Friday, December 7, 2012

Two ways of looking at it

From today's New York Times

His physical injuries healed, but his mental illness persists. More than anything, Mr. Salomon does not want to be sick, so much so that he does his best to ignore the voices he says he still hears, denying them to most people who ask. He feels comfortable talking about his illness in group therapy, but does not like discussing it elsewhere. “I don’t know how to explain it to anyone,” he said.

It scares him that he will have to take medication for the rest of his life, both for schizophrenia and for diabetes. He also has a learning disability, which prevented him from advancing in school past the sixth grade. He excels at math, he says, but has trouble with reading and writing.

It is discouraging that Mr.Salomon tries to ignore his voices - I wonder if he or those around him are aware of the Hearing Voices Network and its way helping people to appreciate voices as messengers of themselves. It bothers me that the the reporter unquestioningly writes that he will have to take medication for the rest of his life. It bothers me that the story does not enlighten readers by connecting the outcome of diabetes to the medication. I wish that these stories weren't so focused on the supposed sadness of "schizophrenia" and instead conveyed a more positive message.

Entre Il et Ailes

Last Sunday during lunch, I found myself having a lively discussion with two transgendered individuals (male to female). The lunch followed a screening of a documentary film entitled Entre Il et Ailes (crudely translated: Between He and Wings.) Christa, seated opposite me, and I are at best casual acquaintances. Chloe came along as a guest of another member. Christa and I are both members of a group that meets quarterly to discuss the many aspects of consciousness, so we have occasionally crossed paths. While munching our vegetarian fare, Chloe, Christa and I, shared observations on the tediousness of applying daily make-up. "I thought it would be fun," said Chloe, while Christa nodded in agreement, "but after six months went by, it was a chore." I hear you, Chloe.

Entre Il et Ailes is the story of Christa's sex change operation and her journey before and after.

The film is delightful, not at all sad, and actually very funny. This was a deliberate choice by director, Laurence Périgaud, who was on-hand at the screening. Périgaud said that all the films she had seen on transgendered individuals took on a sad air and that's not the tone she wanted to convey. Incidentally, that's exactly the intention with my schizophrenia blog - to show the upside, the hopeful side, the funny side, and always the human side of what others stereotype as "way beyond the norm."

I am not in Kansas anymore ( and neither are you!), to paraphrase Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. If you are a parent of someone with a schizophrenia or related diagnosis, our perspective of "normal" took a huge hit when our relative veered from the norm. Oz is a most interesting world.

Entre Il et Ailes
Devenir femme à 60 ans
un film de Laurence Pérgaud
English subtitles

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