"When you're going through hell, keep going"

Winston Churchill, who incidentally struggled with depression most of his life.

It just occurred to me about a minute ago. I am living about two blocks from where Soteria House used to be. Soteria House was an experimental, world famous house for schizophrenics in the seventies and eighties. It’s premise was treating people with schizophrenia without medication in a house in the neighborhood of a community with counselors who had no experience in the mental health field.

I went there directly from my first psyche ward and lived there a year. I suffered greatly there and I saw some weird sh’t there. I can best describe my stay there as a waking nightmare. I was psychotic my entire stay there and right on the edge of going stark raving mad at any minute.

I spent literally 5 months sitting in a chair in the backyard by myself. fighting to keep my sanity. Incidentally, I learned two important things about my case of schizophrenia. #1 I could not handle marijuana anymore. At all. I learned this from the little parties me and a couple of other people had upstairs in my bedroom. #2 Do not ever deprive myself of sleep. Once, I went two and a half days
without sleep and I started having bad visual hallucinations.

Anyway, I was there in 1980 and i drive past it every 5 or 6 years. Whenever I see it, it gives me a weird feeling. It seems like I lived there 5 lifetimes ago. It seems like my whole experience there was a bad dream. I was so insane there and I could barely function enough to shower, get dressed and eat and not much else. When I pass it, I think, “What happen there? What was the fuss all about”? Nothing was really happening there except what was in my mind but while I was there it seemed like one big cosmic battle, with crisis after crisis and constant struggle and chaos. And that was just me. I won’t even begin to tell you the nerve wracking problems I had there with some people who were sick as me or sicker that lived there with me.

The most positive thing that happen to me while I was there was the night I lost my virginity to a built, sexy, pretty, young 22 year old Latina women who was living there. Yeah, sex and drugs, and rock & roll in the house for schizophrenia…

But yeah, I went through a solid year of acute psychosis while I was there with no medication with counselors who were barely saner then the people who lived there. Well, anyway, I guess I could always brag that I was part of history by living there because Soteria was a big deal in the psychiatric community back then. And now 35 years later I am living 5 minutes away from where I first started my carreer as a schizophrenic… Maybe there’s some kind of irony here.