- Mental Health»
- Mental Health Self-Help
Ever Got This Creepy Feeling of Being Watched While Taking Shower?
Nothing Pathological --- but still Strange
"Conscience is that inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking"
----H. L. Mencken
At times I get quite intrigued by the multitude of examples where our minds are playing tricks on us. And I am not even talking about that "schizo-stuff" like hallucinations or hearing voices from heaven, but something much less pathological --- if at all --- like having that creepy feeling of being watched while taking shower.
Thoughts about it popped up this morning as I remembered a passing acquaintance who at a party blurted out --- after having had a few drinks --- how he always felt a presence of someone while he was taking his showers. Topic of the conversation had been about spooky movies, and he wanted to share his personal and surely "painless" version of the shower scene in Hitchcock's thriller "Psycho".
Except for appearing half-wasted by drinks, the dude didn't otherwise leave an impression of a paranoiac haunted by visions of his every move being watched. Thus, I didn't jump the gun then, and neither am I doing it now, to characterize it as more than an innocent oddity that most of us display in one way or another due to our subconscious mind playing tricks on us.
And yet, the incident tickled my curiosity, as it seemed to be pointing at a widespread weak sense of our individuality, with all kinds of socially instilled authorities lurking from every corner of our minds---and spoiling the fun of taking shower.
Feeling as an "Open Book"
"Under observation we act less free, which means we effectively are less free."
---- Edward Snowden
After brainstorming on the subject for a while, a conclusion followed fragmented over several possibilities, while all of them had a common denominator spelled out as "outer authority". The first notion that came to mind was about many sensitive folks living under impression that they are like an "open book" to everyone, unable to put on a social mask that would effectively hide their vulnerability.
Then, as they are taking shower, the nakedness of their body somehow also translates to a transparency of "everything they are trying to hide", and they may feel invisible eyes watching them---so much for bathroom giving them some privacy.
Namely, mind has this default function to always associate the present situation to our regular concerns of security, in this case creating an impression of "all our hidden attitudes being exposed to some phantom-eyes", and making us feel uneasy about it.
Do you ever get such a feeling of being watched when you are alone? I don't, for the reason that I couldn't really care less who is ever watching me. Recently there was an interesting TV documentary about our "losing privacy because of government spying on citizens". So I remember commenting on those concerns --- which seem to be quite widespread---- by saying something like:
"Since I am not plotting any terrorist acts, and not even having any active interest in politics, I couldn't care less if anyone reads my emails, spies on my telephone calls, or uses a satellite to watch what's for dinner in my household".
Sometimes I could be caught walking naked in my living room for a moment or two --- with curtains securing my privacy; but if my TV or my laptop has a "hidden eye" installed in them----like some conspiracy theorists are suggesting - let those spies knock themselves out admiring my old and well preserved body.
Those Wicked, Sinful Thoughts!
"Shame is a soul eating emotion" ---- C. G. Jung
Then another possibility within the same theme came rushing to my mind. It appears quite a common personality trait that people have a pronounced authoritative parental figure in their nature --- likely installed there in their childhood. Seemingly unable to shake it off, or even unaware that they have one, they share those most private times, like that of taking shower, with those imagined eyes.
I don't have to be particularly familiar with Freud's theorizing about the alleged paramount role of sexuality in our emotional dynamics in order to assume how many sensitive folks bombard themselves while taking shower with the voice of inner critical parent over their "wicked thoughts and desires"; and how much time they are spending washing their private parts "and enjoying it".
They may be completely spoiling that precious moment of relaxing under shower, with those countless droplets breaking over their skin and producing those vitalizing negative ions nurturing the nerves. Instead, as the case may be, they waste it with inner conflicts over "purity of thoughts and bodily sensations".
With no mocking intended but rather a due compassion, such may be especially the case of those religiously obsessed folks "specializing" in matters of sinfulness. To them it must be an ordeal, as they feel like no soap can scrub down the impurity of their sinful bodies.
One way or another, it always includes an authority, whether earthly or a celestial one.
Whose Are some of Emotions that We Are Taking for Ours?
"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." --- Plato
This phenomenon of the inner voice of authority---not to be confused with our natural set of moral standards---is particularly evident at these times of global uncertainties, when people are obsessing over the qualities of their leaders, as if those political careerists can make them happier, and some others more miserable than they already are.
While empathizing with that self-deluding crowd I can see how they are losing the sense of themselves being an ultimate authority in their lives. They seem to be so impressed by those outer authorities that their daily efforts may carry a sad note of "What's the use, because we are all doomed".
Their subconscious dynamism charged with irrational emotionality can so easily compute a message of their unworthiness, helplessness, and despair. You see, when we identify so much with our party, our favorite team, or our nation, our mind takes their losses and failures as our own.
Then in a further inner computation they get associatively amplified while connected to the whole inner fund of emotional garbage---like guilt, shame, rejection, anger, sadness, and what not. While all along we rationalize it by attaching some altruistic and patriotic labels to our pathetic loss of attachment to our own life and its priorities.
Before we know it, we start resembling those crowds on the typical Middle Eastern street constantly protesting something or someone. The "cause" doesn't even matter, and could really be about the neighbor on the floor above making noise at night, or neighbor's dog choosing our lawn for crapping every morning. Anything will do, as long as we can "blend" with a miserable crowd to feel less alone in our own misery.
And then, as such folks are taking shower and body is taking that opportunity for liberating itself from excess tensions, it's all welling up, all that frustration of not winning in this world. They feel surrounded by the misery of their losing party, or sports team, or kids doing bad at school, or sick relatives---not allowing them to enjoy their shower as they should.
Repossessing more Than Our Shower
"A clear conscience is a sure sign of a bad memory" ---- mark Twain
In a very narrowed definition, an "authority" is anybody or anything that has the power to pull our emotional strings in absence of our better conscious judgement. If it happens to be the political party that you passionately support, the whole assembly is waiting behind your shower curtain to slap a fresh coat of their symbolic red or blue all over you - so that you don't forget whom to identify with.
Then, it could also be nothing more than that note from your kid's teacher with a request to see you about your beloved offspring's failing at something. Not to forget that friend and her dark passion for any conspiracy theory in existence feeding your already panicking mind with her regular slogans, like: "Look at this world...everything is crushing down...leaders are betraying us, doctors are incompetent, the world is suffocating in stupidity...another big war is just a matter of time...and you can't trust these crazy drivers either..."
Indeed, all this makes some wish to hide in a hole and wait there for their predicted end. After all, if the Good Book is correct about everything else, it must be correct about our inglorious end.
Come on, folks, let us stop this nonsense of alienating ourselves from our true identity! Let us not allow ourselves to be brainwashed by the tsunamis of media's assaults on our intelligence. Indeed, what ever happened with that "guaranteed freedom to pursue our happiness", if we succumb to those voices that are doing everything to spoil every attempt of that pursuit. Even our shower.
When we give up our individuality, our power to think outside the box filled with brainwashing crap, not much is left of our "freedom to choose", as we are merely following somebody else's choices, turning into insignificant specs of the human mass, sponging-in others' ideas, beliefs, and feelings. In other words, we are becoming nobodies.
I was raised in a communist regime, so believe me, I know what it looks like when folks are living everyone else's life except their own. And the whole tragicomedy is in exactly this crazy collectivistic idea that we are practicing something better than communism while surrendering our emotionalism to "higher good of everyone".
As some of you could see from many of my articles, I am truly passionate about my fellow-man's sense of personal sovereignty and spiritual freedom. It is my primary message that I am trying to deliver through these literary attempts.
It hurts my eyes seeing how widespread is this resignation from a conscious self-guidance, reminding me of those logs floating passively down the river to a destination where they will be cut into something that will never again look like a tree.
It's also my wish to tell such folks that they can't escape from themselves and their intimate issues by joining a crowd and venting their issues in those "causes", instead of giving a due attention to their own lives, their own ideas, and life promoting beliefs.
Indeed, we don't heal by a patriotic or altruistic blending with a mass with a "label and a cause", but by coming home to nurture our own intimate reality where our authority is the only one there is.
And then my friends, we may stop sharing our shower with all those spooks of our own make - maybe even sing our lungs out while showering, and just watch how our song's lyrics feel more and more like a repeated refrain: "Who gives a rat's ass after all!!!"