Help - my husband is in jail because he has schizophrenia ..

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Robert G.
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Help - my husband is in jail because he has schizophrenia ..

Post by Robert G. » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:26 pm

And I'm almost at the edge myself. I've already stated in these fora that I think Camopbell was almost 100% wrong regarding schizophrenia, so I won't make that argument again. But what can I do when he is lost in his own world and making decisions that are so irrational but effect us both? I keep thinking of Campbell's retelling of the myth of the perilous bed, which I can fully relate to, but what if it never ends? I will not leave, but I do not see an end to this ... is there a myth that addresses anything like this? I have the best of all things, the Holy Grail and my husband both, but only half the time ...

Starry, starry night.
Paint your palette blue and grey,
Look out on a summer's day,
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul.
Shadows on the hills,
Sketch the trees and the daffodils,
Catch the breeze and the winter chills,
In colors on the snowy linen land.

Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they did not know how.
Perhaps they'll listen now.

Starry, starry night.
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze,
Swirling clouds in violet haze,
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue.
Colors changing hue, morning field of amber grain,
Weathered faces lined in pain,
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand.

Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they did not know how.
Perhaps they'll listen now.

For they could not love you,
But still your love was true.
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night,
You took your life, as lovers often do.
But I could have told you, Vincent,
This world was never meant for one
As beautiful as you.

Starry, starry night.
Portraits hung in empty halls,
Frameless head on nameless walls,
With eyes that watch the world and can't forget.
Like the strangers that you've met,
The ragged men in the ragged clothes,
The silver thorn of bloody rose,
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow.

Now I think I know what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they're not listening still.
Perhaps they never will...

Don Mclean
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bodhibliss
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Post by bodhibliss » Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:56 pm

Robert

I know some of your pain from personal experience, and feel for what you're having to endure. At the same time, your husband is fortunate to have your love and support.

I do remember we had lots of long, interesting discussion in years past about whether or not schizophrenia really existed, but that's all academic. The reality you're facing is that your soul mate is lost in his inner world and making irrational choices that trigger negative consequences for both of you.

In my experience, that's harder on friends and families than on the individual immersed in his/her unconscious who is making the bad decisions.

Of course, schizophrenia is not against the law - but certain behaviors associated with many mental illnesses are.

One of my best friends (whom I'll call "Chris," since he has posted in this forum once or twice), similarly diagnosed with schizophrenia, kept drawing the attention of the authorities - a very long story I won't go into, as you can probably recount parallels of your own - but he ended up incarcerated on more than one occasion, and was several times institutionalized and medicated against his will. Today he is a relatively successful artist, a beloved, eccentric character in the town I live, and a mental health advocate with NAMI (an organization I can't recommend highly enough to friends and family of the mentally ill).

It was a long, difficult journey that devastated his family and those of us closest to him (we were roommates as his descent began), far more than it did Chris. He, after all, was deep in the universe of his own unconscious - any help or advice we'd offer, any criticism or negative experiences, like losing his business, his home, being roughed up by arresting officers, all become elements of the fantasy world in which he lived, cloaked in the projections of his unconscious.

And, of course, suffering and tragedy accelerated as he bumped up against reality. Frustrated family, friends, and especially the authorities naturally assumed Chris's irrational behaviors were the result of conscious choices he made. We approached him as if he were a whole person, and thought we were reacting to Chris, rather than to the fractured semi-autonomous elements of his psyche that at times wielded control over consciousness.

I'll admit I would even find myself getting uncharacteristically upset or angry with what were clearly irrational decisions on Chris's part that would inevitably lead to negative consequences - and I'd be terribly frustrated he couldn't see these as the results of his own actions.

I thought Chris was lost forever - and even today, he has episodes that take him down that path again - but he has tools that help him deal with what is happening, and a network of supportive friends, families, and members of the mental health community (including peers and patients as well as mental health professionals).

The work I found most helpful during this period is John Weir Perry's "The Far Side of Madness" (published in 1974). Perry worked with schizophrenics for decades, noting mythic themes surfacing in their fantasy worlds long before he discovered Joseph Campbell. Perry established a live-in treatment program called Diabasis that enjoyed a surprising rate of success without the use of medication. (No surprise that the word "heal" is etymologically related to "whole" - healing a "making whole" - which touches on Jung's theme of individuation). However, it was an expensive, time-consuming process on the part of mental health professionals, and did not survive the HMO-ization of American medicine. Far easier to medicate and control the behavior ...

Perry's work, which identifies several mythic patterns that played out among his patients, did help me understand and modify my approach to Chris's behavior, and is largely responsible for the fact we're still good friends today. Perry's book might strike a chord with your current experience - though out of print, it can probably be found among Amazon's third-party used booksellers.

I admire and applaud your love and commitment to your spouse, Robert. Perhaps this won't end, and perhaps you'll have the Grail and your husband only half the time. The only myth that immediately comes to mind at the moment is the climax of The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell. Though only tangentially related (the 50% theme - half the time monster, half the time loving spouse), there is surrender, acceptance, and love on Gawain's part.

Of course, in the myth there is an end to the monstrous form of Dame Ragnell - there may not be so clear-cut a resolution for you

... but NAMI can help with the surrender and the support needed to get through this.

Thinking good thoughts for you and yours,
bodhibliss
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Post by Cindy B. » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:16 pm

Hi, Robert.

I'm sorry to hear that you're going through tough times right now. bodhibliss's suggestion that you consider contacting NAMI is a good one, and I thought that perhaps you might be interested in these two online boards that I often refer family members to:

http://www.psychforums.com/forum.html
http://www.schizophrenia.com:8080/jivef ... forumID=26

My best to you and yours,

Cindy
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
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Post by S_Watson » Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:58 am

A mundane and practical question might be appropriate: Is he awaiting trial, or has he actually been convicted? If so, what was he convicted of? And if his crime was caused by schizophrenia, then why didn't his lawyer defend him on the ground of legal insanity? (By the way, legal insanity is not a medical diagnosis.)
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Post by S_Watson » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:26 pm

Another thing. Although I appreciate the song "Vincent" as pretty and emotionally moving, I disagree with the implication of its final verses:
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they're not listening still.
Perhaps they never will...
Objections:

1. The Buddhas (of whom Jesus was arguably one, too) attained sanity by transcending suffering. Suffering doesn't make one wise; transcendence of suffering does.

2. Trying to set OTHER humans spiritually free is a noble aspiration, but it is impossible for anyone other than God to accomplish. The Christian myth (whether literally true or not) says only God, as Christ, was ever capable of setting others free, and The Buddha would agree insofar as only the God WITHIN a person can ever set a person free. In sum, both Christianity AND Buddhism agree that it is beyond the capacity of any temporal, mortal, individual person to set anyone else free. All we can do is lend a hand, or as Campbell said, "If you want to help the world, you will teach people HOW to live in it."

In other words, you are not responsible for the salvation of anyone else.

3. Many of "them" ARE listening to God through God's multifarious masks - including many of us in this forum community - and therefore I disagree with the despair expressed in the final line of that song.

To all of which I will add, that in traditional Christianity, the only unforgivable sin is despair, and I happen to know that among many self-described "Satanist" cults, suicide is called the "Eighth sacrament". Thus, although the song "Vincent" is emotionally moving, I don't like the despairing direction toward which it moves.
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Post by S_Watson » Fri Mar 12, 2010 6:37 pm

At the risk (which I accept) of this comment being deleted by the moderators for possiblly perceived "insensitivity", I will ask yet another question of Robert - who has not returned to this forum since his original post:

You post with a male name, and you refer to your "husband". At face value this seems to indicate that you are in a homosexual marriage, whether or not it is acknowledged by your state.

Therefore I ask a question which perhaps most of our JCF community might feel inhibited to ask, but I think it might be relevant to your husband's plight: Might his alleged "crimes" or whatever maladaptive behaviours he has been accused of, have something to do with the fact that homosexual "marriage" remains excoriated almost all over the world to this day?

If so, then one suggestion might be to stand back for a while and wait for the rest of the world to change its mind about accepting homosexual "marriage". Because, willy-nilly, trying too hard to expect the rest of society to accept and to APPROVE of an unconventional life, will inevitably incline an unconventional person toward madness.

I hope our moderators will accept this comment in the spirit in which I intended it, as a diagnosis of how the expectations of society tend to create madness in those who do not conform with them.
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Clemsy
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Post by Clemsy » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:14 pm

Watson,
At the risk (which I accept) of this comment being deleted by the moderators for possiblly perceived "insensitivity", I will ask yet another question of Robert - who has not returned to this forum since his original post:

You post with a male name, and you refer to your "husband". At face value this seems to indicate that you are in a homosexual marriage, whether or not it is acknowledged by your state.
I appreciate your attitude. Certainly, Robert G. has allowed this assumption to be made, although it still remains that: an assumption. That being said, I will go back to Robert's original post. He says:
I keep thinking of Campbell's retelling of the myth of the perilous bed, which I can fully relate to, but what if it never ends? I will not leave, but I do not see an end to this ... is there a myth that addresses anything like this? I have the best of all things, the Holy Grail and my husband both, but only half the time ...
He's asking a question. Bodhi's response is the best of all responses. However, your question and comment, as far as I'm concerned, are unnecessary in this context as they are founded on your own assumptions about gay marriage, and the 'inevitable inclinations of an unconventional person,' (I resemble that remark!) which can only result in the validity of those assumptions being brought into question.

I think we've had this discussion before. Robert asked a question. Your question and comment don't answer it. Why go further?

So, while acknowledging the probability of a gay relationship here is not out of line, where you decided to go with it is, I believe, insensitive.

I find no reason to delete this post. However, I also see no reason to continue this discussion in this direction.

Cheers,
Clemsy
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
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