“Madness can very often be considered a normal mode of survival…”

  women-eyesThis is the part that we who are “suffering,” with mental illness are not many times allowed to realize.

I had to get “crazy,” to survive in a world that was at best dysfunctional.  I was not allowed to express the dis-ease that was EVERYWHERE around me.  I was reading my friend Mer-bear’s blog(1) and was also thinking about Laura Kerr’s post this morning(2), where the opening quote came from, in respect to my post yesterday on my shadow.
We think that we have these parts of us that are “negative.”  But we collected those parts of us by the experiences we lived through.  Talking about the specifics are not for this post, but suffice to say that I earned my shadow by the repression that I had to do survive in the world of madness that I encountered.
lazy-red-pandaI am sick and tired of those people, particularly in 12 step programs who tell you that you should just “put the past in the past.”  LIke I could just forget everything that has happened in my past.  Trust me if I had my way, I would not be sitting here in a coffee shop, at 8:30 on a Sunday morning,  writing about the energy that it takes to deal with the “shadow,” part of myself.  I do not like doing this work.  I was able to get a respite yesterday by watching the Final Four with my good friend.
The whole of the opening quote,
“Madness can very often be considered a normal mode of survival in the face of actual manipulations on the part of the environment, from a prior moment that has dropped out of tranquil-dawn-twilight-blues-ajaytaotime. What we are dealing with in that case is a normal craziness that bears witness to a normality that is crazy, trivialized, dehistoricized, and denied: ‘What happened didn’t happen.’ From that time on, the place vanishes with the past: there is no place, no past. It has become impossible to trust one’s own emotions and sensations.”(3)
I have this, the I cant trust my “own emotions and sensations,” in spades if I  dont constantly make effort to keep conscious of what I am doing, thinking, feeling.  My goal in life is to be conscious.  That sounds pretty simple doesnt it?  Well I have been carrying this psychic energy that I deny I have, and struggling to deal with it/suppress it my whole life.  That has made it so I have spent more time avoiding my Self than being my Self.
tree-tunnel-californiaWe need to get this message to the collective “us” better.  This is the challenge that I have been given by walking along this road of depression.  Trying to help people like myself,  who are for the most part not getting the relief they need. For me, James Hillman was the person who described the culture’s dis-ease and articulated it so most people could understand what he was talking about. But most people dont know Hillman unless they are in the field of psychology.  Hillman knew that where we are as a culture was a place where we needed help surviving, that it was no longer about achieving some sort of being healed or fixed as individuals.   I hope that this blog helps someone today survive with a little more peace in their mind.

123 RV, SA, RW, PA.
(1) http://knockedoverbyafeather.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/at-my-core
(2) http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/?u=399acb7aae388540075957a3c&id=23ec5068cb&e=c447caa9fe
(3)The opening quote, came from Laura Kerr’s blog and was cited to  “Davoine, Françoise, and Jean-Max Gaudillière. 2004. History Beyond Trauma: Whereof one cannot speak…thereof one cannot stay silent. Translated by Susan Fairfield. New York: Other Press.”



3 thoughts on ““Madness can very often be considered a normal mode of survival…”

  1. I went for a walk today around the walking path in my neighborhood park while my husband played at the playground with our daughters. I was noticing yet another tree with something wrong with the bark. It looked diseases and their were bare patches. These are old growth trees. It’s disturbing.

    I walked around most of today with a film of sadness covering everything. I know it’s because I’m tired and my body is failing me and the things I am telling myself that just aren’t true about me…

    My friend, one who is in a 12 step ACA program (which as you know I’ve had some uncertainty about), would tell me that the past is not the past if it keeps affecting you in the now

    I’m pulling out my Jack Kornfield MP3s again. The two I have listened to the most are ” A Lamp in the Darkness: Guided Meditations for Difficult Times” and “Meditations for Self-Healing”. I like his stuff because he doesn’t tell us to put things behind us. He tells us to turn towards our pain and handle our wounds with loving, gentle, nonjudgmental compassionate presence and reminding me to practice lovingkindness meditation. I’m terribly self-judgmental, even when I know it’s the most unkind and unloving thing I could do for myself.

    I would like to try to reprogram my thinking. Sharon Salzberg had to repeat these mantras for three days…even when she didn’t think it was going to do anything and even when it got boring. But it worked.

    I’m obsessive. I get that. So, maybe I should use my obsessive tendencies to focus on loving myself until it becomes second nature.

    Anyway…thanks for listening. I hope you have a nice evening…in a little bit we are going out to celebrate my youngest daughter’s 9th birthday today. I am glad that my daughters will never have as tough a time as me when they grow up. Yes, we have had our share of problems, but unlike my own parents, I went to get help so I would not pass down the abuse. I’m grateful for that.

  2. I have also spent more time avoiding myself than being myself, and I really don’t trust myself yet. Learning to take care of myself and not hate myself comes first I guess. This is a long road we travel.

    The goal of being conscious, and authentic, does sound simple, but we know how hard it is. I have found that I am actually much more aware of myself than others who may not be labeled ‘mad’.

    Constantly monitoring our own thoughts and emotions to weed out the distorted, obsessed, and damaging depressed ones takes its toll for sure. But I have to believe that at the end of this road, stands a version of me that is whole, with arms wide open, ready to embrace my pieces and hold them together once and for all.

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