Dave's Progress. Chapter 19: The Week of Magical Thinking.

Firstly, thanks for all your comments once again. After the Christmas break they were most welcome. I hope that I have commented sufficiently on your own blogs to let you know that your interaction is truly appreciated.
Anyway, this time I was going to talk about "magical thinking", of which I seem to have been doing quite a lot lately. I first learnt about the phrase from a Joan Didion book, called "The Year of Magical Thinking", in which she describes her feelings about the death of her husband and long-time companion. She states that her thinking was "magical" after her husband's death in that she would always expect, somewhere, somehow, for him to return to her, even though he was finally, absolutely and irrevocably, dead. Something in her could not accept the finality of his death, hence she would somehow keep expecting him to walk through the door, say hello, and settle down for dinner, perhaps, as he always had done.
I think, perhaps, that there is something in all of us that, when true emotional trauma happens, we somehow refuse to accept the reality of it. For example, your girlfriend, with whom you have fallen head over heels, tells you that she's seeing someone else and your relationship is well and truly over. Only something in you tells you this isn't quite true. That your relationship is alive, well and kicking. The feeling isn't mutual, so you are burdened with a life time of thinking what could have been or what should have been. Despite the best efforts of friends to tell you that you really should get over it, your mind is still somewhere else, wallowing, perhaps, in a love that no longer exists.
So what is schizophrenia but "magical thinking" on a grand scale. You have found yourself in an emotional whirlpool, where things are not quite as they seem and all around you people seem to be trying to tell you something. You, in the meantime, are somehow, by almost reflex action, tyring to protect yourself from an inevitable hurt. Hence "magical thinking". You are, for the first time in your life, truly powerless. There is nothing you can do. You have reached out and you have felt, only to have that feeling disregarded, trampled on, found inadequate.
For some of us we learn how to cope, for others there is the inevitable demise into mental ill health. This is only my opinion here, so you'll have to forgive me for perhaps just a touch of hyperbole.
Anyway, it is indeed strange how these feelings can vacillate. Only in my last chapter I talked of anhedonia. So it seems that we can go from love fool to hardened chronically dissatisfied within the space of only a few years. And, of course, the two must be inter-connected. Had we never felt love's sting, we would never go around as if feeling nothing.
So, this is my suggestion for a new name for schizophrenia- "magical thinking". Imagine that. "What's your diagnosis my friend?"
"Oh, it's a serious case of magical thinking".
"Oh, I see", would come the reply, full of understanding for the grief, the loss, the inability to think that you can feel anymore. "How sad", they might say, instead of "how mad".
That's all for now from your normal, average, paranoid and delusional man.


emma said…
Hi Dave,

Thanks for writing your blog I found it really resonated with me. Magical thinking - I've never heard that before. Looking back, I think I spent 5 years doing quite a lot of magical thinking after my Mum died. I called it living in my head - knowing but not believing. Magical thinking - I like that, it would have given me comfort to think of it in that way. Thanks Dave. Hope to see you around. Emma.
klahanie said…
Greetings David,
Another wonderfully written blog by you, good sir. A serious case of 'magical thinking'. Hey presto...thanks for this blog David...I'm about to vanish..but before I do...it is very nice to see 'Emma' back on here.
Warm wishes David, klahanie aka Gary:-)
dcrelief said…
Dear David,
A haunted committee still resides in my mind, and laughter rang out when you wrote: "magical thinking."
Today they're all quite sad and mad alike... but they won't talk to me anymore. lol.
A very interesting chapter. Take good care and best regards, Dixie
David said…
Dear Emma, klahanie & dcrelief,
Thanks for all your comments, but I would just like to reiterate klahanie's sentiment of how good it is to see Emma back here.
I looked on your blog only the other day, emm, and was filled with nostalgia for the glorious days of mindbloggling, which sadly are no more. I know klahanie made great efforts to keep it alive, but sadly to no avail. Anyway, suffice to say I am very glad that you still take some time to visit us in blogland.
So all of you keep up the positive good work. And that's an order!
Yours with Warmest Wishes,
klahanie said…
Hello again David,
Just a bit of an additional comment. Yes it was most frustrating trying to keep Mindbloggling alive. We went onto Radio 5 Live to promote the ethos of Mindbloggling and hopefully help reduce the unfair stigma still surrounding mental health issues.
Still, I like to think we still have an ongoing empathetic community out here in 'Blogland'.
Dcrelief, your good self and few others can help this positive momentum thriving. And to our friend Emma, thanks for all you did at Mindbloggling.
In conclusion, yes I'm going now, thank you for your comment on my latest blog David. Yours in good natured madness, Gary aka klahanie.

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