Captain of my Ship

    The mind can play so many tricks on you, and so seriously, that you
    can land up in hospital. I suffered from voices and hallucinations
    until they were coming out of my ears. That was a long time ago,
    and since then I’ve learned to play tricks on my mind to keep it
    sane, healthy and happy.

    The question is: who is in control? Not the brain. The brain is an
    instrument that can let you down. Call it self, call it soul, call
    it what you will, but you are, or should be, in control. You make
    the decisions and your brain follows suit.

    I used to suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. It meant I
    went round and round in my mind on a particular topic. This is
    where the soul comes in. I learned to cut across my thought and
    give up my obsession because I was distinct from my brain. You are
    captain of your ship, and you can see the course ahead.

    My waking dreams were so real that my eardrums were vibrating with
    the sound. They could not have been literally vibrating. But when
    this experience was converted into a successful play, the audience
    were able to hear what I heard and get under my skin. I believe
    spiritual influences were at work. And it was fun.

    The actor’s skills are the perfect tricks to play on the mind. A
    pretence that you’re happy when you’re blue lifts you right out of
    the doldrums and soon becomes reality. It is the work of the soul
    on the mind, and shows who is boss.

    Many of our best influences are internal rather than external.
    There is no need to reach for the bottle or the cigarette when the
    brain is obeying the soul. It is much cheaper, too. Seek your
    inspiration from whatever source you like and convert it to food
    for yourself, not for the brain.

    Your personal happiness is paramount, and you can achieve this only
    if you are charting a steady course through the seas of life.
    Reading is a wonderful stabiliser and source of inspiration. You
    are in touch with, and on top of, other people’s minds. This can
    dispel insanity; I believe it can cure depression.

    Then there are the drugs, which can help enormously. I take
    Priadel, which has no nasty side effects and is a mood stabiliser
    and realism inducer. Without it I would go woozy and wild. My soul
    knows this and I take it willingly. Experimenting with the wrong
    drugs is torture, and has caused me to lack confidence in drugs
    altogether. But the right drugs are perfect to play on the
    mind.

    I don’t feel I’m using crutches. I am a man in my own right, even
    though I may be an amalgam of different chemicals. I’ve been sane
    for 40 years or more, with a happy and varied life. In the old
    days, I let myself go with obsessions that cost me my freedom and
    my career. Now the sun shines again. Not only because of
    self-control, but also because of control of the brain by
    itself.

    Richard Jameson uses mental health services and is
    retired

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