Dave's Progress. Chapter 74: The Thing about Mysteries.

Dear Reader. For a long time time now I've been chugging along, like a train, doing my voluntary work, going to the Pathways group, writing my blog, etc, etc. But just recently I have a feeling of not being sated. I have a feeling that this isn't quite enough. There is something, deep within me, that remains unsatisfied, and so I seem ever on the verge of frustration.
So it is that I begin to question exactly how it is I got in to this situation. It would seem, at first sight, that it is that I have been ill and have fallen, slowly, incrementally, in to some type of conformist stupor. On second thought, is it the result of an unfeeling, unsympathetic society which does little for its minions who find themselves in the position of being mentally ill?
I can only speak for myself, and speaking for myself, I find it is perhaps a mixture of both. The other week at the Pathways Group, for example, we had a guest speaker. His name was Paul Hammersley and as well as being a Professor at Lancaster University, he is also a CBT counsellor and member of the CASL (campaign for the abolition of the schizophrenia label) campaign. The talk he gave to us was mesmerising. He spoke of new ideas in the treatment of schizophrenia, and in particular of the things that are needed to achieve recovery. First, he stated, the patient has to learn acceptance. He or she must acknowledge there is a problem for him or her to do anything about it. Second, there must be some sort of hope offered, for without it, there is no point. And finally, one must be given the opportunity of meaningful activity. It is this final condition for recovery which is what is seeming to irk me. For while I may do voluntary work and write, I still find I have a lot of time to spend alone, and so the old problem of mental illness, isolation, seems to be becoming an issue.
But, on going perhaps even more deeply, I find that I have lost the ability to be satisfied at all. As it often is with illnesses such as mine, one can not help but feel that one has lost a part of oneself along the way. Somewhere, in what I once called the fog of illness, there is a part of me that has gone missing. And, I can't help but seemingly continue to mourn and miss this part. Moreover, it seems it is the most important part that has gone missing. The part that believes one has a soul, that believes in love, that consciously strives to seek the goodness within itself.
When I first got ill, I once told a psychiatrist that I didn't know myself any longer. I felt this in a very deep way, and it was as if I were a stranger to myself. Imagine not really knowing what you thought or felt, which was how I felt at the time. It was as if I had become a total mystery to myself. And, it then follows, that perhaps other people were a mystery too. It seemed that without knowing myself, I could not know anyone else. Whereas before, I felt I had known people intimately, they now became somehow unknowable. My psychiatrist dismissed this by saying, "where does it say that you have to know yourself? I am a mystery to myself." Well, Mr. Psychiatrist, the impetus to know oneself, or in the latin, "nosce te ipsum", or as it is translated in "The Matrix" film, "temet nosce", has been regarded as a virtue since the days of the Greek philosophers. Why? Precisely for the reason I have stated above, that in order to know others, one must first know oneself.
And so it is that now, any talk of love, or the soul, or of God, where once it was the very essence of my being, has become deeply inscrutable to me. And, moreover, I have become a mystery to myself. I no longer know exactly what makes me tick. Some would say this doesn't matter, and perhaps they are right. I still have my work and writing to occupy me. But, it seems, that will only ever be window dressing disguising a deeper dissatisfaction. So, I can't help but feel that I will never be satisfied unless I regain that sometime lost part of myself. And if I am a mystery, I can't help but think that the thing about mysteries is that if you begin to scratch their surface, they soon disappear in to nothing but dust.
That's all for now from your normal, average, paranoid and delusional man.


sunseeker said…
Dave, maybe the issue isn't that you no longer know yourself, but that you are searching for the 'lost you' that simply does not exist anymore.

I can identify with many of the things you say here - for completely different reasons I know - but I have still felt them.

I think that when the circumstances that surround our lives change in such an extreme way, the 'old us' changes too - to the point that trying to be who we were beforehand is an impossible goal and that our efforts to do so can, in fact, stop us from accepting the 'new us'.

In my case, my life can never go back to the way that it was. My 'normal' has gone crashing out of this world with an almighty blast and I am left standing in the pile of rubble left behind. So my choice appears to be this: Do I stand where I am looking around for something recognisable that I can cling on to? Or do I find the most stable remaining place and start to build again?

I know what the answer is, and I am trying my best... Thing is, it far easier to stand and stare at the debris. Hopefully one day in the not too distant future I can find the strength to start to build, and maybe then I will recognise what it is that I am creating...

Take Care, M
David said…
Dear sunseeker,
It is great to hear from you. If only it were under nicer circumstances for you. Indeed, my own little problems seem trivial in comparison to what you have recently been through, and this post now appears to me a little self indulgent.
I know what you mean when you say it is perhaps pointless for me to search for the "lost" me, and up to the time I wrote this post I felt I had generally accepted, after all this time, that I had changed and, while never being able to be the same again, had found new things in my life to compensate for whatever it was I had lost in the past. It is only, perhaps, when I begin to get a little maudlin and ruminate that I tend to think in such a way, and this morning was one of those times.
So, all I really know is that the old cliche that time heals is true. Perhaps we never heal completely, as my blog demonstrates, but I'm sure you will eventually find the "stregth to build" again, as I, in some small ways, also have.
In the time being, I think both you and your immediate family are coping admirably with what has been a terrible and tragic loss, and I only hope that you will some day find peace and happiness again.
Yours in deepest sympathy,
klahanie said…
Dear David,
In light of your profound blog and the heartfelt interaction between 'sunseeker' and yourself; I shall respond with just a brief observation.
I know this is oversimplifying things. However, perhaps you can learn from the 'lost' you and find inspiration in knowing that you can become even stronger and maybe discover that one tangible resource that gives you the satisfaction you seek.
With respect and admiration to you and our good friend, sunseeker.
姵Roman潔 said…
David said…
Dear Gary,
Thank you for your understanding comment.
Listening to both your and sunseeker's advice, I think that maybe I was looking at the past through rose-tinted specs in my blog. After all, I ask myself now, upon reflection, were things really that good then, and are they really so bad now? I think the answer to both these questions is "no". Indeed, I think I have become a stronger person through my experiences, it is just that occasionally one wonders, has it been at the expense of losing some, what I find to be, indefinable emotion?
Anyway, Gary, I thank you once again for your kindness and I shall be in touch again soon.
Yours with Very Best Wishes,

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