Monday, October 09, 2017

#31for21 #mentalhealthweek #themmlinky: three quests for belonging, identity, maturity - Esperanza [2017]; Carlson jnr [2017]; Western [2011 video; 2008 blog]

"1956: Budapest is Rising" as sung by Idina Menzel playing Florence Vassy.

Lyrics from Cornelius Esperanza's gospel album of 2002; whose autobiography I will be dealing with in these lines. It is known as Ravings of a lunatic ASD mind; the reason for this is explained in the first chapter or early in the second when we discussed it in early September.

Later during Mental Health Week, Esperanza will be having his birthday on the 14th October. He was born in 1971 in Walnut Creek while the family lived in Alamo, California. The early 1970s were not necessarily a good time for people on the autistic spectrum or who were considered/imputed as such in the USA.

as we learn in chapter one of Ravings of a Lunatic ASD mind.

Richard Carlson is roughly contemporaneous - he grew up in New York and upstate with his father, mother, grandfather and siblings [one of whom is Kevin; the illustrator whose collaborations I would read in the early 2000s].

 In August 2017 I read extracts of his memoir / biography Surviving schizophrenia which he developed at 12 years old. For the better part of the ten years of his adolescence and young adult up until he was 22 his paranoid schizophrenia was florid.

Surviving Schizophrenia by Richard Carlson is a Portable Document File which you can download as you choose

Esperanza and Carlson had a lot in common when it came to co-existing mental conditions like depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

In Carlson's very first chapter he tells the reader to Be Honest and shows how this worked and didn't work in his life.

When Carlson was younger he loved woodshop and making things and drawing.

Both Carlson and Esperanza were very sensitive young men and both had passions for young women commensurate with their sexual proclivities.

In Esperanza's case his psychologist recommended that he read Where do I come from and What's happening to me about puberty and both were written by Mayle who was later known for his Provencal adventures in the 1980s and 1990s which became wildly popular.

In chapter two of Esperanza's biography we learn about his passion for television and video production

Here Esperanza developed his identity as a Texan which has been strong and passionate ever since.

And in the early 1980s Esperanza developed a passion for ET and the associated cuddly aliens.

"When the movie E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial had debuted in 1982, I had been deeply touched by it.  At Christmas in that year, I had gotten as a gift my very first of what are now over thirty stuffed dolls of the movie character, which I affectionately call The E.T. Family.  Why I named them that is because I think those other extraterrestrials that were out with him in the forest at the beginning of his movie, all collecting Earth plant specimens for their botanist (plant scientist) work, they HAD to be his relatives, not just colleague botanists.  Some of the stuffed dolls I have given names.  For example, two of them I have named his mother and father; Marilyn-Margaret and Harold respectively.  Others I have named E.T.'s younger brother; Mason, who wears a red hoodie jacket with the family name of E.T. on it.  Another is named E.T.'s uncle; Roy, who wears a blue hoodie jacket with the same family name embroidered on it.  Other relatives include E.T.'s older brother who has my middle name; Merrill, cousins Jonathan and Samuel (The latter has a liking for ice cream and cake!), sister Annabelle, aunt Gladys, grandmother Gertrude, elder uncle Wayne (who is two feet tall), grandson Henry, cousin Timothy.  So most of them are like little babies because of their sizes."

I had to stop with the serial reading of Lunatic ASD mind in mid-September - here are four paragraphs of the 4th chapter:

"Musical instruments had always interested me as previously noted, especially the piano and drums.  In about 1979 or during the early to mid-1980s, I began taking piano lessons from this woman I'll call Mrs. Spencer, who would also teach them to one or both of my older sister's daughters.  We had gotten up to the fourth or fifth book of the book series Peanuts Piano Course by June Edison, before I decided to cease and desist on the piano lessons.  This doesn't mean I am not interested in bettering myself on that instrument.  My getting back to learning it more will come, I just don't know when.  As for the drums, the interest in them had started when I had gotten this toy trap drum set for my birthday in either 1978 or 1979; the Disney Rocktet trap drum set.  By 1984, I would get my first proper drum kit, a Ludwig one that was piano black in color, with silver sparkle inlays on the hoops of its 14" x 22" bass drum.  The snare drum were a Ludwig Supraphonic in the depth by diameter size of 5" x 14", the rack toms were 8" x 12" and 9" x 13", and the floor tom was 16" x 16".  The drum kit had been purchased from a Kingwood doctor who advertised them for sale on cable television or the local newspaper.  I have since graduated from that kit and now own two Ludwig John Bonham/Led Zeppelin-themed drum kits; the Ludwig Classic Maple "Zep Set" in Natural finish, and the Ludwig Limited Edition Stainless Steel John Bonham drum kit, complete with the needed 14" x 26" bass drums, with my eyes on two more such drum kits down the road in the future, before calling the collecting of them quits.  Also happen to be the proud owner of two Ludwig timpani drums, a Paiste (pie-stee) 30" Symphonic Gong, 34" Paiste Round Orchestral Gong Stand, and ten cymbal bags worth of Paiste drum set cymbals from their 2002 and Giant Beat lines!

Just before that first year in junior high school is when I believe I had stopped viewing another favorite PBS series; The Electric Company (1971-1977), the sister series of Sesame Street that taught reading skills.  The last two seasons of 1975-1976 and 1976-1977 that played in reruns up to then were what many others my age and I remember the most.  There is no memory I have of ever having viewed the series while my family and I had been living in northern California, though I certainly know of viewing another PBS series during that time; Zoom (1972-1978), produced by PBS member station WGBH in Boston, Massachusetts, which also played in reruns into the early 1980s. Once I tried submitting a story for their soap opera parody As The World Zooms, after which I had gotten this letter with a postcard and show logo stickers inside it. I think they were telling me gently with what they had sent that Zoom had completed its production run long before my story submission.  

The second year of junior high school; seventh grade (1984-1985), had been an improvement over the first.  Paul Roser had taken over by then as Creekwood Middle School principal.  I was becoming more and more comfortable with attending there. Classes for that year included Texas History, Plastics, Earth Science.  But during that school year, with the onset of puberty, I would experience something which would scar me forever, that being the being exposed to this hardcover illustrated book on the subject; What's Happening To Me? (1975), which my psychologist at the time; William J. Schulman, had been foolish enough to give me to read without consulting my parents about it!  He committed equal foolishness with giving me its companion book published two years before that to read also; Where Did I Come From? (1973).  

Such an exposure to a book like What's Happening To Me? contributed to poisoning my mind then on the issues of love and sex, including and especially with its graphic illustrations, giving me the idea that it's quite all right to discuss the latter issue early on in getting to know a female human being when it's really not.  I just wasn't able to comprehend how that and love are supposed to go together, just couldn't look at them right, which still dogs me now.  It was scary to see more of what I had been exposed to a long time before.  13 had been too early an age to expose me to the book, and I think it would still have been inappropriate to do so even when I had been older!"
Esperanza 2017 - covers  1982-85 

I had been reading meanwhile a standard website about Raising Children Network and the Institute for Family Studies and Welfare.

It was really terrific to read about the Public Broadcasting Service and how it was influencing teenage minds at the time.

And of course Esperanza's love of music.

Chapter 5 shows us the big change Esperanza went through returning to Texas from California and several hospitalisations and psychiatric experiences which followed through from the behaviour modification and importantly for the #31for21 people, Esperanza's sexual experience with Kim who has Trisomy 21 and is his age in the last quoted paragraph

"Back now to 1987, while my parents and I had been living in Kingwood Lakes Apartments, it was then that my interest in video production really began to take form, even though I had done video projects during the two years before that, one of them titled Dave's Comedy And Other Miscellaneous Things in 1985, sort of a nod to a popular NBC series back then; TV's Bloopers And Practical Jokes, which ran on the network from 1984 to 1987, the other video project being during the following year of 1986; my own idea of a Three Stooges short subject film.

The first video project of 1987 happened to be a mock documentary of a British cartoon series produced by Cosgrove-Hall Productions for Thames Television which I came to know via Nickelodeon, the children's cable/satellite television channel, called Danger Mouse, which happened to be a spoof of a live-action spy drama series from that country titled Danger Man. Other video production projects that year included one I did with our cats that Summer titled The Bubba Club Special.  The project's name had partially originated out of what the famed National Football League coach for the Oakland Raiders in the 1970s; John Madden, had going in his free time; this club named The Bubba Club, for wide bodies and so forth.

During this same year, I would complete my repeated eighth grade year at Creekwood Middle School, also take an interest in doing voice-over work for cartoon animation.  As a fun exercise in my attempting to learn that, I had dubbed in my own character voices to replace the audio portion of people interviewed in two television commercials for Puffs Plus Facial Tissue, and put it on a VHS cassette tape as another video project titled David Merrill Gill: The Voice-Over Artist.  That Fall, instead of entering into Kingwood High School, I would enter into the Humble Learning Center in nearby Humble, Texas, run by Rose Marie Patronella. She had a pet chihuahua dog named Bear.  I even did a video project with them the next year, in 1988.

Speaking of 1988, that would turn out to be a watershed year for me in more ways than one.  To begin with, this had been an election year, where I was banging the drum in my own manner for George H.W. Bush.  "Go, George Bush, go!  Dump Dukakis!" (Michael Dukakis, that is.)  If anything is to be blamed on my Conservative Republican political leaning, it might as well be blamed on the factors of my growing up in a conservative home, and mostly during the conservative Reagan 1980s, also my father's influence.  How it fits into this is tied to a memory I have of the election year of 1980. During that year's Democratic Convention going on, or on Election Night, Dad had said something to me along the lines of "Don't cheer for Democrats." Knowing what I know today about politics, I can't say I blame him for saying such a thing to me. Liberal Democrats stand for issues that only Satan could applaud. Left wing, the left hand of Satan, see how it all fits?  For the reason of questionable issues that are stood for by them, there is why I think Liberalism and Satanism go hand in hand.  They are both evil, corrupt.  Only an idiot would go along with them.

My interest in Hanna-Barbera Productions would also show up during this period.  I had always enjoyed their work for television and the movies, including and especially the spinoff series from Wacky RacesThe Perils Of Penelope Pitstop and Dastardly And Muttley In Their Flying Machines in syndicated reruns during the early to mid-1980s, but this is when my affinity for their work really took off, going together with the aforementioned interest in cartoon animation voice-over work.  So I wrote the studio a fan letter, gradually arrangements were made with their then-casting director Andrea Romano, to come visit the studio for a tour during the vacation my parents and I took to Los Angeles, California in April 1988.  I had also sent an audition tape to them, which I don't think made the cut.  Earlier in that year, I had done as a video project my own affectionate tribute to their live-action costumed cartoon animal foursome The Banana Splits, in observance of their 20th anniversary at the time. (1968-1988)  

On Monday, September 5, 1988, there occurred what is still a haunting memory to me almost 30 years later.  I visited this Down's Syndrome girl my same age named Kim.  Took a walk to her home that day to pay her a visit, with the goal in mind of our having coitus, sexual intercourse, in other words, which did result.  How it came about went like this; when her parents had been busy with other things, I gently guided her up the stairs to the second floor from behind, she didn't seem to be scared about going through with that.  Her bedroom door never did get checked by me to see if it locked, so we went into the bathroom on that floor, I locked the door, gently took her clothes off, then mine, we lay down on the bathroom floor, I placed my penis in her vagina, and we did the deed so to speak, sometimes hugging each other tightly while we did it.  Again, she never fought me off during all this, it were as if she truly consented to the act.  The year before, on Monday, October 26, 1987, I encountered her for the first time in a long time, since last seeing her during my years at Creekwood Middle School, at her home while I was riding my bike along the neighborhood bike trails.  A little later that same year, I brought her over to my home for a visit.  My sexual, voyeuristic curiosity got the best of me, where I managed to get to see her using the toilet in my parents' bathroom, urinating in it.  Why I had sex with Kim that Labor Day of 29 years ago is because I feared that I would never experience it properly in marriage, and marriage is still a goal I am aiming for at almost 50. It could happen with this Asperger woman my age that I have known for 21 years since 1996 whose name shall remain anonymous.  Stick around, there is more of my life story to come."

Esperanza introduces us to their Special TV show and late-1980s interactions vocationally and educationally after psychiatry

"Now for a few words about animation voice-over actors I have communicated with, especially over the phone, during 1987 and early 1988, I spoke with the voice of Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Snagglepuss, Elroy Jetson, and many other characters; Daws Butler (Birth name: Charles Dawson Butler, born in Ohio in 1916.).  He had also sent me in the mail this signed drawing of him with the characters he voiced, this pamphlet sheet and cassette titled About Acting-Daws Butler.  Mom has told me that he had said I definitely had a skill for doing character voices that should be furthered, as had the thought speech voice of comic strip cat Garfield; Lorenzo Music, in my phone calls with him and his mail responses to my fan mail, including an autographed photo with Garfield standing in front of him!  You couldn't see much of his bearded face, being covered with a cap and sunglasses, though I have since seen other photos of him where his face was not obstructed like that.  He passed away in August 2001, Daws Butler in May 1988.  When my parents and I had vacationed in Los Angeles, California as told about in an earlier chapter, I could have met Daws at the Hanna-Barbera Studios had I called him while staying there, which I regretfully didn't do. Maybe I had been nervous to do so.  I wish also that I had tried to find out to contact Mel Blanc, who would sadly pass away the year after Daws Butler did.

Returning now to my life in 1990, during that Summer, Mom would have this retired school teacher; Ione Ragland, come and sit me during the day.  Further time would also be spent in the Humble Learning Center, until about the Spring of 1991.  By then, I would enter into the University Of Texas' Day Alternatives For The Dually Diagnosed (D.A.D.D.) program, hosted by Lee Kinal and supervised by Dr. Kay R. Lewis.  We went on many outings, I did tasks like collating papers for Lee, went on job training assignments such as for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, working in their office building.  When that mid-Summer arrived, I cracked, and thus psychiatric hospitalization reared its ugly head again, this time around at a then-new facility near Laurelwood Hospital in The Woodlands.  Further rounds of Prozac were employed, I also had my share of restraining incidents.  Once I had even kicked Dr. John Cassidy's foot in one of my meetings with him!  Many times when they had activities, I had really wished that they would leave me alone.  But that wasn't the only time that year I would be hospitalized for psychiatric reasons.  It would happen again just after my 20th birthday, which had been a pleasant day going out to eat at The Spaghetti Warehouse for dinner and having cake afterwards, getting driven to and from that restaurant in a limousine.  That second hospital stay of the year, where I went to HCA Greenbriar Hospital, would continue into January 1992, at which time I would be whisked off to stay in this group home living situation called Behavior Training Research (BTR) in Manvel, Texas outside Houston, and believe me, it was the worst group home situation I have ever lived in! There had been my share of fights with staff where I would get restrained, one of those times they had me on the tile floor of my group home's kitchen for thirteen minutes! Fortunately, my parents and I worked things out and I got to move out of there back to our house.  The only good memory I carry from there is when I had gotten to play this drum set that another group home resident owned.  

Unfortunately, the psychiatric hospital stays would not end with the experience in HCA Greenbriar Hospital.  That Spring and Summer, I would spend time in another HCA hospital; HCA Gulf Pines Hospital on west F.M. 1960.  (F.M. in this case means Farm To Market Road.)  When I entered their day outpatient program after my stay there had ended, I would have another day that stands out in my memory; my first and only grand mal seizure on Monday, June 29th, 1992.  The medical staff had said that it occurred because of sleep deprivation, even though I know I had tried to sleep the night before and just couldn't do it.  It was during my hospital stay there that I would meet who had been the person in charge of the Autistic Treatment Center in San Antonio, Texas at that time; Susan Paige Fuller, which would become my next group home living type situation that Fall, sharing a duplex with two roommates and one houseparent.
One of those houseparents; Jimmy Roan, from California, who had a twin brother, I did not get along so well with, but I fared better with who took over the job full-time sometime later; James Tynes.  Even there, I had my restraining incidents.  But we also had pleasant outings such as going to movies at the shopping mall movie theater, going swimming at the YMCA.

The following year; 1993, had its mix of good and bad occasions. Another psychiatric hospital stay would be experienced, in the facility adjacent to my then-psychiatry doctor; Dr. Kenneth Lee Matthews, in the University Of Texas At San Antonio Health Science Center.  Later that May, my video production interest would become active again with recording our vacation in Orlando, Florida to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, getting titled Fantastic Florida Fling!  The resort my parents and I stayed in was called Disney Dixie Landings, its lodging looked like it were situated in a swamp bayou, the lodging quarters themselves looked like Southern plantations.   At Universal Studios Florida, I rode the attraction called The E.T. Adventure, lucking out on getting to sit in the front bicycle that contained the basket with E.T. in it!  In the Fall of that year, we would take a vacation in Arkansas, especially because of a documentary video project I would do while we stayed there; A Visit To The Real Evening Shade.  My interest in that small town got piqued after viewing the situation comedy television series; Evening Shade, that Burt Reynolds had for four seasons on CBS (1990-1994). Initially, I didn't like it, but eventually it grew on me.  Then again, it's not a sitcom I would recommend to people.  The creator; Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and her husband Harry, have been partners in crime to Bill and Hillary Clinton, they also came from Arkansas like they did, and they are also looney Liberals like that couple to boot!

In late January 1994, just as it looked like I were about to start living in my own duplex in San Antonio, Dad decided to bring me back home to Kingwood, Texas, thus pulling me out of the Autistic Treatment Center!  At least I had gotten some job training in the San Antonio Credit Union, working in their basement floor mail room during the year before that.  A few months after returning to Kingwood, I would finally graduate from Kingwood High School in the Humble Independent School District in May with a vocational diploma, then in the late Summer, enter into Kingwood Community College, now called Lone Star Community College, taking courses in Desktop Publishing, Keyboarding, and other computer related subjects.  The next chapter will cover 1996 and the first ten years of the 2000s."

Like Esperanza; Carlson was very creative as a young boy and as a teenager. Chapter 4 in Surviving schizophrenia is about when he wrote a poem for a Valentine contest:

"The first time I remember being recognized for writing was in the second grade, when I won the Why My Teacher is My Valentine contest. The winners got to have lunch with their teacher at a restaurant, and have their pictures published in the local newspaper. I was even interviewed by a radio station. I figured that I must take after Grandma Carlson, because she liked to write poetry.
I was in Mrs. Daley’s second grade class, just about to leave for lunch, when the announcement was made over the intercom.
“The winners of the Why My Teacher is My Valentine contest have been decided. Thank you to everyone who participated. Two winners were chosen, one from the second grade entries and one from the third grade,” the female announcer said.
I listened intently. My stomach began to feel queasy and I had a tingling sensation inside my chest.
The announcer said the name of the third-grade winner first. I didn’t recognize the name. Then, she said, “The second-grade winner is Richard Carlson, from Mrs. Daley’s class. Congratulations to the both of you. The winners and their teachers are going to get lunch at a McDonald’s restaurant. Thank you.”
I jumped up and down at my desk as an intense, shooting feeling of happiness pulsated in my chest.
“Congratulations, Richard,” Mrs. Daley exclaimed, “and thank you!” She beamed a nice smile at me.
“I won,” I said to Tony, who sat next to me. “I won.”
“Show-off,” he said, and then the class walked to the cafeteria.
All through lunch, I felt such joy inside. Someday, I’ll be a world-famous writer, I thought, and was proud." [Carlson 14-15].

And when he was 15 he wanted to be President of the United States as he wrote in an assignment for his business class. The previous three chapters talk about his work for his father's resin business and his rudeness to his friend Keith's father - then there is some light relief with roaches and how he dealt with peers and authority at this time:

"Years later, my family moved to Tucson, Arizona, which is in the Sonoran Desert. In fifth grade, another boy at my school who was a year younger than me mimicked Rosco, a police officer character in the Dukes of Hazzard television series, which was popular at that time. I began to act like Rosco, too.“You dipstick!” I giddily said to my buddies, Dave, Ron, and Steve, on the playground near the fence that bordered the school grounds. School was almost out and it was summer, and fiercely hot outside. We were dripping sweat like soldiers in a monsoon. The only relief we could hope for was an occasional breeze.
“I’m gonna give you a ticket. I’m going to arrest you,” I said to Megan and her two girlfriends, who were walking up to us, talking among themselves. Then I
pretended to write out a traffic ticket from my imaginary pad, and handed it to her.
“Chase after Daisy!” Ron said as the girls laughed. Daisy was the name of one of the characters from the show, and Megan was pretty, just like her. “Arrest Daisy,” Ron said, and the girls all giggled at me.
“All right, Cletus. I’m in hot pursuit. Arrest them Duke boys!” I said, and I started running around my friends. I did not want them to keep suggesting that I chase after a girl! What a terrifying thought.
I continued to act like Rosco all through the sixth grade, imitating the character’s unique characteristics and giving my classmates imaginary tickets. Sometimes, I would pretend to be driving a police car and make police siren sounds. A boy brought a CB radio receiver to school one day and let me borrow it. I walked around school, talking into the receiver with the cord wrapped around my belt loop. My classmates could only smile.
“Wew, wew, wew, wew, wew!” I screeched the sounds of a police car siren. “I’m in hot pursuit, you
dipstick! I’ve got a quiver in my liver. Gew, gew, gew,” I said into the receiver, just like Rosco.
Dave was most likely to go along with my antics. Once, he acted like Boss Hogg, the town mayor and Rosco’s boss.
“I’m your boss!" Dave said, patting his chest, “Arrest Daisy, Rosco!” He laughed.
“Wew, wew, wew! I’m Rosco P. Coltrane.” I sped my squad car past him.
“I’m your deputy,” Steve exclaimed, pointing at his chest and then folding his arms with a big grin that made me laugh.
“All right, Enos,” I replied. Enos was another deputy. “Gew, gew, gew!” “Gew, gew, gew!”
Although it has been over thirty years, I remember feeling even back then that there was something inside my mind that I didn’t quite fit in. But I didn’t think that being different from everyone else meant that I should ask for help.
Chapter 6
During puberty, I began to really like girls. I wanted a girlfriend very much. Already, I knew that I wanted to have a large family, like I’d had growing up, and that I wanted to wait until marriage to have sex. Unfortunately, there was something wrong with me. I literally did not know how to have a girlfriend because I was experiencing prodromal schizophrenia. Not knowing how frustrated me as a teenager. I tried and tried to get a girlfriend, and even asked my buddies to help me.
I didn’t put much thought into wondering whether I might be mentally ill. I had no idea what prodromal schizophrenia and paranoid schizophrenia were. Maybe if there had been more awareness about schizophrenia and other mental disorders in school, I would have figured it out. But instead, my illness continued and I had no idea.
I asked Steve if he could help me get Dorothy as my girlfriend at junior high. Steve was dating Dorothy’s friend.
"Why don't you chase after Dorothy," Steve said. "Okay." I knew nothing about her and had never spoken to
her, but I really wanted to have a girlfriend. I wasn't sure if I should date her, but was dying to be in love.
He wrote a note that asked Dorothy if she’d be my girlfriend, and I signed it. Together, Steve and I gave the letter to Dorothy while she was confabbing with her friends during lunch at school.
She said yes, just loud enough for us to hear as Steve and I stood nearby. Steve cheered and Steve and I walked away.
Because I didn’t know how to have a girlfriend, however, I never talked or even sat next to her. Plus, I was still shy. I wanted very much to sit next to her during lunch to get to know her better. I continually put off talking with her. Dorothy never attempted to talk
with me. She broke up with me over the phone, a while later. That was the most we ever talked. Steve and other friends had teased me about kissing Dorothy, however I was confused and didn’t know what to say to a girlfriend, because of how ill I was.
"Kiss Dorothy. Kiss her," Steve tried his best to convince me, "Kiss your first love."
"I will," I promised, hoping I'd figure out how to get to know her better soon, hopefully. I just couldn't figure it out, so I continued to put off talking to her.
My freshman year in high school was when I really fell in love, however. Sandie was pretty and had a good personality. I hung around Sandie and several other of our friends. My friends even helped me try to date her. Early on, a friend of mine suggested to Sandie that she and I would be a good couple. I looked up when he said that, and Sandie gave me a mean face. Looking back, I think there were three possible reasons for that face. The first was that she liked me, but wouldn’t admit to it. The second was that she didn’t like me and didn’t want
to be associated with me. The third was that she wasn’t certain how she felt about me. She didn’t know much about me, after all. She only did what any young girl might do if a guy was showing interest in dating her.
Of course, at the time, the second reason seemed most likely.
I was not able to figure out how a person might react to situations such as that, so I assumed that I was not attractive enough or good enough for Sandie, which hurt me and especially hurt my self-esteem. At first, I couldn’t believe that she didn’t love me. I was heartbroken, but eventually I got over it. She was a nice girl to be friends with. And, because I was ill, reasons one and three never entered my mind.
I assumed that I did not know how to have a girlfriend because I was shy and such a big nerd. My friends reinforced these ideas. They even tried to help me fit in. Steve suggested that I part my hair in the middle instead of off to the side, which I went along with. Keith and I looked through “cool” clothes in a small
department store in a mall, instead of the nerdy ones I usually wore.
One friend mentioned that I should find a girlfriend who was not so pretty. I was too submissive, and so I didn’t say anything to that. I shouldn’t have hung around someone who would say that kind of thing. It’s possible that I didn’t stand up for myself enough as a result of being mentally ill, because I didn’t know whether or not I should speak up, or what I should say.
My sophomore year in high school, getting good grades became very important to me. At some point during that year, I began to sit in the library doing homework or studying during lunch. I earned A’s in English and B’s in Algebra I, and did well in my other classes, too. My freshman year, I had not done well. Now, I was thinking, “I can do this! I can go to college!” I got so much satisfaction from being dedicated to my studies. I would daydream about how dedicated I’d be until I reached my upper division business courses in college, at which time I’d start looking for a girlfriend. I
planned to wait until then, because I wanted to find a mate who would help me grow my father’s small resin reproduction casting and mold-making business into a full-time endeavor.
Chapter 7
Dad’s Part-Time Business
Dad became interested in resin casting using silicone molds. My father and I ran this business in our kitchen and at times, my brothers and Mom helped. One project was a full-scale model of an experiment that was going to take place on the space shuttle. I helped Dad sand and putty the sheet Plexiglas, and helped with the gluing and spray painting, too. We also cast reproductions of parts for a full-scale mockup of the interior of a passenger airplane being constructed by a firm in town. The final project was received very highly by the business executives who saw it.
Dad and I met Jerry, a nice man in town who designed custom scale model cars. Dad offered to make resin reproductions of his models, and Jerry agreed. Usually, Dad made the molds with thick, liquid silicone, which hardened but remained flexible enough when
cured to allow a casting to be removed. Often, Dad or I would cast the molds using a two-part liquid resin that hardened within twenty-four hours. I enjoyed helping with the business, as it was a lot of fun. I just loved the idea of making money while doing something that I actually looked forward to doing. I believed that building my father’s business would be an ideal career for me.
Chapter 8
Rude to My Friend’s Dad
My friend Keith is a very nice person and a loyal friend. Keith and I had fun swimming in his pool over the summer with his younger sister and other friends. We also did yard work together at a neighbor’s house. Keith was a true comedian at times, and he could make anyone laugh. He never put me down, unless he was telling a joke. The rest of the time, he was very considerate of me. He was fun to be around, even though he could be mischievous at times. Keith was the epitome of what a best friend should be. If he would have known I was experiencing prodromal paranoid schizophrenia, he would have told my parents so I could get help.
One day when I was in junior high, I was at Keith’s house talking to his father. He invited me inside and said that Keith would be home soon. We were together in
their living room, and then his father left the room. When Keith’s father wasn’t there with me, I left and rode my bicycle home without saying a word—I didn’t know if I should say something to Keith’s father and, if I was supposed to, I wasn’t sure what I would say. At the time, I didn’t even realize that was rude. The next time I was at their house, Keith’s father explained to me nicely that he’d been worried about where I had gone. He said that I should tell him if I was going to leave their house. I should have been considerate of my friend’s father. I didn’t always know how to act or what to do in certain situations because of my illness.
It wasn’t obvious to me that I was not well, however. It wasn’t obvious to my friend’s father that there was something very wrong with me, either.
“The other day, you left without telling me,” Keith’s father explained. “I was concerned about you. I went looking for you. Next time, please let me know if you are leaving.”
“All right,” I replied. I wondered why I hadn’t told him.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were going to leave?” he asked.
“I guess ... I’m shy,” I replied. If he knew that it hadn’t even occurred to me to say something, what would he think of me?
This was one of those moments when I thought there was something unusual about me. I still didn’t fit in.
“Richard,” Keith said under his breath, and then he cracked up, shaking his head.
Chapter 9
Pet Roaches
My chest chimed as I leaned over and reached into my backpack, pulling out a glass peanut butter jar. As I set it on my desk, Steve—who was sitting next to me—laughed.
“I caught them from the sewer,” I explained, “Gene helped.”
Three roaches scurried about among strips of cardboard and pieces of bread within the jar.
“Keep those away.” Jennifer, whose desk was just past Steve’s, cringed. At the sound of her voice, Mr. Peckney looked over, and his eyes found the jar.
“Don’t let your roaches out,” he said with a smile, and then chuckled.
“I won’t,” I promised. Mr. Peckney’s desk was right next to mine, so I held up the jar and asked, “Don’t you want to see them?”
“Oh, no.” He smiled. “Some parents give their child a kitten or a puppy, but Richard prefers a roach.” He laughed at his own joke, and then walked to the front of the class.
“Gene and I caught the roaches by scooping them into the jar with a piece of cardboard. We removed a sewer cap on a street in our neighborhood,” I explained to Steve. “The roaches were right there on the side of the manhole.”
The bell rang. As Mr. Peckney began taking roll call, Jason got up from his seat, snagged the jar, and took it with him to his desk at the back of the room. I watched him all the way, hoping he would not accidentally break the jar.
“Give him back his roaches,” Mr. Peckney commanded. Jason retuned the jar and I smirked, feeling my insides twinge with joy.
Chapter 10
Me for President!
In my business class in high school, I had to do an oral report. Each student had to describe a possible career choice. I chose being President of the United States. I believe that I chose being president because a vibe told me to; at the time, I thought it was intuition telling me.
That afternoon, after school, I sat next to my good friend Matt on the bus.
“I did an oral report in general business class today,” I explained. “I think it went well.”
“What was it about?” Matt glanced up from the book he had been reading on his lap.
“I did mine on being president. The project had to do with a possible career that we’d like to have. I’m going to become president someday,” I explained.
“Are you going to start a revolution and turn the country into a dictatorship, or try to get elected?” he asked, and his seriousness gave me a tingling, fun feeling inside. “I don’t know if the CIA will put up with you overthrowing the government.”
“Oh, I want to be elected, but I won’t turn the country into a dictatorship.”
“What are you going to do before you become President?” he asked. “What will you do to help get there?”
“I am going to turn my father’s business into a full-time career, with employees,” I explained. “And then, maybe I’ll run for Governor, and then President,” I said.
“I’ll vote for you,” he said. “I think you’d make a good president.”
“Thank you,” I replied as Matt went back to his book.
For a moment, I glanced down at the page he was reading. Then I looked out the window, calculating how
many years I’d have to wait until I met the age requirement for being president.
Twenty years.It seemed a lifetime away." 
 The last two chapters which are open to us as readers deal with Carlson's first psychotic break after he met Anne - he made a lot of money on the resins to pay for his business education and then transferred to the University of Arizona:

"Chapter 12
When I attended Pima Community College, I lived with my parents and siblings. I was a general business major. Being a college student was very exciting for me. College life wasn’t like high school—most people were in college because they wanted to be there. I studied hard, wanting to excel. Everything revolved around my studies and my father’s part-time business. Now, I was an adult.
Early in college, in fact, I designed several of my own scale models, cast reproductions of them, and sold the reproductions via mail-order. One model was of a 1/43 scale 1959 Cadillac sedan. For that model, I had used an existing model made by another manufacturer as a base. Using modeling tools, I converted the two- door coupe to a four-door. I even made a rear window from scratch and cast reproductions in clear resin. I took great pride in designing, casting, painting, and
assembling the models. I made enough money to pay for most of my college tuition early on, although I didn’t make nearly enough to cover room and board.
Two of my built scale models were featured on the cover of
Model Car Journal, which was a well-known magazine in the model business at the time. These models and others received excellent reviews in the magazine.
I also designed and reproduced a scale model airplane stand with the jet’s Israeli name on a base that held the model (which was made by another company) upright in a flight position. However, I sold very few of the stands, even though they were featured in a scale model airplane magazine.
Chapter 13
While I was sitting in the cafeteria one day my freshman year, a strange girl came by, looking happy to see me.
“How have you been?” Anne asked as she sat next to me in the school cafeteria. “Remember me? I’m Anne.” She was very pretty and had short, curly brown hair.
“No,” I stuttered. A person who wasn’t mentally ill might reply, “Oh, hi. Sorry, I don’t remember you.” But all I said was, “No.”
“We knew each other in fourth grade. We’d play on the monkey bars shaped like a car, remember?” she added.
“No,” I replied again.
“On the car, you’d act like you were stuck in a toilet.”
“No ... oh, yeah, I remember,” I replied feeling my chest tingle for a second. It made me happy to remember playing and goofing around with Anne.
“Do you date often?” she asked, showing a nice smile. For a moment, it felt like she had let the morning sunlight into a dark room.
“Oh, no. Not right now,” I said. I could tell that she felt insulted, but she kept a straight face.
“I’ll see you around,” she said, and left.
I was confused, and I didn’t understand why I felt confused about the conversation. I had handled the situation poorly because I just didn’t know what to say. I still regret that. If we had gone out, Anne might have become my girlfriend. If I had gone out on a date with her, perhaps I would have figured out that I was mentally ill. Then again, perhaps going on a date would have been a disaster for me. I wouldn’t have done anything right, and I would have been embarrassed. The whole time, I wouldn’t have had any idea of what to say or do.
I held onto my plan to wait until my upper division business classes to find a girlfriend. After two years at Pima Community College, I transferred to the University of Arizona for my upper division courses. I was still ill, but as time went by, it wasn’t as obvious to me that I didn’t fit in.
One day, I saw myself in the bathroom mirror when I stepped out of the shower and saw blood on my face. I thought I had been shot in the mouth. I immediately felt very weak and I struggled to walk to my bedroom, hoping that whatever was happening to me would soon pass. I almost collapsed in the hallway, because of how ill I felt. I lay on my bed face down, waiting for the sickening sensation to pass. Eventually, it did. I stood and dressed.
The next time I saw my mom, I told her about it. I don’t remember what she said, but we decided not to do anything about it. Looking back, I believe that seeing that false reflection in the mirror was my first psychotic experience.
My first semester at the university was stressful because I had some trouble with one class in particular, and I wanted to earn good grades. Actually, I had been putting myself under a lot of stress with my studies for years. Still, I enjoyed the university and was pleased to be in the prime of my life. After that first semester, I was ready to begin taking upper division business courses at the university. I was on the path to success, and nothing could stand in my way.
But something dreadful was about to happen— something that would drastically alter the course of my future. It is common for people who get schizophrenia to experience stress before becoming psychotic. Researchers have determined that there is a genetic component to schizophrenia, but a stressful event in a person’s life can trigger the worst symptoms of the illness." [Carlson 2017]

As recently as 10 years ago [2007] Carlson had some significant psychotic episodes and that is when the HugsFeelGood mailing list lost touch.

Chapter books about Karliff by Richard Carlson Junior at

Coming of age love stories by Richard Carlson

Bilingual children's picture books by Richard Carlson including colouring books

A modern book about childhood schizophrenia is Susan Schofield's Born schizophrenic which is about Jani or January Schofield her daughter and Bodhi, Jani's younger brother. January is now 15 years old.

And a personal book for me or story would be I suffer from schizophrenia which my Uncle Doug Western wrote in 1992 or 1993.

From March to August 2001 I worked on Western's words which in 2007-08 became a blog. Doug also had made some videos like Triumph of Psychotic Chook - a quest for maturity.

A little under two years after he made the video, he died. He was survived by his dog Honey.

You can read TRIUMPH OF PSYCHOTIC CHOOK as it was introduced

Before he died he did a lot of Mental Health Week presentations about the environment and how active involvement in it helped his mental health and sense of belonging and identity.

What a tease Freddie was to Jaheem! Richard Carlson's early reader book


Unknown said...

Thanks for joining in with #TheMMLinky

Jeannette Cripps said...

Interesting post, thank you #TheMMLinky

Adelaide Dupont said...

Thank you Debs and Jeannette! #themmlinky.

Glad you two appreciated it.

Claire(PainPalsBlog) said...

Really interesting post - will definitely be looking up some of your links. Pinned! #TheMMLinky

Adelaide Dupont said...


really good to see you and your work.

I will be interested to see what links you click on and why. #themmlinky.

Kelly K said...

Thanks for joining #TheMMLinky, an interesting read!

Adelaide Dupont said...


you seem to have a good taste in cartoons of all sorts.

Thank you for your comment on #theMMlinky.