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  • Writer's pictureJames G Yeo

The Author's Corner: Comfortably Numb

Picture yourself sitting in your chair in the living room of your two bedroom condo on the twenty-third floor. You gaze out your sliding door of your balcony as the mid summer sun is setting. It takes you back to the first time that you watched it as a child on the open prairie.

As now you are in your mid thirties and single as the need for a relationship has never caught up to you yet. The city you are living in is the one that you moved to after high school. As your job is the one that you have always dreamed of, yet there is an urge of adventure that has built up inside you.


You look to the side table and pick up your coffee and finish off the mug. The next thing is to get supper ready for yourself. Cooking has always been a hobby for you and as all your friends have said time and again that you should have been a chef. Making yourself a simple pasta for supper with freshly made pasta and sauce, it only takes a couple of minutes to get it ready.

Finishing up your supper, you turn to the book that you are reading as the garbage that is on TV and on all media does not interest you. With some of your favorite music playing you create a world from which comes out of the scenes of the book. In a way the characters come to life on the page with the music.


Thinking about all the things that matter most to you, they all bring you joy as this evening is just another gift from the creator. Knowing that tomorrow is not promised you call your parents to say you love them.

           

It is something to watch the sunset on the open prairie and the beauty that comes from the rays of sunlight that illuminates the bottom of the clouds. In the east you get to watch the darkness as it creeps in. I love it every time that I see it and I am lucky enough to live in the open prairie of Canada. For what I get out of it I know that the hands of the creator paints the skies with a brush. In what has always been a question for me is where do I fit into this world?


To be comfortably numb I would have to guess that the song that comes to mind is done by Pink Floyd and it is Comfortably Numb. When I think of this song I am reminded of my past as I have moved throughout my life and always disconnecting from the negative memories that still to this day bother me. I have used drugs in my past to runaway from my problems. All that did was made it that much harder to accept what I needed to do.


It was not until after I was diagnosed with schizophrenia that I had to start to face my demons from my past and move on. I would wait for five years more of chasing booze to blur my past hoping that it would end. It was in February of 2010 when I admitted myself to the hospital for treatment because I was suicidal and I knew I need the professional help. I would spend one month in there as I got the help I needed and the tools to use to continue my recovery after leaving the hospital.


Since then, I have turned my life around as I have become comfortably numb meaning that I have moved on with my life. I have taken up the battle of how the media makes the mentally ill out to be monsters. With my writing is how I am fighting against the stigma that has portrayed all of those who suffer from mental illness as a problem to society. For the most part we stay on our pills and the most of us who are still in the labour force are in top management positions.


There are those who can not function in a job, like me, but have a drive to make a difference in our personal life. The biggest challenge that the mentally ill has is not our illness but the misunderstanding that society has on the subject. I had to retire in 2020 because my illness got worse. I already had two books published and I know that the path that I am on is the one I am meant to be following.


Since retirement I have published the second book of the Individual’s Innocence series and the third book is in the final stages of production before I send it to the publisher. Has it been easy? The answer is no because at anytime I can fall into an episode from my schizophrenia that could lead me to the hospital. I treat every day as a blessing when I am able to be out of the hospital.


As of January 25th of 2024, it will be 19 years since I was found in my apartment in Halifax and then taken to the hospital. I do not know what happened from December 25th, 2003 until I woke up in a locked mental ward on January 26th, 2005. I was diagnosed shortly after that day. Everyday I am reminded of the fact that I have this illness because I take my pills everyday.


Before you say anything about the mentally ill, put yourself in their shoes with the stigma that the media has created. My question is, could you live your life still knowing that people are judging you by what some killer did and since he did not die in the process and he claims mental illness because he knows that he will be facing the rest of his life in jail? That is why society needs to be educated about what mental illness is and that is my goal is to do. To start an open discussion worldwide where then mentally ill are accepted for what they have.

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