By Thomas McNeight
Key Themes: New Zealand based author, schizophrenia, adventures, spirituality
ALSO AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK
In this book I have shown how it is possible to move from insanity, even into ecstasy. I’ve described what insanity was for me and how I have even had ecstatic times. I’ve questioned what it is and tried to describe what insanity is and shown that it is possible to move into mental wellbeing. I have looked into my beliefs on God and the cosmos. I’ve questioned the very foundations of my beliefs. And I have posed the question what do we really know about these things. I have posited ‘what do we really know about mental illness’ in this stage of our journey as a race and how to treat it. I hope, if nothing else, to make people think about these things: the fundamental notions of nothingness, Godliness, and our capacity to heal.
About the Author
Tom McNeight lives in Wanganui, New Zealand. In spite of his diagnosis as a paranoid schizophrenic, with the discrimination he has often experienced and the many manual occupations he has had to work at, he has lived an interesting and exciting life. This includes such adventures as mountaineering, parachuting, bungy jumping, tramping and working in the bush, and fishing. He has completed many philosophy papers at university and has developed a skill in both writing and painting. He continues to enjoy these activities, frequently holding painting exhibitions and writing new books. His other continuing hobby is fishing.
I would like to suggest, rather tentatively, at the outset of this literary enterprise that it is my intension here to embark on a quest in search of meaning and of the ultimate truth behind things, behind all things. That is why I have titled this work from insanity to ecstasy, because I think that by looking into my life and my mental illness I shall be able to see more clearly into the real. I shall hopefully through articulating my deepest concern onto the printed page be able to better understand what it is that drives me on; what it is that I really want and where it is that I want to go. By using the words insanity and ecstasy in the title I am I hope conveying to the reader something of the mood, tone or colour of this dissertation or the outpouring of emotions thoughts and feelings that comprise this work, this small book that I am writing. By elucidating some of the deepest feelings that I have, by clarifying what it is that makes me what I am, by bringing to the surface and by laying bare what are my primary motives for my adventures on this God forsaken earth and why I decided repeatedly to persevere with it, I have to show the reader what I think are some of the truths of existence, of life, of the cosmos, of spirit. Craziness or dementia are not the terms one would readily use to refer to one’s own aberrations. Nonetheless on the face of it that is how we see mental impairments as manifestations of a crazy or demented psyche. Thus far I would not have any issue whatever with anyone who turned to call me crazy. I would have to agree with this person. That is fine. Please allow me to point out however that the contortions of a confused mind need not necessarily be evidence of an intellectual or emotional retardation, such behaviour as exhibited by those of us who have suffered the ostracism and extreme loneliness of the “nutter” or the “loony” can in fact indicate a degree of awareness, of insight that is reserved only for those of us long relegated to the confines of the mental institutions and slum tenements. Places that only we nutters, we creatures of the night, are aware of. This is why I have decided to try to write about such people as myself and my acquaintances, to try to show why I think the traumas and the trepidations we experience are reflections not only of chemical imbalances or disordered thoughts but also of a world gone mad or more specifically of the world as it is.
Specifically, or to be more precise, particularly; to pertain to the real, to what our senses tell us about the outside world, is what this book purports to do. From Insanity to Ecstasy. What a bizarre title! Nevertheless, however gothic or crude such a title may seem to be, this phrase actually encapsulates to some degree at least what life is like for someone suffering from schizophrenia or a bipolar disorder, or a similar malaise, such as psychosis or depression. The brain is a receptor for all our sense impressions. Impressions of the external world. Therefore, initially, we would have to assume that emotional imbalances such as schizophrenia are brought about through being exposed to sense data that indicates a world that is unspeakably cruel. Such is the pain experienced by the schizophrenic that he or she loses control of his or her faculties and thereafter must be forcibly contained in a straight jacket. That is, the person who is undergoing the severe disturbance has become so disorientated that he or she must be treated with chemicals for the remainder of his or her life such that this person is rendered, by the application of so called anti-psychotic medication, that is, by the continual insertion of chemical substances over a period of many years or even a lifetime; into a state of witlessness or, more accurately into a state of quasi catatonia. One becomes a zombie, effectively.
Of course this is only one way of looking at the spectacle of mental illness. Sooner or later of course someone has to carry the can. Who, the schizophrenic or the psychiatrist? Or the world itself? Who is responsible? Who is responsible for my aberrant behaviour? Me, or the world out there? Am I a victim of circumstance? Or must I take responsibility for my actions? Freewill or determinism? Or a combination of the two? Who is to say? Many would hold that it is the world that is responsible for what I do. Others would say I am responsible. Even others would go so far as to say that I am responsible not only for my actions but also for all that happens to me. Both good and bad.
This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 30 October, 2008.