Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hallucinations of a New Orleans Snail.

May 24, 2008 - Once a snail is de-shelled, is it a slug? If you cover a slug in wine, garlic and butter, is it an escargot? I couldn't gag one down now, but there was a time, in a kitchen, on high street, before the pub... I was once a connoisseur. New Orleans... now there is a place for escargot. If you Google recipes for escargot there are Cajun recipes, Creole recipes, recipes with bourbon and French recipes. There is a theme to the many ways to prepare these RV slugs (slugs with a portable house). Seems like there should be a bit of jazz playing, a saxaphone, a sultry voice, in a smoky room on a hot steamy night. Jazz is celebrated all over the world in many different formats, and at festivals in nearly every city. There is something very accessible, and at the same time very heady about jazz. There seems to be a love hate relationship with jazz. I feel it. I love the sounds of the saxophone and melody, but I don't love discord. I find some Jazz just a little schizophrenic. Fortunately, the jazz musicians don't have to count on me. However, today is the 18th Annual International Jazz Day. I bet they'll also be celebrating Escargot Day in the Jazz clubs tonight. If today is your birthday, your celebrations should be easy.

I may have used the term schizophrenic a little loosely. Today is World Schizophrenia Day. Not only a day to raise funds for research, this is a day to draw attention to the challenges of people with schizophrenia, but also to draw attention to the abilities of the same. Though there is no cure for this disorder (which, by the way, affects one in one-hundred of us), it is treatable, and manageable. I say that, but I may be a little suspicious of that statement.

Personally, I have been affected by schizophrenia. I watched my cousin, a vibrant young man full of life, become terrified of family, friends, and the world around him. This disorder took from him the ability to concentrate and to connect with his world. What bothers me now is that we are no farther ahead with the treatment than we were in the past, then, or now. The numbers haven't changed much either. 1 in 100 have Schizophrenia. Of those, 10 - 15% will be dead in under 10 years - mostly because of suicide or dosing problems. My cousin was a bright light in my childhood. (A bright red light if hair colour has anything to do with it.) He was always the comedian who laughed heartily at everyone else's jokes, making us all feel like the life of the party. For the longest time, his paranoid delusions made me sad. But I don't think that would have been his choice - cause in many ways, they were pretty funny. At tea one afternoon he was convinced I was an alien, and that mine and his mom were robots. Highly advanced species of robots I might add. I miss him, but he opened my eyes to the reality of this disorder.

And the reality is this... regardless of your reality, for those dealing with schizophrenia, theirs may be darker or more confusing. Sometimes this reality includes delusions, illusions and hallucinations. But honestly... we should ask, in this far from orderly world, if this reality is that much different from the rest of us?

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