I interviewed for a really amazing job today.
The position is as a facilitator for the adults in permanent residence at H*H*. The house was established as a home for adults with schizophrenia. There are seven people there, men and women, ranging from young to old. My job would be to run a daily program with them, covering different activities like arts,crafts, music and yoga. The program runs from 9 till 1, when we all have lunch and then I go home, just in time to pick up my kids from school.
When I saw the ad online my heart jumped. My little sister was diagnosed with borderline schitzophrenia when she was 17. None of us knew what the hell it meant, she ended up becoming more and more isolated. Two weeks after her 21st birthday she took her life.
Its been nearly five years since her death, and I've spent that time educating myself about the alleged disease.
Firstly, it has nothing whatsoever to do with multiple personality disorder. Equating the two is a very common mistake, but any educated person knows that schizophrenia is altogether something different.
Secondly, nobody knows quite what schizophrenia is.A recent article on BBC News
discussed the current trend towards scrapping the term completely. It is an ambiguous name given to a wide range of symptoms, and no one can point to a cause.
No one except Jung that is. But he's not taken seriously because he acknowledged spirit and that is taboo in the scientific community. Jung was an enlightened man. He studied Eastern philosopy, and he told the story of schizophrenia from a unique perspective.
He described a process called individuation. He believed that consciousness evolved, and that reaching individuation was the next step on the road. Part of the process of individuation involves integrating the contents of your subconscious mind into your conscious awareness. Some people make this transition smoothly, but other people, taken by surprise by the sudden lack of mental boundaries, become afraid and thus become victims of their subconscious mind. Somehow they get stuck, they loose touch with what is in their head and what is 'real'.
Most people at this point get admitted to a mental hospital, where the awful cycle of medication begins. The meds are symptomatic. They render the patient docile, no more trouble for the care takers. The medication they gave my sister had terrible side effects,
as do many psychiatric drugs. She was an avid reader, but the pills destroyed her ability to focus, after two sentances she would put down a book with a sigh, and light another ciggarette. After a while she just stopped going to the library.
The meds also limited her range of emotional responses, no anguish or despair. And no joy or passion.
Often she would refuse to be medicated. At these times her subconscious mind, held back like a dam about to burst, would flood her head with a terrifying whirl of bizzare information.
She could feel everyone and everything, she was convinced that we could read her thoughts, that she could influence people far away. These feelings were prompted by the sudden onset of a state almost similar to the first stages of enlightenment. A state where you can feel how connected everything is, and it all makes a stange kind of sense.
But she had no context within which to process it. She had been brought up in a Christian family, who worried that she may be possessed by some strange devil. She became terrified of her own mind. And there was no one to help her. What made it even worse is that she had been using psychodelic drugs all through her early teens. In my opinion this was one of the main reasons why she was unable to make the transition smoothly.
Schizophrenics become very spiritual when going though a psychotic episode. They almost always think they're God. They feel that the universe is talking to them. Everything has a deeper meaning, everything is imbued with significance.
I experienced these same states while going through a period of transition in my teens. I was able to integrate the experiences. Whether it would have been called a psychotic break I don't know. I was never taken to hospital. I knew when to keep quiet. 25% of people who experience sudden onset schitzophrenia recover completely. The rest are not so lucky.
Due to the successful transitions, I now have psychic and empathic abilities way beyond the average person. I am also deeply connected to spirit, unable to ignore the call of the sacred. I can see and work with dynamic energy fields, I am able to make use of glossalalia when I am deeply in prayer. And when I finally ran into Zen Buddhism all the foundations had been laid for almost immediate kensho.
The term 'spiritual emergence'
has sprung up in the more avante garde sector of psychodynamic theory. The idea is that many cases of schizophrenia are in fact cases of spiritual crisis, which if thoroughly resolved can leave the 'patient' profoundly more in touch with life and spirit.
Unfortunately, as is usually the case on this tragic and beautiful planet, we humans choose to address the symptoms and not the cause. People are put onto severe, lifelong medication, written off completely, never given the chance to discover who they might be once the terror of the transition has worn off. There's no one to tell them its ok.
If I get this job I may have the opportunity to make life a little easier for a handful of people. I will have the chance to learn so much about this awfully misconcieved 'disease'. It may also prove to be emotionally exhausting. My ability to empathise with these people leaves me close to tears. So if I don't get the job then maybe it would be better. Maybe I should spend the next ten years working up to a position like this....I don't know. At the moment it's up to the Tao.