A miracle happen today. We have a telephone post near the end of our driveway with a lot of wires and transformers on it and it has killed many birds in the past. Electrocuted by touching one wire with an other. Today I was smoking out the front and heard a zap and a bird fell to the sidewalk. At first I thought is was a squirrel, but I looked closer and it was a Mocking bird. It was still breathing. I picked it up and it was breathing really hard and I could feel it’s heart beat in the palm of my hand beating extremely fast. It was dazed. I stroked it’s back and talked to it. It’s eyes were moving as more time went by and I kept stroking it’s back and the it’s head. Slowly it’s eyes were seeing and it’s breathing became more normal and it’s heartbeat slowed. After twenty minutes of talking to it and helping it along I could feel it become stronger. I was so glad when it’s feet got it’s footing and it flew across the street into a tree. I hope that electro-shock therapy didn’t erase all the wonderful songs Mocking birds can sing. I thought it was a miracle and was so happy to bring it back to life. There was a time that I wanted to be an Franciscan, now I’ve become united with his philosophy. – John
I’m disappointed. We’re not getting feedback. I’m not happy about it. Not just the blog but we’re not getting new artists that want to contribute to the website. I’m not sure why this is. It is possible that artists that might want to be a part of the project are intimidated by the art already published. I respond to new artists is there are so many different expressions of our illnesses. We have rejected very few. If you’ve got something that nails the illness that we have to deal with you are welcome to submit your writing, or your graphic art. - John
If we were normal would we be compelled to drive us to express our experience? What do the the “normal” do with their time, mow the grass or just sit and relax with a joint and a glass of wine? There is so much to consider, so much to experience, sometimes I feel like I’m on acid again. Nothing compares with that – being a thousand years old – seeing. The next time I get a dose I will be happy to see the beauty and the hell. My mind is almost there most of time. But it comes and goes. But sometimes I don’t recognise it when I’m lite. My mind and crazy as it is burns to find the right expression and I will never stop pursuing it. Sometimes I live inside a bottle, but when I am creating something I am sober as Hemingway said paraphasing “you can’t write when your not sober”. And also said “do what you said you would do when you’re drunk when you are sober.” Pretty obvious. For us poor slobs that drink and drug. Maybe I’m just another stranger with a head full of unruly thoughts and and a destain for authority.
I am bipolar- suffered for over 13 years, and have recently published a book about it called Big Crowd at the Crazy House. My book is now available online at www.BigCrowdAtTheCrazyHouse.com Get your autographed copy today!!
Hi John, it’s really good hear from you. I’m alright thanks, I’ve decided give up on the nursing, and chnge my life path. My mum and dad were travellers (gipsys) who set up an animal sanctuary, mostly for injured wildlife, I grew up with the animals and I still miss the life-style. The sanctuary closed 7 years ago when my mum died and my dad fell apart. I was doing my nurse training at time, but I’ve discovered over the years I’m not a people person, and I don’t fit in with mainstream existance, not for want of trying, but Im always the outsider, as I have always been, which isn’t a negative thing as long as I don’t want to live in mainstream society, which is something Ive never adapted to having been a traveller child then in forces.
So I’ve brought a showmans waggon I’m going to move on to the former site of the animal sanctuary, which is a nightmare at moment, like a scrapyard and slum combined, complete with rats that could probably carry off a small child-I found out that in the really cold weather weve had (-20 at times, prob nowhere near as cold as it is where you are) my dads been sleeping under a tarpaulin in a soaked bed cuz his caravan roof was leaking, and no heating cuz rats had eaten the rubber gas pipes outside his van. He’s ok now hes moved into an American school bus, put stove in etc its dead cozy and rat proof.
Anyhow my plan is to convert this nightmare back into the wonderful wildlife rescue it once was, and devote my time to the critters. I want to re-establish a reputation and public support for the place. Its a massive change but it feels the right thing to do. Also means Ive had to give up the street pharmacuticals for a while cuz Ive had want to put my money to better use. I bought waggon, I got it dirt cheap not sure the guy who sold it to me knew what he was selling, these things normally cost a fortune, I take it as a sign it’s meant to be)
Ive stopped with the prescribed meds cuz Im sick of the side effects and being quite high at mo. is helping me get stuff sorted despite the 12 hour night shifts I’m working. Steve is really into the whole idea, hes as desperate to escape society as me. It helps that hes on board, it would be impossible on my own.
Once it’s all up and running I can retreat from the world and become an odd excentric old lady living in me caravan with hordes of animals.
Dead glad to hear you are starting to feel better, withdrawal is a bitch. But so worth it for the sake of good chemicals when you need them. Know what you mean with the scial anxety thng, I can’t face visiting me own relatives, and they only live a few miles away. Public transport is harrowing too.
Anyway I’m probably rambling so I’d best leave it at that, I could be here all night otherwise and I’m at steves house and his elderly father wants to go to bed and I’m keeping him up.
Hope hear from you soon love Emma x
Emma I think of you as a diamond in the rough. You truly are a special person and any animal you take care of would think so too. Animals need love and caring just like we do I would also assume that you would setup a relationship with a caring Vet that would help you for free when need be. I’m so happy for you. I hope that you remain mental healthy. I am sure that you will help you father, he sounds like he needs you. From all I know about you that you have shared with me you are a very special person to me. A friend. I hope that you can keep you computer running when you get settled in your new place. Thanks for sending new art. I love you Emma and I always want to keep in touch with you even if it is by mail. Another thing I wanted to ask you if you would like to share your new plans with our group on the blog. I am sure they also would like to hear about you and your plans too. xxo – John
Bridges. I have burnt every bridge I have crossed all my life. I have set fire to and burnt every relationship I have ever had. Family, friends, co-workers, bosses, my first wife and child. Being bipolar doesn’t mix well socially. People that love you become confused. They don’t know from day to day whether they will be loved or despised. Enter alcohol and drugs and it becomes a disaster waiting to blow up in the faces of the one’s you loved yesterday but hate today. I had no intention of going through life as a loner but that’s what happened until I met Deborah and married her. Her insight and sympathy and love run deeper than anyone I’ve ever met and that is why she is successful at managing people. Not to mean she has no backbone she has tremendous strength and fortitude. If it wasn’t for her I would have rode the long dead train way before now. We’ve been together since 1983. She likes me when I am sober and is not fond of me when I’m drugged and drinking, (an understatement). Am I guilty of the crime being an arsonist, burning love and affection. No. Is it my fault. No. Are we responsible for being ill? Or being a addict? No. We were born with genetic defects. Do we have a choice to try to get well, find help and support and take medication that will help us? Yes, we have a choice, don’t we? I was told we do, but do we really? My behavior doesn’t make Deborah feel comfortable. She fears that I will die of a heart attack, stroke, liver failure or overdose or suicide. And she is right to fear these things. All I can do is try to love her while we’re both alive. As regards friends I don’t have any. All my friends were junkies and alcoholics and they have all went their own ways as the years have past. All my friends are in cyberspace now liking or disliking each other through our thoughtfulness and words and ideas. Bridges.
Today like yesterday I was hypomanic or manic. It is a crazed state of mind. A little bit deranged and wild. I am now after my fix and a half a dozen beers I feeling normal. What normal is to me is not ready to jump off the cliff just because it would be fun to land in the sand below. You never know what lurks beneath the sand could be rocks or other refuse like broken bottles and such. Being manic is for me has got elements of psychosis. And that’s not where I want to be. I want to be calm, sane and balanced. I don’t want to drive down the street at 70 miles an hour just to buy some groceries and beer. I don’t want to scare my wife into thinking I am out of my mind. But this is the insanity that mania brings on. It makes us do what we normally wouldn’t do and it is rabid with excitement that is difficult to turn off. I guess I am lucky and have the drugs to turn it off. I don’t want to be pulled over, searched and jailed. Nothing more serious than driving under the influence of alcohol would be the charge. I don’t hold my other drugs. I have a great mountain bike I can ride. – John
I’m hypomanic right now. This is the way I woke up. Everything is the way it should be again. The rain outside is washing the dirt from my mind and the thunder is in my head. I want more but I know this is could be leading me to impending doom, a malignant crash. Or accident or a risky overdose. I am living at an acute angle. Somewhere around 90˚ off center. It feels like an electric shock, I am jumpy and precariously at the edge of an imaginary cliff. I can see for miles and miles. My fingers can’t keep up with the devilish, godless, lightning bolt that strikes me like a green fireball and shoots out of my fingertips, smoking. I feel impregnable but my mind is shaky and underneath my serpentine thoughts is a hot loaded gun messing up my good humor and happiness. That always seems to be the way it is. I have to guard myself from hazardous materials. I feel wonderfully clear, untouched by the dirt and filth of my cluttered and uncertain mind. Joy. I’m high, no pain. My mind is full of jelly beans of every color and flavor. If I get too overexcited I’m going to feel paranoid and I can feel beginnings of that coming on. How long can stuff last in the refrigerator? My $4000 dollar watch is sparkling and chasing time. I worry that the mailman might deliver a hospital bill for $6000 dollars that I never got from 2007. I think I need a fix soon I don’t want to get all jittery and raving. That happened yesterday afternoon too. And I couldn’t decide what to do – all this backed up work for the website, clean the house in a frenzy of energy, or get loaded and and chill. I don’t want this to go too far – I know it can – and I could start unraveling. Yesterday Deborah said I was lit up like a christmas tree. There are no leaks in the roof but the sound of the rain is like white noise or a babbling brook. I am going to take a fix and get a beer right now. – John
I let the rainbow effects play around the electric lights and I loosen my focus. There is a new focus, a sparkling effervescence of being. It has opened up into the illimitable Beyond.
I may seem brash and glittery with energy. I may be living dangerously. In this state, I could do anything. But it is all startlingly clear: I’ve touched the element of life and I am enthralled by it.
Happy hypomania. I remember the days.
What troubles you? The floor I sit cross-legged on swells and rolls like the waves of the sea. This troubles me: I have repeating and intrusive thoughts, seeing my throat being cut with sheet glass over and again. I’m conscious of a dislocation and it’s all in my head.
Is it my sickness you’re experiencing – or is it nothing really?
The sentences do not connect there where the idea has suddenly snapped and fallen away. The chairs downstairs all guffaw at me.
I walked through the underworld to get here; I’m not prepared to turn around now. There are lots and lots of pictures of pain on the walls but not all that many of happiness. Why is that? Don’t look behind you but there’s someone staring our way.
You lose sight of me. Hallucinations here are a distraction. They can laugh; they can dance all they like: my heart is smashed to smithereens – you are gone.
I’ve been near to hell and back because of you but I’ve made it. Look forward to the light of day. Go on. Just don’t look back.
I can’t see beyond my own experience, who can? Short streets of prose make it manageable, sometimes understandable. I see it this way. Pill, Chill, Thrill and Kill. Under the influence it works out to be: Salvation, Vacation, Elation, Mutation, and Annihilation. Ending in Blindside Suicide. – John
There is a splintering of goal-directed behaviour. My attention divides so that nothing ever sees completion. Reading long blocks of text is slightly beyond me. Sometimes I will forget how to carry things out and I throw things in exasperation.
Sometimes I forget I’m lucky.
What’s it like being an alcoholic and drug addict. First and foremost there is the pain, anxiety and stress. Emotional pain can come from many directions at the same time. Guilt is one of the strongest pains and from it there is no escape. The pain of depression is another torment sometimes the worst pain that is unpredictable and comes on like shock from bleeding to death. The daily get out of bed and wash, brush teeth and get dressed and get shoes on and tie the laces is another crippling difficulty. Just taking a shower and shave is like trying to climb a cliff. Drugs depending on what is used, delaudid, (pharmceutical heroin), morphine sulfate, and pain pills in that order kill the pain and with the combination of alcohol the pain ceases. There are no psychiatrists that will give you the combination of drugs to kill the pain. If you have a broken back they will treat the pain with derivatives of morphine. I know because this happened to me. I was a junkie after leaving the hospital after a month of treatment, which was basically lying in bed and getting dosed every five hours 24/7. Alcohol is poision and tolerance makes you phsycially sick after six months of heavy use. The other drugs develop a tolerance also so you spend more and take more. What happens is you drain your bank account and your savings. The worst of the drugs is alcohol. It slowly kills your brain functions by destorying your brain cells and there have been studies that it actually causes atropy of the brain itself. This causes many different symptoms. Dementia, loss of memory, paranoia and ultimately clinical depression which cannot be cured. Many who experience these conditions commit suicide. This is the short version of what happens to people with drug addiction and alcoholism. And I haven’t included mental illness which is almost always included in the diagnosis of addiction and suicide. (Dual Diagnosis). Much more can be found on the web. – John
As I breathe, I am aware of time passing. It would be easy to imagine happily ever after. But I lie there.
I asked for a skull and got the moon instead. I disappear and return to view; leaving whole words undone because there is a hole in my head the shape of the moon. I am full of rage at what I can no longer understand to do. I tear up everything I try.
I will forget the moon and smile.
I am aware of times past. I say I love life. But I lie there. All the money in the world cannot buy you time.
I could have held that head in my one hand. Is everything come to nothing? I asked for a skull. My eyes lit up with a sudden thought. It’s gone out now. Death was not where I looked that time; it still gives me grief.
The moon will forget me and smile.
Something tells me something’s wrong. I threw my voice at a wall with all my strength and something crumpled in me. A double dose of sleeping medicine is not enough. What’s wrong? I am.
The night before last, I didn’t sleep either. But the television downstairs played me, forcing me to stand up and sit down repeatedly, time after time for the whole night. It was because it was down a level and it was in everyday English. I tried to maintain serenity.
Today I start again. I cannot stop. I cannot stop feeling hopeful.
An excerpt from: “The Bogeyman of the Sandpits” by John Poole December 2000
The bogeyman is seven feet tall with black incrusted shaggy hair and beard. Old blood and icicles hanging for it. Red ruby eyes see in the dark like an animal, his hands as big as baseball gloves. I looked back at the treeline, the sand pit a quarter mile away, beyond. He wears rabbit fur and remnants of little girls dresses and underpants with locks of their hair sewn in around this thick dirty neck. He steals from old farmer McGee. Raids the pumpkin fields. Eats from the cabbage crop. Sours the spring water with old blood and machine greased fingers, crushing twigs and leaf litter with garbage bagged boots. Sniffing the air. He smells cooking from houses where warm lights are on and families laugh at comedy shows or play board games around dining room tables. He hunts for that ribbon of sweet scent. The smell of freshly bathed little girls through the earthy stench of his nostrils. He’d eat boys too, I’m sure, if he were hungry enough, or maybe he’d just torture them and let their blood run out slowly, saving it for salt and pudding. If he follows you he will catch you. No exit, no escaping his gallop and his final grip, carrying away his catch under one arm, and smothering his wriggling prey with his other big greasy hand. Maybe he could be out there. I made it home safely.
My mother was cooking and my father was reading the paper. “Honey”, his father said speaking from behind the paper. “Did you know that the Robertson’s daughter has been missing for two days? It’s here in the paper. Aren’t they the neighbors down the street?” “Oh my”, she said. It send my heart into my throat. The bogeyman’s got her. Roasting her over the hot coals right now, or already eaten her. But maybe he’s saving her for Christmas dinner next week. Maybe he’s saving her for that.
Copyright 2000, 2009 John Poole All Rights Reserved
It’s no good. I’ve always said we don’t know the half of it. I will never know what I feel now. I can’t think whether to laugh with annoyance or relief. Is it what we make of life – or what it makes of us?
Though the sky is a deep bluish-black, the sun has caught the raindrops. A rainbow is lightly painted in watercolours up above. I’ve traced the whole spectrum in the past two days. I don’t know what to make of bipolarity, electrics, or undying love. If I appear thoughtless, I’m just dazzled.