I think I begin to understand how some people go crazy. Not because of some inherent chemical imbalance, a traumatic brain injury, or some single event so emotionally traumatic that it shatters their grip on reality.
The other way. The slow, errosive way.
It comes from regret. Those little snapshots of emotional pain that we all carry around with us, carefully buried, hidden out of site. Only, sometimes, they don’t STAY hidden.
They start to peek out around the edges. They start to bleed over into our waking consciousness, sometimes like the sudden stab of a sewing needle so sudden and unexpected that it makes you gasp out loud.
But it starts to happen more and more. Thoughts from high school, junior high, childhood, college, early adult. Little slips, or casual sins. Mistakes, flubs, inadequacies or regrets about the time you did when you shouldn’t, or didn’t when you should.
And then one day, your brain begins to so fear these little flashes, these little pokes and prods at the underbelly of your guilt, that it begins to try and hide. It starts to try and make the bad noises go away. It begins to construct a new reality, one where I don’t have remember the past, or place expectations on the future. It begins to close valves and shut switches, dogging down hatches and pulling in the gangplanks.
It makes a nice, safe, cozy little cardboard box for itself, and there wraps itself in discarded blankets and old newspapers, rocking quietly and gently back and forth, humming a silent, buzzing melody that helps drown out the noise. It’s cool, and quiet, and dark. No one gets in, no one gets out. But its safer that way, better.