Diagnosable as Myself (Contemplations on Doubt)


I have a dream to one day author a brilliant book.  I am still unsure what the genre or subject matter of this book could be, but I have a hope that the talent necessary to reach this achievement exists within me.  That word dream is used for a precise reason, that reason being a doubt in the possibility of this ever being reality.  It is a dream, and dreams are never reality.  My random musings and thoughts concerning this project have a similar effect that a vivid or powerful dream can have.  Intense ideas and profundity crop up in my mind and I try to cling to these and make them a part of a greater whole.  We all know what happens on waking, however.  Like any dream narrative, time and daily distraction cause any cogency to deteriorate swiftly, or you realize that what seemed so clear was actually completely absurd.  This often becomes apparent when trying to relate the dream/thoughts back to another person   What’s left are scraps of my intrigue and a memory that the dream/thoughts I felt were really cool, but I can’t recreate the moment with any confidence.  This results in a considerable amount of disappointment and I become complacent, letting these dreams and deep thoughts drift into my minds eye and then float away.  I wave hello and toy with them briefly but never get too excited because the dejection of being unable to bring it all into sharp focus so many times has left me without the resolve or motivation.  I doubt and come to believe falsely that I just do not have what it takes.

Over the years I have self diagnosed myself with a handful of psychological disorders or conditions to make sense of why I struggle with making something out of what I perceive to be an extraordinary skill at thinking outside of the box.  A cliche, I know, and not very specific.  But I truly feel as though I have a unique ability that allows me to shift and see topics from varying angles.  Of course I bounce around with frenetic urgency from topic to topic, argument to counter argument.  Yes, that’s it, I must have adult ADD (attention deficit disorder).  Disorder being a terrible word that’s been tagged onto these perfectly useful ways of thinking differently.  Or is it depression creating an unusual self obsession with my existential angst.  I have all the ideas I need but it must just be this depressive state that is sapping me of any sort of push to channel my creativity.  Wait, no, it could be bipolar.  But if that’s the case why do I not get this shot of manic intensity that for periods of time could allow me to imagine and succeed.  Ahh, I see, I’m one of those bipolar’s, the kind who tends towards low grade ever pervasive depression and any hint of mania is the problematic kind.  What if I am just completely deluded and really am nothing special? Just an average person with an irrational complex that causes me to think I’m bright.  None or all of this could be true, and with time I’ve come to understand the ridiculousness of psychological hypochondriasis, a truly modern epidemic.  I know one thing is for sure, I’m diagnosable as a complicated and colorful human being.  And that’s the best I can do.  All these possible disorders of the mind lie on a spectrum, in reality, and like almost everything in life the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.  It’s a conglomeration and collision of all the theories I’ve considered.  The stock tri-fold “biopsychosocial” phenomenon.  Something that we all happen to be.  I am diagnosable with Michael V Unusualness, bound to eventually be in the DSM-LVII which will have 7 billion “disorders” of the mind so as to encompass every single permutation of human being.

I’ve written about genius and insanity, the blurred lines between them.  I believe I am preoccupied with this thought of being something great.  Leaving the world in some way changed because I existed.  Wow, is that sentence as self absorbed as I think it sounds?  I’ve entertained this “dream” and have hardly allowed it to become an actual aspiration, self sabotaging and running away from it at the same time wanting it so badly.  Really this is nothing unique, most of us have a dissonance between solipsistic contemplation and rational consideration of our actual place in the world.  Because fear lies at the heart of avoiding success and avoiding being good at something, I often convince myself that I am wired for eternal ambivalence.  Does the word paradox apply?  I sure hope so because I freakin’ love that word.

I want to write a brilliant book and maybe I will some day.  It could just end up being a compilation of these absurd ramblings.  Never solving anything, but brimming with delight at trying to figure myself, other people, and the universe out.  Maybe I’ll catch lightning in a bottle, have a lunar moon landing moment where it seems inexplicable but nevertheless there they were, not on Earth but staring back at it from over two-hundred thousand miles away.  Do you think they thought to themselves “How the hell did we get here?  This shouldn’t have been possible.”  How is this preoccupation with my own self importance aspirations of any interest to people who may read this?  I could try to give an answer to that but I’d be full of it by suggesting that I actually knew.  I will simply leave off with a quote by John Gray, who wrote a brilliant book himself in the form of ‘Straw Dogs: thoughts on humans and other animals’

“Anyone who truly wants to escape human solipsism should not seek out empty places. Instead of fleeing to desert, where they will be thrown back into their own thoughts, they will do better to seek out the company of other animals.”

John Gray, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals

-Favorite albums of 2013, in consideration for #1 (Arcade Fire ‘Reflektor’, STRFKR ‘Miracle Mile, Danny Brown ‘Old’, Vampire Weekend ‘Modern Vampires of the City’)

-TV show I think we are all tortured to be ambivalent about as we wait and see if it can become the great show it think it is:   The Walking Dead

-TV show pleasant surprise: Masters of Sex

-TV show I’m part way through that is already in the category of sublime: Six Feet Under

-Issues I’m waffling on

1.  Foreign films being remade for American audiences

2.  Films dramatizing reality and saying they are based on a true story (while the phrase doesn’t suggest it’s completely true, the use of real names, places and events, seems to prime an audience to believe that what they are seeing actually occurred, often times without question)



6 thoughts on “Diagnosable as Myself (Contemplations on Doubt)

  1. When I think of trying to change the world, I get overwhelmed. But when I think of trying to get really, really good at the things I love to do, I get excited. If I’m going to change the world, it would probably have to be by accident by being really, really good at something rather than by trying to change it on purpose. Otherwise I’ll never get started!

    • Yes, it’s more reasonable to focus on the things I love to do and go about doing them without concerning myself too much with what impact it might have. I can’t ignore my preoccupation with wanting to do something recognized as great, but I don’t think that can be my goal or purpose. If it fulfills me and makes me happy, that in itself is something great, if it becomes recognized and useful to others as such that would likely be on accident or occur fortuitously.

  2. I really like the John Gray quote and do think human connection is important whether for one’s mental health, but also brings purpose and more meaning to life. Reminds me that I am not the only one in some many ways and I am as much a part of the daily grind as anyone else that we are all spinning the wheels together, even as much as individuality has been instilled in me.
    I like that you bring up diagnosis, because I think it is important to remember that someone is not just their diagnosis, but overall a complex human being, with many self-constructs of who they are and various experiences. I don’t think it’s fair to blame people’s actions only on their diagnosis. That it is not empowering to that individual and negates the person as a unique individual, with much more to be known and appreciated whether from oneself or from the people in their life. I like how you also look at your existential angst as a strength and your ability to view situations from different angles also as strength, rather than just a symptom.
    I also think with any kind of creative process their is a moments of high, clarity, and inspiration, as well as moments of doubt and fear of failure or of wasting one’s time/energy. Sometimes it just takes saying, “This is important to me. I believe in myself. I can persevere and if anything I am doing this for myself and is an opportunity to understand the world and myself better. And perhaps other people will see that or gain some kind of insight from it.”
    I hope you continue to write and who knows where such writing could lead and it very well could become a tangible product for people to relate or learn from.

    • Yeah, diagnosis and “disorders” have this connotation towards something being wrong with a person. While certain ways that a person thinks can become maladaptive, they also have their benefits when understood and utilized with self awareness. Humans are so complex! It’s fascinating and frustrating at the same time. My main concern and i think a contributor to the stigma of “mental illness” is that society kind of operates with a normative mental capacity in mind. Efficiency, routine, reliability. All things that can be useful but when other more chaotic or lesser understood behavior and ways of thinking disrupt the status quo, the assumption can be that it is a bad thing. It may be harder to understand, but some of these messier aspects of our humanity have their place for creativity and innovation, as well as making life a little more interesting.

  3. Upon reading the John Gray quote, I asked myself- “is this the same John Gray who wrote ‘Men are from mars and Women are from Venus???”
    Different Gray.
    I like how response to Amara you state “some of these messier aspects of humanity have their place for creativity and innovation”. An important reality that I often forget and under appreciate!

    • the John Gray philosopher often gets mistaken on web searches and such with the John Gray who wrote Men are From Mars and Women are from Venus. It has proved frustrating when trying to find other books from the John Gray who wrote Straw Dogs. Yes, humans were not made to be machines. We operate similar to them in many ways, but are much more complex. Which probably is the very reason for why people create and invent and think in so many different ways. But with the use of machines in industry and the ever voracious elements of consumerism, we’ve drifted towards a normative idea of what is most useful in a human being. That is why we have these terms for “disorders” and “abnormal” psychology. This normative concept is a complete abstraction, in a lot of ways people are being forced into that mold. This is likely the reason why a majority of individuals do not like their jobs.

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