A dream recently reminded me of something that I would do, or would happen to me, as a child. If I had had the words to describe it, I might have said that I had schizophrenic episodes. Something-- and sometimes nothing-- would trigger them, and like a rush closing in on me, the world would change its sound. Silence sounded like angry silence. The softest noises were amplified, with the extra volume grumbling like a mad crowd. The worst was the crinkling of paper, which with each crumple would shout in accusation. There were no words in the world's anger, but neither was there reason or reprieve. I think the episodes would last anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple hours. It wasn't long before I learned to recognize the change, and knew that the difference was just in my head, but I'm sure that my personality and body language shifted and cringed in an unconscious response.
I imagine that people in middle of the neurotransmittic bell curve never realize how close we all are to the extremes. As I remembering these episodes, I realize how easy it would be to recreate one now. It's all in how you manage your brain-- which instabilities you cultivate, which messes you allow to fester, which vibrations you let yourself rock to. The schizophrenic suffers from an excess of dopamine (amongst other things), the same chemical and feeling intensified by speed or Aderall. Some people, like my ex, naturally lead low-dopamine lives; when they take those drugs, they start acting a lot more like I do naturally. Every few years, some combination of surprises causes me to faint, with a little seizure for good measure. My faints are caused by a simple inner formula-- a brain behavior that I know how to do but generally avoid, of focusing on a resonance that consumes my world. I think I see the same behaviors in the swaying of autistic children and the accusations that madmen make at lampposts. Madness is just around the corners of our minds, and only the most delicate mix of ego and observation keeps us from showing it.
I consider myself fully sane and fairly stable, and yet my inner experience seems at such odds with the transparent narrative we're told to expect from ourselves. Any time I inspect them, my senses seem more like drunken sailors than clear lenses. My world appears more fabricated than discovered. My endless mannerisms seem so much stranger and more senseless to myself than they seem to seem to others. I'll never know if my current instabilities stem from esoteric philosophy, intense relationships, past psychedelic drugs, innate nature, or willful choice. Each of these individually has a proven capacity to shift one over the edges of well-adjustedness, but I wouldn't choose a life without all five. Together, they give me abilities unspoken of in the transparent-self narrative: to unburden myself of cares and life-dust by will alone; to grin inside at the thrill of life at its darkest and most painful moments; to recognize the secret activities of my unconscious.
Flame and I had our Going Away party last night, and are currently endeavoring to reprime our apartment walls. We leave Friday!