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Thursday, May 15, 2014

The problem with mental unburdening

There is no other way I could think about the matter of coming out of the closet.

You know…the moment when you decide to share that you are mental with someone from your social circle.

This is less of a problem when you are in the hospital. Every time I was undergoing treatment for my bipolar disorder there were all these sad faces around, mostly from my relatives, but also occasionally from strangers, checking on whether I finally understood that I was mad.

I thought about it. In fact I thought about it hard. I hoped that after my first episode it would go away, but since it stuck with me, I had to rethink my position.

You see, there is a profound quote available on madness.

“The belief in truth is precisely madness” said Nietzsche ages ago.

Now, apart from the fact that Nietzsche was mad himself (irrelevant, but still…), the fundamental question remains the same.

If doctors tell me that I am bipolar, and sad relatives nod in agreement, should I believe the doctors, the relatives and in my diagnosis?

I will start with the diagnosis.

If you refer to my post on the matter with the manual for being mental (, you will see that I doubt that I received the right diagnosis (I will write a post about it). No, I should correct this sentence: I received the diagnosis I decided was the best under my circumstances. I went for it. Schizophrenia has such negative connotations in our society, that I reckoned that it is better to join the masses of those who provoke tears, rather than fright.

But so, going back to my argument. If I know already that the diagnosis might be wrong, should I then believe in other things?

Another powerful saying from Nietzsche argues the following: “…and if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” This reminds me of Hexagram 48 from the I Ching Oracle: “To be in accord with the time, you are told to: go to the well!” (Ritsema and Karcher, 1994).

However, while the hexagram 48 was the first which came into my mind while reflecting on what exactly Nietzsche was trying to say, he was probably thinking about Hexagram 29, which is often translated as ‘abyss’. It means plunging into the water and accepting yourself as you are.

So, basically, if I gaze long enough into the bipolar disorder, the bipolar disorder will gaze back.

I think that I just (finally!) made one successful connection between The Chinese Oracle and the Tarot. My guess (a humble one) is that Hexagram 29 corresponds to the Hanged Man, which also means acceptance of one’s fate. I read that someone connected it to the Devil, but I am not so sure.

I seriously departed from the subject of ‘when do you announce to other people’ that you are mad and will have to come back to it.


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