Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fiddle, Banjo & Kazoo

If I ever adopt 3 dogs at one time, that would be their names. They're just so perfect, I can't believe 3 dogs haven't rung my doorbell tonight to claim them. I suppose it's because I have no doorbell.

Tonight we went to see a band that played those instruments and a dozen others at Blue Bayou in Hillsborough. Gabe's co-worker played piano. I'm not sure what you call the genre but it was great music. The percussion guy had a long beard and washboard - attached to the washboard were a cymbal, a bottle, a couple other things, and he played a drum with his foot. There was a little stage, and a little dance floor, and the first dancers were unexpected. A big pregnant lady and her husband, a bearded guy in sneakers and a hooded sweatshirt. They did the most graceful Cajun Waltz all by themselves while everyone watched. She was smiling and glowing the whole time, and you couldn't help but stare at her belly, this unseen third that was participating in the dance. It made me wonder where I was before I came into the world.

The music was great, but loud, and the crowd was big, and loud. Combined with the lights, my recent stressors and weird sleep, lack of yoga...I just felt so weird. Restless and exhausted at the same time, like I just wanted to leave my body. I had trouble processing all the sensory information, the music, the lights, the voices (I just know I'd get some diagnosis for that if bothered to try) and so told Gabe 'Hey, I think I have the beginnings of psychosis.' He said 'Alysa sometimes you say the most ridiculous things.' And certainly, I've never had psychotic episodes, and now that I'm in my 30s the risk of schizophrenia is pretty low. It wasn't exactly a valid statement. But I explained to him then, and now, I don't know why, am divulging it in a public forum, that sometimes I think I'm just as close as you can get to a mental illness without actually having one. Because I can really imagine losing touch with reality, because if you think about 'reality' too much it seems so ephemeral, and I think too much about nearly everything. I don't have the stable, in-the-body experience that I assume most have. I hardly go a day without injuring myself or falling. I have periods of brooding and inactivity that I like to think of as more 'dark nights of the soul' than depression, and periods of ambitious hyper-driven activity that I think of as 'being productive and creative' rather than mania. I am always amazed at how well I drive, because I'm fully aware of all the faculties that takes. But I've also developed panic attacks on bridges, and I'm just waiting for one day where I can't make it over - so far that day hasn't come.

Don't get me wrong, I'm very functional! I have strong relationships, did great in school, have had no problem holding a job. (And let's not forget that I'm a competent therapist, not sure how that all fits into the picture, either.) It's not so much I'm worried about having a mental illness, it's just that I'm so surprised I'm so "sane." So after I tell Gabe about my narrow escapes from mental disintegration on a day to day basis, he simply shrugs and says "I think that is just part of being human."

What an answer! I love its simplicity. So now I'm very curious. Is everyone secretly like me, but puts on a front of being solidly on earth? Is it all part of the human experience? Perhaps it's just a matter of good imagination, or reading too many novels. I've always thought of mental illness as a spectrum, instead of the black and white diagnoses we give in our modern culture. So maybe I've walked a couple steps down the spectrum along my travels. (I was also going to start a conversation about nature vs. nurture and mental illness but that will take too long. Has anyone else read "The Myth of Mental Illness?")

I'm curious about your thoughts on this if you'd like to comment. For now, I'm going to try to get a good night's sleep, empty my mind, and do some yoga tomorrow, before I start really floating away :)

1 comment:

  1. Read Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth". He states a person is a whole, healthy "I" when they can step back and be the observer of their thoughts, emotions and reactions, rather than believe what they think and feel is WHO they are. Sounds like you are more "sane" than you think!



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