Things are becoming very Thingish nowadays. We say to each other, ‘is that a Thing?’ meaning, ‘is that a cultural phenomenon/extant object/recognised custom?’ We package stuff; ‘reify’ it, make it into a Thing with a use value and an exchange value, so that it can take its place in the marketplace of Things. We don’t just assemble objects, we ‘curate’ them because ‘curating’ is a Thing. We don’t just have experiences, we have ‘issues’ or, if they’re more intense, ‘mental health issues’, because these are things.
Anyway, to cut to the chase (that’s another Thing) in searching for a Viz cartoon I came across a post from 2008. I’d not long started this blog when I was plunged into a period of psychosis that lasted three months. Psychosis is defined as being out of touch with reality as it is usually experienced and in touch with a different reality – at least, that’s a non-judgmental way of putting it.
So what happened? Basically the menopause happened. I was expecting it of course, but I’d anticipated hot flushes, night sweats, all that sort of thing. Then one night it hit me with no warning: I woke up in the early hours with a strong desire to meditate. From then on I found myself waking up at three or four o’clock every morning to meditate and believing that in meditation I was in contact with Someone (the Someone was an actual human being but we’d never met.) At three a m I’d be ecstatic, high as a kite; then I’d go back to bed and sleep. But the corollary was that in the afternoon I’d come crashing down to earth with a deep depression. This cycle went on for three months and I could no more stop it than I could stop the sun rising and setting.
Eventually it slowed and faded – but it never completely went away, and even today I get moments of it. They’re almost like an attack of faintness, except they’re mental not physical events. Momentarily I lose everything: my sense of myself, all idea of what and where I am and what the hell I’m doing. It’s like the earth moving under you (and not in a good way). It’s frightening.
Anyway, here’s the original post, which includes some strategies which worked for me.