“You see men always put you in one of two categories. Serious or booty – there is no middle ground. Doesn’t matter if you’d never go there or you’re ‘just friends’ I guarantee you 100% that you’ve been put into one of those two categories.”
Bleak. Is it true?
Is romance always romantic?
And is the difference between them philosophy?
Or is it just semantics
Differing definition based on old and new tradition
Or boundaries adhered to or even broken
Is it words beautifully spoken?
Or beautiful words, or just tone?
Or do actions speak louder
Is it time spent on the phone?
Or time put aside relative to
The time I have to spend on you
Time spent against the times I made you smile
But romantic and romance aren’t the same
A nice notion not like an image ingrained in your brain
Or an idea of ideals, of idealisation
Of poppies in fields and death
Even death of individuality by globalisation
Can be romanticised with the right spin doctor
So how do you concoct a romance?
Is it the sum of it’s parts?
Or something more not quite yet explained
But ever explored in the arts
It’s something more
Je ne sais quoi.
Copyright 2016 J N Ali
Involuntarily caught by something
Invert your hatred or disgust
Turn it inwards
Fuel your ascension
Copyright 2016 J N Ali
I’ve divided this up, but the truth is my recovery was an ongoing process and it happened all at once, over time.
But I’d like to delve a little into the mindset of my recovery, and how it’s been possible with only minimal medication, which I haven’t taken for a couple of years.
I wrote about the basics that you need to take care of for a baseline health, which are:
- Healthy food
- Enough exercise and play (doing stuff you love)
- A safe place
- Affection/ company
If you do this and have no further problems, good for you. Since the majority of the people I know struggle with these (our lifestyles do not always allow it) that is a good place to start.
As I’ve mentioned I don’t believe in “schizophrenia”, but I know recovery is about your mindset and putting yourself in the right place at the right time.
Schizophrenia as a medical diagnosis is damning, and signals the end of the line, although more and more medical professionals are reluctant to give a diagnosis because of the stigma attached. I never received a formal diagnosis of schizophrenia, which I am incredibly grateful for.
The word used to make my skin crawl. I was recommended to read a book (Yoga Nidra – I highly recommend it) but it took me a few tries to get past the first chapter because the word schizophrenic was used.
The yogic understanding of schizophrenic is looser and more positive – it is someone who, for whatever reason, is at war with themselves often to the point of psychosis. Once I redefined what schizophrenia meant to me, I could change myself.
This is why this part is titled the mindset. I realised I was in control – even when I felt I wasn’t. I can’t control the world around me, I can’t change anything that has happened to me. But I can control myself. It takes practice.
Getting the basics of health down was important, because it meant taking ownership of everything. Every ugly little thing I disliked about myself I had an opportunity to change – and if I couldn’t change those things I realised I would have to change my attitude towards them.
there is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so
My state of mind was undoubtedly a result of what I had endured, but I had kept myself there. I still hear voices, I still have the odd little flash of paranoia – my wellness is a constant exercise in checking up on my thoughts and feelings. I have to correct myself, check myself before I wreck myself and not forget that to look after myself means to accept growth, change and failure as part of the process.
I live quite happily with what some might consider severe and debilitating mental illness, simply because I recognise that I am not ill, but that I am in need of care and I can be that caregiver.
I am responsible for myself.
I’m 5 days fag-free and I’m writing to you because I’m a little lonely.
Well, not so much lonely as alone – I’ve got some unspecified unknown virus that’s been partying from muscle to muscle. I’m weak and easily exhausted and sitting at home.
My GP put the fear of death in me about running – that elevating my heart rate for an extended period could result in injury or death. If I think what this virus has done to my muscles elsewhere….yes it’s dangerous for it to do that to my heart.
I have had for some time burning rashes that appear along parts of my spine, especially after exercise. I wonder if there was something hanging around in my CSF that’s just escaped.
Anyway, I’m fag-free for 5 days, and I’m missing the sensation and I think it’s because I haven’t kissed someone for a very long time. I’ve been single….nearly a year and while I kissed someone last summer (was it summer?):
- I don’t remember who
- I was fairly hammered but I do remember thinking ‘ew?’
So I’m craving cigarettes ’cause I can’t have kisses – I’m certain that’s what my mouth is missing.
I have to accept where I am
And let that shit go
Look after me as I am
And just let it go
I’ll feel what I feel
And then let it go
The intensity is real
But I will just
Copyright 2016 J N Ali
Last week I had my final appointment with my psychiatrist. It’s been a while since the mental health services could offer me something more than someone to talk to and it was lovely to be able to close the door on that chapter of my life.
My doctor had even said that when I first came to him years ago his thoughts were long-term medication. I’d like to think I’ve turned his definition of mental illness and mental health on it’s head a little.
I started to think about why mental health is so heavily medicated and how I’ve avoided that trap.
I can only comment with my opinions and thoughts – of course I cannot speak for everyone’s individual experiences so please bear with me on that.
When I moved back from the university city I’d decided to live in I was not the woman typing here today. I’ve made a small career out of taking more responsibility than I should with my mental health, but I’ll delve in a little more there in a bit.
I was paranoid, bordering on agoraphobic, reliant on alcohol or drugs to cope with social situations (or just to unwind). My voices tormented me, I barely slept, I couldn’t eat properly, sometimes I’d stare at the wall for hours on end just listening in.
I couldn’t do anything. I could work – and I did work, to my credit I’ve always been capable of earning my own money because all you have to do is occupy your mind with something easy and get through the day. I’ve never once claimed disability or PPP or whatever it’s called, but the truth is if I were in any other family I’d probably have been institutionalised.
It looked like schizophrenia, and I’ve spent 5 years working out what that means. I have some theories – some many will not like. It’s so easy to call something an illness and lose all hope, but what has always been in the background, although I’ve been unable to talk about it, was the trauma that I went through.
I won’t go over the details – because there’s work to be done there and until that’s resolved I can’t share that piece of myself.
So when is schizophrenia not schizophrenia?
Well I don’t believe in schizophrenia.
My mental state was a shambles. If you took away the drug abuse; the alcohol abuse; the trauma, you were still left with a girl (at 22 I was definitely that) who almost certainly suffered with anxiety and depression.
I liken people to dogs, because actually as complicated as we make the world for ourselves our basic needs are the same. We need good food and fresh water to keep us healthy; plenty of exercise and play; love and affection (in varying degrees based on the individual) and a safe place that we can live.
I wasn’t even taking care of the basics. I felt unloved – I certainly didn’t love myself. I could barely eat, let alone eat healthily. My only source of exercise was raving – and that came with drugs so I really don’t think that counted and I was not safe.
You can adjust people with pills, but unless you get those basics down you are not looking after your health. You can argue it any way you please – we’re animals and this is what animals need.
Now, how do we jump from depression to schizophrenia? There are many theories about schizophrenia: if I take a purely physical approach to mental illness I would say to you visit ‘Schizophrenia does not exist.‘ It’s a far more inclusive model of psychosis than anything else I’ve seen and allows for a variety of imbalances.
This is a great medical model – if I agreed 100% with western medicine, which I don’t, however I’ll spare you the esoteric for another part of this.
On a physical level though, my health has recovered because I’ve taken steps to do the following:
- Face up to what happened to me
- Take care of the basics
- Make up my own mind
I’ll leave you with that thought, but please stay tuned for the next instalment when I’ll be going into more detail about my journey on a ‘mental’ level.
Probably one of the sexiest, most playful songs of all time.