Punk Music and Schizophrenia

Punk Music and Schizophrenia

I heard a theory somewhere that Schizophrenia can be a result of extremely strong dis-identification with cultural standards. And those of us who have embraced the Punk ethos and attitudes had to disentangle ourselves from the “square” lifestyle that was being planned for us, that threatened to eat our futures.

For me, rejection was a huge part of setting my course for the life I wanted to live. I had my own internal compass to tell me what was right for me and what was not; a big problem was that parents and other “mentoring influences” tried to shut down the tendencies I was displaying. I think part of it is that I wasn’t showing “due respect” to things that I was expected to. Why should I have? I was beginning to be trained in the expectations and responsibilities of my culture… I would have learned respect for its ways if it was deserving. And basically, the expectation was that I follow a drill of activities, expect that it would last beyond my comprehension of time (meaning until I am retired or dead), and just do it because that is the way things are. That was the establishment-adult side of things.

Someone that feels like they are a part of the Punk lifestyle knowingly separate themselves from things that others wouldn’t dare to. A willful exile, in many ways. I did it because of the judgementalness of others, which I also took part in. I embraced a fashion as a statement of my individuality, rejecting others’ similar styles of dress by calling them a poser. This is such a huge issue in fashionable circles – the ones that take part in it distrust even those of the same mentality. Seems to me like the rejection of so many things runs deeper than the actor understands.

Destruction. I enjoyed destroying things. Paradoxically, when I was sick, destruction of what haunted me was never permanent. This type of lunacy has been described by many as “a movie that doesn’t stop” or (by me) “a trip that doesn’t stop” So a punk can grind something into dust, but when he is wrestling with his mind he doesn’t stand a chance.

Drugs. I did a lot of drugs and experienced some heavy stress from some substances, like high-potency cannabis. This might have added straw to the figurative camel’s back. Some people have said to me that psychedelics might have prompted the future psychoses; I don’t know if this is true. But psychedelics are an important drug and, I think, more worthwhile than most. I do not regret using any psychedelics.

The thinking process of a person diagnosed ‘Schizophrenic’ is constantly occupied with the importance of non-self entities (friends, associates, enemies, gods) and themselves. The mental interactions that occur privately in their mind can be such a strong experience; including rejection, violence, passion, but mostly a belief that what is occurring is life-shatteringly important. I grew up with a sense that something must be done- but what “it” is/was has been so vague and encompassing that I could never, and may never, properly define it.

In the book “Hardcore: Marginalized By Choice” the author states that the Punk chooses to disengage from society and their fashion and attitudes are part of how they do it. He says they want no part of it. It seems to me is the exile a chicken or an egg- was it solely my choice to leave, or was I getting the signal I’d be kicked out for being too different so I chose to scram? I personally believed, almost contrary to his explanation that society is so fucked on so many levels that it literally seems to be save it or scrap it because currently it is going nowhere.

There again is importance and rejection rolled up into one. I think that is a dilemma that many punks, and many who have schizophrenia, suffer from. To me, It was like the most important things in the world will never be right and I had to sit right through it. That kind of nagging severity will cause anyone who strongly feels like an outsider to act in ways that others may not understand- and can cause much discomfort in a more “socially average” person. Confrontations between the punk or the lunatic with respectable citizens easily can result in the outcast being arrested or confined, which leads them to experience further isolation and separation from society. After enough misunderstandings it becomes easy to think the worst about things and just want to give up.

In my search, I found a website: http://schizoids.info. Schizophrenia and Schizoidal personality are not the same, but there is a bit of overlap between them. Check it out and/or that book- the book only discusses personality and ethics, not much about trauma. Please do further research, because I am only one person and other people will give you different stuff to work with.


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