“Insanity is trusting in sanity.” JSM
I was asked to visit a counselor quite a few years back (many, many, many moons ago) and thought it to be a colossal waste of time. I have my reasons.
It was a whole lot of sitting, and listening.
Listening till my ears felt like they’d bleed and my mind would explode.
When I’m backed into a corner, I do one of two things: Shut down and clam up, or lash out until my vocal outburst makes me feel better. In most cases, it’s safer to remain quiet and calm. I hate regretting the things I say, regardless of how angry I am.
So when forced to sit and listen to a counselor tell me what my problems were and how I should be working on them, I sighed hard and my eyes rolled.
I don’t need to be here. This is absurd.
My knuckles cracked, my legs crossed and uncrossed back and forth and I sat in a defensive posture shifting my weight to either side of the chair until it was time to leave. When I was able to get a word in edgewise, I spent those few seconds asking him questions, throwing out hypothetical scenarios and trying to put him in the corner, but did it respectably and never once had to raise my voice.
“Hey, doc, check it out. If you were in the same position, wouldn’t you respond the same way?”
“Well, were not talking about me, are we? We’re talking about you.”
“I understand that. But for a second, humor me and swap places with me. Think about it for a moment. You’d do the exact… same… thing… wouldn’t you.”
“It’s possible. I may have a similar response. But let’s focus on you and deal with the…”
“We can change the subject right now and you can stop trying to sway me to believe what I did was wrong, when you would do the exact… same… thing. I don’t deal well with hypocrisy. Next!”
Despite the fact I was able to avoid some of the BS and talk my way around it, most of the hour in that small room was me listening to a stranger speak. Speaking on matters he couldn’t possibly understand. But boy oh boy, did he have a lot to say on the matter.
Did I take anything away from the experience? Of course. What I took away was for me and me alone. What I will say openly is, I left those two sessions knowing I was fine and did nothing wrong, despite the fact someone was trying to manipulate me into thinking I was crazy and incorrect.
There’s nothing more maddening than someone telling you you’re crazy and need help.
Because the more it’s said, the more we’ll eventually question if we really are sane or not.
When the New Life began, I questioned my sanity, often, and felt justified with those feelings. In order to battle that part of my mind, and walk away unscathed and remain sane, I was forced to embrace the insanity. Only then did I feel normal.
Nancy and I sat in plastic rocking chairs, on the deck, outside our small villa. Hiding away high up in the mountains, we had one more day of solitude and comfort before having to return to the “real world” the following morning. I was wrapped in a thick white bathrobe, sipping coffee, and she sat beside me rocking gently in silence. One thing I noticed right away about her, she enjoys the quiet as much as I. The only sounds around us was the light patter of rain on the roof above.
She looked my way and asked a question I wasn’t prepared for. “What were you dreaming about last night?”
It was a moment when you’re forced to stop and really think before responding. Quite possibly thirty or more seconds before I answered. “I’m not sure. I can remember fragments and pieces, but I can’t really remember everything. Why?”
“You were talking and moving around a lot.”
“What was I saying?”
“You said, ‘how can he leave me here?’ and later on you thrashed around and yelled, ‘next time I go there, you’ll see.’ I laughed. I almost recorded it.”
I snickered, “thanks for not recording it.”
“My dreams are strange and I’m not sure they’re worth sharing.”
“All dreams are worth sharing.”
I turned my chair. “OK. What if I told you that my most recent dreams revolve around an old man named Joe and he convinced me to kill his wife in cold blood. With a broadsword, no less. He lives in a remodeled church in the middle of the woods and makes me eat food with him every time I visit. Strange enough for ya?”
“I’ve heard stranger.”
I leaned in and drank from my mug. “What if I told you that sleeping is some of the only respite I get, and the dreams are getting to the point where I fear falling asleep. It’s a no win situation.”
She looked away to the mountains. “Always pay attention to your dreams. Even if they scare you.”
It was a punch to the gut. While reality didn’t make any sense, I felt safe in the dream world; up until a few weeks ago. The more I visited the refuge, and allowed the experiences to lure me in as deep as possible, the more uncomfortable I was becoming over time. Walking a fine line between fantasy and reality and allowing it to get to the point where the two intersected and blurred together.
And it was getting out of control.
She stood and stretched. “Here’s an idea. It sounds like you have a hyperactive imagination. Have you thought of writing any of this down?”
My brow lowered, “As in keeping a journal? You’ve seen all the notebooks. I write a lot of stuff down. Dream journals, random notes… I haven’t recorded anything in a while.”
“Take it a step further.”
“Make sense of it. Organize it all. It sounds like you may need…”
I interrupted. “Let me guess… therapy?”
She laughed and lightly slapped my knee. “No. Not therapy. More like something therapeutic. Something to get your mind off your mind.”
“I hate my mind right now.”
“All the more reason to make sense of it all. Create some order to it.”
“I wouldn’t even know where to start.”
“Start at the beginning.”
We walked to the Jacuzzi shortly thereafter and after ten minutes of sitting in the bubbling hot water, the rain turned into snow. We both laughed and the combination of heat from below mixing with the snow from above provided a strange sensation on my skin. My brain had difficulties distinguishing how I should physically feel. I did my best to blend the sensations together and found my eyes closing. She was right. I needed something therapeutic. Something to bring me back from the dead.
Unfortunately, I wouldn’t find it for quite some time. Or perhaps fortunately I found it at just the right moment. Everything happens for a reason.
But first, my dog had to get hit by a car. A family member had to be admitted to a hospital and another passed away. I was forced to utilize a singular specific option to survive and push forward. Nancy had to be carved open like a Thanksgiving turkey. I took a thirty day hiatus from employment, and my home placed under quarantine.
Change can be good. We must be able to adapt to any situation thrown at us. It’s imperative to self preservation.
Over the next year, I transformed into a brand new person. Change changed me.
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