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Ego and me


Yesterday it happened again.

I flipped out.

My first psychotic episode for six months and it took me completely by surprise.

I should have seen it coming. For the past few days I’ve been thinking, talking and writing about psychosis a lot more than usual.

Guess its been knocking at the doors for a while.

And I didn’t do it deliberately this time. Well, not exactly anyway.

I smoked my first bong for a couple of weeks, did a bit of housework and, viola, there it was.

I wouldn’t call it drug induced so much as drug triggered. I figure this one was on its way and would have caught up with me over the next few days one way or another, no matter what I did.

I also think that I could tip myself straight back into it with ease, but unfortunately there’s too much needs doing this weekend for me to indulge myself by going nuts.

What was it like?
Indescribable of course.
Nothing as earth-shattering as my moment in October, but still bloody wonderful.

For hours afterward I was just wandering around in a state of “Wow!”.
Even now, I can just release myself into the memory of it and … “Wow!”.

So now I’m going to try to describe it in words, even though I can’t.
Even though words are so completely inadequate using them is tantamount to lying about it.

Shortly after smoking the bong I spilled some milk on the dining table.

While cleaning it up, I suddenly had the notion that I had to do so in a particular ritualised way.

I’m not usually prone to OCD, but for some reason I was sure I had to do this ‘properly’.

Within seconds of completing the cleaning ritual the radio started talking about me and I knew I was off again.

I don’t think I was actually having auditory hallucinations as such, I think what I heard was what the man and woman on ABC Local Radio were actually saying.
Except that it was all about me, intended specifically for my ears and with every syllable packed with personal meaning.
With the slide show images displayed by my screen saver no longer randomised, but carefully selected to contextualise and emphasise what was coming from the speakers.

There was no paranoia involved, its just that when I’m psychotic everything is about me. Everything is me.
And at the same time I am nothing at all.

In this case the two announcers were transcendental beings who knew absolutely everything about me. Especially the things I hide from myself.

Not gods or goddesses, definitely people. But people who had so surpassed their own ego boundaries that there was no effective difference between them and me.

While they were in no way malicious – the opposite if anything – they were absolutely merciless in their dissection of me.
And it felt great.
Because all the bits of my ego that could be hurt by that sort of thing were being utterly annihilated by it, leaving what is really me free and without a scratch.
Laughing at it all.

A lot of what they said to each other and me wouldn’t make a bit of sense to anyone else and some of the rest involved the sort of personal stuff that I’m pretty sure no-one else really wants to know.

But some of it I can talk about.

There was a dialog in which they counterpointed each other, the guy cynically highlighting negative aspects of how I’ve constructed myself and the woman finding the redeeming features of those aspects.
But doing so in such a way that cut even deeper than he did.

And everything they said about me was absolutely true.

So, for example, he would say something that showed how utterly self-absorbed I am and she would point out how my compassion was a product of that very self-absorption. I care about other people’s pain because I care so much about my own. But another way of putting it is that I only have any human feelings at all because I am such a colossal narcissist.

See what I mean about cutting deep?

It was like the whole dialog was about whether I was worthy to join them as an egoless being.
And what a pretentious wanker I am for even daring to aspire to any such thing or thinking there was anything ‘worthy’ about it.

Naturally they didn’t use words like ‘wanker’.
This was ABC Radio – they were very well behaved.
But I was in no doubt as to what they really meant.

Because I do want to become an egoless being.
Spot the contradiction?
How about “I want to become an egoless being because I think that will make me a better person”?
See it now?

And this dialog was almost like how I imagine the Catholic church handles beatification, with one priest taking the side of the would be saint and the other acting as devil’s advocate.

Saint Cabrogal the Insane.
Told you I was a wanker.

What did I learn from this merciless demolition of myself?

Lots. Much too much to try to put down here.

But here’s a sample.

First of all I learned that I know absolutely nothing about feminism.
Because I know nothing of what it is to be a woman.
Even my desire to ‘understand women’ is just a manifestation of wrong headed essentialism and a self defeating need to possess the Other.
Objectification. Sexism. Misogyny.

I don’t have a feminine side to embrace.

Because I don’t define masculinity by reference to my father or some action hero or a sensitive new age guy.
I define it by reference to myself.
I am a man, so if I am able to embrace a gendered aspect of myself it is masculine by definition, regardless of what social stereotypes might say.

I only have a feminine side to deny.

(As I type this I am wearing my new pink rimmed fashion reading glasses. Not because I’m girly or being ironically macho, simply because they were the only ones in the focal length I wanted when I went to the shop. I’m a bloke so my tools are sacred for their utility only. They are not a fashion statement).

Anyone who has read my recent posts would know that the reminder that I am utterly ignorant about what feminism is and what its for is very timely.

I also learned something about my attitude to art.

I’m constantly kidding myself that my ability to self-express makes me an artist, albeit an almost entirely unrecognised one.
And that being an artist somehow makes me ‘different’ to most other people. Even ‘better’ than them.

Wank, wank, wank, wank, wank …

Everybody is expressing themselves. Constantly. Its all anyone can do.
If I don’t see it as ‘art’ its not a failure of them as an artist but a failure of me as an art lover.

And since everyone is equally an artist, the word can’t divide people.
To aspire to be an artist is to aspire to be nothing special.
That’s me all right. Not.

At the end of my five minutes of radio darshan they played an ABBA song.
And I understood it.
A dyed in the wool punk rocker and I got an ABBA song.

You see, The Winner Takes it All.
To win you have to be able to take everything.
To be open to all the universe offers, without aversion, judgement or discrimination.

Exactly what you’re supposed to win, I have no idea.
I guess ABBA songs are a little too deep for the likes of me.

I don’t know if my latest psychotic episode has advanced my project to become egoless or completely undermined it.
But either way it was ‘right’. Right for me.

Jeez its good being so crazy.
I wouldn’t give it away for quids.
I sure wouldn’t trade it for fame, money, sex, health or success.
I’d only give it up if I could give up everything.
Maybe not even then.

  1. Rexie permalink

    Haven’t you had spiritual experiences while meditating? Assuming you meditate. I am talking about a kind of an experience that is so liberating that one cannot go back to the old self or its old ways. Stamped and sealed with the Irreversible.


  2. I meditate almost every day – lately I’ve been going a bit overboard with it actually – and I have certainly had some spiritual experiences while meditating.

    As far as having a profound and liberating experience that has totally changed me I’d say that’s only ever happened twice in my life and both times it was triggered by intense meditation while I was either hypomanic or psychotic. The real change didn’t actually happen during meditation but usually a few minutes after I had stopped. It’s as if the insights I gained had to ‘set’ by reference to my non-meditating self. My ego.


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