Are We All Mad?
After reading Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen, I thought about how others who do not understand us can see us as weird, odd, sick, or any other label to explain away something they do not understand.
We see this in families, work relationships, friendships, romance, religion, and any other place where people observe other people. If you act "right," you are fine; if you deviate from someone else's definition, you are somehow damaged or less than.
One particular passage in her book was poignant for me, as I reflect on my own life, now at nearly 60 years old. I have always questioned rules, even though I continued to find myself in situations where rules were prevalent.
"Making some mistakes," he said. "We can't have that."
"If I could smoke," I said, "I wouldn't make so many."
He just shook his head.
Friday I didn't go in. I didn't call either. I lay in bed smoking and thinking about the office. The more I thought about it the more absurd it became. I couldn't take all those rules seriously. I started to laugh, thinking of the typists jammed into the bathroom, smoking.
But it was my job. Not only that--I was the one person who had trouble with the rules. Everybody else accepted them.
Was this a mark of my madness?
All weekend I thought about it. Was I crazy or right? In 1967, this was a hard question to answer. Even twenty-five years later, it's a hard question to answer.
I once had a shrink suggest (diagnose) me as having Oppositional-Defiant Disorder (ODD), citing that I had to question anyone in authority, even him. I remember asking him if we were in old Greece, would I be seen as having ODD.
Come to think of it, Socrates was put to death for his defiance.
© Coral Levang, 2015
Image Credit » http://pixabay.com/en/psychosis-depression-madness-388874/ by geralt