Shipwrecked Artists

If I don’t know I don’t know, I think I know.
If I don’t know I know, I think I don’t know.

If I Don't Know

Sanity today appears to rest very largely on a capacity to adapt to the external world—the interpersonal world, and the realm of human collectivities.

As this external human world is almost completely and totally estranged from the inner, any personal direct awareness of the inner world already has grave risks.

But since society, without knowing it, is starving for the inner, the demands on people to evoke it in a “safe” way, in a way that need not be taken seriously, etc., is tremendous—while the ambivalence is equally intense. Small wonder that the list of artists, in say the last 150 years, who have become shipwrecked on these reefs is so long…

R.D. Laing



the Despair of Schizophrenia


Yes, I’ve wanted to give up.  Who hasn’t?  She was my vision of possibility without disgrace.

Nearly, fifteen years ago, she had her first psychotic break, that we witnessed together.  Of course, there had been many previous times…gone from this world, unto and onto, another.  Those are moments in time, that I could only have hoped to be there for her.  As a child, as a teen, as a young adult, her struggles with a multitude of angry and deviant voices…had been her penance.  A breach in the lining of the fabric that so many of us…take for granted.  In these times, within the halls, stained mattresses, climatic group therapy sessions; my heroine, my wife, Megan, lived a life of solace.  Alone in deviled conversations among perceived (in her mind) beings who were out to kill, disfigure and harm.

As my spouse, lover and best friend, Megan, is diagnosed with schizophrenia.  A conclusion that her therapy, teams, did not come to until…fairly recently.

She has undergone;


four point restraints

staff abuse


various medical regimes

A variety of schemes were designed to keep her under wraps.  Where she refused to wear a dress!  She was forced to wear a plastic hospital gown (made for state funded clinics).  Designed for lack of comfort and…constriction.  Though she tore at the dress/gown, threw up on it, fouled upon it; the medical staff kept her dressed in it.  For 72 hours.  A bizarre performance by the mental health staff.  To reprimand Megan for behavior that was not socially acceptable.

The first psychotic break I bore witness to; Megan’s innocent, brown eyes, rolled back into her head.  She spoke to walls that appeared to speak back.  Voices encouraging her to harm herself.  Being to fearful to fight back.  Megan, adhered to the voices, and over dosed.

I could not speak to her.  I could not bring her back.  I could only sit in a stark room with a strange mural of waterfalls, on the far wall.

I had been encouraged by a woman who was unaware of Megan’s past, voices, medications; To not remind my lover of our home, our pets, our love.

Bringing up our history, as a couple, the nurse stated:

‘Would only upset me more!  And, accomplish nothing, as far as, encouraging, Megan, was involved.’

My wife has grown since those days.  The breaks from what society calls, reality, happen very rarely.  She is a strong woman.  Fighting demons…I would cower from.

I encourage anyone…with a lover, educate themselves on the stigma of mental health and it’s disorders.  Further, as Megan has shown me; If you find yourself avoiding the reach;  The hand out of the darkness that is trustworthy and understanding…offering you a reprieve.  Do not recess back in shame.    The hand?  Please take it.  Trust it.  I have learned from the guidance of my wife, my own mental health issues…  And, on occasion I need a person to a friend in which to…win the fight.  The fight against mental health disorders…and, their stigmas.

“Schizophrenia cannot be understood without understanding despair.”

R.D. Laing