iTunes - Podcasts - Schizophrenia Raw by Jonathan Harnisch
Schizophrenia Raw By Jonathan Harnisch Podcast on iTunes Episode 160
Recovering schizophrenic Jonathan Harnisch and the occasional guest, speak candidly and openly about living with mental illness.
Recorded on 23 January 2015
Archived on www.therealme.podbean.com
Initially diagnosed with depression in 1994 at the age of 18, I was prescribed antidepressants, including the newest of the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). Unfortunately, the SSRIs triggered mania, and to combat it, I began to drink, which intensified my psychological instability and led to an addiction that I was finally able to overcome when I was 26. However, as difficult as the disorders have been, in many ways, I have been blessed. Many call me a gifted artist, and I have frequently used my art to exorcise my own demons of isolation and loneliness. In 1998, I dramatized those issues in my award-winning film Ten Years, which I produced, directed, and wrote while attending NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. In 2008, I once again dramatized those themes of isolation and loneliness in another award-winning film, On The Bus, which in addition explores the horrors and chaos of mental illness. Through the eyes of the main character, we see the uncontrollable, tumultuous symptoms of schizophrenia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as brought on by a random act of violence. A single act of violence rarely causes severe mental illness. Current research indicates that mental illness is generally a result of a genetic predisposition combined with environmental factors. My case would seem to validate that research, as there is a history of mental illness in my family, and I have suffered repeated trauma. Whatever the genesis, beginning in 2009 and culminating in the summer of 2010, I experienced a severe psychotic break that manifested in inappropriate, violent outbursts and regnant destructive behavior. Ultimately, however, this break brought me the help I needed, including a comprehensive psychological work-up that provided an accurate diagnosis and the right medication. Now, psychologically stable, I invite others to behold my candid daily encounters with the symptoms of schizophrenia. I willingly and genuinely share my life through my written blog, and with my iTunes podcast “The Real Me”, both easily accessible right here. In the vein of prolific figures such as Elyn R. Saks and Kay Redfield Jamison, I illustrate my personal ongoing struggle with chronic mental illness, nurturing truth, acceptance, and community. My art, imagination, and various creative outlets are simply my own catalyst for continuous resiliency and recovery. I turn another engaging and uplifting page of my story. I hope to impact others positively through my publicized journey of how one individual copes with the perpetual rollercoaster of schizophrenia and Tourette’s syndrome. I consider myself a still-recovering schizophrenic, an accomplished writer, producer and musician, who blogs and podcasts about mental illness and New Age ideas and transgressive literature.
January 20, 2015 Abnormal Psychology, Northwest Missouri State University
• When should someone seek assistance?
• What is a diagnosis?
• When do we diagnose?
• How come Thomas Szasz, (Psychiatrist; 1920-2012) says society creates abnormality?
• (Ironically, while Szasz's political position (that people should not be locked up just for being different) prevailed, many in the psychological and psychiatric professions rejected his theoretical position (that there is no such thing as mental illness). For example, Kety (1974), responding to Szasz's statement that mental illness is a myth, collected all the evidence for genetic influences on schizophrenia. He concluded, "If schizophrenia is a myth, it is a myth with a strong genetic component" (p.961, “The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct,” 1961.)
• What are some of the historical treatments of mental illness?
• Who have been some of the first early names for writing treatments?
Guest Speaker: Jonathan Harnisch, Author of Jonathan Harnisch: An Alibiography 2014), Second Alibi: The Banality of Life (2014), Sex, Drugs, and Schizophrenia (2014), and Lover in the Nobody (2014); Film Producer and Screenwriter of On the Bus, all of which are studied in the genre of mental illness and schizophrenia, in particular, based on Harnisch's personal experiences, and also being taught by Dr Edwards, PhD-MBA, at Northwest Missouri State University, in Maryville, MO.
Jonathan Harnisch Literature on Amazon: amazon.com/Jonathan-Harnisch/e/B00K9LI9E4
Northwest Missouri State University is a public institution that was founded in 1905. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 5,542, its setting is rural, and the campus size is 370 acres. It utilizes a trimester-based academic calendar. Northwest Missouri State University's ranking in the 2015 edition of Best Colleges is Regional Universities (Midwest), 80. Its in-state tuition and fees are $8,156 (2014-15); out-of-state tuition and fees are $14,407 (2014-15). (Source: U.S. News & World Report.)
Thank you for taking the time and interest in mental health education and advocacy. More to come; it has been a true pleasure to be a guest with the 2 featured back-to-back classes; the first day of the trimester, had not been recorded properly. This recording on January 20, 2015, is the second class day of the trimester; Abnormal Psych. Please spread the word for mental health awareness. Next up will include a Q&A with author, Jonathan Harnisch, and material on PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), definition, symptoms, and so forth.
— Jonathan Harnisch, Twitter: twitter.com/jwharnisch
Hello everybody! Please enjoy an example of schizophrenic art in this popular short film by former Hollywood/now independent outsider filmmaker Jonathan Harnisch (voilà, that's me) in "The Morning After."
I competed The Morning After in December 2014 while undergoing a dark, deep experience with depression, existential despair and with new tears for old grief. I am glad to see so many people have been appreciating my movies’ inherent beauty, especially this one, which has such a deeply personal meaning. I thank you, all, to God, and to all my fans, friends, and family for playing such a very special role in the short experimental pieces within this short film series of sorts; this being said, perhaps without others knowing how many have inspired my art. The holiday seasons often bring me to a deep sense of nostalgia for good times long gone, from lost film footage in the archives, including a great deal of footage I shot during my days as a student of film and TV production at Tisch School of the Arts at NYU in the mid 1990s and also films kept here at the production office. I believe I have experimented into the depth of a new ground, and renewed visual voice of artistic expression keeping my goal intact, to find and redefine myself, through the arts. A new original soundtrack for these films, originally shot on both Super 8 film stock and Hi-8 video, will be developed and inspired by the final cut of The Morning After, Chance Encounter, and Emptying His Pockets. All 3 films in this series focus on my often-recurring themes of loss, love, and life and may be recreated with a revised original score, or soundtrack, in time. Please leave comments, if you would. The responses for all the working cuts of these generally short pieces have inspired me to bring The Morning After to the independent film festival circuit. It has been years since retiring from Hollywood film and professional TV work. It might, however, be time to see what I can do to reconnect with an audience in the world beyond the Internet, once again, in some way, and if not, I don’t think the Internet is going anywhere anytime soon. Professional financing and marketing, etc., will often cause me a great deal of unwanted stress, which I prefer to do without. I suffer from rare and comorbid mental health diagnoses, namely those within the schizophrenia and autistic spectra. My mental illnesses have blessed me over the years with many creative gifts. So, with immense gratitude, I thank you, my muse, wife, and my family and friends without hesitation. Onward bound, as always.
—Jonathan Harnisch, Harnisch Productions, LLC
Jonathan Harnisch Film
NYU Film | Author of 'Sex, Drugs, and Schizophrenia' | Artist | Mental Health Advocate | Survivor of Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder | Film and TV Producer | Musician
— Jonathan Harnisch
I am grateful to everyone who has taken a chance on Jonathan Harnisch: An Alibiography featured in Publishers Weekly.
I am grateful to everyone who has taken a chance on Second Alibi: The Banality of Life featured in Publishers Weekly.
I am grateful to everyone who has taken a chance on Sex, Drugs, and Schizophrenia featured in Publishers Weekly.
Book Summary of Lover in the Nobody > All Royalties Go To Charity Through The Jonathan Harnisch Foundation
FROM THE AUTHOR:
I believe that anyone suffering from any type of mental illness is one badass mother f-cker. Nothing is more terrifying than battling with your own mind every single day. So, get ready for this: Lover in the Nobody is not for the faint of heart. Enter the literary playground of the wildly eccentric author and all-around artist, dreamer, man on a mission, and human being just like you who also suffers—like all of us, in one way or another—to some degree. The author (oui, c’est moi, l’auteur, the third person) laughs as he writes this, but hey, we’re all for sale in some way. But actually, I’m all over the place. I’m in my head, my imagination, and my moment, comfortable here (comfortable nowhere . . . ). Have I already lost you? Awesome! Keep reading. I’m not in the marketing business, after all. I do what I do, as they say, and I change. All the time, often taking delight in the touchy topic of madness, for example, in this brand new, raw, brutally honest, and extremely palpable psychiatric thriller that is part fiction, part truth. Noted scribe featured in Publishers Weekly and Writer’s Digest, among other literary publications, . . . and controversial mental health advocate, Jonathan Harnisch (Jonathan Harnisch: An Alibiography (2014); Second Alibi: The Banality of Life (2014); Sex, Drugs, and Schizophrenia (2014) . . .), the four-time #1 Amazon Best Selling Author and #1 writer of Hot New Releases under the subject of schizophrenia, introduces his (“Yours?” asks Dr. C, in my throbbing, labyrinthine head), yes, mine, debut novel. Perhaps my pièce de résistance, Jonathan Harnisch: An Alibiography, is now being taught at the university level for its inspiration and vivid feelings of a disturbed reality, which is sometimes disquieting, other times harsh. And with real emotions, it is culture-bearing, brazen, and bordering on brilliant—blam! Here she is, for 10 bucks (US), with all royalties donated to charity through the Jonathan Harnisch Foundation. Boom! Lover in the Nobody, where Ben Schreiber (voila, c’est moi, c’est Jonathan!) has Tourette’s syndrome, causing him to display uncontrollable tics and hops, with a stutter, swearing inappropriately. Bullied throughout his school years, he can never form firm friendships, especially with women. He’s simply incapable of happiness. In his late twenties, he plunges into a downward spiral of drug and alcohol abuse that culminates in an attempted bank robbery using a cell phone as a fake bomb. He is arrested and placed under psychiatric evaluation, where his psychiatrist, Dr. C, quickly sees Ben’s affliction as more than just Tourette’s. Ben is not alone. Inside his head lives Georgie Gust, Ben’s alter ego. Georgie is obsessed with his manipulative and extremely sexual next door neighbor Claudia Nesbitt and shares a sadomasochistic relationship with her that is supported only by his obsession. Claudia has no love for Georgie, and while Ben desperately searches for someone, Claudia Nesbitt, the perfect woman, will provide him with the unconditional love that he never received as a boy. He finds it easier to retreat into his mind to share George’s sick obsession with the cruel and abusive Claudia than to deal with his real issues. Dr. C senses that Ben is suffering from some type of post-traumatic stress that occurred early in his childhood and that he is using Georgie as an escape when bad memories start to surface. It is up to Dr. C to help Ben face the buried terrors of his childhood so that he can finally let go of Georgie and reduce him to the literary character that writer Ben wants him to be. Alas, if you don’t have this book in your library or classroom, what do you have? Get your copy now!
P.S. I never said I was “normal.” I suffer, I move on. I laugh, I cry. I write it all out and never give up. Sending light and love, from me, Mr. J.
JONATHAN HARNISCH: 12-29-2014 EARLY MORNING REFLECTION
I am a troubled artist today. I do not know what day it is. I am extremely frustrated. Unable to ground and center myself, I feel restless. I am … I am not me. I am not myself today. I cannot recall who that person was. But I know he was here. I understand him. He will resurface again some other time, hopefully soon. I recall the first person. I know of no second person. I need the third person, the person I think I remember, to return. This must be the hyper reality from some other day, which I wrote about for inclusion my next novel. I recall that something I said on camera was scattered and disjointed and yet was a center point, something to ground me for further writing. No censor today and so far no highlights showing typos or grammar errors and no system overload on the computer. The Internet seems to be back on—online. I don’t need the Internet now. I need complication. I need the morning after and to melt away, to manifest the titles for my latest work. Beginning to view these calms me and allows me to see beauty in the abstract. But I know the original images, which flicker on the screen in The Morning After and also Chance Encounter, Emptying His Pockets, and Melt Away, the film I have not released yet. The one I am still working on, just not right now. The rough cut just finished exporting I see, but I need to write, to set aside all film and art but for the written journal. Dear Diary, as I say, in the books, the novel I just published, Lover in the Nobody. But I just need, right now, to write, so I can feel. Not so I can move on. I will, and I will have to. All artistic projects must be on hold now; although the fire in my mind is ever present, I brought it to a halt. I fixed in my mind, my obsession. I paused. I did the right thing. This is my medication. My early morning thoughts and ventilations that often come out in the shower. I will not run through the documentation of the yesterday that was; I do not recall a yesterday. I recall right now as time continues. I allow myself to become stuck for good reason in right now. I can’t move on. And I won’t. That’s altering time. That’s moving along with it, as indefinable as time is: continuous, relatively, or moment by moment. I believe I see it right now. Moment by moment. Trapped in between the moments I think is where I should be. I once heard that, come to think of it, somewhere, a psychic or something a long time ago. My cats are dying. This is a stream of thought. This is how I cope. Issues with film and literature. Little things. But it is all on hold. Rather, they are done. I manifest what I write and the chapter names become the chapters in my hours, the 24-hour woman 240 times 10 pages. It’s complex composite sketching. Manifesting words into life. I had to look it up to find what day of the week it was, and it is Monday. Compulsive about dates, I cannot remember anything about there ever being a Sunday—just that my cats are dying. I chain smoke five to six packs of cigarettes per day and chew two to three cans of smokeless tobacco. This was written about too, the slow semi-suicide of the mind. Now the body is coming to die. But I won’t, I don’t like this at all. My cats are dead from my smoke. I scared off the thought, and I can’t stop smoking. I will cope when they die. It’s strange. Real. Strange. The Morning After is beautiful. I think that’s what it is. But I couldn’t tell you. Maybe writing this out a little bit helped, but I am not better. Smoke lingers in the pad, and I want drugs. I can’t have any drugs. I can’t have any illegal drugs, only prescribed medication for my anxiety an some other things, like schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is also a drug. It’s been almost 12 years since my last hit. But I do, I crave crack. I fucking crave it just for now. In some strange self- deprecating way I want to die from it. I am just still not willing to die from some asinine knee-jerk suicide, a senseless reaction. I don’t want it today. The anxiety is torture enough. I want it to pause. For life to pause. I need beauty. One hour later: I took my morning anxiety medication eight hours ago. But I woke up at 1:00 AM last night. I feel better. I feel like William Burroughs as he was in Junky. I load a dip of tobacco onto my lower lip after my final cigarette—my last smoke until 8:00 AM so my cats won’t die from it as they sit here sick with me. I feel better. We all move on. For once today in the few hours since midnight, I feel a sense of medicated bliss. And it is doctor approved. It’s junk. But it’s complicated. My opening line in my latest work. The once sentence of profound profanity. Anti-art. I live for art. Otherwise nothing matters. I have always sought meaning. I wanted complexity. I wanted a complicated life, and I sure got one. Oddly enough, I can be grateful for that. I am. And so, for the record, I am already drugged. I was, I am, and I have always lived in my own private hyper reality. That is what all of this, these words, the disjointedness is. The following fragmentation to come. The variation. The skewed view of time, space, self, and others. Everything. It is what all of this about. My consciousness has not been able to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality. I do not live in any technologically advanced postmodern society. I do not live. I do not die. I am a walking thought. I am a collection of them. I am myself. I am you. I am everybody on the earth plane who has ever lived. I am everyone who has not, and I am confused by this at times. I am not God, nor a god, nor anything, nor being of the Divine. I am nothing but a recorder of collected thoughts and pieces of the world. There is no point. There is nothing. There is everything. And I am a tiny representation of a speck of hyper reality itself. That would be the best way to put it, at least for now. One might simply consider me completely insane.
— Jonathan Harnisch
My bestselling novel, Sex, Drugs, and Schizophrenia was recently reviewed professionally and has been featured in this week’s issue of Publishers Weekly. I am most definitely happy people are starting to talk about it. It may prove to be a difficult and complex read given its 824-page length.
Harnisch (Second Alibi, 2014, etc.) offers a novel that investigates the fractured mind of a schizophrenic.
“Let’s get the facts straight up front, to avoid any confusion later,” the author states at the start of this wild, candid book. “I am a person first, a human being, just like anyone else. Maybe a little different, that’s all.” That difference is a diagnosis of schizophrenia, and this extensive work explores the realities of mental illness through a whirlwind of fictional, narrative pieces and personal reflections. Along the way, it takes readers to places of depravity and confusion. Its characters include Ben Schreiber, a precocious but mentally ill youngster in Armani jeans, who explains his troubled life to the ever-calm Dr. C, after trying to rob a bank with a cellphone. Schreiber discusses his alter ego, Georgie Gust, a masochist and foot-fetishist, who’s wealthy enough to pay his neighbor Claudia to torture him; indeed, he seems capable of enduring any type of humiliation, so long as it doesn’t involve actually working. The first-person narrator regularly interrupts the proceedings to offer generally off-topic details: “(Parenthetical Pet Peeve) Commercials for unappetizing products shown at meal times…feminine hygiene products, jock itch, yeast infections, etc.” The scattered narrative uses diverse literary mechanisms, to say the least, mixing elements such as journal entries, a screenplay, a straightforward melodrama involving a Tourette’s sufferer at a private school, occasional celebrity name-dropping (“I met Joanna Cassidy, Dick Van Dyke, Robert Downey Jr, Mel Gibson, and others”), and a dapper figure named John Marshal, who, when asked his opinion of a party, responds, “I’d scarcely be a good judge of that…. My life is taken up with writing.” Making sense of it all in any traditional way, it would seem, isn’t really the point. From horrific scenes of child abuse (“She did. She raped me. My grandmother”) to glimpses of triumph (“I can start taking control of my life”), this long book’s many scenes of anguish and hope are difficult to take in, by any estimation. Whether readers will find the difficulty worthwhile depends largely on their tolerance for twisted tales.
A repetitive, explicit, fractured, lengthy and honest book, with an overall effect that mimics the confusion of its title.
This article was originally published here: Kirkus Reviews
My Author Page on Amazon.com can be found here:
Jonathan Harnisch: Amazon
In the meantime, the stand-alone Book One of Jonathan Harnisch: An Alibiography will be published soon, and I will link to the detail page about it here:
I believe Lover in the Nobody is my strongest writing of the Alibiography series, though explicit and raw, unabashed. This book is special to me for many reasons. I can't wait to share with you!
I competed these films while undergoing a dark, deep experience with depression, existential despair and with new tears for old grief. I am glad to see so many people have been appreciating these movies inherent beauty. I thank you, all, to God, and to all my fans, friends, and family for playing such a very special role in these short experimental pieces, although perhaps without you knowing it. The holiday seasons often bring me to a deep sense of nostalgia for good times long gone, from lost film footage in the archives here at the production office to experimenting into the depth of new ground, and new artistic expression with my goal is to find and redefine myself, through my art. A new original soundtrack for these films, originally shot on both Super 8 film stock and Hi-8 video, will be developed and inspired by the final cut of The Morning After, Chance Encounter, and Emptying His Pockets. All three films on loss, love, and life will be recreated with a revised original score, or soundtrack, over the coming months. Please leave comments, if you would. The responses for all the working cuts of these pieces have inspired me to bring The Morning After to the film festival circuit. It has been years since I retired from Hollywood film and TV work. It might, however, be time to see what I can do to reconnect with an audience in the world beyond online, once again, in some way, and if not we’ve always had the Internet, after all. Professional financing and marketing, etc., will often cause me a great deal of unwanted stress, which I prefer to do without. I suffer from a rare and co-morbid mental health diagnoses, namely those within the schizophrenia and autistic spectra. My mental illnesses have blessed me over the years with many creative gifts. So, with immense gratitude, I thank you, my muse, wife, and my family and friends without hesitation. Onward bound, as always.
EARLY MORNING TIME TO REFLECT
12-27-2014 EARLY MORNING TIME TO REFLECT
To My Loving Wife, My Life, My M: (. . . and To Carla on Twitter)
Dear Diary: You have become my mentor. You encourage me. You support me and appreciate my work. You are one of the few who actually “get” me. You make me feel good, validated, and worthwhile. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and the depths of this maze of my mind. I would rather any day that my work is made to serve, not merely just entertain and sell; to teach is to love, to have the inherent desire to educate.
I have been working with my alma mater to become involved with their arts community with my impressive resume, though I am noted as being a typical down-to-earth man. I may laugh at my illness when I can. I see beauty in the subtleties of life. And have a passion, a deep passion. If I am not creating, I feel as if I may not live.
My imagination on fire, my alter egos are real and they inspire all that I do—even telling me what not to do; not to hurt, maim, or inflict pain on self. The real Claudia was a woman I met for 24 hours and I wrote 1,200 pages about it with her as a mere mental concept to expand upon in my literature; [a while back, I received a note from a reader who commented, “Gosh, that’s very interesting to read.” I suppose no reader would ever have guessed, I’d bet;] plus 1,200 pages of notes for the series, of which there are 30-something rough drafts of books in the series to get to and onslaughts of film, video, and art footage and files. Piles and stacks of writing, as I journal, documenting life, second by second in some way, desiring a legacy, to leave a dent on this otherwise misappropriated world.
To teach is to love. And I am glad to have you both as teachers of my work. I am human, a human first. And I believe that if I have an idea or a thought or an image in my mind—words, visualizations, rhythms and sounds, and otherwise entangled feelings and sensations—I hope to manifest them, making them palpable in some way. To have that go to waste is to waste something perhaps not inside Jung's collective unconsciousness. A burning desire has ignited in me, all of my life, to elicit emotion, positive emotion. To teach, to learn, to live, to love, to pass on. Thank you for being that person.
I don't want to be a professional. I want to be an artist, and I am an artist. My mind is not diseased as much as it is special, moreover universal, as is any human thought or sensation. If I feel lonely, isolated, lost, and bewildered, then others might feel love, loss, grief, or inadequacy; and if I feel explicitly sexual, or obsessive, others do, because we are all human. I believe there is nothing original if one human senses a feeling, or has an experience. To be human is to be the hacker, or a programmer, and the painter, the artist. To live, to learn, to love, to lose, and to die… for me these matters of fact exemplify the very identity of the human race. I have wanted inclusion in the human race forever, until I realized that I am included. I have been for a very long time. Perhaps I am a very old soul, so to speak.
These scattered morning thoughts may indeed be fragmented and congested, or maybe not. As disordered as my schizophrenia illness is, I create to make sense of it, my mind, and my brain. I did my art. I left my legacy and I am still here. Beyond anything else, I am grateful: for what I have gained and what I have lost, physically and mindfully. I have nothing to lose, only more to create. For the rest of my life I will continue to do what I feel and when I feel it. It may be a sort of Zen thing, but so far it works. Today's goal is to lose the fear, all fear. And become fearlessly in love with the world within me and without. Long live the arts and long live life.
Thank you — Jonathan Harnisch
P.S. Carla is looking into teaching my films (already teaching my literature) which ignited me to write what I did then my wife began once again to make her way in, playing a huge role in the above writing.
Thank you -- Jonathan Harnisch