Over the duration of my adult life I've struggled with reality, with Truth: what I perceive as opposed to what everyone else believes.
As an objectivist I've developed a range of tools … coping mechanisms … and I've done OK.
I'm a survivor. A functioning survivor and a pretty smart operator.
I don't wish to dwell on my journey, but since about age 17 – when I sought help from a fellow traveller in addressing a suicidal phase (poor bastard didn't know what hit him!) – I've made a conscious and mostly successful effort to dismiss all those busy, negative distractions that buzz around in my brain: rather, to focus on the world, on other people, better systems, communal solutions and pathways …
I've even experienced the priceless good fortune of loving and being loved, more than once.
Yet, in my heart, I remain a desperately lonely creature.
And, as I age, this occasional madness becomes more frequent, more invasive, more wrenching.
That's why I'm posting this. Why I feel compelled to explain, as best I can, where I'm coming from.
It's important and, yes, somehow satisfying, to testify that my personalised version of madness has many more pluses than minuses.
I'm depressive and/or manic and/or bi-polar (for starters).
Is it strange that I'm OK with it? That experience has equipped me to cope?
These days depression sends me a series of signals, usually weeks in advance, so I can gird my loins and partially protect the space in which I dwell … and prepare recovery strategies.
Likewise, I know (days in advance) when the dark, stifling clouds will lift.
This is a purely personal perspective and I don't dismiss for an instant the pain felt by other sufferers, or the immediate impacts in my own life for that matter; I simply wish to record this manifestation of what goes on in my brain from time to time.
What are the triggers?
There are several; they usually work in some randomised combination to cripple my energy and motivation, to make every day an ugly crevasse which can only be traversed using my last ounces of strength and will … to make me lose hope in the future of a world I love.
Brain chemistry plays its role, no doubt. (Human physiology remains largely beyond my expertise, yet I can 'feel' it when the synapses start to speak their own, impenetrable and ferocious language.)
As do my immediate financial circumstances. (Well, I'm only human … heh)
But the 'stuff' that most powerfully colludes and combines to produce despair is largely produced by 'other people' (whose actions I can't control, nor wish to).
A deeper analysis of human politics can wait for another time, but to summarise the local AND global shit that brings on my black dog: brutality, cupidity, vacuity, dishonesty, self-centredness, an obstinate (borderline pathological) refusal to learn from history.
You don't need to take this personally, because I'm not attacking anyone – though experience has taught me that many will seize every opportunity to get precious.
On the other hand, feel free to take offence. Might do you good. :)
(SO. That's a pencil-sketch of my relationship with depression.
Its counterweight – mania – has equal 'value' and even more power in terms of my relationship with the world, but let's revisit that another time.)
Another important element of my madness is an increasing aversion to both 'crowds' and noise.
'Noise' speaks for itself: I increasingly crave peace and quiet.
A 'crowd' may comprise as few as four people (depending on variables) but may extend to a dozen.
I love people, I love energy, I love listening to interesting stories – and the infrequent opportunity to share my own.
But I no longer have the will to penetrate the random combinations of racket and ego, banality and pissing contests, in communal spaces.
Bottom line. I've heard it all before (20, 30, 40 years ago). It's mostly garbage.
I don't need it – and no longer feel compelled to put up with it.
So I increasingly treasure personal, 'small' interactions more than ever.
Am I missing out? Definitely! I still love people and value them.
But the exceptions require a risk I can no longer take.
Feel free to be 'offended' if I say No more often these days.
Phew. ^^All that has burnt me out a bit.
I'll post again soon, with a much greater emphasis on the positives – and there are a few!