Special Glasses

And I wear my special glasses
On this fortress by the sea
A broken sax and both of you,
No one sees things like we see!

By the river in Boston
Where the little white boats
Are like stars in the blue,
No one feels like I do.

On the rooftop where we kissed
And made movies of our lives,
All the silly things I miss,
No one knows like you and I.

And I wear my special glasses
When I wonder by myself
Through the fields and through the trees,
As I hide behind these leaves.

On the cliff behind the island,
All alone, while the violence
In the world breaks into waves
And I swirl within its blues.

When my lids are heavy
With departures and arrivals
And I feel the frenzied blood,
As it pulses through the terminals.

And I wear my special glasses
When I think and sip my tea
When I smile at all of you,
Or swim naked in the sea.

And I slide through many faces,
Through the laughter and embraces
I feel colourful and free,
All these eyes, they dance with me.

And I tingle as my skin and mind
Are drenched in eau de glee
I am golden, I am wild,
Warm as honey to these bees.

There is only song and colour,
Silly details make me smile
This confusion is perfection
And it all makes life worthwhile.

And we do not need the music,
We can hum and we can write
I can hear things through my eyes
As I’m gripped in life’s big bite!


Cheers to my friends Meg, Elle and the broken sax.

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Supporting National Coming Out Day

To celabrate National Coming Out Day, here’s my iffy  attempt at translating one of my favourite poems from the high school years, by Sappho of Lesbos, (Poem 31).


φαίνεταί μοι κῆνος ἴσος θέοισιν
ἔμμεν’ ὤνηρ ὄττις ἐνάντιός τοι
ἰσδάνει καὶ πλάσιον ἆδυ φωνεί-
σας ὐπακούει,

καὶ γελαίσας ἰμέροεν, τό μ’ ἦ μὰν
καρδίαν ἐν στήθεσιν ἐπτόαισεν.
ὠς γὰρ ἔς σ’ ἴδω βρόχε’ ὤς με φώναι-
σ’ οὐδ’ ἒν ἔτ’ εἴκει,

ἀλλὰ κὰμ μὲν γλῶσσα ἔαγε, λέπτον
δ’ αὔτικα χρῷ πῦρ ὐπαδεδρόμηκεν,
ὀππάτεσσι δ’ οὐδ’ ἒν ὄρημμ’, ἐπιρρόμ-
βεισι δ’ ἄκουαι,

ἔκ δέ μ’ ἴδρως κακχέεται, τρόμος δὲ
παῖσαν ἄγρει, χλωροτέρα δὲ ποίας
ἔμμι, τεθνάκην δ’ ὀλίγω ‘πιδεύης
φαίνομ’ ἔμ’ αὔτᾳ.


He seems to me as blessed as a god,
That man who sits before you
And close by listens
To your delightful voice

And you loving laughter; the heart
In my chest is stirred, as soon
As my eyes briefly settle upon you,
And all words are lost.

All sound breaks apart on my tongue,
And fire runs under skin.
To my eyes the world is darkness
And humming to my ears.

Sweat descends upon my limbs,
and a trembling envelops me;
greener than grass I am; and close
to death I feel myself.


A GUIDE TO HIBERNATION: How to Prepare for the Winter Blues.

So it’s getting to that time of year where the days are grey and drawled out and moods swing low. When lethargy preposterously shoves our will power out of the way and takes over our lives. You feel less energetic, motivated and less engaged in your life. Wether you suffer from a mood disorder, or just find the winter season unbearably dull and demotivating, there are are a series of things you should be doing NOW, to make the next few months bearable.

As anyone who has had anything to do with the mental health system probably knows, there is quite a long list of things you can do to help you mood stay on the up side, without pharmaceutical assistance. These are only some of the ‘natural remedies’ suggested by websites such as web MD and Psych Today:

(1) Get into a routine, (2) eat healthy, (3) stay fit, (4) get enough sleep, (5) take on responsibilities, (6) challenge negative thoughts and (7) try to have fun.

What I would like to point out is that, although this list is indeed full of virtuous and healthy actions, it is also INCREDIBLY UNREALISTIC. As someone who has personally found it impossible to decipher words on a book (if I could even see anything other than a blank or fuzzy page) and to establish a link between mind in body during my downer periods, I know very well how straightforward and banal tasks can at times become unbearable and impossible.

I always get extremely annoyed when someone blames me for being forgetful or un-concentrated. They make it seem like I purposely forget or lose things, or like I don’t actively care that I’m broke and I just lost the seventh expensive technological gadget in a year. Seriously, it’s not like I intentionally fling Iphone’s out the window. How do you expect me to remember to remember? It defies the whole point of the term ‘forget’. Forgetting something, especially when your brain is so full of distracting thoughts, is not something you can help. What you can help, however, is taking precautions for those days in which your mind and your memory just don’t want to cooperate.

What I would like to propose in this post, is really a rather simple and primitive approach to the winter season. I suggest that, just as animals store food for hibernation during the summer and autumnal period, now that you are still motivated, is when you you should be preparing for the dull, painful months to come.

So here is my alternative (and in my opinion somewhat more realistic) list of natural precautions for the winter blues:

1. Get someone to exercise with you. You know very well that if you plan to do it yourself, it ain’t gonna happen. Fill them in on the fact that you’re probably going to find some excuse: tell them to literally show up at your place in sports gear and ready to go. It is possible that the guilt of letting them down might get you to face te unbearable feat of getting your ass off the couch.

2. Make an emergency happy file. Find artwork that is known to get you in a good mood. Music, a movie or whatever floats your boat. Store it in a file titled emergency on your laptop, where it’s easily accessible when you’re feeling blue.

3. Buy yourself a locker. If you find yourself constantly distracted by binge sessions of tv series or movies that distract you from your duties, lock them away. When you pull out your laptop, note it down! Again, the guilt of the action, as well as seeing the list of your slips in black in white, is a pretty good avoidance device. If you can, and have someone close to you who can keep an eye on you, hand them the keys.

4. Get a blocked savings account. I know how important it may feel in a manic moment to buy 50 books on your newfound interest in gardening, and how stupid the act is in hindsight, when you’re full of unread material and two grand into your savings account, with bills and rents to pay.

5. Try out phototherapy. Vitamine D (the ‘sunshine vitamin’) is a steroid hormone precursor. Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to many conditions, depression being one of them. However, due to unfavourable geographical conditions or just plain demotivation, getting your daily intake of sunshine is not always a feasible option. Invest in a light box: a specially designed light, which contains 10,000 lux. Regular lighting is usually between 320 to 500 lux, whereas a light box is closer to the level of indirect sunlight during the day (10,000 to 25,000 lux). Keep in in your room, near your bed, and switch it on for 20-30 minutes in the morning.

Also, check out  this journal article on why Vitamin D supplements are not the same as natural sunlight.

6. Do the whole ‘healthy food’ thing. Sure, eating a lot of fruit and vegetables is not going to magically cure your depression, and I’m no advocate for complex diets or a vegan lifestyle. However, a balanced diet does have a significant impact on health and if anything it makes you feel like you’re doing something, without requiring too much of an effort. So say hello to omega3 fishy fats, lemon and ginger tea, wholegrain cereal, nuts and blueberries.

If you’re looking for healthy ideas, check out this ginger and turmeric honey bomb recipe. Just have a spoonful a day, on its own or in your tea. Ginger is a root that has antibiotic effects and is helpful for pretty much every bodily function: digestion, detoxification, inflammation, circulation, joint and muscular pain, etc. Turmeric is a crazy strong antioxidant used in traditional indian medicine and it has strong cleansing, digestive and anti-inflammatory effects, especially on the liver. It is considered to be more effective when paired with black pepper, which helps activate its functions.

7. Get your friends in the loop and inform people. Socialising is rough when you’re feeling down and apathetic, so make sure you get someone you trust to check up on you and give you a little nudge every now and again. If you think your condition can affect your work performance and your social life, you also need to let people know, to avoid miscomprehension’s and at times, just coming off as a miserable dick.

8. Get yourself a fancy daily planner. (or one of those fancy planning app things), and write everything down. Plan, plan and plan now. Prepare your job activities and do anything you can do in advance while you’re still functional enough to do it. If you’re feeling over active and hypomanic, even better: direct your excessive energies somewhere useful.

9. Try out yoga and meditation. I cannot stress enough how important I think training your brain is in looking after your mental health. I don’t think there is a perfect philosophy or religion you must follow in order to combat you internal hardships. I do however believe that meditation helps further a contact with your emotional self and assists you towards a more balanced outlook of the world around you. It’s benefits are incommensurably useful when struggling with mood swings and persistent mind rumination.

I used to not been able to sit still and meditate for five minutes without an increasingly panicked sense of anxiety. I am however, gradually getting better and have found meditating beneficial not only for my anxiety, but for enhancing brain function, memory, concentration, empathy and perception of the world around me. It is a practice of patience and dedication to oneself, which is fundamental on a path towards healing and self-awareness.


These are just a bunch of suggestions, that have proven to work quite well for me. You may or may not find them useful, but my main and final point is:

TAKE MATTERS INTO YOUR OWN HANDS. The amount of times I have heard the sentence ‘you don’t know what it’s like…’ is ridiculous. Well you know what? It’s true. Others don’t know what it’s like to be you and feel the way you do. You are the person who, if not entirely, knows yourself the most. Which is why you are your best flippin’ hope. I you don’t want to help yourself, nobody else can.

You are the top person who is in control of your life, and thus your happiness is your main responsibility, not anyone else’s. Stop wallowing in self pity and thinking of yourself as a lost case, or a useless waste of space. Just because you suffer from a mental condition does not mean you are stupid, un-resourceful or incapable of strategic planning. You may be helpless when you’re down, but if you act now, you can avoid being hopeless.

Think of all the things you tend to do when you’re manic or depressed and take as many precautions as you can, RIGHT NOW. Make a list, and think of solutions. These points will not only be useful, they will be fundamental to your happiness. Nothing in life comes without effort, and those things we work the hardest for should be the things we care about the most. You should be your top priority, because if you’re unhappy with yourself, nothing else you do and achieve is going to make you feel any better. And similarly, you’re always going to be miserable and un-inspiring to those around you.

National Poetry Day and Collaboration with Mental Spaghetti

It’s National Poetry Day and Mental Spaghetti have published and illustrated (thank you Marie) one of my poems and accepted my offer to collaborate with them on their project!
They are a no-profit organisation that promotes art development and creativity as means to combat mental illness. Check the post and their blog out here.

surprise-party4

Why the “Mercury” Thing.

I’ve now been writing on this blog for more than a month, so I suppose it’s about time I explain the meaning behind it’s name. It’s really quite random: it comes from a dream I had a few months ago, that I came to interpret as a metaphor for the duality of my existence (yay to over analysing everything).

So, I was slightly manic, I guess, or at least excessively high spirited, and I had this kind of weird dream (as happens often) that I was this beautiful, goddess-like, amber curled creature dressed in silver, floating above pools of mercury right next to the blazing hot sun, bubbling with purpose and a secret. Pretty cool huh?

Except that all of a sudden, I was sinking into that same surface, watching the godlike me floating away and contemplating me with a mixture of pity and disgust. I was immobilised and uncomfortably warm: I wasn’t burning (as you would kind of expect, seen as I was pretty much chilling in a pool of corrosive substance right next to the goddamn sun). No, I was just uncomfortably warm. And I knew I was stuck there: never to drown and never to be free.

While the other me floated away towards bliss and immensity, towards a world of hope and possibility, I was signed up for eternal apathy and discomfort, and completely incapable of helping myself.

In the morning confusion that followed I also wrote this poem about my ‘mercurial’ (and grandiose) persona, so I might as well put it in as well!


I dropped the thermometer:

What a thrill to chase
Little bubbles everywhere.
Acrid shiny silvers –
They are drops of mirrors.

Look there: it is me!
It is my reflection I see,
Blazing sunlight and glee:

My volatile moods,
Etched with smiles and deadly fumes,
On my ever-changing moons.

An eternal river,
I gurgle with promise
In the soil, the air, the water –
Breathtaking and flawless.

My shiny surface
Draws you in closer.
I’m your road to gold,
the gods’ messenger.

But my scalding skin
You cannot touch
You greedy treasure scavenger.

You’re too avid and bitter
With your truths and reason –
Your reality addiction!

In the gaping darkness
I will eat you whole
Like a death trap –
A black hole.

I’m liquid metal,
Quicksilver.
I will melt your brain,
Destroy your swollen liver.

Only the mad can dip their toes
In these pools of chaos and clatter.
I’ll be the gloss on your top hat

If you’ll be my mad hatter.

A Storm

The air smells like South America
I am cold and damp and the sky is lilac,
Lit up like the fields in Valensole.

(And I suddenly miss something that’s not there.)

The wind shakes the trees,
A neighbour’s drain gurgles distinctly
and I always loved the smell of the rain.

Oh, to be unlimited, to be free!
To flutter in the reality of possibilities
I’ve discovered for myself out here.

(I close my eyes and smell the air.)

And I’m running now,
With my feet on the damp grass
Alongside my discomforts and fears.

On the tepid sand of a beach somewhere,
With Northern Lights flashing above me
And christmas lights burning within me.

I do not care now.
Those distant judgements and colds,
cannot touch me, cannot hurt me!

I slip into memories
Of humid walls, sex and adventures.
Of bright white mornings without sleep, yet at peace.

(And I float back, into the stormy green.)

Five trees: I never knew there where five trees.
I wonder why I never count the things around me!
And the lonely nails on the wall

where the wisteria climbs in the spring,
All the way to the roof top where I lay.
And time shifts into darkness, but I feel no fear.

I am immense, and for a moment
the world is imperfect like me.
My finger tips tingle and my ankles sting.

I feel myself, wet and eternal
And for a moment, just a moment,
I am free.

New Book Review Page and American Psycho

So, seen as I am documenting my yearly adventure with mental health and would like to share as much useful information as possible (to the poor deluded folk who think following my blog is an awesome idea) I have decided to put a new section on which to document reading, film, music and art reviews. Obviously all linked to mental health and/or creativity (or how modern society is destroying us).

I’m going to start with fictional reading. I’ve uploaded a couple of book reviews you can check out and will be adding more of my past readings in the near future, plus all the (very very many) books I have set myself the task to read in this year.

To start off, here’s of a review of a cute little light-hearted novel about a yuppie serial killer. Check the others out on my Mental Health Reads page!


American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis

41B-NEsVBEL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
Link with mental health: sociopathy.

American Psycho is a entertaining yet terrifying satire on the apathy of modern society, depicting the dysfunctions hidden behind the superficiality of the American yuppie world. It is recounted through the eyes of Patrick Bateman, a mass-murdering Wall Street broker. He is a typical, upper-class boy-next-door, who’s flow of consciousness (extremely accelerated due to the use of steroids and other drugs) manifests a refined, and almost obsessive taste for good clothes, good food, good music, good clubs, good prostitutes and preserving a good physical image. Not too strange huh? He also has a rather tasteful dislike for women and the homeless which he sees as society leeches who are not prepared to work for a living. Still, not that far fetched.

The really freaky thing is that good old Pat’s nightlife is tainted by an unrelenting blood lust, triggered on by repressed sentiments of disgust and hatred.

Why it’s good: Ellis’s narrative style brilliantly depicts the banality of violence in our modern culture, and how easy it is to detach oneself from emotivity. The superficiality with which everyone in Bateman’s life, including his lawyer, repeatedly ignore his crime confessions, is rather disturbing.

Patrick’s stream of consciousness very casually flutters between describing entrees of expensive meals and brand names of his colleagues attires, to the logistics of eviscerating homeless people and their dogs, nailing his ex girlfriend to the floor of his apartment and walking around the house with the severed head of a prostitute on his dick. At a certain point Bateman’s character is so alienated from himself that the narrative even switches to third person.

The gruesomeness of the acts, coupled with the casual tone in which they are recounted, render it almost humorous and indeed, extremely disturbing.

DOES CONSCIOUSNESS CREATE REALITY?

Why Creativity is the Key to our Future and Quantum Mechanics for Dummies.


How do we understand the reality we live in?

Humanity has gone through different stages and opinions in the matter.

big bang
adameve

Today, CLASSIC PHYSICS is mainly based on the experimental method, which focuses on objective and repetitive experimentation.

scientist experimet

In this realm of knowledge, what cannot be explained or recreated simply does not exist.

Untitled

It all started when Galileo proposed a heliocentric vision of the Earth as a sphere which circles around the Sun.

Copernicus_solar_system

NB: I would add that he was preceded by Eratosthenes, who measured the radius of the Earth in 300 BC, but I guess Galileo has the merit of saying ‘hey fuck you Church people, the Earth isn’t flat and the universe doesn’t revolve around us!’

CHURCH PEOPLE

And to further complicate things in 1929, Edwin Powell Hubble decides to inform us that the whole flippin’ universe is constantly expanding and so there is absolutely no such thing as something entirely still.

expanding universe

So I guess good old Heraclitus, was also onto something when he was all ‘panta rei folks’.

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 16.27.34

But, since talking about something moving, kind of implies something fixed in comparison, physicists use these things called ‘reference systems’ or ‘inertial frames of reference’, in which a reference point – which is moving in a state of constant rectilinear motion (basically in a straight line at fixed speed) – is considered fixed, with respect to the object we are measuring.

For example we assume that fixed stars are such, merely because they are so far away that they appear to be so.

fixed stars

Continuing with our historical excursus, in the 1600’s Isaac Newton sets the basics for modern physics by placing MATTER as the main object of his studies.

matter


Here’s your Oxford definition of matter: ‘that which occupies space and possesses rest mass, especially as distinct from energy’.


According to Newton and pretty much every physicist since, human beings, as everything on Earth, including the air we breathe, are entirely made of matter.

leonardo_uomo_vitruvio

In this mechanical world view, everything is CORPORAL, and subject to the natural cause-effect laws of physics.

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However, towards the end of the 1800’ comes a new study of matter which explores particles at the SUBATOMIC LEVEL. (Basically really tiny microscopic stuff that can only be measured with really fancy instruments and technologies).

atom

And, what they discover is, to say the least, MIND BLOWING. Basically, at a subatomic level, electrons DO NOT ACT LIKE PARTICLES OF MATTER, ACCORDING TO THE LAWS OF PHYSICS.

…WHAT??????

It’s pretty complex stuff, but if you want to look into the basics, there are plenty of youtube videos on the ‘Double Slit Experiment’, Schrödinger’s ‘Cat-in-the-Box Experiment’ and the ‘EPR Paradox’, which are the three main empirical observations in the field of QUANTUM MECHANICS.

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Here’s a video explaining the DOUBLE SLIT EXPERIMENT by comparing photons (light particles) to tennis balls.



The double slit experiment, shows how at subatomic level, light can act as particles (or photons) of matter or as waves, based on whether or not they are OBSERVED.

For a more complex explanation please read this journal article on science mag (you need to sign up but it’s free). http://www.sciencemag.org/content/332/6034/1170.abstract

This entirely revolutionises our notion of reality, science and everything we know. It means that particles only act as particles, because they are observed.

mind power

The question to be asked is:

Does the world of perception exist because it is perceived? And would the physical reality be the same if we weren’t there to perceive it, or would it act differently or indeed not exist at all?

According to quantum mechanics it seems that the answer is YES.

Moving onto Consciousness….

Could a COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS (for example everyone on Earth) actually create a physical reality? I am not talking about a matrix like illusion that rests within our minds. I am talking about actual concrete matter.

tree growing

Is it possible that ‘reality’ is a fluid state (think of waves), a chaos made up of infinite potentiality, from which human beings can manifest a reality, for example by producing/emanating energy?


Quantum physics discovered that physical atoms are vortices of energy that are constantly vibrating. So every material structure in the Universe including you and me radiates a unique energy signature. – Bruce Lipton


This reminds me, sure enough, of the findings of another great scientific mastermind. Albert Einstein introduces the concept of relativity and the infamous formula:

E=mc2

(which, for who is interested was proposed in a 1905 paper on Special Relativity titled ‘Does the inertia of an object depend upon its energy content?’)

Translated, this means that energy transforms itself, and is dictated by the mass of a body, multiplied by the squared value of the speed of light in a vacuum. In other words, energy and mass are directly related concepts.

energy

Up to this day, man has been able to transform matter into energy (hello atomic bomb and nuclear reactors) but not the other way around. That is because (note the tiny little c-squared) the amount of energy that would be needed for such a deed to be possible, is enormous.

atomic bomb


‘Doc, you don’t just walk into a store and buy plutonium!’ – Marty McFly, Back to the Future

emmett_brown_by_finangel-d8ay1z3

 


However recent studies in nuclear physics at Imperial College London have discovered the possibility of turning a pair of photons into an electron and its antiparticle, a positron. For more details check this article out: http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulrodgers/2014/05/19/einstein-was-right-you-can-turn-energy-into-matter/

The possibility we could be looking at is that human consciousness, or emotions, may indeed possess a particular form of energy, which allows us to actually CREATE MATTER. If this were true the potential consequences for humanity could be magical. It means the conception we have of the planet we live in are dictated by the knowledge and limitations through which we understand it.

mind projection

Could our limited perception be limiting our infinite possibilities? Are we the ones who dictate the types of experiences we have? And, more importantly, could we take control of our own consciousness and eliminate the boundaries we have imposed upon ourselves?

There is one more question to ask when we consider the notion of collective consciousness, which is perhaps, the biggest mystery of our existence. Why is it that we all perceive the same reality?

mind proj real

This paradox is the reason why, mankind has always been split between two: those who believe that there necessarily must be an objective and physical reality (hence modern physics) and those who believe in a certain abstract something (be it a god, gods, spirit, energy, infinite, fate, destiny…) that constructs our reality.

Maybe we are finally close to uncovering this mystery, or rather, to finding a communion between these two opposing theories. But, the real dilemma is,

HOW??????

We have just discussed how physics, science and reason as we know it describe the reality we perceive. They describe our CONSCIOUS REALITY.

Sigmundhttp://s218.photobucket.com/user/Dyntor/media/Sigmund.gif.html

Could it be, maybe then, that the key to the reality that exists outside our consciously perceived reality is to let ourselves slip into the realm of the SUBCONSCIOUS MIND?

iceberg

Is it really just a consequence that we use, or better, are aware of, such a tiny part part of what goes on in our mind? By exploring the subconscious mind we could be unleashing many of the dilemmas of reality and all the weird stuff we don’t understand, such as hallucinations and psychoses, hypnotic states, emotions, and so much more!

dragon

Examples of individuals controlling their brain’s subconscious impulses are not unheard of: for example fire walking, fasting for days and many other insane human endeavours, practiced mostly in ancient and oriental cultures whose practices not surprisingly involve act such as meditation and isolation, aimed at delving further into oneself and cutting out the external pre conceived reality.

levitation

 Could the venture into the subconscious be our bridge into a future reality? A reality where conceptually, anything could be possible, from altering the balances of space and time, to changing the particles in one’s own body. A reality where we are the gods, we are the crafters and our consciousness is the only great ‘cause’.

Or maybe just a world where we rediscover simplicity, and are more in harmony with the fluidity of the reality we are immersed in. Whatever the outcome, I think the degeneration of humanity and the social world we live in is definitely calling for a change. We cannot make provisions for what is to come for the future of our kind: it is too different a reality for us to even be able to imagine it. But I think that our responsibility as (as Nietzsche called us) the ‘last men’, is to set the course for future generations and explorers. To start taking a step back from the capitalist knowledge regime we are subject to, and start promoting and encouraging creativity, self awareness, emotional exploration and meditation. Only then, can we start to imagine a possible change.

Talk about ‘spiritual’ revolution.