Reflections On Life ePub (Adobe DRM) download by Christopher Ejsmond

Reflections On Life

Chipmunkapublishing Ltd
Publication date: June 2011
ISBN: 9781847475381
Digital Book format: ePub (Adobe DRM)

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Description Reflections on Life is a collection of poems which describes the life experiences of the author who has lived with the personal legacy of child abuse, followed by the descent into mental illness (schizophrenia and OCD) and alcoholism. The poems carry a message of hope by exploring the complex mental landscapes of co-morbidity, dual diagnosis, psychosis, childhood, the power of ideas, emotions, thoughts, pain, loss, actions and relationships. The poems invite the reader on a journey through a world where the experience of mental distress has carved a creative channel through the darkness and loneliness of illness and points to a way forward. The author has experienced mental health problems since early childhood (OCD at five, schizophrenia since his teens). He has experienced stigma and discrimination from family, school and society but has learned to forgive along the way through the medium of poetry. The author has lived with severe and enduring mental illness, suicidal ideation, a plethora of psychotic symptoms, voices and perceptual aberrations, as well as the efforts of a sometimes unhelpful and clumsy mental health system. He has learned from the experience of others and how to put his own suffering and distress into a broader social context. About the Author The author was born on 22 October 1964 in London and, with few exceptions, has lived and worked in London all his life. He is the younger of two brothers born to Polish émigré parents who arrived in the UK in the late nineteen forties, after experiencing traumatic childhoods separated from their own parents and witnessing conflict and war in some of the major theatres of the Second World War. The author lives in Ealing, west London which has a vibrant Polish community and is educated to university level. He is currently a postgraduate student at King's College London. The author's childhood was spent in a family home with a number of lodgers which, by any means, was overcrowded. There were many people in his life from early on; each with different, sometimes difficult, personalities which did little to fuse the immediate family unit into a secure base from which a child could thrive. Soon after starting school, the author began to experience cognitive, behavioural and emotional problems. These went unrecognised for many years, during which the author suffered in silence and fell back on his own resourcefulness in developing coping strategies. The author has had obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) since about the age of five and this had a devastating impact on home life and school. At first it was an obsession with numbers and letters of the alphabet. There was much confusion and anxiety in the young child's life. Soon the obsessions multiplied and mutated into more physical aspects of movement (going in and out of doorways, walking up and down pathways and stairs, opening and closing, repeating things aloud) which were accompanied by thoughts and feelings of doom. On many occasions, the stress was so great that the author's young mind would switch off and become empty of thought and fixed in a void but with the recognition that things had to be put right, sorted out and put back in place. Chris was sexually abused twice during childhood: once at age seven and again at age twelve. This added to his distress and inability to make adjustments and build secure friendships and relationships as he grew into adulthood. He was an average student and managed to hide some of the more distressing aspects of his illness. However, by his early teens the author's OCD deteriorated and some symptoms which, in retrospect, were psychotic began to impinge on his consciousness. This is what Chris calls 'thought swapping' (the very real feeling that thoughts were being extracted, inserted or swapped with those of other people) and this has remained with him into adulthood. The complexity of combined thoughts, feelings and images would build one on top of the
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