by Donald Kern

     NO EXIT

      T hey were out to get me. I had made one mistake and they were going
to make sure I made no more. The girl had lost her sight, at least in one eye.
I had blinded her by a simple mistake of misjudging the depth of the beam.
The religious energy I was using was available to me only through the consent
of the ethnic group I had organized. If something went wrong, I was the one held
accountable. I had set up the network through ordination from a higher power,
Honorary MD, a psychologist licensed to use soul energy. Communicating
telepathically, I was using the energy for medicine and positive evolution.
Only this time I had made an error that could cost me my life I somehow had to
convince these people I had made an honest mistake. I had to make amends.
From one of my psychotic episodes-Donald Kern, MFT

        There are few things which are immutable. I go about my daily routine with the expectation that what doesn’t get done one day will follow over to the next. My calendar, used in my psychotherapy practice, is subject to change. If I pursue one occupation, I am fully aware I can change my mind and take up another. I get used to the idea of transience. The latest fashions, hoped to be enduring, aren’t. The car I drive, once sparkling and new, has now changed, dings and fading color distressing me no end. Objects of my pleasure become one more disappointment in my quest for continuity. Even my pet cat grows old, occasioning more trips to the veterinarian, more fears of his possible demise. A writer writes the definitive text on a subject only to find he must make periodic updates or become out of date. One chooses a life partner, swearing undying allegiance followed by departure or irreconcilable differences. Iron rusts, empires fall and love dies. Spring gives way to summer; yet winter always returns.


        It is hard to comprehend. I want only to rely on a view of optimism which says there is always time to change, no need to rush: like T.S. Elliot’s formal pronouncement in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” “In a minute there is time for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.”
        Unlike the changes described above, Elliot’s formal pronouncement does not apply to mental illness, a matter which is permanent and unchanging. Once a mental illness surfaces there is no surgery which will take it away, no pill which will erase it. It is not a flu or a faulty heart valve fixed with antibiotics or organ replacement. Worse, it will not be ignored. Mental illness affects your behavior. Deeper yet, it affects your attitude towards yourself and colors others. Try turning back time to before it manifests. How do you unthink a thought or correct someone else’s? Once you’ve walked, how do you go back to crawling? You don’t. In a world where all things are possible, where miraculous inventions and miracle cures are common place, my mental illness, which has ruled me so completely for 33 years, remains constant.
        True, there are remissions through medication. My attitude may change as I cope with my diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder over time, becoming better at dealing with my symptoms. Hope is greater now then in any era in history. Yet, these thoughts beg the issue, for once one is diagnosed with mental illness, there is no turning back. This is as true now as it was 33 years ago when I was first diagnosed. Some are not as lucky. They suffer a lifetime with no respite. Like fairy tales of old, it is not so easy to get the genie back in the bottle.


            I am one of the lucky ones. Today, I am a working psychotherapist, bent on helping others with issues I have struggled with myself. Twenty-Two years free of episodes have left me with a clarity and understanding I want to help cultivate in others. For me, hope springs eternal.

   "I Have Been There"         "Awake"         "Stigma"         "Postponed Arrival"

   "Thoughts on Anxiety"           "When Moods Change Dramatically"           "Seeking Goodwill"