Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Lunatic Fringe

    I admit to my spaz attacks, my lunatic moments, my hysterias and my whirlwind nature. I think it is the healthiest approach to a potentially unhealthy lunacy. As I see it, being in touch with my own lunacy, embracing it, allowing it to have its moments in the sun, helps make it manageable and lessens its impact on those around me. Oddly, this morning I was thinking of Brittanny Spears, and trust me, I very rarely, if ever take time to think about her. But what I was pondering was not so much her, as how difficult it would be to go through a mental crisis in full view of the invasive public eye. Any one of us has the potential to meltdown under enough stress, but most of us have the dignity of being able to do it in the privacy of our own homes. Imagine having no privacy, having cameras waiting to catch any moment of frailty, every mental lapse, every lapse in good judgement. That in and of itself would cause me to meltdown on a colassal scale.
    As it is, I know that if there were witnesses to some of my more recent "episodes" I would probably have been forcibly institutionalized, or at best put on a 72 hour "observation hold." But I have the good luck to live alone, and the only witnesses are my concerned dogs and my unconcerned cats. During these spectacular meltdowns my dogs are rarely more than a few feet away, sometimes taking turns lying at or on my feet, or resting furry chins on my knee as they watch with worried, limpid eyes. The energy expended during these lunatic moments is cathartic and healing, though at times alarming and disturbing even to me. I can only imagine the reaction if these moments were caught on camera and publicized to the world.
    Our society vilifies and ridicules such moments of "weakness." It is socially unacceptable to ever step from the norm. But the reality is that if everyone would allow themselves to be in contact with that small, inner lunatic the overall health of society would improve. There would be less use of medications to make people fit into their cubicaled lifestyles, medicating away any "abnormal" or negative reactions and emotions. We are not allowed to have rushes of extreme emotions without being labeled Extreme, Overwhelming, Volitile, Over Emotional, Dramatic, Too Intense, Fiery and let's not leave out Crazy, Unstable, Manic, Unmanageable, Alarming, Frightening, and Dangerous. True, most people do not have quite the rollercoaster of moods that I enjoy on a regular basis. Their loss. But why does our society force us to supress our natural natures? We are humans, emotional, volitile, passionate humans.
    Is it the Puritanical roots of our country? Doubtful, that was too long ago. Is it in the best interests of individuals? No, it robs us of our individuality. It is the need for the masses to believe that our world is safe, placid, calm, and predictable. It is society's desire to keep us placated, keep us fettered, keep us quiet and compliant by any means neccessary be it medication or brute force. Society does not want individuals who freely express their most extreme emotions, positive or negative. We are forced to become mindless drones or face ostracization. We face recriminations, reprimands, and rebukes. We are told to "settle down," "relax," "get a grip." Soaring emotions are slapped down, yanked back to earth and ridiculed by those who are unsettled by the sheer intensity, and seem to feel the need to drag the happy lunatic down to their level of emotional impotence.
    I find I feel as much a pariah in my deliriously joyful manic stage as I am when I am struggling through the gray bleakness of depression. I think people are more accepting of depression, though they are quick to medicate it away even when it is justified and appropriate. I think depression is easier for the bystander to witness and accept as it allows them to step into the caring, comforting, nurturing hero. In manic mode, I find my intensity frightens the few who have been allowed to witness it. Even those I thought strong and understanding made haste to distance themselves' as my outpourings of glee, raw elation, unbridled happiness and delirious joy became an uncomfortable honesty.
    I love my mania, embrace it, revel in the energy, delight in the exhultations. It is Me in my most extreme, Me in the undiluted form, Me unbridled and free. Despite the knowledge that there is a chance that I will never find someone who will truely understand and accept the real, honest, manic me, I plan on being true to myself. I will remain true to my explosive nature, revel in my emotional rollercoaster, ride the whirlwind and try to not feel pity for those who are willing to live their lives in shades of gray.

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