Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Embracing Lunacy

At this point, I must accept the idea that I may in fact be totally insane. At least in isolated parts of my life. You can't have tons of energy and a very vivid imagination for long before someone else thinks you are crazy. I will admit I have a very warped perspective on a lot of things, but my mind is the only place I have to live, so I deal with it.

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure it is all relative, and just because something is perceived by my mind or experienced by my senses, sixth or otherwise, doesn't meant it isn't real or true.

And my mind works overtime. I have compared it to the restlessness of a shark, continually moving just to stay alive. When your brain is going all the time like that, it takes you to some strange places. Sometimes my flights of fancy allow me to come up with creative solutions for problems. Sometimes I cook up unusual stories or characters that I write down and make my feeble attempts at art with. Other times, I devolve into anxiety, depression, and worry.

I may not actually be insane. That oversimplifies. Insane people can't function at all. They have no connection to the common reality. I manage to have a demanding job and maintain relationships with people. I just have all this extra stuff. So, if anything, I am super-sane. Better yet, I could define sanity (functional life) along the spectrum of experiences as being in the middle, like the spectrum of visible light. Then religious ecstasy and intuition would be ultrasanity, whereas depression and melancholy would be infrasanity. I just came up with those words, and therefore hold the rights to them.

If you follow that logic, and I will contend that there is a peculiar logic to it, most people have a mix of all three. Some folks vibrate right in the middle, and live quite ordered and sensible lives. Others, and most of the artists I know, exist in the liminal spaces where the common shared reality blurs into imagination. I have patients in the hospital that suffer in the outer areas almost exclusively, or may pass through lucid moments only briefly on their excursions from one extreme to the other.

Go too far to either extreme of course, and you get the life threatening outcomes of mania and suicidal ideation. Biological life thrives in a narrow range of pH, and so our minds thrive in areas where we, as social animals, get the most positive feedback. There is social acceptance in being sane. Falling even a little outside that make you a delightful eccentric, and a lot outside it makes you homeless. So unless you have others around you to endorse your version of reality, you are gonna be pretty lonely.

I don't know about you, but that concept make me feel a whole lot better about my situation.

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