[Text] Muttley - Stories Of Solace In Miniature Episode 1

[Image: muttley15.jpg]
Artwork credits: cordani @ est00.com

"Sink Or Swim" is Episode 1 of "Stories Of Solace In Miniature". It will be represented with regular "15 Minutes Of Fame" instalments. Episode 1 is dedicated to psychosis prevention. On the basis that psychosis can "lead to changes in mood and thinking and to abnormal ideas", as the EPPIC (Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre) factsheet says, I chose works that used repetition which fluctuates depending on the mood - deep moods, for comedown, elation (one of the better side effects of psychosis) and anxiety management.

I experienced my first episode last summer, and believe that as a sufferer of the condition, it would be ideal for me to give a lowdown. Fennesz' "Grey Scale" commences the sequence, a guitar track that the listener can use to calm oneself before the closing feedback storm of this episode; working to lull when played on repeat, or consecutively with louder files. In psychosis, it is possible that a person can see, hear, feel, smell or taste something that is not actually there. Establishing stable ground is therefore a prerequisite. "Grey Scale" works to solidify the melancholic deflections made.

Vic Chesnutt's "Over" is the joining muscle from the "confused thinking" to "changed feelings" section of the psychosis factsheet, and the link to guitar-meets-vocal prevalent throughout the mix. With his deeply personal lyrics, Vic comments "It ain't over 'til its over, just like some joker said". When incapacitated, I transisted a broad range of self-doubt and fragmented thoughts - flying into one another. Everyday living became confused, and my anxiety felt very uncomfortable.

Sometimes I would have a thought like "you were most likely to bleed to death in an alleyway" from Busdriver's "Memoirs Of The Elephant Man"; an album big on personality analysis. This would speed up, slow down, then collide or run around surplus threads of thoughts; circling relentlessly - as if to probe myself of all defences. Many a day these patterns would enshroud subjects and turn themselves into a negative mush. For example, recalling a look behind myself in all the worst cases ("I've glanced at someone wrong"; "I shouldn't have observed for that long") as opposed to ending as it happened. As mentioned by EPPIC, "a person may have difficulty concentrating, following a conversation or remembering things". With "Over" setting the scene vocal wise, we get to learn that "It sucks when it's over, and you can't get it back" / "Why do we all want to, like a pack of necrophiliacs". Vic transforms his songwriting into a powerful tool for self-restraint, dampening of emotions and moodswings upheaval. It's taken from "North Star Deserter", an incredible collection of songs, recorded with, amongst others, Efrim from A SIlver Mount Zion.

"Friendly With The Father" is, comparatively, a call to respecting what our closest family has to say. When at my most psychotic, I could act very frustrated, often going off on tangents, where I was half sure my family were conspiring against me. With realism being the key factor on many fronts, and my close family representing the "real" utmost, it remains a very difficult line to walk - of not putting trust into them. Not only does it go against my wishes to mistrust, I was gauging what suspicions were expressed myself, rather than relying on the benefactor of my inadvertently delusional mental state - my parents. Granted, some suspicions were likely to become implausible over time. Especially one's where thinking danger or destruction could rear its head. I can recall several occasions where I uttered thoughts that people were coming to trash the house, or be hostile towards me. Hell, even the worry that the woman I would have liked a relationship with was on the brink of suicide, or ready to turn up on my doorstep.

An important marker in my own memory is "are these suspicions realistic enough to warrant the medium of speech?" Then, greater clarity for anyone involved could transpire more accurately. But in the midst of the strongest beliefs, it was a real test on my loved ones. As the song goes, "And you serve a taking" / "When it's up" / "The littlest thing is often fortified" / "And triggered shaky". My moods swung in such tradition. One particular highlight of the psychosis was belief that my father (who, to paraphrase, I have always been friendly with) and sister (slight sibling friction at points, but nothing substansial) were biting at me with banter that concerned our pet dogs, Mutley (seeing my web pseudonym as such) and Tara. Anything from trivial jokes to the dog ("pig dog" / "slimy") to playing the D key on a guitar (from an older webzine project, D was an emblem for "danger in the air"). And so I would question them on matters like this, or believe that there were people turning up that I wasn't made aware of on purpose. Things like this stuck out sharper in the earlier stages, for someone who's detachment, and inner torment does not easily cease.

The following writing comes from a study inspired by practice in "Overcoming Paranoid And Suspicious Thoughts" by Daniel Freeman, Jason Freeman and Phillipa Garety. Headed "Tangential reasoning fragility", it was caused by my mind "associating visuals based on much interpretation".

Mental conflicts occur occasionally over outside matter (e.g an ice cream van's theme tune, gardening work that has growth related to its properties, such as a strawberry plant coming to fruition). Words and older conversations that concerned the relationship breakdown: etymologically linked threads of information, such as headlights of cars, media interspersed in my path (books, placements, ideological bonds from them), or by intermissions which are broadcasting to a larger number of people (radio at work, televisual links, advertising juxtapositions)...everything is not taken for granted, and the results can be quite painful. Such movements I believe can act as undercurrents for daily emotions, whereby suspicious thoughts peak at ideas of constant, multifaceted monitoring. The ice cream truck - seeing as the song played touches, as I'm aware, on a questioning-of-clause, sociological approximation ("Yankee doodle came to town riding on a pony" / "He stuck a feather in his hat and called It macaroni"), it can lead me into thinking that there is nearby recording of my whereabouts.

Another medium in late June has been postal supplements. My thoughts contain the ideation of testing, via indirect methods, from past personalities, as to whether "free" (general marketing offers) are to pique my interest (we have received three postcards from The Art Fund). When I had my last counselling session, this was an exercise implemented to aid circumstansial discrimination. I interlinked a textured facial image with a darkened, seemingly enclosed space, the word "solemn", then finally, a curved footpath circling a stony wall: palm trees positioned overhead of a wooden door, decorated forefrontal, with plant pots at ground height. Included in the package was a prospectus titled "Your future, in your hands" and pictures by three artists: one a naked figure, the second a watery landscape, third a mother and daughter in a forest.

How I'd like to react, is of course with balance - holding validity as a bright torch. In practice however, resulting behaviour can turn overwhelming, and scatterbrained. Being told you are mentally ill, does not qualify a deduction of analytical thought - especially when I am fearing for the safety of my parents and sister. In any case, the collective sanity quota is of worry, too, forever emotions of empathy existing in the heart. Key issues should not always be forgone conclusions for this either - if that were the case, tolerance of anyone could have snapped under excessive strain by now. These patterns (cast as delusional, hallucinatory or just plain raw) are a by-product of the psychosis, I do understand; just as we strive for peaceful resolutions, though, our indecision, clarity and stability are factors shared by everyone.

There are ways, through all this heat, I could ascertain calm mindstates. It is surely to walk with caution, but to not be blinded by our own science. In certain scenarios, dimensions of regular language are associative, to my mind; playing off integrated counterpoints in my sentimentality and reminisence. Aligned is my knowledge of how outside influence, presupposes domino effects, bleeding into the family characteristic - and if not, steps back instead of forward - me asserting the required capacity for PC interaction; necessitating trust of self, over degradation of self-esteem.

So it's safe to say exaggeration was most definitely possible - once as a by-product of self-validation (my thoughts and concerns resulting); second towards my family (worries for them); third, the collective existence of those known and unknown (how instigated I could be unaware or subconscious), and in general, a continuous ambiguity which as it stretched further than minutes, would add more and more erronous judgements into the equation. Therefore it's good to understand there is warmth and protection from those nearest and dearest to us; as provoked by the repeated chorus: "Into the shade / "The songs that they sang you" / "Back underground" / "The house that they built you". "Friendly With The Father" is one of the more lyrically coherent tracks from Zelienople, and perfect for this inclusion.

I recommend EPPIC's "How can I help someone with psychosis?" factsheet for explaining where one can get help, and how we should relate to a person who is ill. To put it as written: "Be yourself. Gain information and understand that the person may be behaving and talking differently due to the psychotic symptoms. Understand that psychotic symptoms are stressful for everyone and that you may have a range of feelings - shock, fear, sadness, anger, frustration, despair. Talking with other people will help you deal with these feelings. Believe the person will recover - even if it takes some time. Be patient." Personally, ambiguous events are the mainstay of what I've had to tackle - step by step - piece by peace. By track four - Leafcutter John's "Seba" - we are treading near to rhetoric on first episode psychosis.

EPPIC notes: "People experiencing a first episode may not understand what is happening." I can attest that - it wasn't until my relationship buckled in May of last year that I sought greater help than a counsellor to compact my problems. I was diagnosed with biploar disorder to start with. This was alternated with 'biploar depression'. Whichever, "The symptoms can be highly disturbing and unfamiliar, leaving the person confused and distressed. Unfortunately negative myths and stereotypes about mental illness and psychosis in particular are still common in the community." Knowing this, I selected "Seba" for its familiarity qualities - a strong set of hooks: "Slow down, you're always swimming way too fast" / "And if you drown, you're never ever going to last" / "Let me go, where I will and where I do" / "Let me swim, far below into you" - a refracted theme of adoration and accepted modes: "Your eyes are black, snake skin" / You push me out, just to pull me in, closer to you" - and most importantly, tender love and care in its build. This leads me to describe 'acute' psychosis as opposed to 'prodome' psychosis.

When I was unable to shake off my acute symptoms, I had beliefs like the radio and television were talking to me. Originally I picked up a genesis with radio messages through an incomplete day at work, dated as early June (before I was signed off). A wealth of subject matter = red door - "house of pain" theoretic, multiplied by testing / social experiment parameters; a red cone placed next to the car, moved with consecutive back / forth repetition of various vehicles = total colour co-ordination chaos. Seeing blue cars as untrusting of my movements (like blue forum smilies); larger engines, such as fork-lift trucks and silver trailers viewed with ambidextrous capacity - when paired with smaller vehicles (size worries), and noticed processions. Multiple sounds were active as ensignia patches - e.g drills and their distance, an inhibitive gesture as to touching house areas formed incorrectly, or to overbearing contrivance. Then the knock-on totalling exercises where I would be on the ground floor one minute and revisiting the top floor afterward - imagining visual alterations like an area that was leaking, or bleeding, further, off this transaction of reality / non-reality, inside my own headspace.

I noted down lists of tracks, gathering names from radio hosts and producers for quite a period. Believing, or perhaps hoping in hindsight, that the woman was trying to contact me. In reading back on my worst hours, I have my family to thank much for guaranteeing I would recover - to Phase 3: Recovery - "In spite of common misperceptions, recovery from a first episode of psychosis is more probable than possible, and with the right help many never experience another psychotic episode." I have the Early Intervention and Crisis teams to praise immensely for computing what occurred during recovery. I see the former still today; their help is greatly appreciated.

At this time we'll have progressed to the piano sentimentalism of "Roes 9" by Machinefabriek. I've seen various works of his rise and fall on the Boomkat newsletters like stock market shares. This, from "Weeler", a 2CD on Lampse, carries textures that proceed into "Time And Space" by Lou Rhodes and The Cinematic Orchestra. With this sequencing, I was wishing to shape an alternative route to the area of "False beliefs" by EPPIC; "The person is convinced of their delusion that the most logical argument cannot make them change their mind". So, whether a listener is in Phase 1: Prodome - Phase 2: Acute to Phase 3: Recovery, we get the optimistic deliveries of "Dream, little boy, dream" / "Dream, little girl, dream" soothing the senses before a potential anxiety crisis. The convergence of styles forms an affective bridge - "In joy and pain, each one will grow" - before we slip into a reservoir of positivity.

Overflowing with splendour and beautiful dynamics, "Bridget Riley" closes proceedings with flourishes of pertinent noise. As EPPIC writes, "People with psychosis may behave differently from the way they usually do. They may be extremely active or lethargic. They may laugh inappropriately or become angry or upset without apparent cause. Often, changes in behaviour are associated with the symptoms described above". As the final track for Episode 1, I listen to "Bridget Riley" as a departure from all wrongdoing; an aleviation that Quetiapine, Risperidone, Citalopram and Olanzapine tablets cannot touch - an oasis for the damaged soul.

On the above medication prescribed, I have lived in situationism with my surroundings. By this I mean literally everything was discerned to alarming degrees, and strategies to cope were developed, notwithstanding investigations into what my parents were buying, see also my details on family conspiring. For instance, I couldn't eat "Pink Lady" apples because of the association with women. Until we bought newer apples I would dodge eating this in favour of food that was etymologically sound. Everything from lemon and herb (herb being American slang for a fool / short-sighted) fish portions to chicken (thighs, whole or kebab) would impact on my days lived - thinking I was being cast as a chicken for staying with my folks (the woman and her friends had my home address and mobile number). Items moved in the household were analysed for potential of setting up sensory attacks - e.g a "look braver than you are" fridge sticker was something to watch for if it was directed at my mother.

The first drug (Quetiapine) was given to me as a mood stabiliser. It came off a reference to bipolar disorder in my family. Incidentally, the term psychosis actually covers a number of psychiatric conditions, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. People with these illnesses sometimes experience very powerful paranoia. They can have strong beliefs that others don't share (known as delusions). They can hear voices when no-one is around, and see and feel things that people around them don't see or feel (hallucinations). Often the voices that people hear are very critical.

Conforming to this severity, the treatment quite probably helped with the psychotic symptoms, and it is necessary for me to remember that I was originally barred from internet activity, which made my behaviour turn partially helpless - I was unable to reconcile things on a singular level, yet responsibility was mine, regarding how I started out. Sleep was heightened, perhaps because my brain turned burnt to a crisp. Later, I had an errand of suicidal thinking where I had upset my family as well as me. As before, though, I am very thankful to my parents for their precautionary measures. In the early days I relocated to my parent's house, and was in belief I could be filmed as part of a fly-on-the-wall documentary. This would show how lacking I was in other areas, so I thought. It took me back to words by the woman when asked if she wanted to work on the relationship - "make me think that at the end of the day, some great reward will be coming my way". At this point I was looking to be an even better person, so left replying to her for around a week. In hindsight I wish I had nipped things in the bud there and then. Nevertheless, I wouldn't have this story to tell you if things had worked out.

There are somewhere between half a million and a million people who have been diagnosed as suffering from psychosis in the UK. And persecutory thoughts don't just occur out of the blue. They are our attempts to make sense of our experiences. They are our explanations of the world around us and the way we feel inside. If you believe someone is suffering, and you have no-one external to contact, I will be happy to talk through ways of coping with the condition. In any case, I hope "Sink Or Swim" will be enjoyable, whether you're underneath the radar, partaking in cognitive behavioural therapy or further interested in the field.

Related links:

EPPIC's "What is psychosis" factsheet

EPPIC's "How can I help someone with psychosis?" factsheet

Psychosis Sucks: website

Mixed in Cubase SX 3.
Any feedback much appreciated. Smiley

good move to post this separately

Xyxthumbs Kisskiss Wave

bump for Mick Muttley

gonna enjoy this a later moment Grin

IChiOne Wrote:gonna enjoy this a later moment Grin

better read it first Wink

statto Wrote:
ichione Wrote:gonna enjoy this a later moment :d

better read it first Wink

i meant, i will enjoy the read and audio a later moment Xyxthumbs

Listened and read twice... intriguing and enjoyed it. I like the feeling of all of it, the thoughts, emotions, and experiences combined with the music into a unique abstract vibe that lets me get a small glimpse into your amazing mind, but also the troubles you have as well. I deeply respect you being open with this, and I know you will find that balance.


you've got a strong and unique soul - always hardest for the ones who feel the most. keep on and stay up sir muttley.

That Leafcutter John tune is Lovesmilie

Great stuff Muttley.
[Image: protabl3.gif]
Don Cherry Wrote:Every human is blessed in her or his life with one love (passion), no matter how long it may last. This Absolute love will last in one's heart and soul forever.

bookmarked for later reading and listening

you still on aim mate? be good to have a catch up Wave

statto Wrote:good move to post this separately

Xyxthumbs Kisskiss Wave

cheers Smile Wave

"sink or swim" is my part 9 of the 15 minutes of fame mix series. you can find the 2008 archive below:


Nice one mate Will have a read and listen when i have a bit of time Smile
For News/Audio/Bookings/Videos www.djtrax.wordpress.com

IChiOne Wrote:bump for Mick Muttley

gonna enjoy this a later moment Grin

Nice one Rico [Image: xyxthumbs.gif]

P.S: You have MySpace mail.

HiddenSound Wrote:Listened and read twice... intriguing and enjoyed it. I like the feeling of all of it, the thoughts, emotions, and experiences combined with the music into a unique abstract vibe that lets me get a small glimpse into your amazing mind, but also the troubles you have as well. I deeply respect you being open with this, and I know you will find that balance.

Very kind words HiddenSound, thank you. It's been very cathartic writing of these worries and symptoms. As for benefits, this quote in the aforementioned self-help guide is nice:

Overcoming Paranoid And Suspicious Thoughts - Page 49:

"The effort involved in explaining your fears to another person can mean that you're expressing those anxieties more fully than you've done before. You also get to hear them out loud. Instead of a jumble of thoughts rattling round your brain, you're presented with some clearer statements to the problem. All this helps give you some perspective on your worries and makes it a little easier for you to assess whether they're justified or not."

Big respects to you and more readers for staying open-minded to the condition. Smile

cordani Wrote:Applause

you've got a strong and unique soul - always hardest for the ones who feel the most. keep on and stay up sir muttley.

Much thanks for the artwork and words, cordani Kisskiss Wave

Macc Wrote:That Leafcutter John tune is Lovesmilie

Great stuff Muttley.

Relay post for the album incoming Wink

Kudos for the top quality mastering, Macc.

dwarde Wrote:bookmarked for later reading and listening

you still on aim mate? be good to have a catch up Wave

Tommorow Wave

davetrax Wrote:Nice one mate Will have a read and listen when i have a bit of time Smile

Belated thanks, Dave Xyxthumbs Smile

that's some creative bumping Xyxthumbs

done Smile

Monday bump Smiley

Oops, didn't see the thread before, bookmarked for reading and listening after work Xyxthumbs

littleNemo Wrote:Oops, didn't see the thread before, bookmarked for reading and listening after work Xyxthumbs

Cheers Xyxthumbs

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