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Geoff Allen’s Story Schizophrenia Consumer - WhatCausesMentalIllness.com
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What we imagine is order, is merely the prevailing form of chaos. Kerry Thornley
   

FAQ  


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Word Cloud  


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Latest Additions  


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Glimpses

Geoff Allen’s Story Schizophrenia Consumer

Details

Geoff Allen’s Story

This is a tale of metamorphosis. If it wasn't all true there is NO way I could invent it!

How to summarise over 20 years of being psychotic? Big task!

Let's start at the beginning. My current lifetime began in 1958. At the age of 25, I was diagnosed as having paranoid schizophrenia. This came as quite a shock. I didn't know my experiences had a name and I wasn't aware that this had ever happened to anyone else in human history!

It was a rude awakening to find the police in my bedroom early one morning and that they could just whisk me away to the loony bin. My parents had threatened to do so but I always thought they were bluffing. I had become very aloof and my behaviour was what most would call "weird". Looking back now, I see they only did what they thought was best. So absolutely, no hard feelings.

The shocks kept coming as I discovered that along with the diagnosis came medication. Even today I cannot hear the word Haloperidol without it sending a shiver up my spine. The medication was supposed to help me. Instead, I experienced the WORST side-effects imaginable. I was restless but that word is so inadequate to describe the trauma! I was constantly pacing and could not settle down for more than a minute or two let alone read one single page of a book.

I honestly don't know how I survived it all. I must have had a guardian angel looking out for me! That whole experience showed me that the cure was worse than the illness. So, for the next 19 or so years I had to rely on my instincts and my wits to survive.

To summarise what those years were like - I suppose the simple description is that I had good and bad days. It was like being Jekyll & Hyde. On the bad days, I experienced volcanic anger or mind-numbing depression. I was very generous with my anger - I included nearly everybody. I was angry at most people for being spineless enough to settle for normality. I had many cynical thoughts. I'm not sure we need to go into too much gory detail but here are a couple:

"If human beings started being honest, the suicide rate would skyrocket!"

"Most of the human race are unfit to be parents but nobody is stopping them."

"This world will never change because the ONLY people who reproduce are VERY good at lying to themselves."

"If god really wants to punish me, he should send me to Heaven. The thought of spending eternity with god and all his fawning sycophants is much more than I can stomach!"

You catch the drift - needless to say, I was very frustrated because there wasn't much I could do about such anger and cynicism except blow my brains out or go totally crazy. I came VERY close to doing both. Again, I think someone was watching out for me.

I should have said that one of my symptoms was that I felt like I was in telepathic communication with someone or something. Possibly aliens. Tell THAT to a shrink and schizophrenia is an automatic diagnosis, just in case you were wondering - even if there really are aliens :)

Anyway, the good days were mind-blowing! The content of my thoughts would be very poetic - I wrote nearly 200 poems and they all felt as if they were being "dictated" to me by the aliens or whoever was putting thoughts into my skull. You can see a selection of these poems at my old website -

http://member.melbpc.org.au/~grjallen/writing.html

Let me see ... where were we ... I lived this roller-coaster for over a decade. Almost seems like someone else's life now that I look back on it!

There came a time when my dark side became the dominant experience and I was off to see the shrinks again. This time they put me on a treatment order which basically means I was compelled to take Olanzapine, which is a newer drug than I had experienced such traumatic side-effects on. I was very apprehensive about taking it but I have been pleasantly surprised as the side-effects are not at all distressing.

So, now to the metamorphosis part ...

Again, I take little or no credit for this change. It seemed to come from a higher power, some might call it God. Not quite what a cynical atheist would expect! The meds may have helped too to some extent.

The old anger has gone completely. It is really a miracle but I can't explain it to myself let alone anyone else! I suppose the only thing left for me to do is spell out what I have learned ...

For most of my adult life I was an angry, cynical atheist. If you had told me that I would get right into meditation and reading books like "Conversations with God" and treating everyone with compassion, I would have absolutely LAUGHED in your face! So, I have learned to expect the unexpected!

I have learned that suffering can do two things to you. It can make you bitter and twisted or it can make you more compassionate. I have experienced both extremes. I have FAR more peace of mind now that I practice unconditional compassion.

I have learned that meditation is NOT about making your mind go blank and I would urge everyone to try it. It can transform your life in ways you can't even imagine. In the words of David Michie:

If meditation was available in capsule form, it would be the biggest selling drug of all time. It has been scientifically proven to deliver highly effective stress relief, boost our immune systems and dramatically slow the ageing process. It has also been shown to make us much happier and more effective thinkers. Given all the physical and psychological benefits, why aren't more of us doing it?

From "Hurry Up & Meditate"

For more myths about meditation try this link -

http://www.wildmind.org/blogs/on-practice/the-top-ten-myths-about-meditation

I have learned that thoughts are VERY powerful. The best advice that sums this up is as follows:

A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: "Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time." When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, "The one I feed the most."

The following is probably just another way of stating the previous idea. To me, wisdom means that you recognise that your peace of mind depends on the kind of thoughts you entertain. Especially thoughts about other people. The thoughts that lead to a tranquil mind are forgiveness, compassion and gratitude

I have learned that unconditional love can transform your life. First you have to learn to love yourself before you can love others. Here are a couple of links on this important matter:

http://lawofattractionsecrets.com/blog/louise-hays-12-commandments-how-to-love-yourself/

http://www.kalimunro.com/tips_self-love.html

http://www.abundancetapestry.com/how-to-love-yourself-in-17-ways/

http://www.gems4friends.com/affirmations/articles/attract-love.html

I have learned that forgiveness is crucial to your happiness. It needs to be a permanent attitude.

"To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness."

~ Robert Muller

I have learned to be grateful. Here's a list from my notebook - I read it often to remind myself NOT to take ANYTHING for granted:

- the gift of life itself

- the fact I can eat healthy food and the many beings responsible for growing and transporting it and the cashiers at the supermarket etc.

- the sun that helps all plants to grow and ultimately feeds us all

- knowledge of how to be healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually

- the skills of authors and poets and musicians and singers and sportsmen and I'm probably leaving a few out :)

- wisdom contained in so many books I have read over the past ten years. I will list several of them at the end of this piece

- the beauty of nature and the photographers and documentary makers that capture it

- my own imagination as well as that of many writers and composers throughout history

- laws of nature that make this universe exquisitely tuned to support intelligent life like some humans. See this page:

http://member.melbpc.org.au/~grjallen/universe.htm

- I am grateful that Olanzapine has FAR less side-effects than Haloperidol

- How could I leave love out of my list of "things" to be grateful for ... in ALL its forms

I have learned that there are many CHEAP things can lift my mood such as going for a brisk walk; doing yoga; eating healthy food; chanting and meditation. Plus a good laugh on a regular basis. reading a good book can also be uplifting. Watching a nature doco when I can't actually be out in nature. Surfing the web is also a mood enhancer - if you seek out the good stuff that is out there in cyberspace. Obviously a lot of overlap between the things I am grateful for and things that lift my mood!

I have learned to take wisdom from all the various religions I once dismissed as nonsense:

"Like the bee gathering honey from the different flowers, the wise person accepts the essence of the different scriptures and sees only the good in all religions."

~ Gandhi

I have learned to focus my mind on the present moment rather than worrying about the future or regretting the past. For MUCH more on this subject, try these books:

"The Power of Now" and "A New Earth" both by Eckhart Tolle

I have learned that it is possible to learn from everyone who crosses your path.

I have learned that the Dalai Lama is a wonderful teacher. Here's some of his advice:

Spend 5 minutes at the beginning of each day remembering we all want the same things (to be happy and be loved) and we are all connected to one another.

Spend 5 minutes -- breathing in -- cherishing yourself; and, breathing out cherishing others. If you think about people you have difficulty cherishing, extend your cherishing to them anyway.

During the day extend that attitude to everyone you meet.

Practice cherishing the "simplest" person (clerks, attendants, etc.) or people you dislike.

Continue this practice no matter what happens or what anyone does to you.

These thoughts are very simple, inspiring and helpful.

The practice of cherishing can be taken very deeply if done wordlessly, allowing yourself to feel the love and appreciation that already exists in your heart.

I have learned that peace of mind is experienced when you don't feel inferior to anyone and you don't feel superior to anyone. You are unique and so is everyone else.

I have learned that every experience I have is an opportunity for greater growth

I have learned that we do tend to reserve our fondest thoughts for those who agree with us and who are most like us. I have found that spiritual practices can help us generate kind thoughts for all beings.

I have learned to not allow myself to become so hypnotised by the content of my mind that I lose the essential mystery of my own existence.

So, there you have it. I really do wish I had a better way of describing step-by-step how this metamorphosis happened to me. Then you'd have a do-it-yourself guide to transforming all your negative emotions. The metamorphosis still puzzles me greatly to this day. I am incredibly grateful naturally. I still have no IDEA why some people suffer and are NOT transformed by their experience. Just one of MANY questions I'd like to ask God. I guess there are unanswered questions no matter what you believe.

I hope I've given you more than just a far-fetched story. Here are some books I highly recommend:

"Conversations with God" by Neale Donald Walsch and his other books which includes "Home with God"

"Awakening the Buddha Within" by Lama Surya Das

"Emissary of Light" by James Twyman

"The Dalai Lama's Little Book of Wisdom"

"The Art of Happiness" by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler

"When Things Fall Apart" by Pema Chodron

"1001 Smartest Things Ever Said"

"The Lost Art of Compassion" by Lorne Ladner

"Mastery of Love" by Don Miguel Ruiz

"God, Actually" by Roy Williams

"The Meditation Bible" by Madonna Gauding

"The Everyday Meditator" by Osho

"Siddhartha" by Herman Hesse

"The Monk who sold his Ferrari" by Robin Sharma

"Soul Food" by Kate Kippenberger

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams

"Thoughts without a Thinker" by Mark Epstein

"The Book of Love" by Kathleen McGowan

"The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho and other books by this author

"The Three Christs of Ypsilanti" by Milton Rokeach

"Native Wisdom for White Minds" by Anne Wilson Schaef

If that's not enough 4 you - drop me a line and I can give you more books and sites.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A compilation of uncensored real life experiences with Mental Illness.

GLIMPSES © 2007  For permission to use the content of this manuscript please contact Nicci Wall at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or fax +61 3 5222 6847

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Glimpses - Our Experiences with Mental Illness


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