The Fragmentation Podcast


Jonathan Harnisch: Life Sucks I’m Just Trying To Live It: An Affirmation of Life (2015)

June 24, 2016
The title and opening of this 40 min documentary film may be rather misleading, but by its ending, my experience in the hospital last week has been a personal life changer, and may indeed inspire you! ...This hidden gem of a video just might change your life as it did for me documenting three days in the intensive care unit at the UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center in northern Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Sometimes leaving is harder than staying. "I use my experiences, good and bad to inspire, and I will not stop.' "This [experience] is one sentence in this life story I'm writing, and I'm not the editor, and there ARE typos." — Jonathan Harnisch, 'Life Sucks I'm Just Trying To Live It An Affirmation of Life (2015)'

Comment on Facebook: “I’ve watched quite a few of your videos Jonathan and this one is hardest so far, I'm so glad you had the patient advocate and that she is a great person who connected with you and helped you. It must be awful you don't have any family except for Maureen. Thank goodness she is there for you, who visited you especially when very ill, that makes me sad and angry. You are so f-ing strong so much of the time, how can folk survive in such an endless storm, living with such pain and confusion 24/7? That must be so scary when your health is compromised with all this Tourette's and the salt thing, the water, diabetes and all the other things you have going on. Thank goodness you had the treatment you needed at UNM and met people who care and who can help you. Good luck with all, I hope your health will improve in any small way each day and that you can have more wellness and many good moments in this life. When I said hardest to watch I meant from the position of seeing someone in pain, mental or physical and not being able to help. I went out with a younger lad for five years or more who is schizoaffective, and I was ten years older and had three young children, toddlers really. He was a lovely guy, and I've suffered mental health problems all my life, but I was unprepared for having a boyfriend with this illness. I learnt so much but at first my paranoia and mental ill-health and huge responsibilities meant I struggled to cope with my boyfriend's issues until I got used to him and learned some more empathy plus I was made to feel embarrassed at the age-gap by others, as he was 21 when I met him and were hospitalized a lot at that age, some people were suggesting I was using him for money as well, he actually struggled to get me to accept any help from him as I'm real independent, also cops sometimes would show up at his own home and social-workers and such which used to really upset him and his Dad explained he has to go with them as they'll make sure he does. Just seemed all so brutal and unfair as he was the gentlest and intelligent of people fighting through this awful illness. I showed him lots of self-help stuff to do with outdoor survival and nature which he loves, we cooked, went walks, watch films, just hung out. I did protect him and stand up for him, something I've never managed for myself. Due to my way of life and philosophy he didn't have to try and be someone he was not nor be embarrassed or blamed because of all the weird symptoms (once I had realised the seriousness of the illness) and his inability to cope at times and I believe this helped him detach a bit and just be. His mum was always thanking me and when I attended one of his big psychiatric reviews I became more aware of a bit of what they'd gone through as a family when the poor lad had broken down as a teen and how hard all the medical stuff and treatments had been and how they felt they just hadn't been listened to at all. :( I used every ounce of skills I'd learned to stand up for him at that meeting and helped him to have a voice and for him and his family to start having a say in the lads treatment. It literally was like mutiny! :) I will say I was pretty stressed out, but he actually taught me self-help skills too and helped me with my mental health being able to reassure me that we could both cope and learn new surviving skills! He still lives nearby and is much better more of the time but still reclusive, as am I, but he managed to learn an instrument he's always wanted to and does other creative stuff too, he did some writing, went college. Back then I had no idea about schizophrenia and had been brutalized by others and thought he was doing the things he was doing to make me scared, then I slowly gleaned it was the symptoms of schizophrenia that I was scared of not him and that he could not help how he was being affected, but he was the most decent person to me whilst struggling with his illness. I'm so glad I met him, and there are many I can't say this about. I wear my suit of armour every day. :) ” 
—Mary L.
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