Mental Illness? or - Salvation                                                               Copyright ©2014 Hazel Gay

Hazel Gay's To Heal the Broken-Hearted (Chronicle of a woman's 18 year journey through "mental illness" to healing, wholeness and transformation.)
Chapter 17 All quotes used with written permission.

April 19, 1987     Easter Sunday
       Connection between point A and B in my “saving the world” story plot, taking off from “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” 
       The Ark of the Covenant represented the presence of God among them to the Hebrews.  In my story, genes are the “Ark of the Covenant,” the vehicle containing/continuing the “seed of life,” from the beginning; seed that still has in some way the touch of “God,” the unknowable, “the source”, the (W)Holy Spirit, UNITY, with feelings linked to our genes in a way our intellect can never be. 
       “Nazi” – basically one who sees the world as black OR white, right OR wrong, with unresolved polarities, so ontologically insecure they have to force the world to reflect their ideas back to them, feelings under ego control so they are cut off from their integrated base, the “bigger picture,” cut off from “WHoly” spirit, that wholeness seeking impulse embedded in our DNA – a wholeness that incorporates our “spiritual” nature, that sometimes faintly felt connection to that from which we came. The child, by grace of the genetic code is born into the “web of life,” into Eden, into primal order, unity of experience. Some of us “fell from grace” or had it taken away from us, and have had to undergo various means of “mind expansion” to get back to the healing, wholeness seeking properties of that unified base, to regain Eden, the “kingdom of heaven” within.  By recognizing this integrated state we’re born with, by retaining it, or regaining it, being “born again,” we have the destruction of the “Nazi” mentality; we “save the world.” 
       In the movie the Nazis wanted the secret of the Ark of the Covenant for the power it would give them but instead of getting power, they were destroyed by the power in the Ark – the presence of “God” –  the (W)Holy Spirit.  In my story the unfathomable power of the “WHoly Spirit” in the genes overcomes my “Nazis.” 


        In Romans 8:19 Paul says:  “For the creation waits with eager longing for the REVEALING of the sons of God…” 
       Revealing   ..uncovering what is already there.  Seeing the intrinsic Christ or Buddha nature in each human being? 

The line in the poem to Jess in ’76, 
       “We’ll become architects for the new city of a schizophrenic dream” was specific reference to the “dream” of all the schizophrenic prophets through the Bible and all the dreamers since for the “new Jerusalem,” the “(W)Holy City.” (Even Carly Simon sings about it.) 
(These are not to be interpreted literally.) 

       For some reason I just thought about the morning Lindy took me turkey hunting with him before daylight.  He parked me under a tree and left me there since he thought I couldn’t be quiet enough to sneak up on the turkeys.  Sitting there in that early morning penetrating stillness, listening to the silence, I heard an extremely faint “rustling,” so faint at first I wasn’t sure I heard it. Concentrating on it, I realized – I was HEARING the frost…as it crystallized. 

       For the past month I’ve felt so fulfilled, so satisfied with my writing and have had to start dealing with the fantasy of Jess loving my being again the last couple of days, that fantasy persistently intruding itself into my consciousness.  Though I’ve been ambivalent, still hesitant about allowing that fantasy conscious existence, I have allowed myself to experience the feeling more and more, the lack of pressure, the lack of having to do more, not having to be “better,” not having to EARN acceptance.  As it appeared today I decided maybe I need to go ahead and get a good dose of it instead of worrying about it becoming a delusion and pushing it back so I went back in my mind to exactly 11 years ago and saw Jess’ face, his eyes, looking at me in that “special” way.  As I allowed the FEELING to develop, the me I am at that moment being loved, I suddenly wondered if the THOUGHT accompanying that FEELING is a projection.  That feeling is so foreign to me, my ONLY conscious memory of having experienced it being when Jess looked at me like that, but actually the FEELING is very REAL, there’s a VALID basis for it – TODAY – but not that it is Jess feeling that toward me – but – ME! I have taken the pressure off me;  I am the one loving my BEING;  I am the one accepting me;  JUST LIKE I AM!  But because of my background that would say that’s “egotistical,” “unChristian,” because feelings can cause one to remember other times when one felt the same thing, I think, “Jess loves my being.” The CAUSE of THE VALID FEELING IS MISINTERPRETED. 

       The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.  The end of this book was there in the beginning.  It’s taken me almost 16 years to get to the place where I can start to communicate what I “saw” in the twinkling of an eye that first week of “psychosis” summer ’71. It was all there – then. 
       I like to think that hard-headed analytical German in me kept trying to figure out why that hard-headed Cherokee in me wouldn’t stay on the reservation while that hard-headed McDaniel in me kept following that leprechaun. 
       When I allow myself to start really absorbing what I now “see,” the more I feel humbled.  I have moments of feeling so totally humbled, of never having felt so humbled. To know that I’m a part of something so unspeakably magnificent, something so incomprehensibly whole, to have been allowed existence IN it, AND THEN, to have been given the gift of CONSCIOUS AWARENESS OF THE INCOMPREHENSIBLE MAGNITUDE OF UNITY – Sometimes it’s “like” looking into the face of God. Who am I, to have been given existence…Who am I, to have been given this gift of “seeing.”   The holiest of holies is right here, right now….. 


               (The only words I know to use for trying to describe the following experience.) 
                I had “called forth” the “depths of my being” (right hemisphere?) through 
               my brain one more time and for a few days I had my first intense 
               experience of a reality unseen in the physical world with less befuddlement 
               of my conscious mind.  Maintaining more rational intellectual abilities gave me 
               an opportunity to look more intently and maintain more capacity to interpret what 
               I saw/felt of the experience. 
               I would not recommend this as a way of life. It’s too intense.   


       I sat on a step at Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland yesterday watching people watching people and was so aware of the difference in the way I am in the world now and the way I was in the world 16 years ago. I have always lived in this world.  I never lost it but now I understand how I “fit” into this crazy quilt design.  Now I understand that other people don’t see the world like me and that’s OK.  I know from time to time I will continue to run across someone who also has some level of awareness of the “web of life.”  In the meantime, and FOR THE FIRST TIME, I no longer have to doubt my perception or be threatened by the lack of that perception in others. 
       No one can help me in my resolution of MY way of being in the world, THEIR way of being in the world and their trying to force me to be in the world the way they want.  Perhaps the starting place is recognizing that I do perceive the world differently and can comfortably allow that perception, now that I’ve satisfied that scientist child in me!  You shall not make me think like you; you shall not make me see the world like you; you shall not put me in that cage WITH YOU! 

       A few weeks ago I saw a news item on TV about an American Bald Eagle that couldn’t fly. A brain tumor had been determined to be the responsible agent for that inability and surgery was being discussed.  I could not keep from seeing symbolism in that.   To the human species:  The self-imposed restrictions and limitations of fear.  You won’t even know how high an eagle CAN fly – till you turn it loose.  And though I would not have mentioned it to anyone, I saw myself.  I’ve never been able to begin to express what I felt, that somehow I was an eagle that wasn’t flying, that even if I met all of the expectations, the career teacher, the “star” singer, I still would not be flying, that there were heights they had never imagined.  And learning now my inability to fly might not have been just the result of pathology but perhaps from being confined in a cage too small for an eagle to learn to fly. 
       I feel I may have finally found my “niche” as I suddenly discover I’m not alone out here on the edge of time, that there are some people after all who speak my native tongue, who can soar with the eagles in this possibility universe. 

       I still don’t know what those “new theories” are about schizophrenia that Jess mentioned in ’76.  And I still don’t think the swallows have any idea where they’re going when they start out for Capistrano.  They just know when they get there. 
       In 1974 when I ran across the meadow to try to stand in the end of the rainbow, if there had been someone standing at the house where I had been when I saw it, they would have seen me standing in the end of the rainbow, wouldn’t they? 


June 27, 1987
        Seems incredible after all these years that I now have my national professional teaching certification back.  A few days ago I went to a regional conference on housing for the mentally ill where I saw a lot of “them” and “us.”  As fate would have it, I wound up at the same table at lunch with B.’s wife; she said you were supposed to have gotten married.  Congratulations.  If you’re married and working the hours you are, I’m very happy for you for I know you’ve finally found someone who understands you. Apparently it wasn’t time for me to know before.  I suspect it might have aborted what I think may have been necessary; I don’t think I could have allowed myself the fantasies if I had known. 
       Getting this information has certainly helped me clarify some things in my mind, makes me much more comfortable in writing this.  We don’t have to be a man and a woman; we can just be people.  If our relationship is winding down, I’m very glad it’s ending on this note.  I would very much like to have explored a common garden variety person-to-person relationship with you and, though it’s painful, I can handle it not being in the cards.  I mean friendship.  It’s more complicated than if you had died. 
       I feel kind of like I’m at the end of the movie where the person after colossal setbacks and the heartbreak of the century has picked themself up one more time, realizes who they are, where they are and starts down the street toward tomorrow with a grace and sureness in their step, a light in clear eyes, merging with humanity as the camera backs off and majestic music rises. 
       There will never be another Jess Campbell.  There will never be another Hazel Gay. Our paths merged and there was a moment in time that was never before and will never be again.  You helped me remember what love is so now I can handle your not being my friend.  I will have other friends. But there is an irreplacibility about being a unique individual.  Though I may find someone to love in a total man-woman relationship, there will never be anyone who could replace Jess Campbell, friend. 


July 3, 1987
        Through the years has been the prominence of how Jess looked at me, what I interpreted as “loving my being.”  I got to the place of being able to look at my grandson while consciously trying to project “love for his being,” I could “turn it on.”  Not thinking in words, the full intensity of looking is not interfered with by thoughts.  If he were an adult, I would say he “loses his cool.” Little grins come on his face, he looks at me as if to say, “What are you doing?” and loses his train of thought if he’s talking. 
       Projecting that with my daughter without explaining what I was attempting to do first, just that I wanted her to look at my eyes, she immediately said, “Your eyes softened…What are you doing? …I can feel something…like a…a…vibration…” 
       There’s a disturbed young man “mental patient” I’m in contact with.  He is “in his own world” but is it the same world I’m in when I’m “in my own world?”   
       Can this be another thing we have backwards – that in some altered states described as “in his own world” we are actually in a common world, that when we are in the “ego world” we are in our “own world?” 

July 4, 1987
        The opportunity to travel across the United States to Washington, D.C. and New York City unexpectedly presented itself as my musician friend from upstate New York was going to participate with a radical group with which he was involved in a motorcade celebrating the Bicentennial of the American Constitution.  (Many years later I would learn that Tim Mc
Veigh, the OKC bomber, was
connected with this group.) Having won a few hundred dollars only two weeks before by hitting 5 out of 6 numbers on the Oregon lottery, with my mother’s and father’s birthdays, I threw caution to the wind and decided to go for what would be a month long journey, one of the most exciting and educational adventures of my life.  It was stimulating, two weeks of camping across the U.S., picking up others as we went, with the group conducting a ceremony on the steps of the state capital buildings as we went. We wound up with three days at Valley Forge and four days in Washington, D.C.  I had taken a guitar and they discovered I could sing.  I have a story to tell the great-grandchildren, about the day I sang my soul in front of Lincoln Memorial in the last line of the song “Una Paloma Blanca,”   “No one can take my freedom away.” 
        From there my friend and I went to Ft. McHenry at Baltimore and another emotional experience where Francis Scott Key had written our national anthem.  Then on to New Jersey and New York with my friend.  I was completely unprepared for my emotional reaction on seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time!  And the exhibit that was there then.   No words can convey the sense of hushed profoundness, standing in the same room with the actual Torah that had been used in the first religious ceremony upon the liberation of the Jews at a concentration camp in Germany. 
       Greenwich Village.  The finale of the trip was almost literally showing up on Jess’ doorstep. Not knowing when I’d be in New York, it had only been the night before I’d contacted him.  He’d gotten married in May;  we both show the eight years;  I told him good-bye this time. 

August 11, 1987
       From being absolutely petrified about getting on a bus in Binghamton, New York, to travel across the country to Portland, it turned into one of the most marvelous adventures of my life, a story in itself!  Besides being cheaper, I really wanted to be in limbo for a few days, to hold some time in my hands. 
        If one could only hang up an experience on the wall like one does with pictures. I saw something at the bus station at Chicago that I would display.  Waiting for a bus, I was standing talking to a young man from Italy who was here traveling around on an Ameripass.   He spoke fluent English. I noticed an older man standing a few feet back of us, listening.  Finally, the older man came over to us and asked the young man where he was from in Italy.  The young man told him.   
        “We went through there during WWII after landing at Anzio,” the older man said. 
        I saw something then that I will never forget. 
        The young man extended his right hand to the older man and said, “I am honored to meet you. I heard my parents and grandparents talking about how the Americans had saved them all my life.  It is such an honor to meet you.” 
        Perhaps words are superfluous when I tell you I enjoyed our visit; I know many words that day were superfluous.  I guess I really wasn’t surprised you’re dissatisfied with your professional situation, or that you felt you might prefer the situation you described, “where I can do some good.” 
       Perhaps I’m only showing my ignorance of the therapeutic relationship by being surprised that you had had to experience some kind of “separation” from me. 
       Jess, I DO NOT KNOW what I saw in your eyes just before I left…I’ve never seen that intensity in your eyes or on your face.  For three days the only thing that would come into my mind was that you were dying with an incurable disease and you knew it.  I’ve been working on my imagination and I’ve gotten it down to – You’ve known your own hells, whatever they are. 
       For the very first time my pain is becoming private, not to be shared with you.  There won’t be any more bleeding all over you.  You are better with the words in describing the separateness; it’s become more real.  But there’s a paradox.  Perhaps only time can bring back that part of me that went to New York in ’79.  It wouldn’t fit into my suitcase last week. 


       I wonder how long all beautiful music will bring back so poignantly solid the last time I looked into Jess’ eyes? 
       My feelings seem to be reaching deeper and deeper, like they’re getting down to bedrock, not only the pain, but also something I guess that must be called love.  I have no question about what to call the pain but the love seems to be different in some way.  It seems to be reaching beyond a label I’m familiar with.  I’ve never experienced such a profound sense of beauty and completeness in any feeling, radiating from what must be my heart.  At the height of experiencing this, I feel like actual vibrations or emanations may be going out from my heart, from my being.  I might describe it as the most beautiful thing in the world has become not that someone can feel this way about me, but that I can feel this about/toward someone.

August 26, 1987
       Since my reaction to whatever it is I’m experiencing since seeing you is different, I’m simply relating the differences, observations.  Pain – statement of fact, no creative descriptions.  I don’t know what all the pain is about; I don’t question it; I just allow it.  The way I’m experiencing it differently is a further development of how I experienced it in February, want to be around people, two hour conversations on the phone.  When I’m with people, I’m WITH them, not like part of me is somewhere else.  I’ve never been like this; I always wanted to be alone, didn’t seem to be able to pull together enough to function that well around people.  Right now I seem to be more extroverted than I’ve ever been with the exception of my altered states and when I’m on stage.  The “alter ego” that appears when I’m on stage seems to be coming out rather consistently, without being on stage. 
       The last few months I’m realizing I’m no longer fighting my early background, i.e., lack of “culture,” “country” music, etc.  I hear myself using more inflection when I talk. 
        My oldest daughter said she had noticed I had started using more inflection over the last 2 or 3 years, that my voice is not as flat as it used to be.  I never discussed this with my children.  I hear myself carrying on with what I considered affected inanities before, sounding more and more like everybody else which is perfectly all right. In doing some of the same things there is a difference, a LACK OF STRESS about doing them. 
       It was a stroke of genius, your marriage happening in May, like being hit with a bucket of icy reality, a slap in the face.  Perfect timing to underscore REALITY, the definitive demonstration that what you received from me February to May was nothing more than all in a day’s work for you.   Brilliant.  I can’t think of anything that could have been better at running roughshod over the ego, and in spite of the magnificently brutal awakening, I can appreciate a certain beauty and eloquence in the timing. 
       Seeing you –  I saw you as a man, for some reason a struggling man – not as a therapist. I wanted to comfort you.  I saw your finiteness, our finiteness, two very small people in a very big universe, doing the best we can. 
       Have the last 16 years been about becoming real?  It’s not easy, being “real.” With delusions at least the inside of me doesn’t hurt.  I am experiencing such clarity of my mind.   You know, of course, this is history in the making for me.  My pain seems to be very localized, concentrated in one area, must be my  heart.  I think it’s only been since February that I experience such localized pain.  February it was gut wrenching pain. 
       I’m experiencing acute clarity that I have NO CONTROL over my feelings, no control over you, no control over life.  I feel like – Love is this god sitting out there somewhere laughing at me, another fool finally stumbling around in total incomprehension of the powers that be.  There SHOULD be gods sitting out there laughing!  I don’t even know why I think it’s so funny.  Because I was so ignorant before?  Because I thought I was DIFFERENT?  Because I thought I owned my mind and emotions?  You may or may not have been the actual taming agent in my life (if not, you were at least the physical representative) but SOMETHING has certainly done the job!  Without breaking my spirit – a critical point.  I don’t even understand why I have such a strong feeling of having been tamed, that’s grown more in the last two weeks.  It’s amazing that ANYTHING can do to me what’s been done to me!  I wrote during altered states that I felt I had met SOMETHING bigger than me – for the first time in my life.  Apparently, I’ve gone past the shock of the encounter to assimilation.  And why should I think it’s funny?  I’m the one who got worked over!! 
       I’m figuring out the last few days that maybe the last fantasy (about you) isn’t just going to – snap – disappear, never to be seen again, but that it has an existence of its own, that my thinking it should disappear is evidence I’m still trying to control my feelings,  that maybe I have to learn to co-exist with it, maintaining a clarity of boundaries. 
       I wanted it all, wouldn’t settle for being numb, robotized or mechanized and I got it.  No reward, no recompense keeps going through my mind.  Perhaps my “reward” is being able to stand the pain of reality.  I have such a clear understanding that I have felt the heights and the depths and perhaps that’s part of my “reward.”  NO ONE ELSE has put the limits on what I can feel.  I’ve confronted it all and have not backed away from any of it – still not.  Being perfectly me. 


        I guess there’s a remnant of an ego wish left in me.  I’d like to think you might feel a pang or two when these letters stop, when you’re no longer the one I’m giving a piece of my mind to.  To my surprise I’m finding though I no longer want to share my pain with you, it may be difficult to stop sharing the laughter. 
       When I started writing this today I thought I was writing out of obligation, to finish something I’d started.  Before I finished, I realized it had gone past that.  I write to the one I saw in your eyes just before I left.  He’s not a therapist, he has no labels.  He’s the one I knew before time started and the one I’ll know after time stops. 
       You remember the last thing that happened the day I visited you?  I couldn’t open that door and asked, “How do I get out of here?” 
       And the last thing I saw of you was your right hand opening the door for me… 


September 1987    Song
               Phoenix watched the rising sun 
               from the mountain she had climbed 
               She had made it through the night 
               the darkness had not won. 
               As she gazed into the bright with no fear of the Light 
               she regained eternity
, freedom, her destiny and 

               No one can conquer, no one can cage her 
               no one will rule her, no one will ever break her 
               She touched the sun, she held the stars 
               she and the world are one. 

               Though she did not know the way 
               she had the wind and stars and sea 
               echoes of ancient songs and a dream. 
               And Phoenix dared to look and when she dared to find 
               she touched a magic in her mind 
               no chains can ever bind. 

               No one can conquer, no one can cage her 
               no one will rule her, no one will ever break her 
               She touched the sun, she held the stars 
               she and the world are one.      

If you are interested in hearing this song click here:Phoenix ©1987 Hazel Gay