For most of my life my father has told me this exact thing: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”. Of course, any of us who are familiar with Google and/or Albert Einstein know my dad didn’t come up with that gem of wisdom on his own. Nor would it matter who came up with it. The fact is, it’s true.
Doing the same thing over and over and expecting something different to happen is crazy. It’s nuts. It’s stupid. It’s the exact definition of INsanity. Meanwhile, seemingly perfectly sane-ish people do it every single day. And then have the nerve to show off their *aghast* face when the stuff they’re doing produces the exact same results as they experienced the 90 hundred thousand million other times they did that same thing before this last time. *aghast face*
I can’t really talk so strong. I’ve been doing it too. In at least one noteworthy aspect of my life. Which is probably why I’ve self proclaimed (myself) the expert on this particular insanity topic. I will probably begin referring to myself in the third person at some point in this post as well.
Do you know what Paranoid Schizophrenia is? What about Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder? Any ideas?
Schizophrenia ( /ˌskɪtsɵˈfrɛniə/ or /ˌskɪtsɵˈfriːniə/) is a mental disorder characterized by a disintegration of thought processes and of emotional responsiveness. It most commonly manifests itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social or occupational dysfunction.
I got the above definition from Wikipedia. If only because it was easier. It turns out, there are several “sub-types” of schizophrenia. They are as follows:
+Paranoid type: Delusions or auditory hallucinations are present, but thought disorder, disorganized behavior, or affective flattening are not. Delusions are persecutory and/or grandiose, but in addition to these, other themes such as jealousy, religiosity, or somatization may also be present.
+Disorganized type: Named hebephrenic schizophrenia. Where thought disorder and flat affect are present together.
+Catatonic type: The subject may be almost immobile or exhibit agitated, purposeless movement. Symptoms can include catatonic stupor and waxy flexibility.
+Undifferentiated type: Psychotic symptoms are present but the criteria for paranoid, disorganized, or catatonic types have not been met.
+Residual type: Where positive symptoms are present at a low intensity only.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD is defined like this:
“Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear, or worry, by repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing the associated anxiety, or by a combination of such obsessions and compulsions. Symptoms of the disorder include excessive washing or cleaning; repeated checking; extreme hoarding; preoccupation with sexual, violent or religious thoughts; aversion to particular numbers; and nervous rituals, such as opening and closing a door a certain number of times before entering or leaving a room. These symptoms can be alienating and time-consuming, and often cause severe emotional and financial distress. The acts of those who have OCD may appear paranoid and potentially psychotic. However, OCD sufferers generally recognize their obsessions and compulsions as irrational, and may become further distressed by this realization.”
Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder is described as :
having some of the same symptoms as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD. However, people with OCD have unwanted thoughts, while people with OCPD believe that their thoughts are correct.
People who are diagnosed with Schizophrenia tend to be prescribed an anti-psychotic drug called Risperdal. In most cases, Risperdal will help people diagnosed with Schizophrenia to live more normal-esque lives. That is, unless these people are obsessive- compulsive about hoarding money, and refuse to pay for the medication that will ultimately keep them from having the delusions that people are out to get them, no one is to be trusted and they MUST change locks regularly, nail doors shut and everyone is a suspect in the murder-drama that is constantly going on in these folks minds. Plus, looking like Jack Nicholson ala The Shining in the process.
It’s exhausting to watch. Believe me.
A few days a go, after finding myself exasperated (again) with the behavior of my mentally ill relative, I found myself at the emergency mental health treatment center filling out a petition to have said relative forced into treatment because he refuses to take his anti-psychotic medication. Not surprisingly, my relative’s symptoms have been escalating considerably for several months– based on the other aspect of his mental illness that causes him to have an aversion to spending money on his medication. Serious. He has no issues with buying gin or using any other number of prescription drugs he does NOT actually have a prescription for. He quite often can be found knocked out-mid motion for any number of reasons and then comes to the conclusion (and quite seriously) that the reason he finds himself knocked out is because someone is drugging him– with everything from cough syrup to men’s vitamins. o_0.
Needless to say, I found myself in this facility, filling out paperwork (finally) because my own prior insanity kept me from going much sooner. I would think about going after another strange episode of the murder-drama going on in his head– someone was after him (!), Someone was in the house (!) Someone was stealing something random that nobody would think to steal (!)
I, apparently as crazy as he, talked him down from any number of grandiose schemes in which somebody would end up hurt or harmed if I didn’t intervene. After our talks, he would be fine. “Normal” acting. So I would say. Okay. Not so bad. No need to commit him. He needs help, but he’s okay. Blah, blah and blah.
Sometimes he would direct his paranoia at me or other members of my family–creating any number of unlikely scenarios that could only happen in the haven of his own head. Populated with “facts” that he made up and NO ONE could convince him of otherwise–even when holding ACTUAL facts to the contrary of whatever he believed.
Again, it’s exhausting to watch. Believe me.
To be clear, and trying mightily not be be insensitive to the thousands of people around the world who are diagnosed with the many varieties of mental illness– my relative is crazy as a loon. I mean, seriously. Not creative, artsy crazy. Not One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Crazy. It’s closer to Jack Nicholson ala The Shining crazy, except more Seinfeld episode like.
I wonder daily why he isn’t in a facility where he would be forced to take his medication. He is a danger to himself and to others. And only because there is something in his brain that doesn’t connect “correctly” enough to have him believe taking his meds is a priority.
But no one will help him.
This particular relative spent considerable time in jail for a trumped up charge. Even then, he didn’t need to be in jail. He needed to be in a mental facility getting treatment. The state refused. The only good that came out of his misplacement was that he was given his regular dose of Risperdal and he was able to visit with a Psychologist. But then he was released from prison. There is no stipulation or condition that maintains his medication regimen.
It is expected that when a crazy person is forced to take his medication–he will. The insanity comes in when we supposed sane folk in the system expect that a crazy person will continue to take his medication if he isn’t forced to. Duh. And my relative is just floating in the wind like the Rambo he is in his own head looking for assailants in his tiny world that he never finds, but who are always there.
I see the suffering in his eyes. He knows he’s crazy–trying to prove that he’s not. But because he IS crazy he is powerless to do a single thing more about it than he’s doing already. He can rationalize well enough to know he’s nuts. But he can’t rationalize well enough to spend $175 on his meds. Versus the $200 he spent on that chain saw (!) he almost used to cut down the door of a house to scare off squatters–to teach them a lesson. And to have something cool to post on YouTube. I lie to you not. He planned to film it.
And that’s when our collective craziness becomes paramount. As I mentioned, I went to the hospital to file a petition to at least have him looked at. They denied my petition because they said he didn’t show signs of pre-meditated violence. He didn’t say he was going to kill somebody, go out and buy a gun and then stalk a person’s house.
Instead, he just bought a chainsaw to cut down somebody’s door in the middle of the night and because I talked him down and nothing happened–no issue. Nope, the fact that he sees people breaking into his house that aren’t there and walks around with a baseball bat. The fact that he nails doors shut so nobody (not even himself) can get out or come in. The fact that this man in so tortured in his own head that he doesn’t leave his house if only because he needs to compulsively create wiring or plumbing or break in/theft scenarios, full-fill them himself and then plead to anybody who will listen that what HE’s done is actually the work of some mastermind with HIS demise in mind. The fact that he was already convicted of a violent crime, the fact that he was under mental supervision for most of his life that he’s NOT utilizing now, has been committed to a mental facility before…the fact that he’s NOT taking his ANTI-PSYCHOTICS and the fact that he is clearly escalating when left to his own recognizance says to me that he needs someone helping him to stay “sane”.
The fact that a “strong” case for the state to commit is only at the point when the frayed thread that’s holding a brain like my relative’s together snaps and he does the unthinkable. When it’s too late. When he buys a chainsaw and cuts somebody to pieces. (And then will be able to use that dastardly insanity defense.) Nope, it’s not when he’s showing all the tell tale signs that he’s just about snap ready.
The fact that I’m positive this exact scenario happens every single day in this country and that somebody gets hurt or dies shortly afterward and that nothing gets done by way of prevention. But all the stops come out after the state gets sued for doing nothing. I’m shaking my head because this shit don’t make no sense. We keep doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result. Yup. It’s crazy.
You want to know what else is crazy? If a filed petition gets denied, another petition cannot be filed for 30–get that 3-0 days. *aghast face*
The mental health care system in this country sucks. But then again, crazy is as crazy does…
I would send you somewhere for help if you have a relative you’d like to seek help for…except, I pulled out all the stops, went to every website I could find, made calls, filed forms and still haven’t gotten any help. The best I can tell you is if things get out of hand, call 911.
The moral of this story? Nope. None. Just some food for thought. And another record of events. Should something happen to me or someone you or I know by the hands of someone who needed mental assistance but wasn’t granted it because the system in place is about as pointless as a wooden nickel… Thank you for reading this though. Peace and abundant “light a match to this system and start over” blessings. Love, -e-