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Complete Psychological Topics 1: Chapters 9

 

by Ben Huot

July 15, 2012

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Table of Contents

Chapter 9
Psychology from Brand New and No Simple Answers

by Ben Huot

9.1 Too Intense

9.1.1 Overstimulation

One of the simplest ways to explain Schizophrenia is that is amplifies everything in life. When I say that people think of feelings and think it is like Bipolar Disorder (also known as Manic Depression), but much more is affected then just feelings. Schizophrenia is a thought disorder, not a mood disorder like Clinical Depression or Bipolar Disorder, and so it affects much more of your life and of your mind. Every stimulus I have is amplified like I find most but the simplest foods too intense, I often find listening to music too intense, and I find it hard to be around more than just a couple of people. I actually like rainy daisy because I find the sun too intense on a sunny day.

It is easy for me to get overstimulated, which causes me great stress. But just staying away from everything will just make things worse (like it is with Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive disorders). One of the reason why staying away from people makes things worse is that it increases the feelings of isolation and contributes to depression. One of the things that stresses me out the most is making decisions - I find it overwhelming to have too many options.

9.1.2 Bus People are Rude and Selfish

One of the things I find particularly annoying is people being rude and thoughtless. I find the bus stressful, because of people being rude: at the bus station, when getting on the bus, when riding on the bus, when getting off the bus, as well as the bus driver, the transit organization, and students.

9.1.3 Waiting for and Getting On

At the bus station, people scream across the station; people ask you for money, or to sign a petition; people smoke right next to you (even meth); and people ask you what time it is or when the bus comes, when there is a clock right over head and the bus schedule is two feet away.

When getting on the bus, people try to cut in front of you; people form two lines; people rush ahead onto the bus, when someone is getting off; the bus driver lowers the lift and gets the disabled person tied into the bus, before anyone else can get on; and the bus driver wants you to put all the money in at once, but does not believe that you out put all the money in.

9.1.4 Riding and Getting Off

When riding on the bus, people make loud, annoying, repeating sounds; people talk really loud about being in prison, or something else embarrassing, on their phones; people brag about going to prison; people sit next to you, when there are plenty of free seats; people refuse to sit down on the bus, and, instead, stand right, in front of the door; people eat and drink, when it is against the rules; the bus has just been cleaned, or coated with stain guard, so that I get sick; and people open windows, in the summer, so that stinging insects get in.

When getting off the bus, people rush out of the bus and then stop right in front of the bus; people get out at the front door; older people take forever to decide to get off the bus; and the bus driver does not stop long enough, for you to get out.

9.1.5 Bus Drivers, Students, and Transit Authority

The bus driver stops and waits, when it gets ahead of schedule; the bus is not being on time; the bus does not showing up at all; the bus goes by and not stopping, because they were too full; bus drivers keep the heat so hot, in winter, so you sweat when inside, so that you get cold when you leave the bus; and the bus drivers run red lights, drive up on curbs, and hit on the accelerator and then brake, really hard, back and forth.

Students on the bus fill up the whole bus and then refuse, to move to the back or to move out, so you can get off; students talk really loud, on the bus; teachers take an entire class, on the city bus; because they were too cheap, to get a school bus; and students get on at one stop and all get off at the next stop.

Decisions by the city transit organization include the removal of bus times, in the middle of the day, so that it I not always going, at the same interval, for a given period of time; the purchase of expensive new buses and redoing all the streets, for it with taxpayer money, against taxpayer and local business wishes, while cutting routes and times and raising fares, and not running very often in the evenings, weekends, or at all on holidays.

9.2 Paranoid Depression

9.2.1 Peak Oil

For a period of about a year, I had what I can only describe, as depression, plus paranoia. It is the worst feeling that you can have, much worse than either of these emotional problems separately. It kind of becomes like being locked in a dark pit, without anyone else, for an extended period of time and not knowing, when you would be let go. I think it started, with my study of Peak Oil and our ecological future. I think it was good, that I was able to accept that and still find hope in life, but it was a real struggle then, which I don’t envy others having to deal with, when everything in America goes sideways.

My generation sees the future as increasingly bleak and increasingly out of our control. A combination of the failure of the banking industry, the bankruptcy of Europe, the growing wealth and power of China, India, Saudi Arabia, and Russia at our expense, the idea that it doesn’t matter how we try to reform things, people are too unwilling, to sacrifice, or work harder, to pull ourselves out, of these problems.

9.2.2 Dark Studies

Another catalyst, for this dark time for me was the study of ancient history and quantum mechanics and the following of several popular Sci-Fi series. The intersection of these 3 areas leads to some real dark, scary, and depressing conclusions. It is sad that modern Science has been used to justify a pagan worldview and shows how little, even people in Science, understand complex math-based theories.

It also shows, that this entire rejection of a Christian worldview, because of wanting to stay out of religion and keep a material and agnostic view of the world, they claimed was necessary to remain objective and practice Science, in its pure form, was just an excuse, to reject the authority of Christ, in their lives.

One of the reasons why I chose to focus on the Humanities, specially of Asia was to avoid both the study of both paganism and science (including the weirder side of physics, the lack of biology, that does not blindly accept by evolution, without conclusive evidence, and the toxicity of the experiments commonly used in chemistry).

I think the interest in Science and more specifically the interest in physics and space comes from when I was a kid, but the more I learn about this, the darker it seems to get. One of the unique things, about Asian history, is that you can accurately study the most important history, of the Asian Golden age, and throughly understand the cultures involved, without the study of animism/paganism.

9.2.3 Antidepressant Stopped Working

I also was on an anti-depressant at the time, which I have later come to the conclusion was not working, a the time. My mom has clinical depression and has found, that individual anti-depressants stop working for her, every 10 years. I have been very lucky that, so far, all the newest drugs, to treat Paranoid Schizophrenia, worked well on me, with few side effects, other than the: weight gain, sensitivity to light, and tiredness.

9.2.4 Insect Paranoia

Another thing, that contributed to my paranoia and depression, at the time was that where I lived, it got very hot in the summer, the place was infested, with all sort of bugs, living under the cover, over the stairs, going up to my apartment. One of the things, that causes me paranoia are flying, stinging insects, like yellow jackets. Yellow jackets look kind of like bees, but have long yellow legs. They are very aggressive and can sting many times, without dying. They are especially attracted to meat, both raw and cooked, as they are scavengers. They also can cause infections, because they pick up diseases, due to their food strategy.

I had several yellow jackets in my apartment. Near my apartment, I was once actually chased, by some bee like insects. The nearest bus stops were, so bad, that one time I set down a sealed bottle of pepsi and the bee like insect kept circling around it. One of the culprits seemed to be a dumpster, behind a Thai restaurant, near one of the bus tops in the area. There was also a swamp-like area near by, which most of the insects seemed to prefer the side closest to me. I have never been stung by these insects, partly because I never swat at them - I just move away from them, so they don’t feel threatened.

I have found that they would come circling around me, looking confused, if I was alone at the bus stop, but with other people there, they would stay away. I have also noticed they do not come out, when it is raining or about to rain, but do not seem to mind any amount of wind. They seem to be most aggressive in the months of July and August.

At this point, I have tracked down, what makes them so aggressive, with me and I now think it was my herbal laundry detergent, that was not tested, on animals. Now I use a more standard detergent, although I also make sure I always use deodorant now and wear a sticky, sour-smelling ointment, that comes, from an Indian plant.

9.2.5 Difficulties of Living in Last Apartment

Summers, in general, are worse for me, because less things are going on and the areas around the University, which I frequent, is especially bleak and deserted. I also no not like the weekends, due to the bus not going as often, especially in the evenings. This last apartment I lived at had little to do nearby. I also had to deal with several very annoying people, who rode the bus everyday and I had to take several buses, to get anywhere, which required me to show up really early, to any appointment, or anything else I had to show up, at a set time for.

The manager also creeped me out and gave me trouble about getting an air conditioner. I also routinely had deliveries of things I bought, like books, stolen from off my porch, at that place, as well. Ants were in my house, when I moved in, and I got rid of them. The trash was always overflowing, in the dumpster and there were only two washers and dryers, for the whole complex (and required several dollars for each load).

Big puddles formed, along sides the road, in the winter, and the cars went by fast enough, so that you could easily get soaked wet, in the winter, from head to toe, when waiting for the bus or walking by. The nearest supermarket was very expensive and had very strange foods.

9.2.6 Where I Live Now

I now live in nice place, near enough to the bus station, so that I only have to take one bus, to go anywhere. I now live, in a gated community, upstairs, over some neat small businesses, so I don’t get salespeople, or religious people, trying to sell me something. I am now able, to get to the mall, on Saturdays and am able, to walk, to an independent movies theater, on the weekend afternoons, and celebrations downtown or at the fairgrounds and a seasonal weekend open market.

This place is very well kept up and are the management is very responsive, for the minor issues, that come up and they are situated, just across the street. They will replace light bulbs, for me, just for the cost of the bulbs. They promise they will get to repairs in a few days, but usually have it finished later that same afternoon. They have an entire cleaning and landscaping crew, exclusive to these apartments, to keep up bushes and other plants, so that insects don’t get settled in. I now have my own built in washer and dryer, in my apartment.

They even have a coy fish pond, but the fish have been being hunted, by a nearby heron, that sits on top of my apartment, so that they are staying somewhere else, for now. There are a few rooms, dedicated to an: enclosed trash shoot, bins for recycling, and a big area, where you can place things, as big as coaches, to get rid of them, for free. I can also get very affordable parking and there is an elevator, for those unwilling, or unable to use the stairs. The mail is never taken, even if it is left, at the door and the manager will accept packages and store them for tenants. They also install and service an air conditioner, for me, each summer, for a low one time fee.

9.2.7 Other Things I Changed

Besides my move, new antidepressant, and my insect prevention techniques, I have done some other things, to make my life happier, like controlling what things I watch on TV and read on the internet, and I have slowed down, on the rate of my reading and writing, significantly. I also am happier, now that I know, that people will still have access, to books, when they finish going entirely digital. I also make sure, that I get out and do something very day.

I have improved my technology resources. I also am happier, with my additional Apple equipment, like my iPod Touch and iPad. Having e-books on my iPad means I can keep them indefinitely, without them stressing me out, as I can put the books all away, while still using my iPad. I have done many things, to make my website easier, to update and have held off updating content, longer than I would have before. I now feel better, that I use a safety deposit box and a special type of DVD-ROM, for another offsite backup. I have adopted Apple’s digital stores and so am saving a lot of money on: software, books, and music.

9.3 Motivation, Change, and Reason

9.3.1 Embraces Change

One of the things, that is very hard, for most people, but is even harder, for people, with Schizophrenia, is change. Some of the reasons why I am so willing, to embrace change, include: I enjoy things that are new and different, I enjoy a challenge (my psychologist says it is because I am so smart), I am very creative (at dealing with change), I have studied Taoism (which emphasizing embracing change), I am not happy with the way the world is, I have had to deal with much more series things earlier in life (like being in the military and having Schizophrenia), and I have accepted that I little control over most things in life (and I am comforted by knowing God is in complete control and on my side).

9.3.2 Motivated

One of the things, that seems surprising, to people in the mental health field, about me is my motivation. One of my previous psychiatrists said that people with Schizophrenia don’t write books and get sent back to the hospital frequently (I have only been in the hospital once, when I was diagnosed), so that he wondered, if I was more Schizoaffective, instead of Schizophrenic (even though I have all the symptoms of Schizophrenia and have symptoms someone with Schizoaffective Disorder wouldn’t have), but, either way, my life already is much better than other people, with similar problems.

Some of the reasons, for my motivation include that: I have inherited stubbornness from my family; I refused to give up, when things were much harder; I am not sure I know how to quit; I need a challenge and something to do, during the day; I feel what I do is very important and, if I do not do it, no on else will; I am good at it and it gives me a feeling of accomplishment; and I have been doing it so long, that it is often less stressful, than doing something new.

9.3.3 Rational

Another one of the things about me, that is unusual, for a person, with Schizophrenia, is that I am much more rational, than other people, with my same condition. Some of the reasons for this include that: I have studied philosophy, for along time; I want to keep my freedom and so ignore many of the irrational things in my head; I have family, to talk to and help my keep in reality; I work with computers and read about them, almost every day, which keeps me focused, on something tangible; I have decided it important, to be more rational, as a result of my illness; and I have found it is easier, to work with others, if you can stay rational.

9.4 Loss of Freedom

9.4.1 Degrees of Freedom

One of the scariest things, for me, that comes along with Schizophrenia, is that you have, to depend, on other people, for important things. You are on a continuum, of different degrees, of freedom. The more sane you appear, the more freedom you can keep.

Some of the services offered to persons, with major mental illnesses, include many things, that make them lose their freedom, by varying degrees: hospital (or prison if you don’t have private insurance), group home, assisted living, in home care, medication management, counseling, social worker, and fiduciary (person who handles your finances).

Some of the things, that can cost you your freedom, include: not taking your medicine regularly, lack of personal hygiene, dirty house, saying strange things, being too religious, not showing up on time for appointments, talking too fast, and telling them you are seriously depressed.

9.4.2 Dependance on Others

One of the things the average person doesn’t know about major mental illness is that often you cannot work, so that you depend upon state programs, that are not only subject to cuts, but also the people who administrate these programs are not very high caliber. Many of these programs are mismanaged and the people are treated poorly.

One of the draws to this work is the ability to have power, over someone else. For instance, if you have your medication managed, by one of these programs, if you show up late, you can’t take your medicine. When I was in a group home, we were supposed to be trained, in how to cook meals and clean the house, but instead we were just given chores and the supervisor hid in their office most of the day.

9.4.3 Anti-Religion

One of the truly abusive things, in mental health, is the looking down, on religion and especially anything supernatural. Just because someone hears voices does not mean that they cannot have a mystical experience, as well. There is an anti-supernatural bias, on the part of the mental health community.

It does make things more complicated, for us, to have deep faith, while dealing, with paranoia and delusions, and many people may get easily confused, but it is important to respect people’s freedom of religion. Religion can play an important role, in giving the person: more contact, with others, self-esteem, strength to deal with their symptoms, and a more positive outlook on life.

9.5 Isolation

9.5.1 Most Disabling Symptoms

Some of the most disabling symptoms, of Schizophrenia, are the ones, that affect your interaction, with other people. One of the major ways my paranoia affects me is that it becomes very hard to trust people, even devoted friends and family. Being around more than a couple of people, at a time, stresses me out. I get so stressed over having, to do the same thing, every day, or show up, at a certain time everyday, that it extremely limits some of the most common ways, of meeting new people. This has been the hardest part, of the illness, for me, to overcome.

9.5.2 Hard Finding Activities

There are activities, for people, with mental illnesses, but I have little in common, with them and many of the official activities are expensive, for me, as I am not on state assistance (I make too much money). I also find filling out paperwork very stressful as well, which affects some of the ways, to meet people, like at community college continuing education courses. The other thing, that limits me, is that the bus doesn’t go very often, on weekends or evening and the taxis are not very dependable, or are available, at night, or on the weekends. I also find it difficult, to listen to one person speak, for a half an hour, or more. I also find religious gathering, to be too intense, because my mind keeps working, on the theological topics, without stopping, days later.

9.5.3 Possible Solutions

One strategy, that I am going to try is to find things closer by, so that I don’t need, to take the bus, to get there. I am also planning on signing up, for volunteer jobs, where they call me, when they need last minute help, so I don’t stress out over it. There are a number of places, nearby, where I can find activities, like the community college is building another downtown center, next to me, there are two different exercise businesses, that have moved in nearby, and I am a few blocks form a bunch of live theater groups and concert venues.

9.5.4 For Other Mentally Ill People

For many people, with Schizophrenia, the biggest obstacle would be money and stress, with being around other people. I am what is called a high functioning person, with a major mental illness. Most people with Schizophrenia are much less independent, less aware of their surroundings, so overwhelmed with their symptoms, and so poor at communication, as well as much less intelligent, that there is little energy left for them, to pursue close relationships, with other people. Most of their families do not help them because they are either afraid of them or can’t accept, that one of their loved ones is mentally ill. Many people with Schizophrenia look very different to other people, often talk and shout out load to themselves, are poorly groomed, and so scare off most people.

9.5.5 Easy to Work With

I prefer working with people who are mentally ill, over any other major group, that needs assistance. The major other groups, like the homeless, elderly, developmentally disabled are so stubborn, rude, obnoxious, aggressive, and (ironically) delusional, that the mentally ill seem very normal and easy to deal with, in comparison. I also tried working, for a day, with a guy who had a traumatic brain injury and he was very nice, but asked me the same question, every minute and so stressed me out. Right now, I cannot volunteer, for one of the major non-profits in town, who work with the mentally ill, because they don’t want to have any mentally ill people even volunteering for them, especially not anyone, who has ever used their services.

9.6 That Feeling Again

9.6.1 Unhappy Activities

Downsides to Picnics

When I remember back, I used to think of how fun it was, to go out on a hike, or a picnic, in the summer. But doing those things recently was not fun. At lakes, you either have muddy banks, or cement ones, which are both bad for swimming. There is never any food, that I can eat, and the food attracts nasty bugs and I already have enough trouble with attracting bugs.

Downsides to Regional Travel

I think of how I had fun, at staffing ,at summer camps and going to different cities, around Portland, for different clubs and sports. But I am starting, to remember the bad, as well. When I went camping, in Scouts, I was almost always wet and cold. I enjoyed traveling around, while doing different activities, but many of them also stressed me out a lot (like speech) and were not all fun (cross country).

Downsides to World Travel

Many of the places, that I would like to travel to are fun to read about, but likely not fun, for me, to visit. Another thing is the safety factor: I wouldn’t even consider going overseas anywhere, as I don’t feel safe as an American. I also am bad at languages and not good, at remembering names, or navigating places, that I don’t know well. I likely would feel isolated and then greatly depressed, after a just a few months. I never enjoyed much going out at night, as I was tired and wanted, to be home, and I felt this way, before being diagnosed, with Schizophrenia.

Making Plans

Now, I have plenty of things to do, but doing things, out in the community usually requires you commit, to a schedule, or schedule ahead of time, both of which stress me out considerably. Now I get very tired, frequently, due to my medicine and if I try to stay awake then, I am in a lot of pain (both physical and mental). Another thing that often stressed me out was planning on doing something very different, than what I am doing now, that is more social, but, because the change is too fast and dramatic, as I would be giving up, what makes me happy and helps form a considerable part, of my identity.

9.6.2 Feeling Happy

Surprised

These last few weeks, I have been sleeping much more, than usual and have felt happy most, of the time. Feeling happy may be normal, for most people, but it is not for me, so I started to speculate why. One of the things ,that really bothered me, up until recently was that I don’t get out much and travel, or go out to things like conferences or meetings.

High School

When I look back, in my life, to a time, when I was happy, I think of high school. In high school, I was involved, in several sports, as well as many clubs (I even founded one). At one time, I was actively involved in 12 major groups (including sports, clubs, and Boy Scouting).

Favorite Things

But, recently, I have remembered, that my favorite activities were learning about other cultures, like in Model United Nations and that one of my favorite things to do, on Saturday morning was to read part of our encyclopedia or a National Geographic map. I used, to be able to, travel to other cities, like Washington D.C. (in high school) or Honolulu (in the military), but I now found it stressful, even when I just went to Seattle, a few years ago.

Present Situation is Ideal

Thinking back, on what I enjoyed, in high school, I am actually living a fairly ideal situation (other than having Schizophrenia). I think this issue was finally resolved emotionally, for me and so I am under less stress and so feel more positive. Recently, I have found, that reading peoples’ nasty comments, about Apple, on blogs and other news sites causes me, to feel greatly depressed, very quickly, but that even a short walk improves my mood tremendously and right away. My town may seem small and unknown, but we have some neat cultural venues, due to the fact, that we have one large state university and 4 small colleges (a community college, a Christian liberal arts college, a Bible college, and a technical school).

9.7 Psychiatrist vs. Consumer

9.7.1 Not an Expert

There is a common misconception, in America, that being part, of some group, means you are an expert, on this, beyond someone, who has actually studied it. I this vein, many people would consider me an expert on Schizophrenia, because I have the disease. Although this does give me a unique perspective, that is worth documenting, without studying medicine and psychology, to the doctoral level, I do not have the background, to consider myself an expert, in Schizophrenia.

9.7.2 What it Feels Like

I can only give the perspective, of a consumer, of the psychiatric services. So, the information I give you is correct, from one patient’s point of view. I can give you a better idea, of what it feels like, to have Schizophrenia, but I cannot give you advice, on diagnosing someone, on what medicine to take, or even a comprehensive coverage, of all the possible symptoms.

9.7.3 Theory vs. Experience

The difference between what I say about Schizophrenia and what a psychiatrist does is that my understanding is based on real world experiences, while the doctors knowledge is based, on theory and that little bits his patients were able, to verbalize. What I say is not contradictory to what the psychiatrist says, but simply a second opinion directly based on experience, rather than formal training. Neither one give you a complete picture, by itself.

9.7.4 Atypical Experience

My experience is not a typical one, for a person with Schizophrenia, because I am in the very highest level of functioning, as I basically live an independent life. I have always stayed, on my medicine and never took any illegal drugs, so I can give an account, for what possibilities this opens up, for a person with this disease. Much of my insights are based on things I have learned, over 11-1/2 years, on how, to make my life, as good, as possible, despite my diagnosis.

9.7.5 Documenting Experience

One of the most important things I have done is to document my attempts, to overcome the various disabling conditions, that came with this disease. Very few people with Schizophrenia can even read, let alone write and they also have a lot of trouble splining their situation, whereas I seem to be able to stay rational enough to do. This ability, to stay rational, I think is more of a side effect, of tenacity and grace (from God), than any particular strength, of mind.

9.7.6 Dealing With It

One of the things, that a psychiatrist cannot provide, for you, is knowledge about how disabling, each of the symptoms are and how exactly a real person with Schizophrenia deals with them. Another insight I have is the degree of pain, caused by the various symptoms, as well as my strategy, for minimizing them. I can make the disease come alive, with emotion and put a real face, on the disease, in a way that you will never see, in a book, or hear from an expert. One of the best things I can offer are answers, to the existential questions, surrounding Schizophrenia.

9.7.7 Effects on Life

I can also offer myself, as a case study, but one that you can ask questions to. I am not a textbook case - I am a real person, and learning about me offers a way, to see the places, that the disease manifests itself, not just in my mind or in my body, but in my daily life, my experiences, my beliefs, my health, and my attitudes. I can provide insights not, in how, to medicate someone, but how to deal, with the parts, of the illness, that the medicine doesn’t provide relief of.

9.7.8 Never Give Up

Furthermore, I can provide hope, for those, who suffer, from the disease. I have learned, that intelligence and even mental stability are over-rated, and although many of the symptoms are painful, the most important things, in life, can still be experienced. The most important thing, in dealing with life and especially Schizophrenia, is tenacity plus faith (in God). Never give up. Most things worth pursuing, in life, are difficult, but they are mostly possible, if you put the effort, into them.

9.7.9 General Advice

I can relate, with others with Schizophrenia, on how simple things in life cause great challenges, for me. I can explain what it is like dealing with people and the world around me, while having the disease. I can explain how others see me and how I see them. I can tell what really works, from all the things, that the doctors tell me.

9.7.10 Specific Advice

I can tell you what symptoms are likely to result, from taking certain medicines, which is often different, from what they tell you. I can tell you what to expect, from the mental health establishment and how you can stay, out of the hospital. I can relate with how hard it is, to believe something is true and, at the same time, know it is just an illusion. I can give useful advice, on how to relate with religion, in a helpful way.

9.7.11 Religious Benefits

One of the really misunderstood things about Schizophrenia involves religion. There are many aspect of religion, that play into many of the worst symptoms, like: rituals, the supernatural, cults, and charismatic leaders. Religion, at its best, offers much more than this - religion offers: community support, gives hope no matter what the situation, it gives the member something to focus on, it gives members community service, it can be a place to feel safe, and self discipline in prayer and other daily religious activities. All of this improve the spirits, of someone with Schizophrenia, while also giving their life meaning.

9.7.12 Religious Problems

As far, as being rational, most major world religions have quite a lot of elaborate theology, which provides a rational explanation, for most aspects of their dogma. The other major aspect usually involve an infinite God or reality, that, by its very nature, appears irrational to us, of our cognitive limitations, even though it is likely very rational, if we had the minds to understand it. This supernatural part is the least understood aspect of religion and in response, to not being able to understand these kinds, of abstract concepts, a person with Schizophrenia might devolve, into an obsessive-compulsive behavior, in response.

9.8 Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

9.8.1 Misconceptions

When I joined the Army, I quickly learned to not assume anything. I had a lot of misconceptions about the military and I am very literal, so there was already a lot of confusion. The two things I did know about the military served me very well: I always gave 150% effort and I did whatever I was told, without question or delay. The hardest part of the military for me was not following orders or working hard enough, as it was for most other service members, but the lack of sleep, identifying ranks in real situations, and some of the potentially painful threats to a soldier, like torture and chemical weapons.

9.8.2 Paperwork

One of the first things I learned in the military, which I had was not aware of, is that the military never updates any of their forms, so, when you are given a form, you do not fill anything out, until you are told what to put, into what box. If you do so, the NCO rips it up, makes you start again, and they start to get more angry, than usual. We would be told to put things, in boxes, that were labelled, as something entirely different and cross out and write in other things, and we ended up only using a few boxes, in the entire form.

9.8.3 More Paperwork

The military also, routinely, loses all this information and enters it wrong, into the computers. The military doesn’t have this as a high priority, because it is not considered mission critical. My discharge papers, from the Army, were the exactly same is my grandfathers from the Navy, from Word War 2. I had wondered about the style, that the military used, for its type, as I am was interested and now do graphic design - I guess it was unique, because it was from, at least 50 years ago. The military also likes using all capital letters and what is called small caps - where all the letters are in capitols, but the first letter is bigger, than all the others. I think it makes things harder to read.

9.8.4 Conflicting Orders

I worked under several different commands and so I sometimes got conflicting orders, which I was never told how to distinguish. That could have been taught, one of the days, when I was doing my regular kitchen patrol rotation, in Basic Training, as I also seemed to have missed the part about the Geneva Conventions and not saluting officers in combat, and no, they do not give you notes (writing notes in the military is considered, to be not paying attention).

9.8.5 Sergeant vs. Sergeant

When I left my advanced training, my previous Drill Sergeant told me, to take a taxi, from the airport, to the command I was stationed at, on my written orders. When I got off the taxi, it was in the middle, of the night, I couldn’t see anything, and there was no one to guide me, so a high ranking officer was driving by, picked me up, and took me, to the temporary unit, where I was to do in processing. After that, I left, to my real unit and was told I could stay there, if I wanted to.

9.8.6 Vindication

Both NCOs were of equal rank, so I went where my orders were printed I should be. Later, that NCO tried, to get me to say I was wrong, in doing that, but I never did, as I was following my last orders. This happened, because my unit had not been receiving new soldiers, for a long time, and afterwards all the new soldiers did the same, as I did. I guess I established a precedent.

9.8.7 More Conflicting Orders

I ran into problems every so often, with this other unit, on the same base, as we had different policies, in our unit. I was wearing my sleeves down, as most my unit was, but when I went to use services, on the base I would run into NCOs, under different commands and this often led, to problems. It might be surprising, to people, who have not been in the military, that just because you get a part of the uniform, for a certain function, like a coat, wearing it just because you are cold, if you are not specifically ordered, by your unit to, is considered being out of uniform. You can get in trouble for this.

9.8.8 Wrong Uniform

The Army roles up its sleeves, depending, on their orders, for their unit, and different units had different policies. The Marines actually role up their sleeves a slightly different way than the Army (this is a good way, to tell them apart, in combat uniforms) and all switch, all over the entire world, on the exact same day, every year. I also got in trouble, much later on, because I was sent to paint something and I wore safety googles. In most non-military situations, I would be applauded, for being safe, but, in the military, I was out of uniform.

9.8.9 Ironing Combat Uniform

Another thing, that most people do not know about the Army is that you usually wear your camouflage uniform (BDUs in the Army), to work, even in office like environments. So, most soldiers have some pairs of BDUs, for going out, in the field (training exercise in combat simulations), which they keep clean and just iron, but the uniform they wear, to an office like job, they iron these BDU uniforms with starch, so that you get sharp creases and you also polish your work combat boots, as well.

9.8.10 Polishing Combat Boots

The combat boots, you are issued are not easy, to polish, are not the best for parade, mountain, or jungle terrain, but you can buy, with your own money, other better, specialized boots on the base. I was actually very bad, at polishing boots, but I paid another soldier to polish some, for me, so I wore those, to a meeting, with a high ranking officer, while the other soldiers came, from a long shift and had no time, to switch boots. After that, the commanding officer of the entire battalion was very impressed.

9.8.11 Buying Issued Gear

You are issued 4 sets of BDUs and a certain number, of a number of different items, like protective masks (gas masks), as different times and are responsible, for keeping them, in working condition. You can also buy additional and related uniform parts, in one of the shops, on base. I bought a pair of mountain boots, because it was cold, where I worked, and you didn’t have to polish it. I also bought all the different insignia, for the different units, I was under, in a special plastic version, that never needs to be polished.

9.8.12 Army vs. Marines

The Marines like to tease the Army about how many different insignia they have, on their uniforms, because it appears like awards, to some people, but the Marines have the Marine logo printed numerous places, on their camouflage battle uniforms (the Army does not do this). The reason for the more insignias, for the Army, is that it is bigger and has more units.

9.8.13 Pedestrians Always Wrong

One time, I got in trouble, for racing out, in front of traffic, on this same base. Instead of the car getting in trouble, for almost hitting me, it was considered my fault. They asked who my First Sergeant was, but I didn’t know his name, which brings me to another bizarre situation common, in the military. When you go to Army Basic Training, you don’t say sir, yes sir (that is in the Marines, during their Boot Camp).

9.8.14 Addressing NCOs

You say whatever it is you are saying and then end it, every time, with Drill Sergeant. Other Sergeants of several different ranks are just called Sergeants (in the Army, but not the Marines), but your First Sergeant and Sergeant Majors are addressed with their full title. You also want, to avoid calling anyone, the wrong rank even, if it it a higher rank. You need to especially make sure you never mix up an NCO with an officer - never call a Sergeant sir or mam and never call an officer a Sergeant.

9.8.15 Everyone is Drill Sergeant

During Basic Training, we were so ingrained, on calling everyone, over us Drill Sergeant, that we never learned their actual names. So, I often never knew the names, of many of my superiors, because you always call them Sergeant, or Sir. When I first came, to my Advanced Training, I thought the Drill Sergeant was on officer, because I had never seen an NCO, in civilian clothes, much less, when on duty. I called him sir and I ended up, a split second later, on the ground, doing push-ups.

9.8.16 Awards for No Reason

I remember, several times, I was praised by a superior and I always thought it odd, because I was just following orders and was not actually very good, at any of the skills, until later on. So I was told by my head Drill Sergeant, in front of the entire platoon, while waiting, for lunch, that she would have chosen me, as the one person, out of about 60, that she would have promoted, if I wasn’t already, at the rank, that she could have promoted me to (I came in at a slightly higher rank, because I was an Eagle Scout). Another thing, that sounds odd, to us, now, is that whenever we were in line to get food, we had to yell out, very loud, our complete name and social security number, in front, of our entire platoon.

9.8.17 Smart Peons

Later on, I was praised, for being so intelligent, at my job, but all I was doing was following very simple orders. What does intelligence have to do with submission? The military thought that I could deal with anything, because I was smart. I guess they didn’t know much about psychology. To illustrate this point, when I left the military, I was diagnosed, as to my mental illness, by NCOs (a psychiatrist in the military starts out as a Major, which is a high ranking officer), so the people deciding my fate had a few months training, in psychological warfare.

9.8.18 Everyone is a Foot Soldier

Most people, not familiar, with the military, don’t know this, but there was a very famous battle - I think it was the Word War 2 Battle of the Bulge, in Europe, where they had everyone go in and fight, as foot soldiers, regardless of their specialized training, and this was key to winning, that particular battle. So, although I could hardly even pass my rifle qualifications (I did do so though with my left hand even though I was right handed, as I was instructed by one of the drill sergeants), if I had not gotten my veterans pension, before September 11th, 2001, I could likely be sent over, as a front line foot soldier, because they believed I would forget too much, of my specialized training, but that I would always be able to use my infantry training.

9.8.19 Problems with Paranoid Troops

Sending a person, with Paranoid Schizophrenia, onto the battle field is more of a liability, than an asset, because, besides taking medicine, a person with Schizophrenia needs, to be under a low stress environment, in order to not lose touch, with reality. I could end up firing my rifle, at everyone, or run right, into an explosion.

9.8.20 Doctor’s Orders

When I went to the doctor, I often had to wait about 5 hours, in the morning, after working an entire night shift, to see the doctor. Doctors hours were all completely different depending on type of doctor. For instance the dentist had totally different hours than the eye doctor, for instance. The only thing that was consistent is that they always went to lunch from 11-1, no matter what hours they had.

I had problems with allergies and I once was, I think ordered (I never knew if our doctors prescriptions were orders or not because doctors start in the military as the rank of a commanding officer, Captain), to go to another base, to have a sinus growth removed. I found out later, with a civilian ear, eyes, and throat doctor, that that would be extremely painful and completely unnecessary, because it was very common. It was good, that I went as often as I did, because it gave a good enough record, to help my get my 10% of my veterans disability pension, for chronic allergic pink eye.

9.8.21 Military Eye Doctor

When I had pink eye (this time an infectious kind, along with the previous allergy kind), I had trouble putting the ointment, in my eyes because I didn’t want to poke out my eyes with the metal pointed tube applicator. To help me, I was held down by an NCO and they shoved the medicine in my eyes. I remember staying, in the community room, while my door was barracks door being painted and having this pink eye infection, I was thought, by one sergeant, to be a homeless person. Unfortunately, I couldn’t just leave and say yes. I actually had to show him my military ID.

9.8.22 College for Enlisted

Another thing, that surprises most people, is that college credit, although very hard, to get, in the military, because the military, even, at this time, was to understaffed, to be able, to let people go to school, was the key to advancement, for the enlisted (I don’t know anything about officers - we avoided them whenever possible, as you could only get in trouble, if you ran into one). Many NCOs have masters degrees.

9.8.23 College Graduate but Not Officer

And college credit does not get you, to be an officer, automatically, or even an NCO. Many of my co-workers had college degrees, but could not enter, as officers, because they owed money, which the government would only pay back, if they went enlisted. They were told, that officers were gentlemen and so they paid back, their debts. After finding out how hard it was, to get the military, to pay the loans payments, in a timely enough manner, so they didn’t get penalties, and finding out how much an officer makes paywise, many left and went to OCS (Officers basic training).

9.9 Schizophrenia Primer

9.9.1 What is Schizophrenia?

One of the biggest struggles, for getting help, for the mentally ill, in general, and specifically those with Schizophrenia is all about the medicine. Contrary, to alternative medicine practitioners, Schizophrenia cannot be effectively treated by any herb, diet, vitamin, counseling, and is not caused by how you are raised, how smart you are, by chemical exposure, or by disease. Schizophrenia is not multiple personality disorder, it is not a mood disorder, nor is it contagious. Schizophrenia is caused by a stressful event, most commonly military service, to people with a genetic tendency, for the disease. Schizophrenia usually comes in the 20s for men and in the 30s for women. It is the most serious condition, that does not kill you.

9.9.2 Symptoms

It is not fully known exactly how Schizophrenia causes the symptoms it does. There are two types of symptoms that Schizophrenia causes. The first are called positive symptoms and the second negative symptoms. The positive symptoms are not sought after, but just mean an additional problem, rather than the negative problems, which are mostly due to lack of something. The medicine treats the first part very well, and many times the second type of symptoms cause the most damage, to the persons life.

The positive symptoms include the stereotypical things associated with Schizophrenia, including hearing voices (seeing hallucinations is very rare), and have delusions and paranoia. Surprisingly, not all forms of Schizophrenia have paranoia. Paranoia is a kind of delusion associated with someone coming after you. The negative symptoms include things like depression, inappropriate facial expressions, showing a lack of emotion, lack of motivation, facial movements/drooling, and often obsessive compulsive and anxiety disorders, which all cause isolation, in most causes.

9.9.3 Medicine

Getting on the medicine is hard, because you have to admit you have a problem, but, at the same time, your mind is telling you, that the things your doctor and friends are telling you are delusions, are real and are actual events. This is made harder, by how we see people, with delusions, on TV and the movies, where they never doubt their sanity and they always find out that they were right and the situation was what was non-sensical. Another problem, with taking the medicine, is that it is thought, in America, that we solve our problems ourselves and, especially, being a man means that you don’t depend, upon others.

Furthermore, many people in the entertainment and media industries are constantly promoting alternative medicine and portraying legal medication as not effective and counter productive, including many workers in the mental health establishment. There are also many side effects of the medication, that include rapid weight gain, extreme tiredness, and facial ticks, besides other ones, that are common, with most medicines, like diarrhea or headaches. Americans also seem, to want, to provide, for themselves, especially men and so feel bad about taking government assistance, like medicine. It is common for many people in America with most medicines, to stop taking them, when they don’t feel the symptoms anymore.

9.9.4 Isolation

One of the first causes of isolation come from relatives not being able to accept their relative is disabled and things the person with Schizophrenia ends up being deluded about makes their family victims. Further isolation can be caused by a fear of being around other people, either due to anxiety or paranoia. One of the best ways of explaining what Schizophrenia is like is to say, that it feels like everything is amplified, not just feelings, but things, like food taste, light, heat, noise, number of people around, and time. One of the things, that makes your life more difficult, with Schizophrenia, that you don’t hear very often, is that it kills your sense of time and your biological clock - I cannot tell if fifteen minutes went by, or an hour, without looking, at a clock.

9.9.5 Thinking Disorder

Schizophrenia causes thinking problems, in that a person cannot distinguish, between fantasy and reality - this, along with my religious views, has encouraged me to avoid studying mythology. A person with Schizophrenia is often very literal and cannot understand abstract concepts, which creates many problems in society, because much of language and social interaction involves abstract concepts.

9.9.6 Religion

People with Schizophrenia often express themselves in religious, obsessive compulsive, and symbolic terms. By symbolism, I mean that a person, with Schizophrenia, will find simple events, in their lives, like a car passing by, to be signs, of great significance. Because of this amplification, of some religious concepts, many people, in the mental health establishment actively discourage religion, for people with mental illnesses.

9.9.7 Secondary Treatments

Although it is true, that you can only deal, with the positive symptoms of Schizophrenia, with medicine, many of the the negative symptoms can be helped, by things like counseling, support groups, community led activities and even religion, within some of the more mainstream groups. Some people think that having Schizophrenia is a sign, that you have spiritual abilities, and that Schizophrenia is a existential and religious crisis, that will resolve itself naturally.

9.9.8 Universal and Disabling

This may be true for many people, but this is not something someone, who really has Schizophrenia, deals with - Schizophrenia is a disability and gives no special abilities. Schizophrenia is a chemical imbalance, in the brain, and is not related to anything spiritual. It also is unrelated to intelligence, nor does it change your personality. Schizophrenia affects 1% of the population, in any culture, and so it is not specific, to any particular ethnic group. Schizophrenia is considered the hardest mental illness, to deal with, by far, and Paranoid Schizophrenia is the hardest, to deal with, form of Schizophrenia.

9.9.9 The Establishment

Most people, with Schizophrenia, live with some amount of assistance and most end up going back, to a psychiatric facility, many times, throughout their lives. Those, on government assistance, are actually housed, in the county jail. Schizophrenia lasts your whole life and never becomes any easier, to deal with. The mentally ill generally are forced, into a psychiatric facilities, by committing a minor crime, like shoplifting or vandalism, but are no more likely, to commit violent crimes, than anyone else.

9.9.10 Not Enough

One of the things, that complicates people living, with Schizophrenia, is the decision, to let people with mental illness live independently, without spending any money, on programs, to support them. Most people, with Schizophrenia, in the United States, are on government assistance, which is handled, by the Social Security Administration, which is only livable, if you basically use free government services, for most your major expenses, like: healthcare, housing, food, and entertainment.

These services continue, to be cut, by my state, almost every year. There are also too many people, in the area, for the amount of space, they have, for new applicants, so you often have to wait, many years, for this. Another problem is that it is very hard, for people with Schizophrenia, to fill our forms, and they are often homeless, so they end up not being eligible, for the programs. I also fear that changes to Social Security will affect their income, much as federal cutbacks have affects the income of disabled veterans like, myself.

9.9.11 History

Schizophrenia has been treatable, since the 1950s, when it was discovered, that a sedative was effective treatment. Viktor Frankl was the first doctor, to treat psychosis, with a sedative. While this was affective, with some of the symptoms, it caused even worse weight gain, tiredness, and drooling. The 90s were a significant time, for mental illness, as many of the newer, less sedating drugs, were discovered then. Being on newer medications makes these symptoms less intense, but they are more expensive and they are not always affective, on every patient.

9.9.12 How Sedatives Work

My first antipathetic caused me, to gain 80 pounds, in 4 months and I could actually sleep all day long and all night and often had, to pry my eyes open, to stay awake. A newer drug, I got, started on, a year later, made me less tired and I didn’t increase anymore, in weight. The reason, for these side effects, is simple: a sedative makes you go to sleep and so the older drugs were less able, to target the brain, without affecting the digestive system and other systems, in the body. You become hungry, because the nerves, in your stomach, are deadened, so you never feel full, no matter how much you eat. This is why people can only be diagnosed and that medication can only be prescribed, by a psychiatrist, rather than a psychologist, because a psychiatrist has a doctorate in psychology, as well as a medical doctorate, but a psychologist can have anywhere between a one year certificate and a doctorate in psychology, but no medical degree.

9.10 Difficulty in Diagnosis

9.10.1 Diagnosis is Complicated

Many mentally ill consumers are misdiagnosed, with the wrong mental illness, largely because the patient cannot always give enough information, the symptoms don’t always manifest themselves, in the same way, and that they seldom fit the textbook definitions. I personally have Paranoid Schizophrenia, but I talk fast, so many psychiatrists first response is that I am bipolar, but I never feel up, at anytime, and I do have paranoia.

9.10.2 Why I Get Misdiagnosed

I appear more rational and talk rapidly, because I am intelligent and my mind works quick. I have also studied philosophy, for many years, and present myself more rationally, than I really am, as I am always afraid, of being locked up. My paranoia is more easily observed, by people, who know me and my general lack of trust, in my close relationships. My paranoia is a large degree under control, but it doesn’t mean, that I don’t have times, where I still struggle with it.

9.10.3 Schizophrenia is a General Category

In reality, there are not just Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, and Clinical Depression, along with their sub categories. These illnesses are more like general categories of diseases, like the disease cancer is, so people don’t usually fit, into these categories very neatly. The medication is so primitive, that you often have to choose between being depressed and being paranoid.

9.10.4 Behavioral Factors

Behavioral solutions often work, as well, as the medicine. By not watching certain specific things, on TV or reading, on the Internet I have had a lot less depression and paranoia. Some of my symptoms are seasonal, as well. I have more trouble, with depression, in the summer, because: many activities stop for the summer, it is too hot and too bright, insects are more aggressive, it reminds me of basic training in the military, and much of the city is deserted on the weekends.

9.10.5 Intelligence and Personality

Other factors, that are often not looked closely enough at, include level of intelligence and personality. Many of the things, that might appear, in my life, to be manic are actually part of being a melancholy temperament. It is also hard for doctors, to find out, what is really going on, because they are not intelligent enough, to understand what I am saying and they don’t encounter many people, who understand, as much about their illness, as I do.

9.10.6 Bureaucratic Problems

One of the problems is that you usually only see a psychiatrist, for 30 minutes, and many are more interested, in counseling, than, in prescription of medicine. I am not going open up and give out personal thoughts, when I know, that it is being documented, in detail, by the government and can affect my freedom so easily. I also get new doctors, every couple years, and they often pick up on things said many years ago, and no longer relevant, because the software, for accessing their records IS not very easy to navigate. They also really push, to change your medicine, all the time, often when it is not needed.

9.10.7 My Paranoid Thoughts

One of the reason why I do not open up to them is out of paranoia, so they can’t really rule this out, if it manifests itself, in such an everyday situation. I do not trust anyone, in authority, because I am fearful of losing my freedom and independence. One of my more recent paranoias involve me being dropped into another time, in history, or another region, of the world, where my safety is at stake. When I hear people laughing, or talking on the bus, I think they are laughing at me or talking about me.

9.11 Personality Change

9.11.1 A Different Person

When my mom describes learning, about my illness, and how to deal with it, she describes it, as getting, to know an entirely different person. She said, that I was, in a sense, the same person, but I was so different, that she needed, to approach our relationship, from this angle. When I wrote my biography collection (now the first part of Complete Psychological Topics), I just focused, on the events, from the military and afterwards.

9.11.2 Military Experience Most Significant

The military experience has had the most effect, on me, compared to every other experience, even becoming mentally ill. My doctor said that he thought I became mentally ill, during Basic Training, maybe during the gas chamber (NuclearBiologicalChemical (Weapons Survival) Training). The simplest way, to describe it, is that I became much more serious, in my worldview. When I went to Basic Training, my previous life seemed so irrelevant, that it just faded, into what seemed, like a dream.

9.11.3 What is Basic Training?

It has been said, that everything you learn in Basic Training could be done, in a community college, like atmosphere. The reason why Drill Sergeants yell, at you, is to stress you out, which is how they try to simulate the unique stress you encounter, when serving, in combat. The entire skill set you learn during Basic Training is called combat survival and technically prepares everyone, and qualifies them, to be an infantry (front line foot) soldier, regardless of speciality. There are 3 things you need, to do, to complete Basic Training are: going through a gas chamber with tear gas, throwing a live grenade, and qualifying with a rifle (Basic Rifle Marksmanship).

9.11.4 4 Personality Temperaments

The reasons I think, that I ended up getting Schizophrenia are a combination of 3 things: the genetic predisposition to the disease, the Army experience, and that I am a very sensitive and emotional person. The big change seamed to also bring about a personality shift (more precisely, a change, in temperament). There are four basic temperaments, which come, from what was developed, by Jung, but originally came, from the Baghavad Gita.

9.11.5 Sanguine Temperament

I was previously, in high school, and before what is called a Sanguine temperament. This is a very social and energetic personality type, that enjoys being around other people, can easily make new friends, is talkative, and is often romantic. One of the bad things, about this type, is they can be intense and not serious enough. This is a very enjoyable personality type, compared, to probably all, of the entire set.

9.11.6 High School Experience

I was involved in 12 extracurricular activities, at one time, during high school - I became an Eagle Scout, took part in 3 different sports, started my own club, and I took a full course load, that colleges recommend, every year, plus no study halls. After I was on the Cheerleading Team, my junior year, I became very popular. I missed the maximum number of days, in each class, that you could, without having to repeat the courses, but they were all excused absences, for class school activities. I never got bullied, in high school.

9.11.7 Melancholy Temperament

At that time, I wanted to be more Melancholy, but I would say, now, that this is the most unpleasant personality type, to have, mainly due, to the tendency, for depression. A melancholy personality type is a thinking person, shy, they tend to be over concerned about the welfare of others, they are often creative, can be obsessed about world suffering, are perfectionists, and are very practical and self-reliant. This type of personality can be seen, to fit me, by those familiar, with my writing.

9.11.8 How Army Changed Me

The Army changed my focus, from being overconfident and outspoken, to being much more careful and thoughtful about the choices I make. I remember, that I realized, later on, that I had taken a number of big risks, in joining the military, and that I have been very careful, to avoid, any kind of risk, later on. After joining the military, I became even more religious and spiritual things were much more real, to me, than before. I remember going to church, almost every Sunday, often at totally different churches, and about this time found a Charismatic church and was baptized, with the Holy Spirit.

9.11.9 Taking Less Risks

Another thing, that might have only made sense, after that experience, is what I learned, from reading a book, by a Christian author - that whenever you have a high, you have an equally low low and so, to reduce your depression, try to avoid doing things, that bring you up, that much. This is the reason why drugs do not work and cause serious depression - you cannot be up all the time. The body must even itself out, by design.

9.11.10 College Experience

I planned, on becoming a billionaire, and using my money, to secure a place, for Christians, to be safe, during the tribulation, before the Armageddon. Later, in college, as I became more and more mentally ill, I did poorly, in business classes, and finally switched to Journalism. I had known, for some time, that I could write well, but this time I found that I was good, at philosophy, and bad, at languages. My first introduction, to philosophy, was in a year long junior level Chinese Literature class.

9.11.11 Chronic Allergic Pink Eye

In college, I didn’t study, that much, but slept, as much, as possible, because I had a condition, with my eyes, that I developed, while being, in the military. This is often referred to, as pink eye, but it was caused, by allergies and was not contagious. I had it, for about 3 years. It was very painful and I only got a little relief, from the latest medicine. I was also very sensitive, to chemicals, as cleaners made my eyes hurt, even more. It finally went away, when I got on my first anti-psychotic, after being diagnosed, with Paranoid Schizophrenia. I still earn 10%, of my veterans disability pension, for that condition.

9.12 Why I Accept Change in my Life

9.12.1 Admitting Need for Outside Help

Most people seem to fear change and resist it, with all they are. With Schizophrenia, this tendency is amplified. Most people with Schizophrenia’s biggest problem is first admitting they need help and second, that they need to keep taking their medicine, even if they feel normal. One of the reasons why I have been so successful, in dealing with Schizophrenia, was a willingness to admit I am wrong and I need help and my decision to discipline myself, to keep at improving my situation.

9.12.2 Ambition

There are several personality factors, that pushed me, in this direction. First, I have always been very ambitious. When I was in high school, I wanted to go into International Business and earn a billion dollars, through the Distribution aspect of business. I decided that I could not do that, after I left the military and so decided, to take a more spiritual and long term approach, through writing and the Internet. I found that the ultimate challenge was in trying to become a truly good person, even with Christ’s constant assistance.

9.12.3 Lack of Time

Another factor, in being able to change, and admit I needed help was that I had very little time. From a young age, I saw all the stupid decisions our leaders in America made, over my lifetime and the future looked increasing bleak, so that, although I think that God will not return soon, I do still believe that we are at a critical point in history and at the brink of major social changes. The shifting balance of power in the world, the damage we have inflicted on the environment and the economy, and the degradation of our morality will all work together, to force a change, in the way we live and what it means, to be human.

9.12.4 Addiction

The other major factor, in my acknowledging my need to change, is that change has become a sort of addiction, for me. Once I went down the road of realizing the only thing I have power over is myself, my decisions, and the attitude I choose to have, I have had trouble stopping. I guess it is a kind of rush, to be able to change so much about myself, while at the same time being true to who I always was. I began to like myself more and this gave me more peace and joy. I found that the difficulty only increased my interest in it and the idea of a future no one can predict is very exciting.

9.12.5 Humility and a Better World

Another thing that helped me accept change was that I am very unhappy about the way the world currently operates and, although it may only get worse, things will be very different from now, within the next couple decades. And the last thing that helped my accept change was due to my obsession with humility and my discovery that it was at the very heart of Christianity. This hatred of arrogance was really amplified in the military, where, once I went through basic training, I decided I never wanted to be a leader.

9.13 A Complex Issue

9.13.1 No Good Reason

Many people have said that it is only Americans, that get bored or depressed, and these are just illnesses, for those who have the wealth, to be able to sustain these issues, as poor people have to just suck it up and are happy, with relatively nothing, but they are too busy working to get bored or depressed. This perspective can help with many issues, but the problem with this is that it is a rational argument, whereas depression is not rational as all. If I think about those people overseas, who are so poor and, yet have such joy, it makes me feel worse, but I am still depressed. Also, if I see people overseas, in suffering, because of their persecution, or lack of basic necessities, I feel even even more depressed.

9.13.2 Cannot Shut It Down

No matter how much it might be in my best interest, or that it might be only reasonable, that I not be so without hope, because of all the advantages I have, it doesn’t convince the part of my mind, where the depression comes from. I can attest to you, that I have no legitimate reason, to be depressed, when I am doing so well compared, to the rest of the world, and that logically and morally I should be happy, but this does not make the depressions stop. You cannot use your brain, to control your emotions, when they get beyond a certain point.

9.13.3 Major Mental Problem

Many people think that depression is a minor mental problem, but I can attest it is scarier, than being paranoid. Many illness are this way, like bipolar disorder, for instance - people think that it is the same level of problem, as Schizophrenia because of some superficial similarities and think they know what you are going through. Many illnesses like chronic pain have all different levels of severity - most people, who claim they have a migraine, have no idea what a migraine really feels like. Many people think they know what paranoia is like, because they saw a scary movie, but that is nothing like Schizophrenia.

9.13.4 Many Causes, Many Treatments

Depression is a complex mental illness, in that it can have many causes and many treatments. You can make it better, by: making sure you get a good nights sleep, get enough sunlight, making sure you get out everyday, exercise and stay physically healthy, keep taking your medicine, do things that give your life meaning, stay in contact with other people daily, try not to think about things that you cannot resolve, do things for others, and the like. The really tricky thing about treating depression is that you cannot let it get too bad, because there is no quick acting anti-depressant. You can get sedatives, that act fast, but they only help indirectly, with depression.

9.13.5 When You Need Help

We all get depressed, sometimes, especially at night, but sometimes it gets, to another level. You know you need help, when you cannot shake the depression, after a day, and it never stops. You have to discipline yourself, to a point, so that you can do what you need, to fight the depression off. Giving up is going to just prolong it - don’t give up the fight. Once you get yourself, to certain point, it will get easier and, after that, you will eventually get, into a habit, and it will just be an other part, of your routine. Experience helps a lot and understanding your family and the issues you have developed, over the years, can play in will help, as well. When you are sick, or in physical pain, this can make depression worse. Taking care of your body will help your mind, as well.

9.14 Daily Life

9.14.1 Complicates Life

People often wonder what it is like, to daily live, with Schizophrenia. When I think of my time, before I had Schizophrenia, and I remember how easy things were, to just take a non-credit class, or workout, at a gym, it is hard to understand why it is so much harder now. When I didn’t have Schizophrenia, I had a tremendous amount of energy and I was criticized, for being silly, not for being negative.

9.14.2 Opposite of Procrastination

One thing, that makes a huge difference, to me, now, and one of the biggest reasons, why I cannot hold down a job, is that having to do something everyday stresses me out too much. I have tried, to take credit courses, at the local colleges and it just stress me out too much. Most people’s problem would be procrastination, but I have the opposite problem - I think everything must be done right away.

9.14.3 Too Much Stress

This is the major reason why I still have not been able to learn another language (in addition to the fact that I am barely understandable in English). I found this neat speech club, in town, but the stress of having to participate is just too much, for me. I don’t go to church, because my mind cannot just shut down thinking about theology. I don’t go to the library, because there are too many people and too much noise.

9.14.4 Paranoia

I also have trouble, due to my paranoia, to get close to other people - when other people, near me, laugh, I think they are talking about me. I am also paranoid about flying, stinging bugs, like yellow jackets and wasps (which seem to have an attraction for me, although I have never been stung, as I run away, instead of swatting at them). I also have a hard time trusting anyone, who is in a leadership position.

9.14.5 Summer and Sunlight

I have more trouble, in the summer as: so many things shut down, the sunlight is too bright, bugs are more aggressive, and it reminds me of Basic Training. I actually look forward, to cloudy and rainy days - they seem magical and full of possibilities, while I find bright sun, to be oppressive and too intense. I do not like, to eat outside, when it is sunny, due to the bug thing and the intensity, of the light.

9.14.6 Rude People

I like being around people, but I find most people too annoying and rude. One of the things, that really stops me, from meeting more people is how rude people are - I am very sensitive, to this. Rudeness, to me, means a lack of respect. I find it very difficult, to deal with, what I call “bus people”.

9.14.7 Too Serious

In addition, I seem to have gotten much more serious, as well. This personality change is not a fun one and it has been very hard, for me, to accept the amount, of suffering, in the world, and the ridiculous decisions leaders make, that make things worse, for everyone involved. I no longer watch 24 hour news, because it is so negative constantly, repeats the same thing over and over again, and nothing ever changes. We live in a world of constant change, but the things, that really matter never have and never will change.

9.14.8 Ambition

I have such an immense drive, that it is hard, for me, to slow down and rest. One of the things, that pushes me, to do more, is how fulfilling I find it, to create things. I honestly don’t find most movies, or TV shows enough, to keep my interest. I like to create things, because once I do it, I can see I did something and I never have to do it again. I get too obsessed, with backing things up, but this might be a good use, of my paranoia, as you can never back up, too often.

9.14.9 Keeping a Schedule Impossible

I have trouble getting up, in time for appointments, because it is almost impossible, for me, to keep a set schedule and sleep, at set times. Many people think having no work, to do, and the entire day free would be fun, but fun is only fun, because you do it a small portion of time. No one really is happy truly retiring.

9.14.10 Hardest Thing

Many things can still be done, but things must be done, gradually, over a period of time and some things are just beyond what I can handle. This is one of the hardest things for me to overcome due to my mental illness.

9.15 Why Stuffed Toys?

9.15.1 Why Animals?

I live alone and find, that most people I meet, in everyday life, since I am not able, to work, to be rather obnoxious. I enjoy being around animals, so much, because they are always kind and patient, with you, in the things, that matter most. I am careful, to not hurt any animal, even insects, if it is not absolutely necessary, for my safety.

9.15.2 Animal Stereotypes

I am appalled, at how bad animals are treated, both throughout history and the world and also just within the United States. I believe, that one of the best ways, to improve the world is through improving one animal’s life. Many people see animals, as less than human beings, either morally, because they don’t get married, or because they are supposedly less intelligent, in the limited ways, in which we test intelligence.

9.15.3 Animal Morality

I believe, that animals are more moral, than people, in that they exhibit more Fruits of the Spirit, the qualities a Christian is supposes to have, to prove their faith is real. Furthermore, God has at least one contract, with animals, like He had with Israel, and then through Christ, detailed in Genesis - animals are not supposed to kill people. Furthermore, when the New Testament talks about salvation, it never directly specifies, that being human is a requirement, or give a clear method, to determine who is human by Biblical definition (the Bible does not talk directly about DNA).

9.15.4 Proof of Animal Intelligence

As far as intelligence is concerned, think about it this way: while it is true that most animals cannot speak human languages, they have a very good understanding, of how to communicate their needs and desires. If an outside observer looks, at the situation, between a person and a pet, they might well think, that the pets were the dominant species. We take care of a pets medical, dietary, sanitation, and emotional needs.

9.15.5 Further Proof of Animal Intelligence

Is is true that pets give us a lot, but they do get cared for, as much as we do, for our own children, or relatives, with an extreme disabling condition, and the animals are not even technically related. If we were able to get al our needs met, by some other species, then we might not develop written language, or the wheel either (although the opposable thumb comes in very handy, with those tools, we need to grip, for holding a book, or doing things, that require fine motor skills, or quick reaction, like driving a car, or playing a video game).

9.15.6 Can’t Buy Friends

There are many things you need, that you can hire someone else, to do, like food, transportation, cleaning, and fix things, but it gets more tricky, when you want company, but don’t have the energy, to give back, to them. This is the kind of thing a pet can do, for you. The downsides are bigger, for some people, than for others. The responsibilities you have, for the animal, are satisfying basically all its needs. Most animals are like 3 year old human children and have similar needs.

9.15.7 Rationale for Stuffed Toys

But, there is a solution, that gives most of the benefits, of having an animal, without the responsibility. This alternative is called a stuffed toy, or, as they prefer, to be called, plush animals. A plush animal does not move, at least that I have directly seen, and does not eat, so I don’t have, to clean up, after them. Plush animals may not talk, to you, but I have Schizophrenia, so they talk to me. They are one of the special relationships I have, that I wouldn’t, without my mental illness.

9.15.8 Life for My Stuffed Toys

My stuffed toys think, of me, as a cross between: an older brother, a friend, an uncle, and a dad. Some of their greatest dreams include going on a trip and learning to read. They like the new Apple devices and I have bought a number of books, games, and apps for them. They get spoiled, because every screen, like the TV or iPad, is like a movie theater screen, for them, because of their small size.

They think of themselves as real, full size farm animals and they believe, that they live, in world of giants.

9.15.9 Plush Ideas about TV Shows

One of their big activities, includes watching TV. They like, to watch, what they call the “little shows” - commercials, because they can follow them better, because they are so much shorter, in time. They like shows, that seem related to things they think I do or have done, especially if there is character called Ben - they call these “Ben shows”. They also like shows, with small children, in them, that are young enough, to still play, with stuffed toys and shows made, for kids, like cartoons - they call these “cow shows”.

9.15.10 More Plush Ideas about TV Shows

They also enjoy watching “grass shows” - football, baseball, golf, and soccer games, or any other game, that is played on grass - so they can watch the grass grow. Their favorite movie, of all time, is Toy Story and they love movies about toys, like Transformers and GI Joes. They don’t like it, when I look at the TV Guide, on the TV, so that the picture of the show shrinks - they call this “little TV”.

9.15.11 Plush Government and Society

There are several leaders, for the stuffed toys, but they have a constitutional monarchy, so every stuffed toy gets, to vote. They all get magic, from God and the leader toy then taxes the magic, so that they have some, during an emergency. They have had ranks over time and they get promoted, so that the stuffed toys who were there the longest are treasured the most, as many older stuffed toys are rejected, or played with less.

9.15.12 Example of Plush Humor

They keep asking my Mac and iPad what their names are. It goes like this - they say “what’s your name”. The iPad says “iPad”. They then say - “oh you are Pad”. It then says “iPad” again. Then they say “we know, say you are Pad”.

9.15.13 Keeping Plush Safe

The only disease, they can get, we call “plush cancer,” which, if they are wet, for a long time, they can mold (I live in Oregon). That is why I am very careful, that they stay indoors and never get wet, and, if they do, I put them in the dryer. I try not to run them through the washing machine, that often, so that they can last longer.

9.15.14 More about Keeping Plush Safe

My biggest worry about my cows is that there will be a fire, in my apartment, and they will be badly burned and I can only feel very depressed, when I think, of stuffed toys crying, or in pain. I am very careful, with fire, and am still looking, at ways, to further protect them, like getting a clear version, of those firemen tents, that the forest can burn all around them, and they will be safe.

9.15.15 Plush Holiday Celebrations

I don’t know the exact dates I got them on, so I celebrate their birthdays, when I have mine. They get gifts, for birthdays and Christmas. I also buy some of the leaders clothes I get, from Build a Bear Workshop, all with the same theme. Many of them sit, on collapsible bookshelves, so, in my house, I have very little room, for actual books. I try to find gifts, for the other stuffed toys, - last year I got them felt to sit on, moved them, so they were closer to me, and also adjusted their locations, so that I can air out the house, without them getting wet, when it is raining and windy.