Losing it

200px-Descartes mind and body
René Descartes’s illustration of dualism. Inputs are passed on by the sensory organs to the epiphysis in the brain and from there to the immaterial spirit. (Image via Wikipedia)

Talking to one’s self is more so listening than talking. Talking to one’s self in public, however, is creepy and potentially dangerous.

It gets more frequent everyday – I more often catch myself speaking alone and it freaks me out. I know my mind can be so active at times and that my brain could not shut up especially after an overwhelming situation. But everything to me is overwhelming and I am just a thin hair away from being out of control.

Speaking to myself, for the longest time, seems a bit normal to me. I’ve been doing it, consciously or not, since childhood. I was not the active type – I was quiet, timid, and alone-in-the-corner kind of kid. I did not have many friends. I dislike (or fear) people. Every day I made it a point that I’d made the most minimum contact to people possible. I was the only child, having no one but my mom to grow up with. My everyday routine consisted of waking up for school, going home after school, finishing my homework on my own and watching TV alone in between. It’s not that anybody forced me to be a loaner; some people thought I grew up that way because my mom never wanted me out of the house and of her sight. It’s been more so a choice since I was ignorant of the whole world and did not have to think of anything serious. And I just did not want to play tag and get all sweaty and stinky, and likewise, I did not get bullied or hurt by any stupid kid whatsoever. Reading and TV-watching were two of the activities that let me use my imagination. Since then, I loved making up stories, and have to say that it was difficult for me to draw a thin line between creatively making up stories for the purpose of making art, and actually lying. I did not have too many fellow kids to share my stories with so I tended to share to the most faithful companion that I had – myself.

OK, so I have forgiven my juvenile and seemingly deranged self who grew up (or at least tried to) fairly normal. But now that I’m on my early adulthood, I felt so compelled to set standards for how myself should act. I only have one rule anyway: everything my whole body does should be something I know and approve of. I know that, naturally, the whole body and mind should work as one unit, a system of complicated components but is naturally capable of functioning harmoniously. But I find this notion hard to carry out a lot of times – it becomes more ideal to me than natural. Over time, I’m finding my mind and body so apart from each other that they both have their own sets of interests. I feel like being in between situations when I am chasing one part of me crossing a dangerous street while grabbing the other by the arm as it attempts to roll down a bushy cliff. And one clear sign of this problem is me speaking alone, not only to myself when I am alone, but also, and it’s becoming more frequent, when I am out and with the company of several people. Sleeping is also an avenue for me to speak to myself. My mom, and Joan (my wife-to-be) would make fun of me when I wake up, showing me how  I had been as I was sleep-talking, and I would laugh with them at the situation, but deep in me, I am scared. Joan calls it paranoia; I call it an honest-to-goodness fear of losing control.

When your body does something your mind does not know of, it scares you. I remember catching a documentary on the Crime Investigation channel about this woman who was violently killed by her significantly younger fiancé subconsciously while they were making love. The intercourse was a bit violent; they wanted it a bit sadomasochistic so to speak as it gave them the thrill; but at the night of the murder, the violence had gone way too far. The woman was strangulated to death. The young man, her fiancé, came to the police saying, “I might have killed my wife.” It was later found, through the medical investigation the young man went through, that he killed his fiancée while he was sleeping. This scared me a bit as I have been found doing something else too while sleeping. I only did as much as speaking while sleeping but I this had me thinking: if speaking is a physical activity and it’s something that I often do while asleep, then It’s not impossible for me to learn to do other things while asleep; and what those things could be is something I’m afraid to know.

I have a book or two that talk about psychological imbalances and psychiatric diseases, or whatever the right terms are; the topic always fascinated me, and it’s more than about learning the matter, it’s more so about wanting to know and understand myself. I never finished reading them, perhaps because I am depriving myself of the idea that would confirm my thoughts of me being potentially a basket case. I kept on considering the idea of getting professional help, from a therapist perhaps, but I am embarrassed to do so, or maybe it’s just a bit early to seek help from one when the signs are just too insignificant for other people. For now, I’m finding comfort in the thought of having a companion, who I can always rely to in times of feeling irrationally needy and the one who would always listen to me when I need to speak. Joan is my unpaid therapist and a very patient one. Many times, when I get stressed and upset, she goes to me with the desire to make me feel better in any way she can and I could not be more thankful. A hug, most of the time, suffice. A warm talk often brings me back to my senses, reminds me that I am alive. She never fails to make me find the connection between the seemingly insurmountable gaps my mind and body separate themselves with. I think a guy like me, (the not-quite-crazy-but-getting-there type) only needs somebody to talk to and help us get out of whatever kind of cage our childhood or whatever the situation we had to go through built to surround us forever. And for now, having Joan’s company, her selfless care that became a refuge at my disposal is reassurance enough for me. Losing that refuge, however, is the fear that I reserve for tomorrow.

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