schizophrenia, religion, relationships

This song is beautiful.  It is Mozart.  Mozart is unparalled in delivering the surreal, transcendental quality of love and humanism in his music.  An author I read some years ago struck it correctly when she wrote that Mozart was the world of cherubs, and Beethoven was the bleeding heart.  She didn’t use those words… but that is close.  Mozart was airy, Beethoven was messy human emotion.

I got up to make coffee.  No coffee in the house.  I decided to walk to the nearby Starbucks to purchase some.  I brought a mug, the DSM, and a printout of a study on Schizophrenia with me, and took a route through the park.  Spring is definitely in the air.  I saw blooming flowers, dandelions I think, in a yard… only a couple.  Tree tops are still barren of leaves, but there is a buzz in the air.  At least I think there is.

As I approached the coffee shop I heard the mozt gorgoue music.  I walked inside, head raised to the ceiling, listening intently to the beautiful opera coming through the speakers.  A woman behind the counter with an absolutely stunning, and very warming smile, beamed her beautiful energy at me and asked if I was an opera singer or if I liked opera.  I told her that I love beautiful things.  She got the name for me.  It was from “Cosi Fan Tutte”.  I do not own this CD, but I am familiar with it.  I smiled and thanked her, ordered my coffee, and sat down to read my study.  If my planned date with a coworker does not pan out I might just come in and ask this lady out. 

In the movie “A Beautiful Mind” I noted something.  In the beginning of the film when Nash is a young man, he is inside the faculty lounge when he sees an old professor recieve the pens of the rest of the faculty.  It marks an accomplishment of a lifetime.  When asked what he saw, Nash replied “recognition” and the dean said that it was “accomplishment” to which Nash replied “Is there a difference?”

This is important to note, for in a mind, or a system of merit, the two are the same.  Like medals in military service… they are recognition for accomplishments and the two are the same in our minds.

Move forward in the film, Nash is an old man and recieve the pens of faculty.  It is an act of both recognition and accomplishment.

Now here is the key point.  At the Nobel Awards Ceremony, Nash publicly recognizes his wife’s achievements in helping him.  It is, again, recognition for achievement, they are one and the same.

Now on to some psychology.  I am reading about delusions in schizophrenia.  The study that I am reading “Reasoning, Emotions, and Delusional Conviction in Psychosis” (Garety; Freeman; Jolley; Dunn; Bebbington; Fowler; Kuipers; Dudley) is interesting so far in that they make distinctions in religious thought.  When I was looking for a study to do my paper on I was looking for studies that looked at religious thought and schizophrenia.  A delusion is a belief that is a break from reality.  I laugh to myself when I consider magickal practice in neo-paganism and if some of this is considered delusional.  Personally I’ve made some connections between very positive aspects of magickal practice and personality.  Yet on the other hand, just as an episode of the podcast Deo’s Shadow asks, sometimes we (the pagan community) have to know when to call bullshit on the practices around us. 

A distinction is made in the article between belief formation and the reasoning that maintains or alters a belief.  This is an important thing to keep in mind here.  It is the first and the levels of rigidity in them that are preditors to the susceptability of developing schizophrenia.

As I walked to the coffee shop, glancing through this article, and trying to watch my step so as not to step on the many fresh goose droppings on the sidewalk, the thoughts of religion crossed my mind.  In the textbook we use for class the beginning chapter gave a sort of historical view of treatment for mental disorders, as well as view of what they were.  Magic and witchcraft were listed from the Dark Ages.  What I gathered is a tone of  idiocy concerned with witchcraft.  Recently I came upon another reference to witchraft in a tone of writing that places it among the opposite side of science, the realm of ignornace and idiocy.  I also note that the definitions of delusions make careful distinction between religious beliefs and delusions.  It seems that religion is a realm that the scientists are unwilling to go into, lest they anger a practicing Christian, however, witchraft is, it seems to them, an old outdated system used by idiots and can be used. 

However, as a scientist I do want to investigate religion and schizophrenia.  Do I think that witchraft offers some highly positive affects for the human mind and spirit?  You betcha!  Do I think that if left unchecked and given dogmatic status it can also be an area of ripeness for delusional beliefs?  You betcha!  But I would also say the same is true for any fundamentalist religion, whether it is Christianity or Islam or whatever.  When a person believes that the world is either/or, that rationality is discarded and deicions made by a faulty system of beliefs that are above being investigated, then the person suffers a break from reality.  Christians have their members who handle snakes, do not allow their terminally ill children to see a doctor, believe their preacher is Jesus Christ, or that the heads of their order talk directly to God and therefore dictate unquestionable obedience from followers.  I do not mean this as an attack on Christianity.  The same rigidity of thought and altering of perception to fit a belief set is found in other religions. And this is what I wish to investigate. 

It is getting late and I must get started for work soon.  So I must re-read this article, re-read the section on schizophrenia, and when I come home tonight I will write my two papers that were due yesterday.  I skipped both classes today for MUCH needed sleep (I was physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted last night) and to work on this paper.  Yeah, too many classes this term and going to school five days a week is too much.  Next term I will try to knock it down to three days a week and only 12  credits.  That’ll be healthier I think.  I enjoy my learning too much to simply get a grade… I want to learn.

Speaking of schizophrenia… I am not schizophrenic.  Well, I did hear the Goddess speak to me on a few occaisions in the past.  Some might say that is delusional, others not.  Perhaps the rigidity of thought that psychologists have as a thought being delusional/not-delusional is itself problematic.  Hmmm.  Anyway, I was reading somewhere, the DSM, the textbook, or this journal article, on the nature of delusional beliefs as typically either/or with little in between.  A girl I went out with recently has said repeatedly that when she goes into a test she doesn’t worry as she’ll do really well or really bad.  I’ve corrected her by saying that it is possible for her to do okay or so-so. 

Now on to my beliefs.  In the past I’ve met girls and have had delusional thoughts.  I am overusing the word delusional, yet bear with me.  In the past, often, I am either/or.  She is all or nothing and at times the thoughts of her become obsessive.  I recognize other factors involved and for concern for space I will not go into the other dimensions of my personality flaws here.  However, on rare occaisions I’ve been able to simply go out with a girl and it be simply that… going out, with either good, bad, in the middle, a combination, or whatever results and possibilities.  This is one of the things that it characteristic of my current attitude with the coworker that I’ve asked out.  I’ve made it known that I want to go out with her on a date date.  But if not, if only a non date type date… that wiill be fine also.  This feeling of being open to many different possibilities, that my happiness is not tied to her, that the world isn’t hinged on a date or the characteristics of said date, is a good state, and to be honest, an unusual state for me to be in. 

Except for last night.  As I was dead tired and slogged toward my bed and laid down, locking the cats out of my room for complete rest… my mind drifted into old habits of thoughts.  I found myself lucidly dreaming of being worthless and unworthy of the latest object of my interest.  She is beautiful, popular, driven, successful, and intelligent.  It was especially the beautiful and popular (meaning that there are social settings involved) that had me shrinking from her in my mind.  I found myself making a million excuses why she should never go out with me.  I was too tired to fight these thoughts, or to study them, and fortunately I was so sleepy that I soon passed through them into slumber. 

This morning, while walking to the coffee shop I recollected the night’s thoughts.  How odd.  Yet they are the feelings and thoughts that I do harbor about myself on deep levels and perhaps might give some insight as to my relationship woes of the past.  Was it hard for me to overcome the feelings of betrayal and rejection in past relationships due to my own feelings of worth?  It is an odd state.  For in other areas of life I feel I can measure up to anyone.  Yet when it comes to women, I am ugly with a huge birthmark covering half of my upper body, I have a funny shaped head, and I I do not have the body or parts of Adonis.  Add to this the growing realization that I am growing older and less marketable, and the feelings are heightened.  Hmmm.  But I must note that I have great compassion, great undertanding, great patience, great acceptance, great love.  I have so many gifts and things to offer, that something as silly as a birthmark ought to not ever get in the way of love.  And to be honest, most, if not all (as far as I know) of the girls that I’ve dated have ever cared about it.

More reflection is warranted to understand this and to grow from it.

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