A friend of mine has a new job in a pub around the corner from work. In the interests of solidarity (and drinking) I wandered in there after a delicious bowl of pho bo in the little Vietnamese place up the road. Metal blaring, heavy drinkers and a pretty trans woman struggling to pour pints effectively. I took out my notebook and began scratching:
Did this happen to me? Is it a disorder to be rectified. Can I be fixed? What does “fixed” mean anyway?
The real problem I’m having, other than I’ve been drinking for the past two hours, is the ever encroaching feeling that this isn’t real. Actually I don’t know what that means either.
I imagine a gravity well. Exotic matter, an increasing sense of myself, almost to the exclusion of all others. If we’re talking Matryoshka dolls, it’s what you do with the information is important.
“Psychotic” is a word I spend more and more time thinking about. There’s this ferocity which we never feared. I’ve sat in rooms with people in the grip of paranoid psychosis – one person I’ll forever love more than many was also the only person I was convinced would kill me. A nanosecond trepidation, where her eyes went black as she asked, “you’re my friend, aren’t you?”
There’s this ferocity. I can’t say I’ve ever been afraid, even when that term landed upon me. For something so protean, I love the decision of it. Despite the unending applications, there are certain images, suggestions, scenarios, which spring to mind when you hear it. Here, now, it has a very definite synonym: FREEDOM. Perhaps the trick here is to ignore senses of right and wrong, good or bad. If psychosis is your disposition then you have to do what you can to define its limits, its conditions, its faults and benefits.
Dominant culture and conventional wisdom can’t help but play their part. The social contract matters to me – even if y’all aren’t real that doesn’t mean you don’t have rights. If anything, imagining for a second that I am zero-point, I have a greater responsibility for your wellbeing.
I’ll strive towards honesty. The world around us is this fascinating tapestry. I find so much of value, at time it feels like too much. Too unlikely or too good to be true. It may not necessarily mean that things are coming up roses, rather there appears to be uncanny threads running through everything. I see links and activities which any non-psychotic animal arguably would not.
Relative velocity demonstrates the importance of the observer’s frame of reference and intentions. Prejudice warps reality. I’d argue the psychotic experience isn’t any less valuable than any other. Despite my arrogance-at-large, I’m wholly accepting of the likelihood that I’m your dream as much as your being mine.
What bothers me is the apparent non-proliferation of anything beyond negative psychotic rhetoric out there. I’m not fingers crossed for some kind of revolution; rather I’d like to know that our culture can at least entertain the absolute minority which even dare accentuate the positive. Not to deny the enormous misery and pain which so often marches hand in hand with psychosis, rather to honour an individual’s attempts to identify pluses.
Practice what you preach: where is the positive here? If you run the (un)logic then the simple fact I’m comfortable writing these words in a crowded place – and I know they’ll wind up on the blog tomorrow – is accentuating. The positive in this particular instant is that the words are coming at all, that I sit in my world of unbelief knowing that anything is possible. I could grow wings when I step outside, maybe I could kill someone; but knowing is a magic of its own. That what you feel and what you think are infinite, that who you are and what you do were never meant to be beyond you.
Where is the originality in these words? Show me I’m mundane, trite, unoriginal. I want to know where others are writing about psychosis or bipolar disorder in similar terms. Pretense…show me the pretense if that’s all I’ve achieved.
Maybe arrogance will have to do. Is psychosis the amplification of the absolute self? With all the trauma and glory that may entail. I cannot believe that psychosis is the end of all hope.