Sunday, 20 November 2011

"Me and My Hairy Friend"

Greetings, tis I, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star.   My human, yes Gary aka klahanie, the human I so kindly allow to live with me, is still taking a break from blogging.   I know that when he actually does a posting, he will not apologise for not writing.   If anything, it might be better that he apologise for writing.  
In the meantime, Gary has contacted his good friend, David and asked him if he would like to do a guest posting on this shy and humble site.  David, the human with a tendency for the usage of big words, was thrilled to bits to have this opportunity to expose himself, I mean display his abundant writing skills on this site.
And thus friend, whether you be human or otherwise, without further ceremony, I present to you David's posting, titled, "Me and My Hairy Friend".  I should inform you that his posting was delivered by carrier pigeon and the poo on the parchment has been removed.

So, I’ve been invited to do this “guest posting” for my very dear friend, Gary, and also, of course, Penny, the modest internet star. In fact, maybe I should have mentioned Penny first, as there does seem to be some confusion over who is looking after who, with Penny, in the many posts she writes (actually, I think that she secretly writes them all and just lets Gary take the kudos), referring to Gary as her “human”.
Gary and I have known each other for quite some time now, and I believe we first met at our local mental health charity, The Media Action Group for Mental Health. It was during their “Mindbloggling” project that Gary and I first came into contact. The aim of the project was to get people with experience of mental ill health to write blogs about their lives and the way their conditions affect them, in the process hopefully reducing the stigma surrounding such illnesses. And, Gary sometimes writes about his struggles with depression, but mostly his blog, as you will all know, is a witty and humorous look at life from his very own, highly original perspective. Indeed, by doing this Gary shows that there is so much more to him, and to us all with mental health issues, than simply a label or diagnosis. So, there has been blogs about the most quotidian (he hates that word, so I thought I’d get it in!) of subjects, such as non-stick frying pans, fridges, trips to the shops and travelling on buses. But, such is Gary’s talent as a writer, that he manages to infuse such everyday matters with wit, wisdom and insight, and his warm, friendly and funny personality always comes shining through.
I sometimes refer to Gary as “my hairy friend”, given his moustache and his propensity for having a hairy back (which really is quite prepossessing, by the way) and I feel we have a lot in common. After all, he is from Canada, and I’m English. He is in his fifties, and I’m just approaching 40. He is losing his hair, whereas I still have a lustrous mane. Ok, so we’re not doing that well so far. But what we do have in common is the fact that we have both had experience of mental illness, and are both dedicated to reducing the stigma which surrounds such conditions through our blogging.
So, after all that about Gary, perhaps I should tell you a little about myself. Well, as I’ve said, I am just approaching my 40th birthday. Yes, I will be officially middle-aged. However, I have not yet resorted to smoking a pipe and wearing slippers all day, and try to maintain a youthful outlook on life. Gary often says that I resemble “Robin Hood”, whatever Robin Hood looked like, but I do not go around wearing green tights and brandishing a bow and arrow. And, like Gary, I have experienced mental ill health, and have a diagnosis of schizophrenia. OK, so that is, I know, for many, a very scary word, associated as it often is with violence, “split” personality, or a complete inability to function. I have to say, though, that I don’t fit the mould of your average “axe murderer” stereotype, and am just a normal, really quite friendly, person. I know that it is often difficult for those who are not familiar with what schizophrenia actually is to get past the many stereotypes which pervade the media and other sources of information, but I would just say that, for the most part, these representations are grossly misrepresentative of the majority who have experience of this illness. The many I have met with the diagnosis, through my own experience, have been kind, indeed gentle, people, who just want to get on with their lives despite their illness and the stigma surrounding it. I hope that anyone reading this will be broad-minded enough to just at least think about what their response is when they hear that dreaded word. Or perhaps you could even read something about the condition and improve your knowledge of it. Indeed, if there is one way of improving the stigma surrounding conditions like my own, it is to get people to understand the facts about it, rather than relying on misrepresentative media portrayals. Failing that, you could always pop over to my blog, "A Day in the Life". Now there’s a novel thought.
So, having done my regulation anti-stigma spieI, I would just thank my hirsute pal for allowing me access to all his wonderful followers and commenters, and I thank you for taking the time to read this little post.          


  1. Dear David,
    I wish to thank you for gracing this site with one of your thoughtful postings.
    You, kind sir, are the epitome of articulation. Indeed, it has been my honour to have such an intellectual genius such as you, display the finer forms of writing and dazzle with your propensity for using words that have me merrily 'Googling' away or feverishly checking definitions in the dictionary.
    Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star, approves of your writing skills. And that's something to be endorsed by her.
    Thanks David. I appreciate your guest posting and your support.
    May we continue on in our quest to eliminate the unfair stigmas and stereotypes that still surround mental health issues.
    Kind wishes and say 'hello' to Friar Tuck for me.

  2. Lovely of you to fill in for Gary. I too had my dictionary out as I waded your literary stream and stumbled over the rocks of your prose. Seriously, most enlightening.
    Come back Gary...come back. Hugs and kisses to Penny. Gary I'm going to enter you in my Owl contest, I think you need a made in China owl that sparkles, or maybe some owl tealights. Seriously, they could change your life.

  3. David
    nicely done. You share with Gary a great sense of humor and it shows in your writing. Thanks for the guest post.


  4. Phew. Sorry...tuckered out from the trips to Seriously, I've learned a new word today - quotidian. And I shall make a mental note to use it often when conversing with Gary, seeing as he loves the word so much. In your honor, David, of course.
    You are so right, people have ideas attached to certain terms that severely restrict their true understanding of what they actually refer to - and further restrict their comprehension of what a person might be like who is labeled with such. The problem with labels.
    I'm impressed with both you and Gary for doing all you can to remove stigmas. Mental health is not the be-all and end-all of a whole person. We all need to learn to have more open minds and hearts towards others. Sure would make the world a better place to live in, especially for those who are oft-misunderstood.
    So...Gary's a hairy-backed, bald, old guy, eh?

  5. Hi Y'all,

    I must say that Penny is right! The words are too big for the rural living pawed creature to fully comprehend.

    My Human, however, said to tell y'all not to waste time thinkin' about stigmas.

    Did you know that there are illnesses that aren't mental that have stigmas attached to them too? My thought on the matter is, whatever, take a page from Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star and me and live in the moment and it too shall pass. ;)

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  6. Hi David,

    I'm so happy that you guest posted here. It reminds me how much I enjoy your writing. Great thinking Gary! I will have to return to, A Day in the Life, for a good read.

  7. Our son Ron will be 41 on Sunday and my husband is losing his hair. Why do I suddenly feel old? Course, Penny the Jack Russell and modest internet still looks like a puppy, so all is not bad.

    David, it's very nice meeting you even if you're younger than my son. I've known many nice people younger than my son, so I suppose one more is good. Thanks for blogging on behalf of Gary. Sorry he has a nicer looking moustache than you. Maybe when you're 50 you'll be lucky that way too.

    Cheers and happy weekend.

  8. To the hairy-backed, old, bald guy (as Kim put it),
    Thanks Gary for allowing me to expose myself so publicly on your blog, and thank you to everyone for your kind comments.
    It is nice to have a bigger audience than I usually get on my own, humble little blog, so thank you all.
    With Very Best Wishes,

  9. Beautiful post, and reminding us how important it is to shake words like schizophrenia loose from their connotations and reach out to meet the person, rather than the label.

  10. As always a fascinating and thought provoking post.x

  11. This is another awesome post!
    And thank you to David for such eloquent words.
    Hope you're having a lovely weekend.

  12. Hi Gary, Hi David and big cuddles and smooches to gorgeous Penny!!

    Now I know Gary has a hairy back and doesn't like the "qu" word! LOL! Yay!

    And 40 is NOT MIDDLE AGED. Ahem. 40 is the new 39! :-)

    Take care

  13. Well Penny it looks like you've done it again! A first, that was rather innovative to invite one of Gary's Hairy, middle aged, buddies, who just so happens to have a "talent" for writing to do a guest spot. I'm sure it took a load off of Gary's mind, as he is taking a sabbatical from writing. Actually I think it is you "strongly suggesting" he take a break, because "he" maybe getting a bit of a swollen head, so you in your cute, loving manner, are putting him in his place, by letting Gary know, YOU are the BOSS, and that he can be replaced at any time. But I must inform you, that just will NOT work. Nice try little buddy, but I'm on to you. Kudos to Dave for being so giving, and sharing his "big words" of wisdom, I'm sure the "ratings" just went up. Paws off to you Penny for pulling this off. You are one "controller" aren't you? ;-) Later.....

  14. Hi Gary, Penny and David .. or amalgam mix as you all wish ..

    So pleased Gary has so many friends ready to help ..

    I read the post with interest ..I'm having connectivity challenges at the moment .. so just calling in ..

    I hope all will be peaceful in your lives .. with many thoughts .. Hilary

  15. Dear Penny,
    You do well in the arena of writing. And how gracious to chose a guest poster. I know Gary has had some tough times, but he'll regain the positive mode and be rested soon. (Bless you, Gary.)
    As always, you write with eloquence and 'shoot straight from the hip' on your chosen topic. What an honor; I know it made you feel great!! I wish you, Gary, and Penny many more writing paloozas.
    In peace, Dixie

  16. Very nice.

    I have limited experience with schizophrenia, the only real contact being an ex-boyfriend's cousin, who had the most amazingly clear, gray eyes I have ever seen. She believed that her cousin was Jesus Christ. He honestly did have many qualities that were Christ-like and looked surprisingly like the white, long-haired Jesus that hangs on the wall of many North Americans...


  17. Dear Pearl,
    Just felt the need to clarify, that what you say the person you mention was experiencing is commonly referred to as a "delusion". Schizophrenic illness, in its, what are termed, "positive" symptoms, is often punctuated by such delusions and also hallucinations (which can be visual, ordatory, or even olfactory).
    Suffice it to say, that many do go on to recover from such symptoms, and do not remain forever in a "delusional" state. Schizophrenia is an episodic condition that can be treated, although it is believed, not cured, with the correct interventions.
    So, at the end of the day, I think it is good to get away from an "us and them" philosophy. This illness could, hypothetically, happen to any one, and although the person you mention may have thought he was Jesus, it's highly likely that he wasn't.
    Anyway, hope you come back to read this, and that this posting may have dispelled some fears or misunderstandings surrounding the illness.
    With Very Best Wishes,

  18. Hello David. In my rather limited experience those with mental illness are more likely to victims than 'axe murderers'!
    As always an eloquent and interesting post.
    Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

  19. hi penny and mr david (mr gary too if hes listening):) what a cool post! im thinking its pretty hard to talk about your illness but its just way important so people could know youre a person and not a illness. i go at work with my brother lots and he works helping people that got mental illness. now at that center they call me the hug therapist cause thats what im way good at and i love giving hugs. now cause of my brother and going at that center i dont never think of any of those guys as mental ill i just only see a person that needs some help getting back into life. i wish everhyone could think that way.
    ...hugs from lenny

  20. Such a wonderful post but I am prejudiced since my very first dog (1967) was named Penny. I hope she loved me as much as you love Gary.
    You gave me so much to think about. Many thanks

  21. Dear everyone,
    I just thought I would say again a big thank you to you all for your kind and supportive comments on this little "guest" posting.
    I'm sure Gary will be back soon, but in the meantime you have all been very gracious in welcoming me to his blog.
    And particularly to Lenny (or Mr. Lenny, as I would like to call him),I would just say that you have a very enlightened attitude and it is much appreciated by me and I'm sure all those you know who have been unfortunate enough to become unwell. We are all just people, as you say, and not just walking illnesses, and I wish too that everyone thought like you.
    Without wishing to heap too much responsibility on you, it is young people like yourself who give us all hope for a brighter and fairer future. Well done, Lenny- don't go changin'!
    Many hugs, your way,
    From Mr. David.

  22. Hi David and Gary .. you've certainly hit the nail on the head - as far as young Lenny is concerned - he really is one amazing kid & exactly as you say lightens up our lives.

    I love Lenny's words .. I hadn't realised his brother works with the mentally ill ... so many wise words he says in his comment.

    Lenny is truly amazing and I hope everyone who comes to the post reads Lenny's words .. and your answer David.

    My thoughts to all and lots of hugs - Hilary

  23. Gary,

    I do not understand how you can love your woman when she got pregnant by another man. What about your rights? Your emotions? Your bursting desires to annihilate that woman for trampling your trust, your love, your whole existence?

    I do not believe in politically correct world views. I have no respect for humans just because they are humans. They have to prove to be respect worthy. I am afraid that if my wife did what your wife did, I would have divorced her (giving her nothing in compensation) and let her live on streets from where she can build on her own.

    Biological evolution dictates my treatment, just like how biological evolution dictated sexual behavior of your wife to sleep with a man who was not you.

  24. Greetings doomedlions,
    My friend, although your comment does not relate to this guest posting, I shall, nonetheless, respond to what you have written.
    Now then, lets get this clarified. Here is the comment I left on the site in question and I quote :

    "I love and respect our women. Despite the fact my former wife got pregnant by another man whilst still married to me, I do not pass judgement and yes, I love and respect our women.
    To all the beautiful ladies and to you, my good friend, big respect and kind wishes, your way, Gary."

    So where does it say I still loved my women when she got pregnant by another man?
    And what about my rights? I have the right to move on with my life and not assume all women would treat that way. Why would I consume myself with negative energy that would eat away and overwhelm my ability to have a peaceful life?

    And a quote from you: "Your bursting desires to annihilate that woman for trampling your trust, your love, your whole existence?"

    Sorry that's a load of twaddle. I have no desire to "annihilate" her. In fact, I wish her the opportunity to get on with her life and be happy.

    In so far as divorce. Divorce is not as straightforward as as you think it might be.
    And how you equate biological evolution to my ex wife's sexual behaviour is nothing short of ridiculous.
    All different and all equal. Thank you for your comment and we agree to disagree.

  25. Greetings,
    I just wanted to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to read and comment on my dear friend David's guest posting.
    And a special note to Lenny who has summed it up very nicely. Indeed, see the person beyond the illness. Someone who needs support, caring and encouragement. For the illness is only a small part of what we are. Hugs to you all and thanks to Lenny for being such an inspiration.
    With respect and warm wishes, Gary


I do try to comment back to each commenter individually. However, I might have to shorten my replies or give a group thank you. That way, I can spend more time commenting on your blogs. Thank you and peace, my friend.