I had an episode recently. By episode I mean an event when I felt like everything was wrong, my entire existence is wrong, and I feel nothing but pain dripping from the core of my soul. Such episodes are few and far in between these days, because I’ve been managing myself so well, virtually wrapping myself in cotton wool.
These episodes were a lot more frequent when I was younger. They were so frequent I don’t think I saw them as episodes but rather as one long unending bout of pain. When the latest episode happened, one of the first questions I asked myself was, am I PMS-ing? And then followed by…what if I got it wrong? What if hormones did not make me magnify the magnitude of my pain felt, but rather it was a period whereby the shields I’ve built paused their function, and I am forced to confront the true magnitude of my feelings? What if what I considered “normal” was actually a well orchestrated effort in putting up psychic shields, what if what we think of as resilience is merely the capacity to delude, numb or divert ourselves?
My myopia is -3.0, and most of the day I move around the house without my glasses, because they tend to tire my eyes. In the past I did housework without wearing my glasses, but recently I started wearing them because I wanted to clean more thoroughly. Suddenly, I started to notice every little flaw around the house, flaws I’ve never noticed for most of the months I’ve stayed there. I couldn’t forget them, and it was difficult not to let them bother me.
I wondered if it would have been better if I didn’t start wearing glasses to clean the house in the first place.
In studies of depression there is this concept called depressive realism, where the researchers argued that depressed people are depressed precisely because they are not able to effectively shield themselves from reality. Just like any study there is always a for and against, but regardless it provoked me to rethink the assumptions I have about my condition. In the recent years there is a growing body of research that it could be an evolutionary adaptation. One of the purported advantages is that it forces people to look at issues deeply instead of just sweeping it under the carpet with buoyant optimism.
I don’t know. Maybe to cope with life we must know when to turn a blind eye, when to have laser sharp focus. Maybe seeing things too clearly all the time is not sustainable. Maybe it is okay to have blurry vision for most days. But when does that become avoidance, and when does seeing things too clearly becomes too strenuous? Is there ever a sweet spot or does it occur in seasons?
Maybe communion with truth needs to be managed in doses.
As I get older, I realize there’s no absolute way to be, and maybe the right way is contextual, or whatever it takes to keep us alive, even if that means sacrificing clarity in vision.