Pondering Insanity

From my ‘Diary Entry’ for today:

There is something wrong with me, something rotten inside that is eating away at me. It is highly distracting, overly annoying, and at worst debilitating. I cannot concentrate. This piece should not be taken as something productive, even though I will tell myself afterwards that it is, if only so that I do not go even more insane.

People tend not to believe you when you tell them you feel the soft fingers of insanity probing the corners of your mind. They think you are being deliberately obtuse, and even Romantic. You have mentioned in the past that you’re a poet, and that you enjoy writing (even though lately it has become a horrible fearful pastime, that most of the time produces drivel that wouldn’t be fit to graze the pages of a pulp novel, much less anything resembling academic discourse, but I digress). Therefore, whenever you mention that you are going insane, people take it as though you are simply succumbing to the stereotypes of your subject. You say you are going insane merely because people in your books are always going on about how they are going insane. No one believes that the reason you write, and the reason you read, are to ward off the insanity you have always felt creeping close, haunting your steps, and not the other way around.

If anything, reading and writing have helped you identify and define it, and perhaps even put it into nice euphemistic terms. But it is not praise for the disease, it is a coping mechanism. If you dismiss the disease with fancy words and adorn it with passages from literature, then you can pretend that you control it and not the other way around. You can sometimes even pretend that you are pretending, even though a voice deep down mocks your attempts.

I have found that only other people who suffer from the inevitable decay into madness, and who are aware of their condition, are the only ones who believe. They are the ones who look at you with knowing eyes, or sometimes with sad eyes. Some are happy to find another who understands, and I normally fall into this category. I will feel a sense of relief at knowing that another person is also aware of their impending insanity. And yet, there are times when the reality, and absolute knowledge of reality, settles down in your consciousness, so that you do feel sad. A profound sense of sadness for that which will be lost, another person’s sanity. Of course, I am not saying that sanity is all that’s cracked up to be; I do believe that everyone needs a healthy dose of craziness. But the complete loss of reason is something that frightens me.

I normally tell people, when I know that they will never believe me anyways for they don’t feel the madness themselves, that I actually look forward to ‘the end’; the end of the acknowledgement of reality; the final moment when my brain decides to take that permanent holiday to some far off land, and never sends me a postcard, ever again. I tell them I want to be like Don Quixote, who read so many books he ended up believing them, roaming the flatlands of Spain on a decrepit horse, followed by an equally mad man, and challenging windmills to duels. Yes, this seems like something ‘devoutly to be wished’. Yet I wonder whether it is truly plausible in my case. Certainly I have read many books in my short lifetime, I believe the last count was 25 books short of three hundred, and most have been fantasy and science fiction books. In other words, there is plenty of material there to keep my crazy, hopefully hallucinogenic, mind occupied and thoroughly entertained.

But I don’t think this will be the case. No, the madness I feel tugging gently at the curtains in the backstage of my mind feels darker. It is not the fun and fancy free madness of an ersatz knight, it is dangerous, and not the kind of place I’d wish to exist in for the rest of my days. No, this is a madness to be avoided, and yet, one can’t help but wonder, how one stops it. Can one stop it?

The worst part of this insanity is all the negativity that comes with it. At least the fanciful madnesses appear to be productive, to a degree; look at all the crazy poets, writers and philosophers there have been. Granted, many weren’t having that grand a time either, but surely some must have. This brand of insanity, however, is of the most unproductive kind. Only writing this short whatever it is, is an exercise in concentration and focus. Everything distracts, most of all the constrictions in one’s chest and the ever-present fog in one’s mind. It truly makes a person wonder why some people resort to drugs and alcohol, which have a tendency to put people into a similar state of mental dullness. On one hand, I do see the appeal of mental dullness. It would most certainly shut the darker regions of my brain up, in theory at least. Of course the problem is that it would also shut the creative and productive portions of my brain as well, which seems to me counterproductive.

If the reason why the creative/productive sections of my mind are not working is partly due to the dark/negative presence of insanity, if I shut both down forcefully, won’t that simply reinforce insanity in the long run? I am nothing if not practical, even though many times I am too lazy to put what I know should be done into practice. Therefore, the prospect of shutting my head up for a few moments of peace via a means that will only pull me down further into that pit which I am trying desperately to escape, seems, not only stupid, but downright retarded. I am not that far gone yet. Besides, there are better, less dangerous, ways of shutting up my head. The problem is that they rely on unproductivity, almost as much as the drugs to.

Friendship, a state of being I used to abhor violently, is a nice solution, I have found of late. Even I, the barely human, have found myself succumbing to the need for human contact and companionship. Having to exist one’s own little world in order to engage with other people tends to make the voices in one’s head recede into the background. They are never fully gone, but sometimes they are muffled enough to be barely noticeable. This is nice. However, most friendships are, while immensely enjoyable, just as unproductive. You cannot work while you are engaged in conversation with other people. You cannot think (which is partially good, but just as depressing in the long run). However, it doesn’t carry the annoying medical side effects of drugs, which is good.

Music, I have found, can also be a source for drowning insanity, if only, as everything else, just momentarily. Like friendship, it is loud and requires concentration, but it also requires feeling and creativity, which friendship does not always offer, making it much more effective in silencing the voices. If one pays close attention, one can feel them sitting in the corners, watching you play, their faceless heads turned sideways as they contemplate your latest attempts to ignore them. But perhaps they are also entertained by the notes, so they agree to watch mutely, if somewhat smugly; content in their knowledge that they will have control afterwards once again.

Perhaps I should apologize for my use of such imagery, but thus is how they feel, and thus is how I describe them. The day is almost half gone already, and I am already mentally exhausted. They know it, carrion-eaters that they are, circling above, waiting patiently. They have allowed me this, even though I would like to imagine I am the one in control. I will say that I forced them back, pulled through to write and describe and name, even though I did not wish it, even despite their fingers digging into the underside of my skull. I will delude myself with this thought. The reverse, although more likely true, is too frightful to consider. I will not consider it, even though I hear their laughter at this moment. Allow me this small, if insignificant victory; allow me the illusion of control. And maybe, who knows, it will one day prove to have been productive.

AR

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2 thoughts on “Pondering Insanity

  1. This is lovely (I’m glad that I stumbled upon it while testing my tags).

    Like

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