The Things That Keep us Sane

Insanity is ‘doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results’. Einstein allegedly said it, and we have all run with it because Einstein is smart, not insane. 

Insanity is actually legal terminology by origin. It’s used to apply understanding to a crime and its committer; perhaps not with the centralised purpose of encouraging compassion, more so to encourage acceptance of something and someone heinous. “She did it because she is insane,” “that person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable behaviour.”  

We can harvest acceptance for its byproducts of peace, as discerners of insanity, just as an ‘insane’ person observes themselves and seeks peace in a diagnosis. Since we’re so used to placing ourselves underneath extreme categories, it’s likely you’ve thought yourself to be insane. It’s also likely that your only crime is meaningless, thoughtless repetition of things that aren’t working for you, and maybe a slight disconnection from reality to boot. And once you’ve labelled yourself as such, the symptoms of insanity: mania, panic and a loss of grip aren’t as bad, now that you’ve found a collective where such feelings and behaviours run rampant. “It’s just how I am.”

Maybe bad things have happened to you.Rates of childhood and adult trauma are high among incarcerated persons.” You’re not incarcerated, but maybe you are altered in some way, and the ‘insanity’ can be reasoned. Maybe your tendency to spiral has been enabled because it can be.

Someone I loved very much and have done all of my life has died very recently and I’ve decided not to go insane. I’ve done so for less in the past. Yes, my definition of insane is the same as yours, but the devil is in the details. Insanity for me is extremes— upending morals and dissolving guidelines. It’s also glazing over for a long period of time, it’s finding the extraction of depth from any sort of lifestyle to be challenging. 

But what is different today when compared to past downward spiralling and triggering events, is that this trauma directly concerns life and its value. That, and being the oldest that I’ve ever been forces me to face the ticking away of time. I’m also the most knowledgeable I’ve ever been, I know more about how time should be spent, and what way of spending it whittles it down the most. These are average ideas and the most basic of facts. 

It makes sense to stay put, to be paused. It seems the most honouring, the most gracious. But such claims begin to stink when they become a masquerade, and they always do in the end. There’s also not a lot of energy in reserve at times like these, yet it is the things that take the most out of me that keep me sane. And so I’m going to do them as insulting as it all may feel.

Leave a Reply