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I’ve always considered myself kind of nuts.  When I was younger I had a somewhat romantic view about insanity.  Ya’ know?  The old “mad genius” routine.  And, as an artist, you’re encouraged to develop an original  perspective. A unique mental point of view. Which can push you in the direction of “eccentric” at the least.  And “crazy” at the extreme.

I always operated under the premise of “insanity is the only sane reaction to an insane world.”   So I wore my “insanity” as almost a badge of courage.  When I was younger, if I felt I was right about something, I would not budge an inch even if the whole world told me I was wrong.  It was the world that got it wrong.  Or, as Bukowski once put it:  “Humanity, you never had it from the beginning.” So I was never afraid to deviate from society’s version of reality.  An attitude which can lead you down a slippery slope.

I think most people generally try to adhere to the cultural norms, re their thinking and behavior.  They’re leery of coming across as a weirdo, or as “anti-social.”  For society can, and will, inflict punishments on those who don’t conform to the social norms.  Ostracism at the least, and padded cells at the extreme.  When I was younger, I at least felt I knew what the social norms were.  I just chose to deviate from them.  But I at least knew how to fake being “normal.”

But lately I’ve been getting more of an un-moored feeling.  Like I’ve went on so many mental tangents, I’ve strayed so far from the mental norm, that I’m on the verge of becoming hopelessly lost in the wilderness of my mind.

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Living on the streets certainly doesn’t help you to stay mentally-grounded.  For one thing, you’re surrounded by many people who would be considered “mentally insane” by almost any definition.  The people who talk to themselves all day.  The people with obvious weird behavioral compulsions (cutting themselves with razors, walking in the rain with no shoes, etc.).  The people who imagine that they’re Napoleon or Jesus Christ.  Clearly delusional people who have lost the ability to separate their delusions from reality. (Whatever “reality” is, OK?  But since we can definitely say that some outlooks are delusional, that implies that at least there’s a “reality” out there somewhere, even as most of us can never agree as to what exactly that is.)

For example:  There’s this one guy on the street scene who’s famous for going up to total strangers and screaming in their faces:  “STOP BOTHERING ME!!” You could try to explain to this fellow the faulty logic of his thinking.  That he is in fact projecting his inner madness onto the world at large.  But, alas, in the layman’s terms, he has shit-for-brains.  It would never even occur to him that his delusions are in fact delusions.  He’d be the last to know.

One friend of mine makes this distinction:  “At least I know I’m nuts.  The ones who are really crazy are the ones who are nuts but don’t know it.”  There is probably some wisdom to that perspective.

Peter Labriola's photo.I suppose any behavior taken to it’s extreme might be considered a form of insanity.  “Shyness,” for example, is probably a common neurosis.  But if one becomes so shy and paranoid and afraid of other people that they feel compelled to lock themselves away in a little room and strive to avoid any contact with their fellow humans, you could probably say they’ve crossed that line from “neurosis” to “psychosis.”

For whatever reason, this morning I started to feel like I was truly losing my mind.  Slipping into some form of madness.   For lack of a better word.  I’ve tried various different therapies over the years.  But the only thing that really helps me is to sit down in front of a keyboard and write about it. Try to explain it.  Try to take the whirling dervish in my brain and at least string it out in a linear series of words.  That often helps me to get a grip on it.  I guess that’s why I’m here right now, typing away.

2 thoughts on “Insanity

  1. I think you are a great writer. I have nothing more to say. It is a revelation to read some of your stuff. I hope you can take care of yourself better.
    remember the kitty cats!!!!!
    4 legs good! 2 legs bad!

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