AN INTRODUCTION FROM ME
It was a dark and stormy night...
No, really folks...
Actually, kidhood sucked. Mom was fired from her job for jumping off tables trying to abort me so if you believe it's possible, my childhood history of abuse started prenatally. (I discovered this and other gory details many years later. I don't actually claim to have any prenatal or other early memories.)
Oldest of three boys, I got the beatings the worst. Justice seemed to dictate to mommie dearest that she beat all the boys starting with the oldest and of course by the time she was done with me, she just didn't seem to have the energy to beat the others. Dad was living apart and divorcing her and would have been the first male parent to have gained sole custody of the minors had he lived another two weeks. However, a violent car crash ended any hope of being saved and I was only two years old.
Mom remarried when I was seven. Step-dad was the sexual abuser in my sordid past. He raped me at night frequently until I finally emancipated from their household at age seventeen. I coped by (watch out the the psycho-babble) dissociating. I also either repressed or suppressed those memories. (Can never remember which is which.)
Got married, had a kid, flipped out one day and ended up in hospital. Wife came home late, I was angry, couldn't hurt one I cared for so, curled into a little ball and just went away. There was no conscious self. After some burly paramedics uncurled me and loaded me on the stretcher they got a bit worried because I was hyperventilating. In the ER, the lady doc asked what I remembered and I told her nothing. She referred me to a shrink anyway. First time 1973.
Saw a shrink for years. Had a "gut" feeling something was wrong. Would have this sort of free-floating anxiety come upon me and would hit depressions like crazy. Shrink started me out with diagnosis of schizophrenia, atypical, undifferentiated, catatonic sub-type. Diagnosis changed every time I changed shrinks. So did the drugs. Started out with Stelazine and Sinequan and a couple of other things. Changed to the various Affective Disorders and trials of various drugs there. Moved on over the years to the Personality Disorders and then to the Dissociative disorders including PTSD.
Meanwhile, my life went on and two more kids were born. I held jobs and did responsible adult things but, my feelings weren't quite "right." First involuntary commitment around 1980. Basically too depressed to want to go on. Hard work didn't ever seem to get me anywhere and poverty was a persistent companion. Wanted to die so that the wife and kids would be eligible for assistance because no one would help a struggling family but, women's lib had happened and there was lots of assistance for a single mom. Figured with me out of the picture wife could get help and be able to feed the kids.
Went back to college ten years after high school. Got straight A's. It wasn't enough. Couldn't be satisfied with self. Got elected student body president. Got awards, got honors, got all sorts of recognition but couldn't feel it inside. Constantly striving to achieve and nothing was ever quite enough. Somewhere along the way, lost self. Was good husband, worker, student, etc. but couldn't find "me." Hands starting to tremor a bit now from the years of drugs.
Did several stints in various "facilities" including state hospital. Nothing seemed to help. Finally got turned on to the self-help movement. Had been an activist all my life. Had fought for students, civil rights, women's rights, farm workers rights, union rights, veterans rights but this was new. Discovered self-help for psych patients. Almost at same time, finally had it with shrinks and their drugs and the torture of their involuntary crap and seclusion and restraints and all the rest so, became an activist.
Organized statewide consumer network by helping build over forty self-help groups. Also built AMI groups. Got involved in all sorts of ways at all sorts of levels. Got more awards, recognition, etc., but, still not much sense of self. Break throughs though and flashbacks and memories flooding and all sorts of hell. During this period, I was truly psychotic. Walking streets all night, screaming at demons and mother and daring someone to kill me. (Hardly any chance of that at 3:30 a.m. in the middle of a business district to which I'd walked but, no matter.) Went back and gathered evidence. It was all there. Hospital records of concussions..13 of them in six months at age three. Court records. A judges name..still alive and a phone call and yes, he does remember the case. Yes, the man would have gotten custody. There was an investigation and the mother was found to be brutally unfit but, she appealed and got some witnesses to lie for her and kept the kids.
Assimilation came and I got a paid job. Moved from Colorado to California. Worked as head of Patients Rights Advocacy and Self-Help organization. Did some good work. Wife left after 20+ years to go "find herself" and the kids chose to live with me. Single dad for a few years until they started to be out on their own. Met wonderful love of life and entered semi-retirement in idyllic Oregon small town. Kids now back with their mother and they're all driving each other crazy. I've survived five heart attacks. I've survived all sorts of psychiatric crap. I've survived the sixties and drugs I had no business taking but which I did anyway, to excess when possible. I've survived all life has had to throw at me and I'm happy anyway. I haven't taken psychiatric drugs now for over ten years. I haven't done any illegal drugs for about the same length of time. I haven't gotten drunk in about the same length of time. I've met many other 'madness' folks and most of those that are looked upon as leaders. I may have even been deemed such myself a time or two but it's not how I think of myself.
It took such a long time to learn some basics. I do a bit of paid consulting now-a-days and I still haven't learned how to take care of myself. I seem to concentrate so hard on what I'm doing that I forget to do some simple stuff like eat, drink, sleep, etc. Some would call that manic but, there's no real disconnection on some level because the one I love and care for also cares for me and she can reach me and gently remind me to eat and drink etc. For any further details, you'll have to either ask me real nice and sweet or else wait until I revise the draft of my autobiography and revise it again and again and eventually think about publishing the darn thing. (Heck, it's been written for over ten years except for minor updates.)
Oh well, that's me in a brief nutshell. Heh heh...me, the nut, in a nutshell. Well, I never said that my sense of humor was one of my better points but, it's there, subtle though it may be. Hope ya'll enjoy reading this garbage as much as I enjoyed writing it.