It was a harrowing experience that reached critical mass on February 22nd, 2019. …I ended up at the George Washington University Hospital after running several miles in the cold barefooted. This sort of event is often considered the Dark Night of the Soul, and it led me into a psych ward stint turned artist residency at the Psychiatric Institute of Washington (PIW) on Wisconsin avenue in upper north west DC.
In advanced civilizations I would have been immediately recognized by my village (It Takes A Village) and begun an apprenticeship to become what is termed a Shaman...but in the West such notions are often dismissed as archaic superstition, and supplanted by hyperbolic doubt and inductive reasoning unencumbered...And of course there is the massive complex of interlocking peopled interests desperately afraid that their bread and butter are tied to the promotion of a highly pharmaceutically dependent society…which means dictating mental health without recognizing the soul...It is my opinion that the ancient ways of old are much more complete in helping give context to the post modern content paradigm of mental health.
Deep in the cavernous prison for the soul with a retinue of mercenary doctors and nurses, as well as a host of other support workers, I was consigned to the chattel role of fodder for an industry that has its tentacles in the lives of many of the worlds most sensitive souls. My only refuge was in my Faith. That Faith was not in vain for my LORD made me the instrument of a remarkable set of works that I have been privileged to compile for a fitting exhibition (The Real Dope Show) which I have only previewed for a few select guests from the DC Arts & Humanities Commission. These semiotic visual-linguistic pieces, made exclusively from supplies given to me in the old hospital by Ms.Veronica McCurdy (a kind and truthful woman) were created in one of the most difficult periods of my life. Abjectly alone, the dark forces of the universe assailed on my immovable wisdom, and all that was right within me was put to test by the multitudinous elements. Yet I prevailed in the situation as I can now see the clear importance of these works...So much so the more evinced was this when PIW employee Bankolé Adebisin hurried to destroy the works that were on authorized display for the enjoyment of all. He is a bellicose man who seemed more concerned about television and cigarette breaks than patient care. I pity such souls because the wickedness within them only highlights that which is brilliant.
Aside from “Dr.Ike (short for an Igbo name) mishandling my documents and the quality control issues of personnel, I would say the outcome of my 11 days at the Psychiatric Institute of Washington further proves my master thesis beyond a reasonable doubt...Madness is A Privilege. Art itself is such a spirited exercise of the soul that when the forces of evil tried to break me the LORD gave me a glorious opportunity to push my creative boundaries through a psychic awakening that few can harness. My cell mates name was David Lynes and he was a man possessed of the spirit who advised that my new work represents a movement in art itself. We called it “Stymiism”...We called it so because one cannot think about anything else when the consumer interacts with the pieces in institution parchment. The ICU doctor, Dr. Shustikoff...a muscular Russian man was intrigued enough with my work to do a staff team study of them. I found it pleasant that at a certain point every one knew who I was through my work (www.dopamineclinic.com) rather than my assigned diagnosis. The truth is that prayer and good works, not pills and drugs heal the soul.
The primacy in the Western Hemisphere of pharmacology is undermined by the fact that most men with pompous titles know very little of what is truly foundational about life…the things of the Spirit. Those who were kind to me know themselves and those who were wicked find themselves where they presently reside. The break through works were worth the pain indeed, but I still feel it imperative to state from a point of advocacy that the Washington D.C. Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) must seriously start vetting out the good from bad candidates for employment within this sensitive field far more carefully.
With the systemic epidemic of Medicaid and Medicare fraud that threaten to bankrupt the United States of America within a few generations if not less, it cannot be afforded to place avaricious and greedy people in the healthcare industry at all. As a person who’s a Nigerian American...I’ve seen some feats of guile for gain that would warp the minds of European-Americans in ways that would make their heads spin. Without making a sweeping indictment of all foreign born Nigerians in the healthcare and penal systems...I’m just saying be careful who you hire. This goes to another point in conclusion. No single ethnic group should have a high enough concentration of its members in any core industry as to establish a lazy plutocratic, nepotistic monopoly; especially in healthcare institutions dealing with vulnerable populations like the one I am a diagnosed member of. “Mr.Ron Nelson”, “Portia McKay”, “Artrell”, “Mrs.Ogo”, “Mrs. Udo Awefulei” and “Vanessa” were alright for the most part, but it should be required that all staff members have name tags and foreign born ones especially should have the most rigorous background checks done into their credentials and character despite the seemingly prohibitive upfront costs. “Ernest Ikumi”, Trust me...I know. It’s been great being able to express myself in this stream of consciousness, and I appreciate any correspondence even if not concern expressed to the appropriate authorities about the underbelly of the Psychiatry and Pharmaceutical industry...It runs deep. Otherwise I look forward to working with the Dopamine Clinics’ graphic design team leader Eric J. Coleman on the Future of “The Real Dope Show: An Introduction to Stymiism”. For a sneak preview please feel free to check out Instagram (@dopamineclinic). Otherwise until next entry be good and remember thou art the Son of…
Akindele Ikhide Akerejah