I’ve been thinking a lot lately about .. the nature of .. things.
(Some people don’t like dots in writing but I put dots where I pause in my thoughts, because I think it helps to show that I am considering what words are best to express the ideas I want to express, and also that the words I eventually settle on may be the ‘best’ ones but they’re not necessarily precisely representative of what I want to say. Just FYI.)
About .. how I am separate from any conditions that I have, or that my body has. But the weaknesses of my body are such that they sometimes directly influence the expression of my self. These thoughts are a strange combination of scientific and existential. There’s a quote I’ve seen on pinterest, and it’s usually attributed to C.S. Lewis but according to wikiquote this is incorrect.
“You don’t have a soul, Doctor. You are a soul. You have a body, temporarily.”
Walter M. Miller, A Canticle for Leibowitz
I do think that basically, I am a happy person. I am an optimist. I may not always act like I am those things, but that’s because of mismatched chemicals in my brain which are preventing me from remembering that, from living that, in this physical existence. Me, the soul, is a blissful being who believes that the greatest happiness and potential for realising our inner power comes from loving and accepting and being loved and accepted. The me that is here and now in this lifetime still believes those things but is held back from truly living this and touching this power because of the limitations of the vessel required to participate in this physical existence. Perhaps it is that I am not yet evolved enough to be stronger than those limitations, to be able to believe despite the doubt inherent in the body. I have a memory of a scene from an episode of TOS popping into my head. The crew are under attack from a source that they know is not real, an illusion being planted in their brains. And they can understand that intellectually but are unable to face the situation with absolutely no doubt that it cannot harm them because of the nature of their humanity. Spock, being only half-human and having the rigid mental control characteristic of Vulcans, can face the situation with no doubt and by mind-melding with the others allows them to share his absolute conviction. (Googling informs me that the episode is Spectre of the Gun.)
So how is that relevant to me, and this caravan of thought? A couple of things come from it.. The suggestion that if only I had better mental control I could make myself immune to the ‘demons’ that plague me. Or that reality is only what you believe it to be and can only affect you as much as you allow it to? The first idea is one I rank up there with the whole snap out if it type mindset, or even worse the just take some vitamins group. I’m not saying I think vitamins are useless, it is obviously documented that certain deficiences can cause similar depressive symptoms. But that’s not everyone. Not every person on this planet who struggles with depression has a vitamin deficiency. And with snapping out of it, the point is that you can’t do that: no matter how much you tell yourself about the things you have to be happy about, no matter how you try to focus on those, no matter how logically you look at your life to see that there is no reason for you to be feeling this way… you still do. I know I have a fantastic husband, and the kind of connection with him that lots of people only dream about finding. I know we have three brilliant and awesome (if occasionally frustrating and annoying) children. I know that we have a roof over our heads, clothes and food and many things that are not really necesseties. But for all that those things give me joy — I still also have pain in my heart and my brain at the same time; doubt that I am not deserving of these things, doubt that I am doing enough to make my family’s lives’ as good as I possibly can, despair that I won’t ever be able to give enough, doubt that I am good enough for them, fear that one day my fears and doubts will push my family away because they don’t understand why I feel those things. Guilt, because I wish they could understand but knowing that true understanding can only come from experiencing and experiencing what I do is not something I ever want them to have to do.
It’s not always that terrible. Most days, because of the medicine I take and the counselling I have recieved, it’s a background noise that you are so used to that you forget it’s there. It’s the buzzing insects and chirping birds and rustling leaves making the soft noises they always make and they are just part of the landscape. It’s never perfect quiet but you learn to ignore them enough to go about your day. But every now and then, a cockatoo will fly into my garden and the screech he makes is an explosion of pain inside my heart and soul that feels too big for my body to contain and makes me feel that if only I could create some openings in my body, some of the pain would escape and I would feel so much better. I haven’t done that but sometimes when the peace is disturbed it is so hard to hold onto the rational part of my mind that knows it wouldn’t work.
It’s very hard to admit that I think about things like that sometimes. I don’t want to seem like (and I realise the irony of this statement) a real crazy person and I don’t want to seem like an emo who wants to do this because all the other cool (uncool?) kids are doing it too. We often joke about being crazy but truly I don’t think I am crazy, because that to me implies a loss of the awareness of reality. I do think that I have tendencies towards exaggeration and paranoia in what my mind tells me people think of me and feel about me but I try to remind myself that I am probably wrong because I don’t think those sorts of negative things about people so why would anyone else do it about me? The place where this comes undone though is when I get reminders that many of my thought patterns do seem to be different than the ‘average’ person — sometimes on big things.. live and let live, make love not war.. and sometimes on random things like writing on roads that always seems to me to be written backwards (they recently painted DOWN SLOW all around the driveway of the complex that we live in) but obviously if everyone thought it was backwards they wouldn’t do it that way.
Then there is the concept of my mind being in control of my reality and if I wanted it enough I could re-form my reality so that this problem did not exist for me. This is a difficult one.. it’s all kinds of philosophical and quantum physics-al and some of the research and theories there sort of make my head hurt. On some levels I do think that we are in control of the reality we exist in but I’m not sure that it’s controllable on the level of.. the person in the physical body. If I can change my reality then I can change other people’s reality, since there are so many overlaps, and that would just create a mess and paradoxical states where different people were trying to create non-compatible situations and it would all end up very… chaotic. I think it’s probably more on the level of… the me that exists beyond the physical body, my higher self if you like.. has collaborated with the same parts of the people who have lives overlapping my own, and we have ended up with this reality and time and place and circumstance that allows each of us to learn and experience what we need to learn in order to grow into something more. Saying that, however, suggests that I chose to be like this and then that just sounds.. well.. masochistic. Or else it implies that ‘all suffering has a greater purpose’ which is not something that I agree with either. But I think maybe some suffering has a greater purpose.. and if the learning does not come from the suffering itself, then perhaps the suffering is necessary to shape you into a person who will be receptive to lessons coming from somewhere else or necessary to strengthen you into a person who can do something important to help others with their lessons.
Maybe it is hard to live with this, to deal with this, to watch the sky and worry about when a cockatoo will flutter in and disturb the peace with it’s screeching.. because I don’t know what the purpose of it is. I don’t know what I am learning or what I am meant to learn. I don’t know with absolute certainty that there is a purpose and a lesson and that I can survive. I don’t have a Vulcan to give me that peace of mind but even if I did I don’t know if it would help. Knowing obliterates the need for faith, and knowing you can survive something means that you don’t have to feel the pain as deeply since you are assured that you will come out the other side anyway. Feeling the pain and struggling to keep the hope that you will survive, struggling to remind yourself that you are not the pain and the blackness, that is the hard part. Keep struggling, keep fighting, keep trying.. trying to remember the true me.