Posted by: hypomanic | June 15, 2009

The realization you’re going mad

I’ve had plenty of advice in my life, in fact I’ve had plenty of psychiatrists and psychotherapists extracting, under examination, a deeper understanding about myself which I never realised nor ever wanted anyone else to discover. When I say I don’t want people to discover sensitive information about myself what I mean is that if I hadn’t lifted the veil to that self awareness then it wasn’t fair that everybody else got to know my secrets too. The thing is, everybody already knew anyway. Like a baboon cannot see it’s bright red posterior, human beings are not aware of their shortcomings.

However, it seems that not many of these people around you; your friends, your family, your coworkers, your contemporaries – in fact hardly any of them make the same amount of effort and applied incisive judgement to exercise your behaviour (to correct your infantile, yet innocent, way of approaching life and the world around you) in the same way as a trained and well paid psychotherapist seems able to do. Albeit after six months of one hour sessions each week.

I’ve sat in my conscious mind for years and thought and thought and thought. I’ve spent so much time thinking about how to work out my problems, why the world isn’t working the way I want it to but never managed to make the crucial connections to awaken myself to myself. They, whoever ‘they’ are, say we only use a fraction of our brains but how do they know? I can only speak for my mind and like the vast universe, I’ve never been able to find the edges of it but I suspect, since I’ve had cognitive behavioural therapy, I seem to have been splashing around in the same thought puddle since I was three years old, going round and round like a goldfish in a bowl but being human my thought patterns and distortions follow a pattern of thinking about food, stimulation, warmth, security and sleep on repeat/shuffle. My puddle it seems, was never connected to the ocean.

Now I’m older and more responsible I follow a familiar set of programs in my head because it is natural to keep splashing around in that puddle. “Oh no my daughter is awake again and it is 3.30am. Get milk. Microwave. Hand bottle to baby. Kiss wife. Sleep. Oh no, the alarm has gone off – not 6am already. The water is cold in this shower. No clean towels. No breakfast cereal left. Or milk. No seat on the train. How can I prepare for work when I am stood up on a wobbly train. I really should buy an iPhone. The ink has come off the newspaper and onto my fingers. And it’s on my clothes. Will I look professional in my presentation? I really need to make a will. I love my daughter. I love my wife. The back door needs painting. It’s Mother’s Day next week. Got chicken in my teeth still from last night. I need to book the dentist, mustn’t forget. I wonder if I’ve got time to get something to eat before I get to work. A crepe would be easy to eat on the go. I’m so tired. I wish I had a seat. Do people really like me? Yeah stop worrying, I’ve got loads of friends. I must work on those relationships. Send some emails today. No, make some calls instead – more personal. Starting this weekend.”

Do I like thinking within this puddle? Well, way before I had psychotherapy I knew I could ‘expand my mind’ and that other people before me had already followed that path but isn’t that just learning things and that by living longer you possess more wisdom by default? More wisdom equals an expanded mind surely? What do ‘they’ mean by an expanded mind? Is it about altering the capacity of the mind and not about how much an actual mind is filled up with more stuff than can fit in one puddle? For example, puddles such as spirituality and the soul, even my belief systems about science, the subconscious and psychology itself. Everything leads to an ocean? I have a healthy imagination, I always have been able to make stuff up to amuse myself. ‘Stupid thoughts’ are what I’d refer to them as. For instance, try to imagine ‘see-through’. Go on, try it. Try to picture in your mind’s eye neither black nor white but transparency itself. You cannot do it. I’ve thought about this for years and all I’ve been able to do is imagine thousands of transparent plastic bags on top of each other and the effect is like a fog. Yeah, a fog. It is delicious in it’s irony that the mind is fogged when it pushes it’s ability to move it’s own perception of reality to another dimension. I call it the paradox of transparency. But then I have to question what a dimension is and then try to understand that concept. Science Fiction exists as a genre because of these kinds of imaginations inventing these new worlds where amazing things take place. Science Fiction becomes the stage for human beings to make real their strange, for want of a better word, imaginary concepts without fear of being stigmatized by the rest of us for having such a bizarre, left-field point of view to the rest of humanity, who might as well be splashing happily around in their own puddles. I mean, it’s a shock. How dare they make me aware of the paradox of transparency because it has made my head hurt and my eyes have crossed.

All joking aside, on a day-to-day level each of us knows how much we can ‘take’, i.e. how far our mental rubber band can stretch without snapping. Or do we? I do. Mine snapped back in 1995 and I ended up sectioned under the mental health act. That is the catch-22 with rubber bands. Only now can I gage how over stretched I am because I have the hindsight. I witnessed mine snap so I can remember how it felt and the kinds of thoughts going through my head at the time so if I recognize the signs when I am approaching that ‘state’ then I can make adjustments to avoid another snap. If you have never had a nervous breakdown then I could suggest that I have an advantage over you. You will never know when, where or if you are going to snap. However, if you already possess the wisdom to realize you are close to the edge and can move away before you become mentally ill then I have no advantage over you whatsoever. Think of this; I can get right to the edge and stare over into the abyss with the knowledge I won’t fall in because I know the last crucially remaining synapse hasn’t fired in my brain yet. Ok, a slight over statement but you know what I mean. There is a deadzone, a badlands or maybe it should be referred to as a blurring between where your mind is prepared to go to and where I know my mind can extend further. This blurring should not be referred to as psychosis but it is certainly fueled by hypomania. If we all have the same equipment in our brains, the same chemistries and the same functions then we are all capable of experiencing similar states of awareness but the fact remains that we are not all the same. We are individuals. So does that mean we cannot all think the same? Does it all go back to the ability to see ‘transparency’ with the mind’s eye? Because I’ve spent a lifetime thinking ‘Stupid thoughts’ of ‘see-through’ and they have never once sent me over the edge. I know now I am older that this ‘mind expansion’ is my creativity, my imagination and it has more familiarity to me than my oldest friends and my dearest family members. These are not the types of thoughts that lead to psychosis, nervous breakdowns and mental illness. Being quirky is not necessarily a path to personal destruction. Paranoia, built on a bed of confusion, insecurity, heartbreak and pain after a terrible experience in a horrendous environment, amongst awful company is what stretched my rubber band to it’s last sinew and that last tendon is arguably your choice to finally break it. To let go. To give in. To fall into the abyss in complete submission and at the hands of mercy.

When this happens to you, you hope or suspect it is some kind of test or exposure to something that will bring you an advantage – a quickening of the mind. An insight unlocking your potential. A potential you don’t even know about yet. A.K.A. a risk, a gamble. Then it might be worth it (the madness) or at least it means something or might mean something in the future. Only time will tell? If this ‘gift’ will somehow payoff and bring you *riches that everyone else is unfortunate not to be exposed to or see then if you could foresee what was going to happen you’d take the other restrictions (hospitalization, diagnosis, stigma) if it means you have a **special power. The thing is, time and altered dimensions have told me the risk of enduring large amounts of stress while overloading your own consciousness doesn’t pay off, it is more a trade off and the older I get the more I fear my decision (under duress) to let go and break my rubber band back in 1995 was just me injuring myself.

*An adolescent mind may refer to riches exclusively as money brought about by success but to be rewarded is to be rich in happiness, friendships, health and ideas.
**It is healthier to explore your consciousness slowly over a lifetime but this level of exposure cannot always be controlled.

There is a 60 second video book trailer available to watch at hypomanic.co.uk
Or watch a YouTube version of the Hypomanic video book trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkQbVibNH0o
To follow me on Twitter: @victorjkennedy

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Responses

  1. Wow. Very well written.

    Christina


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