Rhymes, Rants & Accolades from North Central BC

Archive for December, 2012


The main thing society needs to do now in the wake of this terrible tragedy is concentrate on finding a cure for brain disorders such as schizophrenia. There is not nearly enough money allocated for research on schizophrenia, which has been described as “the most devastating of all diseases.” And we also need to find ways to reduce the stigma so that people seek treatment for themselves or loved ones before the ill person becomes totally overwhelmed by his/her symptoms. We must understand that those living in a delusional state sometimes need to be taken by the hand to where they can receive medical care. Because diseases of the brain are where our thoughts and feelings originate, sufferers often do not have  insight into realizing  they are not well.

It is possible that in the violent culture that we now live in, violence is becoming more and more reflected in the psychotic symptoms of  an ill person’s delusions.  And television shows and other visual portrayals of wholesale carnage cannot be helpful.

The following paragraph is from an article written by a mother of an 11 year old boy:

A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan — they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me….

Because of my book [The Ghosts Behind Him] I’ve had mothers phone, telling me about similar situations such as this one. It’s hard to believe that a child could be dangerous but it does happen. I tell them that if they are afraid, it is time to ask for help. Anyone with a brain disorder needs medical help -just as a  cancer patient does.  And like a cancer patient in an acute stage of his illness, a mental patient in crisis needs immediate medical attention.

When acute symptoms subside, mental patients must receive medical follow-up on an ongoing basis. There is no cure for schizophrenia. Like cancer survivors their symptoms are merely in a state of remission.

If  no known medical treatment is effective and patients remain a danger to themselves or others, they should be cared for in a stress-free, monitored environment. Not in the family home and definitely not in jail.

Treatment needs to be effective. I am  grateful that my son’s schizophrenia was finally controllable on a wonderful medication called “Clozapine.” He had been on one called “Risperidon” when he became totally overwhelmed by hallucinations and delusions. Anti-psychotics are not all alike. They have different properties- and need to be taken in carefully monitored doses. Risperidone (I learned later) can “cause agitation” in some patients, but works wonders for others.

P.S I should have added that -although there is no cure as such – some people do manage to recover from symptoms of schizophrenia.

My Interview on Mixed Race Radio

Well, I survived today’s interview with Tiffany Rae Reid, hostess of Mixed Race Radio in Columbus, New Jersey. It may have been the thousands of kilometers betwixt our telephone numbers that had the butterflies dancing a frenzied tango in my stomach –or perhaps it was the status of some of the well-known celebrities she’d interviewed previously.  But Tiffany’s warm friendly voice calmed the butterflies to the point where I found myself babbling about childhood recollections, such as when my dad who was hearing impaired and unable to hunt, would trade vegetables to First Nations neighbors for moose meat. These gentlemen would linger for hours sipping cups of Mom’s homemade raisin wine, while relating horror stories about their experiences during the Second World War. My brother and I would listen fascinated.

I sometimes wondered if Mom, who’d been raised in an orphanage and was as dark-complexioned as they were, may have been Métis. Her mother had been a red-haired, blue-eyed Englishwoman. The only other visible minority I knew of were the families of Japanese descent who’d been interred to the BC Interior from their homes and businesses at the Coast. I had never known a single person of Chinese ancestry. And my mother- who’d been conditioned since childhood to be silent about her father’s Chinese heritage – never did let the cat out of the bag. She had passed away in 1985.

Tiffany explained that she’d used a “snoop” computer program to track me down. The snoop had picked up on a two-year-old newspaper article written by Rebecca Billard for the Lakes District News, which had informed readers about my research into the hitherto-forth secretive life of my maternal grandmother. Upon learning that my grandfather had indeed been of Chinese descent (from Hoiping County near Canton) I’d decided to share what I knew of my grandmother’s life-history in a fictionalized biography titled “Common Threads.” The title was from a poem I’d written previously.

                          COMMON THREADS

                          My grandfather was


                        I learned

                        of these

                        common threads

                         when I was


                        That the tapestry

                        of my ancestry

                        was intertwined

                        with silk robed

                        silhouettes of


                        sipping green tea and

                        rice wine

                        That their



                        also mine…D. Ray 1998


For anyone wishing to listen to 45 minutes of my blathering, the link is at:








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