempted to ban the original version as symbolic of the Me Too movement’s definition of sexual harassment. It is not. It is negotiating banter between two consenting adults with one party worried about how it would look or turn out. Not at all surprising for the 40s when this song was written and much prurience existed in the gossip and legal consequences of dating Americans. Abortion was criminalized then, and contraceptives illegal in most states.

Written by Frank Loesser in 1944 to be sung originally with his wife at evening parties among friends, it had run into seeming setbacks in 1949 when, popularized, NBC thought the lyrics too racy for the air. A re-evaluation found no prurience and the song soared in popularity into this century as one of the best 100 songs of all time.

How people interpret the 1944 song’s material or context is their right. But banning something from the airwaves and then replacing it with an awkward and ugly version of the same song, in the name of “mutual respect”, is, at best, laughable.

But it wasn’t just the absurdity of it; I immediately went to download the original song from my music provider because, well, NOBODY tells ME what to do. I resent any heavy-handed attempt to dictate what I could or could not consume. Offering a new version would have been more welcome if it wasn’t done in such a patronizing and paternalistic manner. Ironically, the songstress was aiming at the same vault that institutionalized harrassment she presumably so opposes has done from the very beginning: coercion.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s because I’m a Scorpio. Maybe my father didn’t hit me hard enough growing up. My point is, it isn’t the way of democracy to decide what materials citizens get to access. Although far from perfect, our Canadian way up north doesn’t include writing out histories, opinions, or facts. It certainly doesn’t mandate what we have to listen to, or not at all. Musical pieces are part of history. It’s OK to provide alternate opportunities, but it should remain just that: an alternate opportunity. If it had been well-written, I even might have gotten to like the new PC version and switched. Now, they’ve shot themselves in the foot by attempting not to give me a choice, literally.

The only acceptable reason I can ascertain (if you could call the least degree of stupidity relatively smart) as to why they’d attempt to ban from and replace it on the airwaves is because they wanted to capitalize in dollars what the MeToo movement could almost only do in sensation. In other words, they were financially opportunistic. If they did have honourable motives, then it was stupidly handled. I am a feminist. Feminism is about liberation, yes? Well, no man or woman tells me what to do. Ergo, if I don’t adhere, I support harassment. Having my fem-sister tell me what I can’t listen to, especially under the guise of upholding the values of the MeToo movement, is manipulative.

I must assume, for my sanity’s sake, that this artist was doing it for the money. The sheer stupidity that the idea this woman had to record and plug her song as the only version that a good feminist would ever listen to makes me go blind and deaf with rage and disgust. Chica-sis, the sex wars may never blow over, but you lost this battle. ~V

©️Veek Young 2020-2023 All Rights Reserved

Zeitgeist of The 20s

In our day and age, the one conclusion I’ve come to is that it is possible to interpret the present times as one where there is no authority higher than ourselves. With existentialism being passé and Romanticism being junked for cold, hard reality, we are living in a Zeitgeist where the individual self-references. Is it good for me? What do I think? What do I believe? Isn’t God’s Word just so boring and irrelevant? Wait a minute…that is existentialism and Romanticism. Eh?
We live in a world full of rhetorical questions. The oppression we see across the world countered by our own “do-what-feels-good” makes the intelligent woman or man question the validity of rules, laws, regulations, commandments, and even truth, itself. “Fake, fake, fake!” cry the counter-media. But there are deeper questions than what can be tweeted in 280 characters. The question might be, if our border allows all those within it to do this thing, then why would I be persecuted when crossing the imaginary line to the next country? Aren’t there absolutes? Aren’t there any fixed points of reference? What exactly is a universal, human right? When does it apply when the “authorities” of the land says it does not? Or what do we do and whom do we believe when the very Nobel-winning face of a champion of human rights allows for so many deaths, so much suffering, and reprehensible ethnic persecution? Are we being fooled? And how do we know when to trust a leader, even if she is a “Canadian” three times over? But as we will see, such questions most likely will not find answers. The media (pro-, con-, or alt-) not only does not see everything; more precisely, it does not see all angles, and it does not present objectively all of the time.
I had the same problem when watching what was touted as objective reporting. I still don’t know when our civic and national news centres are feeding us a spin or exaggerating the sins of important people. I mean, how much of the truth can you really pack in a sound byte? We all know that recording a history of something, someplace, or someone is fraught with problems about its veracity. People forget. People lie. People have an agenda. People have loyalties. People have no loyalties. People are patronized by certain groups or by the wealthy and the powerful. People might have a gun to their head or their families in jeopardy. People are misguided. The list of possibilities continues. The point is, history itself isn’t objective, and nobody knows what really happened since we take it by artifacts and theories and hearsay. Even historians can’t tell at that moment of action because of the vast scope of unknowns, of which they only know their own point of view. Sure, we can synthesize, but synthesis implies “artificially” stitching disparate parts together that overlap somewhere, at times. Reality is not knowable; we simply weren’t there, nor at all possible angles.
It is the same with reporting. Nothing is knowable. Well, ok, that a man was shot point blank in the chest, while being pinned down, and that he was black and the officer who shot him was white, we can literally see that, nowadays. We can even watch little white guys in sunglasses gang up and choke a big, black man to death even when he’s done nothing criminally reprehensible or provable but have a short rap sheet of petty crime and saying he couldn’t breathe. We can watch systematic racism in a democratic nation as people of Hispanic and African origins are deported, while the British, the French, the Italians, the Slavs—all Caucasian races—breathe a collective sigh of relief. After all, as one policeman put it while being recorded by his own dash cam while stopping a frightened Caucasian couple for speeding, they weren’t to worry; they should know from the news that “we only go after blacks.”
Is God interested in our lives? Furthermore, is there something inherently wrong with that paradigm? I experimented, for about half a day, with the thought that perhaps no leader, no authority figure, no clergy or family member, is above me. I am my own highest authority. I felt very uncomfortably out of my skin while trying to live that out. By the end of the day, I was back in my shell, begging God to please forgive me for erroneous thinking, much of which was influenced by seeds sown by my betters and by the situation of the free world. We can depend on “sunny ways”, yet the law is the law. We have tremendous freedoms, if we stay within current mores. We have a nation rich in tolerance and diversity, but now a PM has appointed his childhood chum to have vague and overarching powers over the “misinformation” espoused by “third parties and advocacy groups.” Then he appointed enough friends of this friend’s to be members of the Supreme Court Justice to ensure his brand of justice from the highest and entirely “independent “ level: the judiciary.
Does anyone else see how much power has slowly been sucked up by the PM and his cronies? Within a social democracy and constitutional monarchy, we are guaranteed freedom of speech. It is still touted, but it is no longer as a Canadian reality. Slowly, we are experiencing the erosion of this Canadian value as cronyism does its dirty deed to concentrate the ultimate powers in this land into the hands of the ruling few. It is an oligarchy. No Canadian is guaranteed the contents of Charter of Rights signed in the last century by Pierre Elliot Trudeau in front of then Her Majesty The Queen. We do not have a true democracy. It is a muted, tone-deaf democracy that may be well-meant, but not well-expressed.
You know, at the end of the day, we can witness for ourselves by the wrangling on the international stage that it is the man, yes–man–with the most powerful gun/nuke who is the ultimate authority figure. By extension, I can see the day when all hell breaks loose and we devolve into tribal warfare. This world is not heading into a very good way. I hope most of us still remember to say our night-time “Now, I lay me down to sleep” prayer, because it looks like now we’re going to need it more than ever.

©️Veek Young 2020-2023 All Rights Reserved

Keeping Your Enemies Closer

I’m the kind of person that only learns from a good scolding. My parents figured that out long ago, and, to this day, they still use it, though sparingly. When some people in your life act adversarially, don’t worry, they’re telling you the truth—about yourself.

For instance, I did not quite catch on to the truth about credit, though I could once upon a time ago, maybe, sorta, grasp the concept of the golden rule of compounding interest. It wasn’t until the checkout woman at the clothing store, upon watching me swap from using my debit card to my credit card commented, “Oh, debit to credit? That just means you pay now or pay later.” She didn’t like me much, and yet, she woke me up to the evils of credit. Without that slightly unpleasant exchange, I would not have woken up and embarked on my angst over being in debt…and finally paying it off.

Why is this so crucial? Your enemies are trying to hurt you. They pick on your weaknesses to do this. This helps, believe it or not, because you need to have your weaknesses exposed constructively to grow. Constructive doesn’t mean coddling. It doesn’t mean positive reinforcement or gentle suggestions. It means that of which will reach you at your soul’s core so that you change. For me, it takes disciplining and scolding. That is simply my personality. I don’t think much when someone says something positive or when I’m complimented. I double-take, though, when someone is negative. Somehow, that is a method of learning that works really well for someone as stubborn and narcissistic as myself. Well, I must not be incorrigible if I can change with discipline.

One thing that discipline does that people such as I find difficult is that it puts you in your place. But, you know, I respond to that too. I’m not above the rules of human nature. That’s why this article title is about “keeping your enemies closer”. Yes, friends are wonderful. The sensitivity some friends show is beautiful. But what really goads us to change and climb upwards are the harsh truths of reality. Only your enemies are ruthlessly honest enough to show you that.

©️Veek Young 2019-2023 All Rights Reserved

Nobody Likes The Crazies

Put it this way: Nobody likes the crazies. People hate what they see as weakness and fear what they cannot understand. THAT is the human condition. Every book that is written, every sermon given, every enterprising idea or gainful employment excludes the psychos whom they berate for being lazy and, at the same time, whom will not hire, embrace, nor address because psychotics are too dysfunctional to be competent.

So began my wretched descent, unprepared for the depths to which I would plummet, and for the rejection from which I would suffer with the constancy of Paul Simon’s deepest lamentations. In essence, we crazies are invariably lonely.

The criminals figured that out long before the merchants and politicians had. Once in a halfway house, they seek mentally ill females who serve both as moneybags with their dependable disability cheques, and as comfort women who will be sex slaves without being self-aware enough to realize they’re being taken for a ride.

Merchants like to penetrate and push the envelope of this market. Banks are included in this, being the quintessential merchant class. Commercial merchants are testing the market knowing full well we live below the poverty line. Banks simply shamelessly and aggressively push credit cards with $10,000 limits–knowing even better than full well that we live below the poverty line, but have an RDSP.

Pastors usually try to appeal to the masses, and when coming to a conflicting part of their otherwise smooth and harmonious sermon, they make the disclaimer that “of course, this doesn’t apply to those who have a physiological or brain chemistry problem”. And they just carry on addressing their sermon, more distinctly then, only clearly now, to the “well” members of the congregation.

This would be all fine and good, except during refreshments these good religious people come up to you to engage in conversation, inevitably asking you “And what do you do for work?” You decide to be honest as any good religious person would, and say you don’t work because of a disability. They edge away a little bit and say you don’t look disabled. No, it’s a mental disability. Oh. And then, they make an excuse to wash their hands from the sticky bun they had just gorged on, naught to return.

It makes you want to bury your head in the sands of the LoTR trilogy, or rather, if more humorously intense than usual, the HhGttG trilogy in four parts. Nothing beats a new digitial watch than a friendly and comedic social commentary–or is it the other way around?

Even the local crisis line people don’t want to deal with you. Though knowing full well your psychiatrist ditched you and you’re obviously suffering, you’re limited to one 14-minute call a day. Second calls are cut short in the first two minutes with the condescending reminder you have already used up your daily quota.

The more they marginalize you the more they isolate you. The more isolated you are, the weirder you get—only proving their point that you should be shunned in the first place. So, TV is your only faithful friend. It’s almost always friendly (or you change the channel); it can’t reject you; and in the event it is discriminatory, you write in to the omnibus-people. Canada has standards after all, eh?

Or so as we like to pose in selfies as for.

©️Vic Young 2019-2023 All Rights Reserved

Child’s Play

Sometimes, there are no happy endings. Just unravelled tassels that Time simply tosses aside and forgets. It’s as if this universe were a child’s toy, and whomever is in control is making child’s play. The cosmos is his finger painting, the Child is playing, indifferent to the trillions of life forms in its grasp. He is remorseless and unfeeling, not because he is psychopathic, but because he hasn’t learned to be considerate. That is our life. Tossed about at the mercy of a Cosmic Toddler. We hurt when he pulls our leg off, and he, mystified with how in heaven’s name it goes back on, throws it into yet another bin. Bins of broken toys, toys that don’t matter. Toys that don’t feel because the Toddler isn’t aware of those feelings. Hence, in his reality, no harm has been done. The toy has been rendered into trash.

Meanwhile, on Earth, our existence is understatedly fragile. Feelings, the blessing and bane of our lives, are all some people have, whether they have all their worldly possessions in a 8,000 square foot mansion, or in a rusty shopping cart.

Along the way, we meet people who inspire us with their compassion and unaffected manners. It is not easy to hold on to them. They slip away, they grow old, they lose their minds, they die. This whole exposé of life is, “You’re born; you eat shit; you die,” and, yet…

These other people, so beautiful and alive, so transient in our lives. We want to embrace them, tell them our appreciation—strangers, two ships who pass by in the night kind of deal, make our lives hopeful, worth living, worth dreaming about. Sometimes they are viewed six million times on YouTube, to which you have contributed thirty-seven views in the first week. Sometimes, they are people who open the door for a you as you struggle with a baby tram and two toddlers, one on each side. These ordinary souls are our heroes and heroines. But they don’t stick around. They are shy, reserved, afraid. They want connection, but are only able to express it through gorgeous moments and good deeds that they soon forget as they quickly walk off in another direction, wholly unassociated and alone in their world.

What makes us this way? What makes us tick? Why do we continue punishing ourselves? If it were fathomable, even shrinks admit they’d be made redundant. The whole job of a shrink is to help you distract and entertain yourself until you die. The problems of the mind, and the knots of the heart, are, at best, creative. It seems that troubled people must go through a kind of growing through, not growing up, but through, the tunnel of ageing and the world going on, maturing, making money, having children, being bogged down by the worries of this world, while Time has broken your Watch, and you literally watch the world go by as you tinker with the hobbies you had at 18, incapacitated from being unable to let go. Sometimes, Life is haphazardly indifferent. I am grateful, though I don’t know to Whom, that we are made of better mettle.

©️Veek Young 2018-2023 All Rights Reserved