I remember reading a novel about a woman who traveled through space and time only to learn at the end of the book that she was a mental patient. I remember thinking, well that sucks, she was a really interesting person. The stories that my peers tell me at work have touches of humor, even though I’m not really an Al-Qaeda operative the way they think I am. I often respond with a story out of right center field. When they ask whether the story is true, I tell an even more bizarre story. Or if I hear someone rambling on about something rattling around in their brain, I advice their listeners to just play along.
The truth is, that so many of the things that happen to us as we survive the mental health system are so absurd that the best response may be with humor. I once lived with a woman who decided one day to give away the chicken in our refridgerator to the poor. The fact we were flat broke did not occur to her. There had to be some deserving soul going without food somewhere else in Milwaukee and it was her responsibility to help that person. When I came home and she told me what she had done I nearly through my glasses out the window. It was probably one of the most absurd things that had ever happened to me.
But you know what? We didn’t starve and someone in our neighborhood ate well that night. The point is not to fear the softer side of sometimes living in an alternate reality. I would hate to think that if I told my psychiatrist about wanting to join the intergalactic police he would automatically decide that I needed some new medication. Instead, I would like someone to explore the meaning that such a statement held for me. As it happens I watch a lot of science fiction shows including all the versions of Star Trek. I interpret these programs as commentaries on our modern society. And I thought Lt. Ohura was the hottest woman I had ever seen in my youth.
I encourage peer specialists, friends and family of persons exploring our minds to travel with us sometimes, strap on intergalactic travel suits and learn what these thoughts really mean. You may be the best placebo in the world.
- Apparently I Am Too Disabled To Exist. Or At Least To Rent A Room. (kungfublogging.wordpress.com)
- Intergalactic quilting (holykaw.alltop.com)