Daily life goes on much as we expect it to and we have most of the things we either need or want available to us at stores or on the internet. But what if we didn’t have such easy access or no access at all, what would we do? Invent what we could and try to make due would seem a likely action.
You’ve seen the TV shows where people living in the wilds of Alaska have shown time and again how resourceful they can be with the things they have at hand. They build their homes, make hinges without metal, grow gardens in a place where the cold can freeze a man’s beard and we are amazed. Yes, I’m amazed and it proves that, when push comes to shove, we can do a lot.
The Alaskan wilderness isn’t the only place where creative genius comes into play in a time of privation. Of course, you know that inmates in prisons make all manner of things they can either use or sell to others and some of them are pretty imaginative. But did you ever give it a second thought that persons in psychiatric hospitals do the same thing?
Casual conversations among mental health professionals often provide clues to these imaginative products. Anyone want to enjoy “cocktail hour” while on a
locked ward? Very easy to do if you have a brewmaster who knows that a little bread, a sufficient amount of fruit juice and a nice warm hiding spot (let’s say a radiator in winter) are ideal for dishing up an alcoholic drink.
Where smoking is permitted, no one may have either matches or a lighter, but there’s another way to get a “light.” Wherever there’s one of those blower hand dryers, there’s a way to get a light. You can get these babies pretty hot if you keep pushing the “on” button 10 times or so.
Lighters and matches are seen as rare commodities and often sell for $2 a match and much higher for a lighter. Of course, most hospitals not only discourage smoking, they have programs to help anyone who is addicted to nicotine.
Coffee is something most of us drink on a daily basis, but what if you were, again, on a locked unit? Sure bet that someone there has a little business going with small packets of instant coffee. Hot water to make the coffee? No problem. Just go into the lavatory and run the hot water tap.
The point here is that, if there’s a need or a wish, someone will try to make money from it and it doesn’t matter what their diagnosis might be. Persons with schizophrenia are just as capable of being hospital entrepreneurs as you or I. The illness doesn’t remove their ability to be creative.
In the days and years ahead, all of us may need to call on our native creativity in ways we never anticipated. Keep that in mind and be ready to get busy.