Last week, I interviewed a paranoid schizophrenic. He is young man who was diagnosed a few years ago. He is not currently taking his prescribed medications, but he knows what they are and knows that they work. He is not resistant to treatment; he is simply non-compliant because he doesn’t have the cognitive or financial resources to get his meds in a traditional way.
Eventually he can get his treatment; all he has to do is talk and make someone uncomfortable, they call the police. The process is unwittingly his health insurance as it exacerbates his paranoia and he becomes increasingly symptomatic.
We learn about some of this as doctoral candidates. You are not quite sure what you are learning until you see it clinically. Word salad is a like that. You only need to see it once to get it and then it's an "a ha" moment.
Word salad is more complex than complicated. Finely sliced, diced, and minced words that are not supposed to go together are tossed in a dressing of schizophrenic yearning. They -the words-absorb properties of each other. Nouns, verbs, all parts of speech at once cling to each other in all possible ways.
Some schizophrenics are able to rearrange language into such melodious poetry it takes a while to realize they are tossing a word salad. Nuances often start subtly but end with a big impact, a big finish.
Appreciating the complexities of this use of language is analogous to understanding wine. Both take practice and a willingness to be a relationship with your own senses. What happens to a few words in seconds or bunches of grapes over years only matters if you allow yourself to take these things in and experience.
When I allow my heart to go beyond the clinical pathology to listen in a different way, the message is not crazy, but true. Like this one, "America is in dis-a-may."
I think he's right.
Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
Yesterday I received a forwarded an email with instructions how to boycott a Muslim stamp. I wanted to scream, partly because I was afraid to disagree.
I felt dis-a-mayed.
I felt like asking: "Should I boycott African American History stamps because I don't like gangs?"
Or how about boycotting a Christmas stamp because the Oklahoma City bomber was Christian?
Today I got another forwarded email. Instead of grouping all Muslims into a group of terrorists, this one was directed at shaming the country Denmark because a group of Danish men practice a barbaric ritual. Does this mean Danes can no longer be great?
Terrible things happen in the world. Many times when there seems like there nothing we can do, I feel terrible and helpless and very sad. What happened with the emails is different. I can do something. Right now, all I have to do is have the courage to speak. As long as I am not silent I am not contributing to the spread of bias and prejudice.
It's a start.
Who hears me?