I was not brought up to believe in evil. I was brought up to believe that horrible things are done by people who are sick, i.e., mentally ill. And I believe this to be true.
Yet it’s a very tricky thing to believe in a way as calling someone mentally ill is a big deal. It can dehumanize them. Calling someone physically ill never does that unless they are so physically ill the illness impedes upon their mental capacities or ability to function in society. So in society we really do think humanity is based on a kind of Cartesian principle: I think therefore I am. The mentally ill since they are ill must not be thinking at a properly human level.
I believe I made an important discovery today.
For the longest time I’ve had this odd thing where I’ve gotten actually sick to my stomach when I hear music by a certain band. It’s a rock band from the 70s, to be specific mostly famous in the mid-70s. I don’t dislike their music at all so I can only conclude that my sickness when I hear it is a result of something deeply psychological.
I really think I realize now what mental illness is and does. I believe now I’ve had it and I come from a tradition of those who did as well. My mother and father both had issues and by issues I mean they were ill. I really think so now. And I’m not sure what to do about it.
I’ve begun to wonder if there is a specific condition that involves reliving embarrassing moments, because I still do. Wow. I just realized that was so as I said that. I’ve been reliving embarrassing moments all the way back to at least 1969. I can remember embarrassing things earlier than that, but I don’t shiver and shake when I think about them as I do about that incident in 6th Grade. And the thing is this was not a typically embarrassing thing. No nudity in public or anything, but then again, yes, it was, but the emotional kind. I won’t go into detail because the backstory would take up this whole entry, but suffice it to say I betrayed my feelings for somebody and more so my need to have a higher status than I thought I did. I let my identity disappear in an instant betraying the great sense of lost self-esteem I possessed (or didn’t) back then. I think of that now and I get an electric jolt, a stab of embarrassment or pain or what-have-you. I’m left cursing myself over what I did.
I’ve had occasion recently to really sit back and feel mentally sick. Really. It hasn’t been very hard to for a lot of reasons. First reason is that I’m old, or older. I’ve spun through over 20 year raising kids, sending them to college and getting older in the process. I haven’t come to terms with it. I rather hate it actually. I don’t want to get old. Of course nobody does, but I think others of you are better at the process than I am because I’m flat out great at denial.
What began in my last entry has blossomed into a feeling or set of feelings that I’m not sure are healthy. Okay, let me just amend that by saying I know feelings aren’t good or bad. However writing is, and what I really meant to say is that I’m considering a set of ideas on how I should behave that I’m not sure are healthy. These ideas are based on feelings.
I saw a psychiatrist on TV. Actually he wasn’t a psychiatrist. He was an actor playing a psychiatrist in a TV show. Anyway, he was saying that he thought most if not all of psychiatry was nonsense and just an excuse to bleed money from people who won’t take responsibility for their lives.
Now, I’m not saying he’s right. In fact, I don’t think he was right at all. I think psychiatry and psychology are extremely valuable professions and practitioners of the field do a lot for people. Also the TV character saying this was actually dead when he said it. Literally. He was a ghost. So you have to kind of take that into consideration.
Yes, I did it. I lost weight. Lots of it. I went from 200 lbs to a svelte 159 (not that individual pounds matter) which at 5’ 11” made me skinny guy. Actually let’s step back; I went from 175 at 5’ 4” when I was 15 to 154 and then back up to 200 when I was 20 and then finally down to 159 when I was 25.
As I write this I hear strains of a song I first heard in 1978. As I hear it, I remember what I felt then which indeed was a moment when I was remembering something even earlier.
In 1978 I heard this song with different ears and remembered things that had come before. When I first heard these tones, guitar strings and simple voices, I was a younger, fresher though far more screwed up (in many ways) person. But I had choices and options before me, with happiness and struggle and confusion to come. And the song brought me memories of years earlier, of childhood, of Saturdays, color, model ships, Halloween, harvests, sunshine and blue sky.