I guess inner conflicts change one’s personality. Severe trauma and an element of suppression can dictate the mood and even take control of your life. Why am I telling you all this? Just this month, I got to see at work a very disturbed mind, yet, very sane in most ways.
Shock and distress have played such a pivotal role in her mind that she actually believes that a part of her life is in conspiracy with her faculties. Of course, there is a way out but at the moment she can’t really see it. Such people build elaborate facades to try to hide the content of their minds. I guess it is the protection mechanism made perfect, or so they think. When such people go to the length of hiding their true feelings they deny the right to discover what they really feel.
One of the attributes is to contradict themselves to try to send the signals in a red herring kind of way. A tactic used by soldiers when they want to confuse the enemy. Because such people see most of their surroundings as hostile. It is simply because they have lost faith in fellow human beings and the protection mechanism is in a way a wedge firmly placed between them and the rest.
They just need to face their troubles in the same terms they created them in the first place. People do change but just outwardly and that is where the problem is. Thoughts do create a stream of aggressive emotions and when bottled up can cause untold chaos. However, when channeled out in a disciplined way it can work out well for the subject.
It is the outlet that matters because how stress gets into the system is not too important. I met a photographer who was furiously clicking away his digital cameras at anything in sight. It did not matter whether the pictures would be bought or not. Painters who spend hours on the canvas only to store them under a heap of cobwebs or people who jot down things to rip away the papers just minutes later, all have one thing in common. They just push out their troubles using their favourite pastime as a dumping pedestal. It is gentle and yet soothing. It also keeps the doctor away. When anger builds up what is the use of breaking someone’s ribs? Just transform that forceful energy into something creative. We all studied physics, didn’t we? We can’t all paint or afford a camera but just buy a flute like that construction labourer I used to see on the beach.
He played music to the fish, or so he said, and half of the regular beach walkers thought he was mad. He was as sane as anyone of us. He had also discovered a way out for his problems most us would spend a lifetime and fail to understand. And he was only a labourer and he would not know about energy transformation as taught in the classroom.
I would also say that a certain degree of mental provocation may lead to some kind of normalcy for acute cases. We need to talk about things, trivial they might be. If words don’t come out then find someone who would provoke you hard enough for you to pour them out. Get the tears out every now and then, crying often does help.
I don’t think there are enough bottles in the world to hold your anguish if you don’t. And bottles do have a habit of breaking.
Akif Abdulamir is an Oman-based writer
*Published in KHALEEJ TIMES on Apr. 3