On Delusions and Accountability

I wrote before that I´m starting to believe my abuse obsession was a form of psychosis. It´s not the whole story, but it´s starting to look more and more likely to me. At least it feels somewhat consistent with my experience of it. It is another time of my life for which to take responsibility I can try endlessly, and yet there is never a moment when I can just say: “Yes, I did something very wrong here, but it´s long ago, I did what I could to repair the damage and I feel at peace with it now. I won´t suddenly fly into a fit of self-hatred if I encounter the subject somewhere.”

There is one thing, however, I can take responsibility for. There were times in those months of madness when I woke up and experienced a moment of normalcy. Moments when I recognized madness as madness. Naturally, those moments caused me great distress. Who likes to wake up to the realization that he´s been spewing absurd accusations over the last few weeks? In those moments of sanity, I felt massive shame. I felt like my life was over. Also, like I was trapped in some dead-end. If my ideas about the past were wrong, then what was I still supposed to believe, what was I supposed to think about myself? I had no idea that what I experienced there might have been genuine insanity. There would have been nowhere to turn to, no explanation other than that I was a terrible person, and that, too, did not correspond to what I had learned about myself and reality. Here is where madness could pick up again. Because if I couldn´t really be such a terrible person, then my mad beliefs had to be true. For all I knew, there was no third option.

When I briefly dropped back into sanity, I started to feel a sense of urgency, like something was slipping through my fingers. I wanted to be able to hear the voices of my “alters” again, or become them. Live in a different frame of mind, perceive myself and the world differently again. Of course I realized in those moments I was essentially hoping I had been abused. At least that´s how I viewed it then. Under normal circumstances I wouldn´t have hoped so, but I guess most people would experience extreme denial if I they were suddenly faced with the possibility that they had been believing and passionately defending completely unrealistic accusations over weeks and months. You could arguably say this terror and denial is a normal reaction to the disease, in which case it wouldn´t have much to do with my specific personality.

At any rate, at the time I was terrified at the notion that I desperately hoped my delusions were true. It raised the stakes, escalated the false dichotomy. Either I was so rotten that I might as well have been a rapist myself, or there had to be some explanation as to why a person who wondered if she had repressed memories of abuse could want it to be true. And in those relatively sane moments I was actively searching for such explanations, driven by the terror of what kind of person I seemed to be. I was encouraging and fostering my madness.

When I say I can take responsibility for that, I´m not talking about finding grounds for condemnation. All I´m saying is that those were things I did intentionally, and with a purpose of my own. Evaluating or judging my motives is only the next step. First and foremost, I´m trying to figure out what parts of my behavior were sanity/madness and what I can actually hold myself accountable for. And my definition of sanity here is not: healthy, well-thought out, good, functional, well-adjusted, balanced. It merely describes instances in which I felt I was acting on my own accord, intentionally, in response to what I thought was my situation. It doesn´t mean that I wasn´t driven, under massive inner pressure and misguided by believing there were only two alternatives.

 

When I later reflected on this time I always knew there had been moments when I had actively cooperated with my madness. I remembered wanting to prove I had been abused, I remembered wanting it to be true. What I was falsely convinced of for many years, though, is that these wishes were not merely a reaction to my manic belief that I had been abused, but the cause of it.

What I believed was that having abandoned Lola despite her history of having been abused threatened my self-image as a martyr and victim of everything, and so I had to make up a story that was even worse than hers. Actually, I always knew I hadn´t intentionally lied, but needing to believe in a delusion for narcissistic reasons made me just as guilty in my book. In fact, it additionally made me a ridiculous person. Even though it seems more reprehensible to lie on purpose than to go mad, I´d probably feel a whole lot better if the former had been the case.

What I think now is that by the time I developed the manic belief I was already caught up in a similar false dilemma. I couldn´t deny that my delusional fantasy world had been more important to me than Lola, but at the same time I couldn´t see myself in what this seemed to say about me. My illness had started with the “vision” I´d had two years earlier, had probably announced itself far earlier in the form of the voices, which had been with me for ages, and little, anxiety-inducing misgivings.

I just wondered if this is some kind of personality disorder after all, since I must have had it for such a long time, and since it seems to be interacting with my sane mind so tightly. And yet it seems unfair to ascribe sudden, manic ideas and the fantasies that develop in my head to my personality. They do not reflect who I am. I will not be held accountable for the content of my delusions. Where I don´t try to shake them or even let myself slip into them, you can call me passive or lazy and I will consider how I myself judge my behavior, but being sucked into the manic belief that I will have to save mankind from a future dictator does not make me a person who is greedy for fame, attention and a grandiose self-image. If you absolutely want to, go ahead and judge how I dealt with my madness. I´m actually interested in re-evaluating my sense of who I am that way. My deliberate actions and conscious attitudes are what makes me who I am. My delusional thoughts and manic ideas are something that happens to me.

 

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One Response to “On Delusions and Accountability”

  1. healthiestbeauty Says:

    Reblogged this on The healthiest beauty.

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