We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
From a review of three new books about the experience of madness, at New Atlantis:
Elyn R. Saks, in The Center Cannot Hold, brings to light her first intimation of schizophrenic “disorganization,” as she calls it, which occurred when her father reprimanded her for interrupting him while he was working. “Consciousness gradually loses its coherence. One’s center gives way. The center cannot hold. The ?me’ becomes a haze, and the solid center from which one experiences reality breaks up like a bad radio signal. There is no longer a sturdy vantage point from which to look out, take things in, assess what’s happening. No core holds things together, providing the lens through which to see the world, to make judgments and comprehend risk. Random moments of time follow one another. Sights, sounds, thoughts, and feelings don’t go together.” This frightening slippage from normal consciousness first occurred when she was eight, and she knew she could not tell anyone about it.
Saks continued to function in the normal world even while she was delusional and hallucinating. “For example, I was getting my schoolwork done, and I vaguely understood the rule that in a social setting, even with the people I most trusted, I could not ramble on about my psychotic thoughts. To talk about killing children, or burning whole worlds, or being able to destroy cities with my mind was not part of polite conversation.” Sometimes she felt so crazy that she would simply lock herself in her room and turn off the lights. The only person in whom she could confide her true state of mind was her psychoanalyst, Elizabeth Jones.
Just reading the review offers a little glimpse in to what the experience of going crazy is like, along with the agonies of feeling defective, alienated from others, and shamefully stigmatized.
Those intrusive thoughts might be OCD instead, and would be more likely in an 8 year-old. Though I understand the DSM-V is considering an Obsessive subtype for schizophrenia, which I think is warranted.
For those interested, there is also a virtual hallucination machine which allows folks to experience what schizophrenics go through (personality disorders in crisis have hallucinations which are somewhat different, which is why the psychiatrist asks where the voices seem to be coming from, inside your head or out of it, and whether you think it's your own voice or someone else's).
Assistant Village Idiot
The worse part of having gone crazy (7 times in my case over the last 15 years) is that I can't tell if I am crazy or sane reliably. Everything I do, including writing this comment, I must wonder if it is a sane or crazy thing to do.
I have been psychotic for about 50 days out of the last 5000, but it hangs over me for each of the other 4950.