Monday, August 28, 2017
1:45 a.m. For years of my life I would have headaches every day. I always had a bottle of aspirin in my desk drawer. Those days have been gone a good while – since I retired, probably. I bought a bottle of aspirin a few weeks ago but didn’t even open it, as the headache went away. But just a while ago, I did open it. The headache is the worst I have had in some time.
Also, the wheezing started. Would I remember what I had done to stop it? I did. Would it work? It did. But it’s back now, accompanied by a stuffed-up nose. I think the physical end of it is a combination of the temperature dropping and ice cream. Silly of me.
Since I can’t sleep anyway for the headache, I thought to connect with Rita and / or Joyce, and follow up on our beginnings of a conversation. But now I’m thinking, maybe not. What do you say, Miss Rita?
It is always your choice. As to whether it is well advised or not, I never knew when I was in the body what you could or couldn’t, let alone should or shouldn’t, do. You used to be awfully sick, but you seemed to carry on when you needed to.
I remember falling asleep on your blue sofa in your living room one afternoon – when I was still living on Creekside – and woke to see you across the room siting in your rocking chair, hands held to send healing energy.
We took care of each other as best we could.
I’d say give it a few minutes, finish your coffee, and go back to bed. The wheezing has stopped, the headache is going away. Get your rest.
4:40 a.m. Okay, Rita, let’s pursue the rest of yesterday’s remarkable – and remarkably unclear – happenings.
We began with the discovery that what looks like interference or bad luck or even direct assault – asthma, in this specific case, but it might be anything in somebody’s life – may in fact be protection.
It was pretty illuminating, under the circumstances. I had long since moved from anger at my lungs to sympathetic appreciation for their efforts on my behalf, but it hadn’t occurred to me that the mechanism of asthma itself might be a safety-valve against potentially overwhelming awarenesses.
So now let us pursue that a bit farther, remembering as usual that what is specific for you will hold true for others but probably in different forms.
You didn’t have asthma, or lung trouble of any kind, as far as I know. What would you say was your equivalent?
Bear in mind, the situation itself is not universal. I was born in 1920. While I suppose it might have happened that I incorporate the life of one or more of the many millions who were killed in the war [World War I], as it happens, I did not, nor was an equivalently traumatic recent past included in my composition. So, there was no need to counterbalance or short-circuit equivalently great threats to my mental stability. But an equivalent process, in terms of physical challenges serving to divert attention from mental ones, might be my limited mobility, I suppose. That played out over so many years, it became a constant, and an ever-more-present one.
You didn’t mean “ever more present,” but I couldn’t find the word and didn’t want to fish for it.
Let’s say ever more prominent.
But let’s avoid over-generalizing. The fact that others may have internal mechanisms somewhat like yours does not mean very much like it, nor very much needed. Your physical condition was extreme because your mental, emotional, condition was extreme.
I have thought, since yesterday morning, that others incorporating strands with PTSD (so to speak) may easily go insane or rather be judged as insane, because people see the results of the stresses and not the invisible causes of the stresses, nor may the person himself, or herself.
I seem to remember the guys telling us there was no such thing as mental illness, a stance I found hard to accept or even to understand given my professional experience. It’s easier to see, now.
Didn’t they say something like “mental illness is actually the result of society’s fearing people who are different”? Something like that.
It would be easy enough for you to check.
So it would. I’m intending to re-read Sphere and Hologram soon. I haven’t looked at it since the last time I proofed it, which has to be at least nine years ago. But let’s continue.
Katrina’s existence was unknown to you until 1993.
That’s right. Kelly and I discovered Katrina and Marcus – sister and brother – that summer, in a couple of sessions of exploration together. [Typing this, I remember that actually we discovered them prior to March when I did Guidelines at TMI.]
So from 1946 to 1993, how could you have factored her into your life even if you had believed in reincarnation as a matter of strands rather than the common view of unit-to-unit? You couldn’t have. And from the winter of 1949 when you first acquired asthma, until then,
Lost the thread.
It was a long time, dealing with what at first seemed merely physical, or then partly physical, partly psychosomatic. There was no mental attitude – no construct, say – that would have incorporated the connection between physical manifestation and unconscious perturber of the waters. Asthma was known to be psychosomatic but you misunderstood what that meant.
I well remember. I took it to be saying “it’s all in your head” – while I was gasping for breath! And that reaction itself is a puzzle, come to think of it, because I know for sure that nobody said that to me. I jumped to that bitter conclusion. Why?
You know why.
I didn’t until I wrote that sentence. I was used to being made wrong.
And, may I say, you still are, though you have it under better control.
Hmm, that is connecting a couple of things I hadn’t connected. My inability to respond when attacked, for one thing. I don’t quite have it, but almost. But, to continue?
Nothing that was done for you could get at the ultimate cause where it (a) had so many roots, as you now know, and (b) had as its function an unsuspected role.
If someone had whisked it away, I would still have had to survive the unconscious assaults triggered by who knows what.
It makes my life look a little Hairbreadth Harry.
And perhaps in some ways it was. But you didn’t kill anybody; you didn’t wind up in a lunatic asylum.
I can see that both were very real possibilities, but I think suicide was a greater possibility than either of the other two.
Demonstrating once again why you can never judge another person’s life. Who could have seen all that?
Nobody, and if they had, they would have said, “But that still doesn’t justify X.”
So, your lungs did you well.
Of course, on the other hand they sent me into weeks at a time of chronic sleep-deprivation, which probably made things worse.
And for all you know increased your ability to focus.
True enough. Okay, so we’ve covered the easy part. Do we proceed to the question of what is just over the mental horizon, and why it seems to be ready to surface?
You have observed memories coming to the surface at unexpected times during the day. Maybe your mind is clearing, your mud settling.
Say that’s so – I can’t be sure, but I certainly can’t disprove it – what’s coming?
Surely it should be obvious that the easiest things surface first? Just as the strands nearest to your current composition surface first – Americans, moderns, or those with the deepest shared concerns and attitudes. It isn’t any different with dreams and memories.
I’ve had dreams over the years of killing (or rather, of knowledge that I had killed) that were strong enough that on awakening I had to search to be sure it wasn’t true in my physical life. I’ve had dreams of being killed, easier in that when I awoke it was obviously untrue in any literal sense. The former I took to be generalized guilt; the latter, I didn’t and don’t know.
But stick to memories. The least unbearable will escape repression sooner than the more unbearable – other things being equal. So as you integrate successive levels of discordant awareness, you prepare yourself for even greater awareness. And you have to accomplish this, if you are going to live openly –that is, live open to life. You can’t live openly and at the same time batten down the hatches.
Which implies that deciding to live openly entails allowing the dragons out of their cages.
Yes, but some of the dragons turn out to be pussy cats.
And some don’t.
And some don’t. But you never get more than you can bear – if you resolve to bear it.
Carl Jung’s sentence about the roots of mental illness being refusal to accept legitimate suffering?
More or less.
I get that this is a rounded-off place, a place to pause.
It is. We may proceed further whenever you wish.
Okay. Thanks as always.