Monday, September 29, 2008

Am I Schizophrenic?

Well I talk to my dog and sometimes I expect her to return my jokes with some form of laughter. Having just spent four days on my boat with my dog and having several conversation with her I am starting to wonder. Where my boat is located in San Pedro there are several adjoining marinas and miles of walkways made for strolling and of course walking the dog. Dog walkers are most regular in their times and routes and those who live on a boat with a dog are often seen several times a day making the rounds ashore. My dog likes getting into the van or car to goes places unless it is to the boat. Like a small child that will not get out of the car when you have arrived at a destination she prefers to sit and wait safely staying a safe distance from the water unless there is a beach to play on and that is a different story. So our diurnal mission would see certain people at certain places. The same two separate souls (not together) sitting have a smoke talking to themselves. They are not asking for a handout or change or kneeling in front of a liquor store they just sit quietly talking (to their invisible companion). That is when the question arose : If I gave them a dog and a leash would that change them from being a paranoid schizophrenic to just another dog nut? Approximately 200,000 individuals with schizophrenia or manic-depressive illness are homeless, constituting one-third of the approximately 600,000 homeless population (total homeless population statistic based on data from Department of Health and Human Services).

Schizophrenia is characterized by profound disruption in cognition and emotion, affecting the most fundamental human attributes: language, thought, perception, affect, and sense of self. The array of symptoms, while wide ranging, frequently includes psychotic manifestations, such as hearing internal voices or experiencing other sensations not connected to an obvious source (hallucinations) and assigning unusual significance or meaning to normal events or holding fixed false personal beliefs (delusions). No single symptom is definitive for diagnosis; rather, the diagnosis encompasses a pattern of signs and symptoms, in conjunction with impaired occupational or social functioning (Source: DSM-IV )

Marinas and nice parks close to the beach are often frequented by homeless folks, why not go there, much better than downtown. I have often seen shouters at Pershing Square or Wilshire Blvd. preaching to the sidewalk, damming with clenched bible in hand, talking to god. Bizarre circumstances that cause some to stare and other to walk quickly past telling their children not to look. Give them makeup and a television camera and they preach to millions asking for millions. Let their persecutory delusion torment them into making war, hearing god speaking and the voices of the enemies. You know talking to the dog maybe the better choice.

Beside walking my furry second mate who regards the boat somewhat like those that were pressed by the British Navy and ready to jump at the first landfall I did manage to do some work on the boat, replacing some worn items and catching up with varnishing the bright work. You start at one end and as you finish the other the bright sun has been following you planning your next step. Painting anything with dog hair floating around has to be avoided so only small surface could be worked on and her banished to the van while drying took place. Sunday morning was met with fog that did not want to burn off. So when we headed out the fog hung blocking the view of the harbor entrance and we turned for clear and brighter skies and when north towards Wilmington. One minute you are sailing with a hooded sweatshirt and long pants the next minute shorts and a broad rimmed hat and from 8 knots to 6 to 4 to 2 to becalmed under the bridge. Looks likes the bridge tower is getting ready for October and is dressing as a ghost.
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