Nelson’s Story: “My name is Felix, a schizophrenic.”


Monologues of a Schizophrenic


Nelson’s Story: “My name is Felix, a schizophrenic.”

Circa 1975-79

Felix Nelson Lopez was a polite, educated young man. He was the fourth out of nine children; three died two before my uncle Nelson. My family recalls my uncle Nelson being a very social person, always talkative, and helping wherever needed. He also was pursuing an academic career in Engineering, at seventeen he received a scholarship to attend one of the most prestige schools in El Salvador; Colegio de San Pablo, located in Zacatecolucas, La Paz. Between the year I was born 1977 and 1979, my uncle Nelson had a life altering experience, which to date, no family member can explain how exactly did my uncle Nelson became a schizoid.

 My uncle Nelson and other fellow colleagues went to La Paz in the summer of 77’ to visit the campus of Colegio de San Pablo and the town, since he was going to reside there for education. When he returned, one of my aunts’ Tia Dinora’ called my mom in the US to give her the bad news, apparently my uncle Nelson developed a character change that was very noticeable. His attitude went from friendly and social, to quiet and keeping in the dark. My aunt told my mom that he would sit in the dark of a room and laugh. However, none of the family members, including my grandparents knew what was wrong with him. One thing is for sure, during that time the Civil War in El Salvador was about to officially begun; my uncle Nelson witnesses firsthand the horror of the civil war.

In March 24, 1980 the assassination of Archbishop Monsignor Oscar Romero in San Salvador started a civil war that lasted twelve years. However, my family recalls military movement as far as the mid 1960’s. Macabre was the scene throughout the country. Some of the home videos I’ve seen of the war show decapitated bodies on the road, in front of homes, death all over the scene. Half of my family fought with the country’s military against the half of my family in the jungles as guerillas. My uncle Nelson was in the midst of the madness, he was seventeen when his life changed.


As a child, I recall a few episodes; full blown episodes he went through. I remember hiding in the closet room once, because my Uncle Nelson began yelling and cussing and pushing one of my uncles; my dad, grandpa, and an uncle were able to force him down on the floor and stay on top of him until he calmed down, which at times took about an hour to calm. Through the episodes that he had already displayed, no family member knew he had schizophrenia, they didn’t know what to label him. Until the incident that occurred after the civil war was over when my uncle was hospitalized at a psychiatric ward after he was detained by police and began rambling about a truck load full of artillery that he had hidden somewhere. The police found to paper work on him, so they didn’t know who the people of contact were.

My uncle Nelson went missing almost eight month before the word got to an uncle that he was being detained by the police in a town a few miles away. When they found him, my uncle Nelson was horrifically disfigured; the fucken police tortured him as they thought he was speaking the truth. The uncle that picked him up had to explain to the officers that my uncle Nelson was a bit crazy, and didn’t what he was talking about. They let him go, beat up, and embarrassed. My uncle Nelson in a moment of clarity was able to recollect the memory of the torture sessions and shared the experience with his brothers.

He was hospitalize in the ward after, and that’s where the family found out that my uncle had Schizophrenia for the last 15 years, and didn’t have proper medication until then. Another episode he went through, my mom says he tried to hit one of my sister’s and mother stepped in, for a minute my mother felt very threaten she says, but she’s a warrior too and grabbed the biggest cooking pan she could find and told him to step back or else he was going to get it. Mom says he quickly changed his attitude and stormed out of the house. Nevertheless, the most memorable episode I recall was when I found him in front of the kitchen window.



"As I stepped into the kitchen, I saw my uncle Nelson flipping-off someone through the kitchen window. He started cussing at the person outside the window, saying, "Pues que onda contigo?" "What's your problem?" I stood there silently watching the episode that was unfolding before my eyes. I was nine years old and had heard stories about my uncle being mentally challenge, but has yet to witness the severity of his ordeal. I walked over to my mom's room and told her what I had seen. She quietly went to the living room and looked out the window, shook her head and walked into the kitchen.

My uncle was still arguing with the person outside the window. My mom tells him, "Nelson, que estas haciendo?" "What you doing?" He answers, "Que no estás viendo ese pasmado afuera llamándome nombres." "Can't you see that fool outside calling me names?" I notice my uncle's facial expressions were changing, his eyes opened wide, his tone of voice became deeper, a transformation I had never seen in him.

"No hay nadie ayi!" my mom says. When she said that my uncle Nelson rushed at her direction, I ran to the living room. He didn't touch my mom, but walked to the front door and yelled, "Ven aqui hijo de puta, dicime eso a la cara, pendejo!" No one was outside, no one was talking shit to him, and it was all in his head. I see rage in his eyes; he walks into my room grabs my backpack, throws all my school supplies and books on the floor. He opened his clothe drawer, grabs a handful of clothe, probably only under wears and socks.

My uncle Nelson stormed out of the house, my mom tried to stop him; he pushed her to the side and kept on walking. Three days later he calls the house, says he's in Mexico and needs money sent to him so he can continue his trip to El Salvador. My dad and two uncles went to pick him up at the border. That was the first time I witness my uncle’s episode at a close range without hiding from the ordeal. I also realize that a schizophrenic is not always mentally lost, that there is a window of clarity and reason; how else did he get to the Mexican border with no car and money?


Sergio Valencia *


#NelsonsStory: mynameisfelixaschizophrenic


Author's Notes/Comments: 

I've seen the window of clarity in my uncles eyes and have spoken with Nelson!

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God Bless You

Camille Pissarro - "Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing"



Blessed are those who actually use their ability to see wih the eyes of Jesus, and not simply spew words.

...and he asked her, "do you write poetry? Because I feel as if I am the ink that flows from your quill."

"No", she replied, "but I have experienced it. "