- Disabilities & the Disabled
Sanity: The Road Less Traveled
Sanity is a Choice
Maybe I protest too loudly when I say that I detest the idea that insanity comes upon one without a choice from its victim to succumb. I live life perpetually on this edge and hope that It might be understood that I pity those who have suffered like I have and find that they can't accept the terms of sanity but I cant help but adjure any I meet who are anywhere near this mark to think better of giving up.
In my studies both personally and externally, I have noticed that there are many people who’s health put them perpetually on the edge of sanity. Frankly, I am there most of the time. It is like a cliff that I cant seem to edge far enough away from that I cant look down and realize how far I could fall if I gave in to the wind that pushes me constantly to the brink. If I am not comfortable there, I am at least resigned to the struggle and I suppose in my callus way I expect the same from the rest of the world. In watching others struggle, I have noticed that there is usually a point at which they just give up. When this happens, they either shut down into a endless form of catatonia or give themselves over to one personal vice or other that persuades them to quit the battle against their natures. At this point, they quit adhering to their coping mechanisms, chemical or otherwise and take a leap the cliff.
The temptation for those who, in the words of Garth Brooks, do not stand outside of the fire, to throw themselves down to hell Is powerful and feels to them like hunger to those who aren't so afflicted. The urge is as ever present as thoughts of drinking to an alcoholic. In some ways, it is harder to resist then most addictions because slipping off into dreamland is not something one needs money for. The fact is that they may or may not destroy themselves fast enough to not hurt anyone on the way down. Self-medicating is so common amongst those who are usually better helped by Psychokinetic Medication that the concept is passé. It is sometimes mentioned but there is not any real need for anyone to explain in Psyche 101 why self-medication happens. PhD’s discuss how to get patience to stop when it gets time for their residencies. Conversely, patients study ways of avoiding PhD jurisdiction on the matter because some of the alternatives to self medication are harsh enough to tempt them into insobriety. Most of those who are outside this loop think the drugs involved are either too complex to understand. Such people may or may not also consider the conditions being medicated too severely afflicted not to require minatory chemical straightjacketing. Such ignorance and indifference fails to grapple with the conditions such that they fail to comprehend the side effects and real dilemmas that people near the edge face every time they look into their medicine cabinet. The funny thing about this general misconception is that doctors are proscribing drugs that are the non - recreational uses mentally ill people find beneficial which otherwise are illicitly taken at parties for kicks. One kid with ADHD actually found this out the hard way when they became upset at a party they went to deliberately. They became frustrated when everyone else at a party they attended were tripping off of speed and all the individual wanted to do was sleep.
Most people I know use the words insane or crazy as the punch line either to a joke or in the context of a permanent, unrecoverable state of being. In saying so I probably aught to bow to the fact that there are a lot of bent people out there who seem to repel any feeling that change is necessary or even possible. Many of those actually are functional in society or seem so and at worst get the label, "hard to work with," and at best are called, "quirky, but inspired.” I refuse, however to deny any person their agency. What I mean by this is that I declare that men and women have an unalienable right to sanity and I am disgusted at the prevalence of people to take leave of their senses and force the rest of the world to pick up the pieces. I have the deepest held of beliefs that we are one family regardless of what physical, mental, emotional, racial, or ethnic background. These differences seem to divide us or tempt us to separate ourselves from the connections we could have with each other and thereby benefit from. I have noticed that when we give in to this drive to set ourselves apart or seek special treatment outside of the necessary coping strategies that may be actually necessary; that we selfishly placing a burden on the rest of the world. I have seen such people leave tabs or debts all over their stomping grounds that they expect others to pick up and pay for. Within the confines of this article, I place insanity and rage within that framework.
Be these factors as they may be, it all comes down to freedom of choice. There are some choices that seem tempting which in the long run clip our wings and grind us into the dirt. If we give into these choices, the force of the wind at our back that keeps us from feeling how little freedom we now have will over whelm us. Once it does, insanity maybe what the rest of the world will call the resulting fall from the cliff but it must be understood that the choice was still there and it is ours and ours alone. Getting back on the cliff is hard but possible and it is to this end that I urge doing what you have to to regain your sanity. There are other choices that help us connect with the world. They help us make other good choices and find people who can bear to share our lives with us so that we aren’t as alone as we otherwise would be and while the process of living sane isn’t easy, I promise that it is worth it.
Religion helps for many. Sobriety groups will help many find their way back. Friends and family would help if they knew how and the people flirting with insanity were to allow it. From personal experience, they are probably bleeding to do so if you would stop biting their hands once they reach out to you. Medications, however terrible their side affects, can help until you have enough control that you can seek other methods of reducing the amount that you have to take through nutrition, exercise, yoga, and other such methods that will help.
For those who wish to help your loved one who has taken leave of their senses, I sympathize. It is hard watching them go down hill and destroy themselves and others in the process. The almost insatiable desire to make one’s way in the world a little easier kills inside. I have to observe though, in talking to those I know who have recovered to some extend, one of the things that brought them back was finally being tired of the squalor they fell into when they realized that no one was going to pick up the tab for their vacation as it were. They found themselves as the prodigal son who once he came to himself observed that his father's servants lived better then he was at the time. He therefore made his way back to his father's house ashamed and his father, who had had the sense to leave him to his own devices while the young man was in dissipation, also had the wisdom to welcome his son with open arms even if not full restoration of inheritance.