15 December 2008


HIDEFAC I’m neurotic. I get tangled up in my mind and do stupid things. I will resist doing something that is easy, for which there is no reason that I shouldn’t do it, but not doing it will make someone mad at me. That’s neurotic. I was somewhat distressed to learn that the DSM-III (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) had eliminated “neurosis” as a category of mental disorder. I guess I’m OK now since the DSM says that what I have doesn’t exist. One would think that I would quit procrastinating on silly things, but I still do.

Neurosis is a class of personality disorders that do not rise to the level of “psychosis” and they aren’t generally helped by pills, shock treatment and lobotomies. Generally speaking, neuroses won’t land you in prison or the morgue; they just trip you up and make your life a pain in the ass. Often, they are rooted in conflicting messages from parents in early childhood, medium level trauma early in life, self-esteem issues and the like. In "A Bio-Social Theory of Neurosis", Dr. C. George Boeree characterized the effects of neurosis this way:

...anxiety, sadness or depression, anger, irritability, mental confusion, low sense of self-worth, etc., behavioral symptoms such as phobic avoidance, vigilance, impulsive and compulsive acts, lethargy, etc., cognitive problems such as unpleasant or disturbing thoughts, repetition of thoughts and obsession, habitual fantasizing, negativity and cynicism, etc. Interpersonally, neurosis involves dependency, aggressiveness, perfectionism, schizoid isolation, socio-culturally inappropriate behaviors, etc.

While I don’t suffer with “schizoid isolation” (the world won’t leave me alone) and “socio-culturally inappropriate behaviors” (unless you include a certain fondness for assault rifles), virtually all the rest of that stuff has plagued me at one time or another. I have a phobic avoidance going with the Highland Kroger supermarket; I would rather go hungry than enter that store. I will impulsively post weird crap on my blog that I know makes my friends question my sanity. “Unpleasant or disturbing thoughts” – are there any other kinds? Vigilant? Not only am I vigilant, I have two German Shepherds to help me, and one of us is going to pick you up before you get over the wire. “Sadness and depression, anger, irritability…” – if you don’t have these, you just aren’t paying attention.

I have acute mental confusion every time I read the news because it looks like the people running this planet are a whole lot dumber than I am. So, why are they in charge and not me? This confuses the hell out of me. I compulsively take photographs, draw pictures and write things, trying to capture the glimpses of beauty and interest that present themselves to me. I habitually fantasize that this is some kind of bad dream that I’m going to wake up from real soon.

Carl Jung said, “I have frequently seen people become neurotic when they content themselves with inadequate or wrong answers to the questions of life…” OK, Carl, what are the right answers? Shall we all become fully integrated cosmic Buddha-Jesus-Brahma-Godhead, and how many deities does one planet really need? Don’t get me wrong; I like Jung, but not everyone can devote their lives to undergoing psychoanalysis until perfect personal wholeness is achieved, if that’s even possible, and I doubt it actually. Cynical, I guess – see there’s that neurosis popping up again.

You know what’s really wild? I don’t want to be cured. I won’t go to a psychoanalyst to “fix me” because that whole writhing snake pit of personality flaws is a big part of what makes me myself. If I got cured, I wouldn’t have any motivation at all. I guess I’d just sit there like Buddha and soak in nirvana, but honestly, that’s just not my style. I actually kind of like my disturbing thoughts, and maybe, just maybe, a thinking person ought to be a bit angry these days. Yeah, the supermarket thing is kind of psycho, but I’m working on it.

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Hillbilly said...

I find that this is true... KRJ just has put it in similar terms. I just happened to stumble on it while grabbing a link last night.

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