Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Running With Scissors
During my "down time," as I'm now calling it, I read Augusten Burrough's "Running with Scissors." I haven't seen the movie, which is nice, because I always get influenced by them about what the characters look like, etc. I like going into it with no preconceptions.
Anyway, if you haven't read or seen "Running with Scissors," it's about this teenage boy's very disturbing yet hilarious life with two highly dysfunctional families, his own and the family of the so-called psychiatrist who was "treating" his mother. There was a lot of talk of insanity, hospitalizations, and general wackiness.
Shortly after reading this book I had a disturbing dream that I was committed to a psychiatric ward of a hospital. I remember sitting in a bed (I can't remember if I was restrained or not), and while I was pretty much aware of other patients around me and a television set on somewhere in the background, nothing particularly bad was happening. I just remember feeling kind of freaked out that I had wound up in this place. I don't know who committed me, either -- whether it was myself, my family, the authorities, etc. I also don't know if there was a specific event that took me there (suicide attempt or other crazy behavior). I was given an injection of a sedative; I can still remember how realistic it felt as I began to get drowsy and fall into unconsciousness.
I later woke up in my Mom's house (in the dream) and felt all groggy and out of it. My mom looked at me and laughed, saying, "Boy, I don't know where you were partying last night, but you must have had a wild time."
I remember being so upset by this, that she didn't understand I wasn't hungover from a party; I was waking up from a scary, sad event.
There's a lot of symbolism in this dream that becomes more and more apparent as the days go on. At first it just bothered me; the concept of being "crazy" and locked up for it. But now, I can see that it's a representation of my life. While there was no one specific reason why I started to melt down this summer, I did. And when it became too much I went into action and went to the doctor for help.
As for the sedative? Let's just say that food became my knock-out drug the last couple weeks, sending me into a deadened, unconscious state. Now that I'm waking up from that haze, there are two ways of looking at it. I was on a wild "joy ride" of eating whatever I wanted, as much as possible. But one person's exciting ride is another person's trip of terror. It was a dark, sad place that was disordered, irrational and dysfunctional.
In an odd coincidence (if there is such a thing), last week my copies of "The Power of Now" and "Practicing The Power of Now" arrived in the mail after some delay. This morning I picked up the "Practicing" book and opened it to a random page. It just happened to be from the chapter entitled "Dissolving the Pain Body," and here is the paragraph my eyes settled on:
"This is not to deny that you may encounter intense inner resistance to disidentifying from your pain. This will be the case particularly if you have lived closely identified with your emotional pain-body for most of your life and the whole or a large part of your sense of self is invested in it. What this means is that you have made an unhappy self out of your pain-body and believe that this mind-made fiction is who you are. In that case, unconscious fear of losing your identity will create strong resistance to any disidentifcation. In other words, you would rather be in pain -- be the pain-body -- than take a leap into the unknown and risk losing the familiar unhappy self."
Pretty wild, huh? That's pretty much my recent behavior in a nutshell -- pardon the pun!
The good news is, "To suddenly see that you are or have been attached to your pain can be quite a shocking realization. The moment you realize this, you have broken the attachment."
Yes, I'm waking up and realizing I fell once again into my Pain Body. I know this is a good thing because it means I'm not actually in it anymore. But it still bothers me that I wound up there again. I do feel like a mental patient in those moments, out of control and sad that I don't seem to have a solid grip on anything. And even more frustrating, I don't feel like anyone around me in my day-to-day life can understand it at all.
I keep thinking about this one section of "Running With Scissors" and how much I relate to it:
"Natalie leaned in and put her elbows on the table. 'Don't you ever just feel like we're chasing something? Something bigger. I don't know, it's like something that only you and I can see. Like we're running, running, running?'
"'Yeah,' I said. 'We're running alright. Running with scissors.'"