The Fable of Psychological Sickness and the Fact About Psychological Well being: A Man’s Journey to Freedom


Half 2 – An Atheist Checks into Gods Resort

            In Half 1, I described my experiences visiting my father within the psychological hospital once I was 5 years previous and my need to assist him and different males like him. I met an iconoclastic physician, Thomas Szasz, once I was in graduate college and browse his ebook, The Fable of Psychological Sickness. Right here I’ll proceed with what I realized about my father when I discovered journals he had saved in the course of the time main as much as his hospitalization.

            In graduate college I realized the usual medical view of psychological sickness. The Diagnostic and Statistical Handbook of Psychological Issues (DSM) is the handbook utilized by well being care professionals in the USA and far of the world because the authoritative information to the analysis of psychological problems. DSM incorporates descriptions, signs and different standards for diagnosing psychological problems. It’s revealed by the American Psychiatric Affiliation (APA) and is revised and up to date periodically.

            When my father was hospitalized at Camarillo State Psychological Hospital, the docs informed my mom he had some form of “psychotic dysfunction.” Within the DSM, I discovered the next info grouped collectively:

             (1) affective problems, characterised by extreme temper disturbance, with related alterations in thought and habits, in consonance with the have an effect on; (2) schizophrenic reactions, characterised by basic disturbances in actuality relationships and idea formations, with related affective, behavioral, and mental disturbances, marked by an inclination to retreat from actuality, by regressive developments, by weird habits, by disturbances in stream of thought, and by formation of delusions and hallucinations; (3) paranoid reactions, characterised by persistent delusions and different proof of the projective mechanism.

            These descriptions touched on my experiences with my father, however appeared chilly, scientific, and by some means lacking his spirit. Extra useful have been the journal entries I learn describing his personal experiences on the time.

Here’s a be aware from my father’s first journal, written when he was his previous self, filled with confidence and pleasure for all times:

            “A touring troupe is placing on a present not removed from us.  I do know them from earlier instances once I first got here to New York.  They’re homosexual and thrilling and have a fascinating taste of vacation.  I have a look at Kath and marvel at her sweetness and wonder.  You usually neglect how beautiful female youth is.  The cream-like texture of pores and skin, a verve and a buoyancy.  Henry is an ideal sort of firm supervisor.  He has nice large floppy ears, that inevitable cigar, and a sure softness.  Allure shouldn’t be the unique province of youth.  Henry has it in addition to Kath.

            “I really feel filled with confidence in my writing skill.  I do know for sure that somebody will purchase one in every of my radio exhibits.  I do know for sure that I’ll get a very good half in a play.  Final evening I dreamt about sweet.  There was extra sweet than I might eat.  Does it imply I’ll be rewarded for all my efforts?  Has it something to do with intercourse?”

            Journal quantity ten was written three years later.  The financial despair of the time and the despair occurring inside his thoughts had come collectively.  His entries are extra terse, staccato, and disheartening. I nonetheless get tears once I really feel how a lot was misplaced in such a short while.

    “June 4th: 

                Your flesh crawls, your scalp wrinkles whenever you go searching and see good writers, established writers, writers with credit a block lengthy, unable to promote, unable to seek out work,  Sure, it’s sufficient to make anybody, blanch, flip pale and sicken.

    “August fifteenth:

                     Sooner, quicker, quicker, I stroll.  I plug away searching for work, something to assist my household.  I attempt, attempt, attempt, attempt, attempt.  I at all times attempt to by no means cease.

    “November eighth:

                    100 failures, an limitless variety of failures, till now, my confidence, my hope, my perception in myself, has run fully out. Center aged, I stand and gaze forward, numb, confused, and desperately fearful.  Throughout me I see the younger in spirit, the younger in coronary heart, with ten instances my confidence, twice my youth, ten instances my fervor, twice my schooling. 

             I see all of them, a complete military of them, battering on the identical doorways I’m battering, making an attempt in the identical discipline I’m making an attempt.  Sure, on a Sunday morning in early November, my hope and my life stream are each working desperately low, so low, so stagnant, that I maintain my breath in concern, believing that the darkish, clean curtain is about to descend.

               Six days after his November eighth entry, my father swallowed sleeping tablets and he ended up being dedicated to the psychological hospital the place he was locked up for seven years receiving “remedy” till he escaped and by no means returned.

My Father Finds His Technique to God’s Resort

            After he escaped from the psychological hospital, my father survived. He proved the docs flawed after they informed us that he wanted to stay within the hospital longer and the remedies he was getting would remedy his “illness.” He nonetheless had his issues, however they have been higher handled exterior the “psychological well being” system. I wrote about his journey and mine in my ebook, My Distant Dad: Therapeutic the Household Father Wound.

            I realized about my father’s re-hospitalization from somebody who had learn my first ebook, Inside Out: Changing into My Personal Man and despatched me an e-mail.  

“I examine your father in your ebook and I do know the place he’s now. He’s at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco.”

            Once I arrived at Laguna Honda for the primary time, I felt a shudder of remembrance from my visits to Camarillo State Hospital so a few years in the past. Laguna Honda additionally seemed like an previous California mission with stucco partitions and pink tiled roofs. However as soon as inside I knew I used to be in a distinct world. The partitions have been lined with stunning murals by the artist Glenn Wessels painted in 1934 depicting the 4 parts—Earth, Air, Fireplace, and Water.

Individuals have been pleasant and two chickens greeted me as I requested instructions to Clarendon Corridor the place I used to be informed my father stayed. Sure, chickens in a hospital. This was my first clue that this was not your typical medical middle.

            I requested the individual on the info desk concerning the chickens. “Sure,” she informed me,

“That’s undoubtedly completely different from what you’ll see in most hospitals.  We really produce other animals as effectively together with rabbits, geese, guinea pigs, and cats that dwell on the bottom and sometimes wander inside.”

            Once I seemed stunned at animals in a hospital, she continued.

“They actually elevate the spirits of the sufferers right here. Even those that are withdrawn in their very own world and gained’t speak to workers appear to come back alive when the animals go to.”

            I realized that the animals have a protracted historical past at Laguna Honda which first opened in 1867 as an almshouse for the Gold Rush pioneers, a minimum of those who didn’t strike it wealthy. The almshouse grew its personal meals and had livestock on the 87-acre advanced. The hospital had modified over time, however the animals have been nonetheless there.

            Clarendon Corridor, in-built 1908, was one of many first hospital buildings constructed after the 1906 earthquake and the hospital grew round it. Mayor James, “Sunny Jim,” Rolph officiated on the groundbreaking of the Spanish-Revival fashion buildings that might change into Laguna Honda Hospital in 1924. Designed by John Reid Jr, the constructing options eight “Florence Nightengale”-style wings every ending with round bays, tile roofs, and an inside courtyard.

            I met my father in Clarendon Corridor and I used to be directed to the well-lit customer’s room. My dad received up and walked in direction of me. He had a smile on his face and gave me a hug. I used to be stunned. He had by no means hugged me since I used to be a toddler. His embrace was sturdy, but light. “I’m so glad you got here,” he informed me with a powerful feeling of heat and welcome in his voice. I felt longing for the primary time since I used to be 5 years previous, however I held again. I needed to see extra earlier than I received my hopes too excessive.

            He requested about my household and I informed him about Carlin, our marriage in 1980, my two kids, Jemal and Angela, from my first marriage, and Carlin’s three sons, Dane, Evan, and Aaron. I requested about his life at Laguna Honda.

“I’ve been right here for 5 years,” he informed me. “And I’ll be comfortable to spend the remainder of my life right here.”

            I used to be stunned.

“You escaped from Camarillo State Hospital and stated you’d by no means be locked up in a hospital once more. What occurred?”

            “This place isn’t something like Camarillo,” he informed me.

“That place actually was like a focus camp. No matter issues I had on the time, simply received worse there. Right here I’m not locked up. The workers respect us and the opposite individuals listed here are simply individuals like me. I come and go as I please. I often have breakfast within the morning, I take a bus out in entrance of the hospital and go into downtown San Francisco. I placed on puppet exhibits wherever there are individuals. When the youngsters see me coming, they cry out, ‘puppet man, puppet man.’ I make individuals comfortable. I come again on the finish of the day feeling like 1,000,000 {dollars}.”

“Wow, that’s not like all hospital I’ve ever seen.” I informed him. I used to be starting to grasp the modifications I used to be seeing. Perhaps there was hope for an actual reunion.

“Somebody known as it ‘God’s Resort, and I can’t disagree,” he informed me. “I’ve by no means been spiritual however since I’ve been right here, I really feel like I’ve been touched with the spirit of God. It’s actually the results of being seen, cared for, and revered by the individuals right here.”

I realized that the one that known as Laguna Honda Hospital, “God’s Resort” was Dr. Victoria Candy who wrote a ebook concerning the time she labored there. The ebook, God’s Resort: A Physician, A Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Coronary heart of Medication described a brand new means of treating individuals with a lineage going again lots of of years.

I met Dr. Candy at a ebook signing the place she informed a little bit of the historical past.

“San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital is the final almshouse within the nation, a descendant of the Hôtel-Dieu (God’s shelter) that cared for the sick within the Center Ages.”

She remembered my father and described the varieties of individuals to ended up checked in to God’s Resort.

“We get ballet dancers and rock musicians, professors and thieves—anybody who had fallen, or usually, leapt, onto exhausting instances and wanted prolonged medical care—ended up  right here. Within the comparatively low-tech however human-paced atmosphere, these extraordinary sufferers started to remodel their world and ours.”

My father had come a great distance from Camarillo State Psychological Hospital and healthcare had, it appeared, gone “again to the longer term,” drawing on historic traditions to create a brand new form of healthcare.

I’ll proceed the story in Half 3. In the event you’d like to listen to extra about males’s psychological well being and different vital points, I invite you to affix our online-community and subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter. It’s free and you’ll simply unsubscribe if you happen to ever discover it not meets your wants.

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