A saner view of sanity

I have discarded the thing I said gave meaning to my life. I will find meaning somewhere else.

I have not earned money for eleven years, and thought, but I am in a process of healing and self-discovery. I am improving. This was my first indication that something in me did not like that idea of improving, and I had forgotten it. The problem is the thought of what the improvement will look like. I will get a job and support myself. My feelings will be regulated. I will be normal. That is, I will finally achieve what my ego has always wanted. My wild untamed spirit will be tamed. So I rebel against myself.

I went to the Friends General Conference gathering by zoom last week, with three to five hours a day in workshops and worship sharing, and on Saturday 9th felt mindblown. The idea of progress, effectiveness, service which I said gave my life meaning at the start of the week was exposed as a hollow sham. Step 2 is “We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”, but I had imposed on myself an insane understanding of sanity. I have no idea what sanity would look like. Yes, an end to my internal conflicts, allowing feeling to flow rather than blocking or suppressing it, knowing my own desires, and finding what makes me come alive would be sane, but not Becoming Normal.

My healing proceeds in its own time. This is not a consciously controllable process, and attempts to force it in a particular direction make my sickness worse.

The other grit in my oyster of the week was Quakers opposing something I passionately desire. That it is not thwarted, rather, consideration is prolonged, makes my hurt all the greater. Why would they be so horrible? Well, because they thought it was the right thing to do. I have no idea which incident has provoked the action- January 2020, January 2019, January 2017, Winter 2009/10 spring to mind, and it could be something else. They don’t know about April 2022. Oh, and it could be A, just being a tit.

I blow up sometimes. I have always thought of that as exceptional- I am soft, gentle, peaceful, etc- and, there is a pattern. In some of these occasions, I have lost it after wanting to exercise my love, generosity and creativity in a particular way and when I can’t, I can’t cope with my own sadness.

K reminded me of Step 1- “We admitted we were powerless over our own emotions, that our lives had become unmanageable”. Powerless. Well, the ways I manage my emotions, restricting interaction, rarely going out, have taken over my life and still I lose it occasionally. Part of my insanity is my attempt to manage the feelings. Fleeing insanity, I become insane. Those who want to save their life will lose it. I am not completely powerless to control my emotions all the time, but the attempt makes my life unbearable.

So I came up with the slogan on Saturday, “Be less Arsehole”. Don’t blow up. It only hurts me. If the things I do when I blow up hurt others then that hurts me more. I noticed how harsh the slogan was, and part of it is being less cruel to myself. Part of it is taking responsibility- not in the insane attempt to be normal, but in the sense of valuing my happiness and my desires, and wanting to interact better with others.

Also at the Gathering, I was working on deep listening, not as a Beneficent act (though it can be) but as a matter of self-interest. Someone irritated me, then showed their vulnerability, and I was not irritated any more.

My flat is tidier and cleaner than it was last week. I resist the strong temptation to qualify that statement- “It won’t last”, or whatever, the judgment of the condemning ego. For example, I noticed my front door was dirty, and it occurred to me to clean it, and a week later I did.

S’s mental health tribunal is on Wednesday 13th, and he was at zoom worship on Monday. I thought, “I don’t know how to love him”. I know the question is, is the compulsory medication required to stop him being a threat to himself or others? So, talking of being a Bodhisattva connected to other universes is probably OK, talking of using suicides to prove reincarnation is best avoided. I wanted to get that over to him. I thought, I don’t know how to love him, that is, I don’t know how to take away his pain and difficulty. Then I realised I don’t know how to love any of them. Sometimes, I may be prompted to say something constructive, but I can’t make rules for that, or anticipate it.

After people left, I talked to S. I get the impression that he knows what to say and not to say at the tribunal, so he may get off the meds, as he desires. Probably, this is because the meds have stabilised him. Then his delusions will become more florid until Something Happens and he gets sectioned again, or he dies.

Rita praised the Emotional Freedom Technique. She said our beliefs sit in our system, and are innocent. We agreed about being physical animals, and discovering feeling feelings in our bodies.

2 thoughts on “A saner view of sanity

  1. I really do love your posts, especially those in which you admit, or evidence, your uncertainty. How refreshing, to accept that we don’t know, are all over the place, and that it hurts. 🙂 Having been on similar see-saws, I said, “I surrender my life and all my actions, to God’s wisdom…” and got back, “So here is an end to suffering…” which made me smile, in the dark, and gave me welcome pause.


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