Thursday, November 09, 2006

I didn't realise this until recently but... when you're not too hot emotionally, it can impair your ability to do things and think things through.

I've been put on Risperidone to get over a rough patch. It turns me into a pixie:)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Literature - the opiate of the intellectual.

When I was 20 and going through relatively minor, undetected, psychotic episodes while working at Grand Metropolitan Brewing (Systems), my coping mechanisms were 1) reading and 2) running Dungeons and Dragons games based in the World Of Greyhawk and 3) computing on a 68008 based computer, the Sinclair QL. At weekends, isolated and hundreds of miles away from my family, I would bury myself in my books, writing and computing. Some weekends I would read two novels in a weekend.

Losing and regaining intellect.
2001 saw me at the height of my programming abilities. I was making good progress in learning things that were new to me – C++, STL, generics, ODBC, VCL and the sky (or at least Boost) seemed the limit. I'd been a C++ design geek for some time – reading books and asking questions about what was not only what the language features were but also how to deploy them. So I was well placed to start using C++. About April 2001 saw the beginning of what is either the end or a major power cut in my programming career. I was made redundant and within weeks I was admitted into a psychiatric Hospital with a major psychotic episode. At the time I figured I was safe from those people who had conspired against me and that no-one would look for me in a psychiatric hospital – I was safe. I was put on anti-psychotic medication (Olanzapine)

Do you remember the Jack Nicholson character at the end of the film, “One flew over the cuckoo's nest”? Well, that was me in 2002. A cocktail of medication, schizophrenia and lack of intellectual stimulation meant my intellectual abilities took a nose-dive. Since about 2003 I've been working to regain my intellect. It started with small steps, while on rehab (East Loan) – reading the Daily Mirror, reading Bridget Jones' The Edge of Reason (in about 3 months). I've taken to frequenting local libraries, reading New Scientist, Scientific American, The Economist in the journals section. And I've been reading books and, on occasion, reviewing books. Thanks to New Scientist, Scientific American and some library books, I've got a rough recipe for genius:-

1% inspiration
15% Mentorship
4% Lifestyle (good rest, diet, pacing, planning)
80% perspiration

Thanks to my concerted efforts, I now have the reading capacities I had as when I was 21 years old. That's an encouraging milestone. But there's more to come. I've got to regain my programming abilities by learning new tools. I'm going for a Linux based approach because 1) lots of new things happen there and 2) its cheap. If I can work with the Linux stuff, I can work on the proprietary stuff at a later date. There's a new version of C++ due out before 2010. I want to regain my abilities by then, possibly by working on free/open source software projects and building up a portfolio of work.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A city at war
Schizophrenia is like being a city at war. No matter what hangs in your art galleries, no matter what is debated in your universities, a well aimed bomb (schizophrenia) can bomb you back to the stone age.

Christianity and Science
Some of my friends are scientists, some of them are Christians. Will the two ever reconcile their differences? Taking the science thing further, take a look at
Scientific American Mind I have a courtesy copy of it and have already used it in my fight with schizophrenia.

I am continually striving to get my concentration back. I have discovered that certain environments (like a library) can make it easier to concentrate.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I have been discharged from hospital for two years.

Contact project
I started a project at Contact where we take in surplus computer equipment and pass it on to in-patients, out-patients and their carers.

Been to Windermere for a short camping break with the outreach team. It was good to go back to old haunts.

Stigma and lazy reporters
If a person "with a mental health problem" attacks someone, a few things aren't disclosed by the media. 1) They don't say *what* kind of problem they have and 2) quite often the person has not been taking medication for months, they haven't been keeping up with appointments and they haven't been seen by caring staff for months, either.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I'm working hard to avoid DFCFing (Departing From Controlled Flight). People see a thoughtful, rational person but, like when watching a swan glide by, they are unable to see the webbed feet paddling frantically away.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A couple of weeks ago, the new hospital staged a visiting day - before the patients were transferred - on a Saturday.

The new hospital is a big improvement on the old one, even if I recall correctly it cost about £27m via PFI.

However nice it is, it is still a hospital and I will be working hard to make sure I remain out of the hospital rather than in.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Thursday 4th May 2006

I am a creative. It took a while – reading books and writing articles – for me to work that out for myself. At school the *only* subject I was any good at was English – at least until Computer Science came along :)

So what now? I'm laying down technical and story telling foundations.

I've been trawling through Morpeth Library's reference section. In it I've discovered a series, “The elements of fiction writing”. Courtesy of Amazon UK, I've bought 8 books from that series, with a view to developing & running a “Vampire : The Dark Ages” campaign with my social worker, RB.

For technical stuff, I've built up a library of Linux and programming books. I'm working my way through them, reviewing them for the ACCU.

For personal development stuff, I'm reading books about thinking (edward de Bono) and memory.

So I'm just getting started. Who knows what I'll develop in the next 3 to 5 years?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Have split up amicably. Am single again. It was a valuable friendship that ended in friendship. Can't complain about that.