I have an ongoing fear of insanity. Serious insanity, but it’s not that I’ll lose grip on reality – it’s that reality itself is the insanity. I don’t believe there is such thing as insanity, the way our medical texts describe it. Rather, insanity is the warping of our own reality before us into something which makes us feel negative, a fearful state, a state of suffering and pain. That is insanity, and in most religions, it is equated with hell. Thus, I find little difference between the diagnosis of insanity, and the religious ideology of hell.
My fear is not simple, and is accompanied by a very heavy weight. One in which I find difficult to bear at it’s most potent times.
It began on a night when I began to, not necessarily hallucinate, but my perspective of humans started to warp. Their faces became caricatures, that which I had seen in them before, now became blindingly obvious. Those that desired sex became sex-craved. Those that desired drugs, became drug-craved. Their subtle features pronounced themselves violently in my vision, both physically and mentally. No longer was that which I called a friend simply a friend in which I empathized with. Now, the human was foreign to me, as if the soul and character had been removed, and this devilish caricature had been replaced. Almost as if to mock my own perspectives of this person, almost as if to punish me for judging their behavior.
This escalated into sober life, suddenly going to the store became a struggle with my grip for reality. People seemed like animals, behaving as if directionless and empty, as if the consciousness had been sucked out of them. In a way, it really make me value the beauty of consciousness, in this moment. But these were hard times, the fear crept it’s tentacles in every crevice of my being – no meditation or activity seemed to distract me from the elephant in the universe – that something was deeply arigh with reality, or at least my perspective of it.
I developed a fear of eye contact. An entire year went by where I had to avoid it, or face the emptiness with which I had created in other’s. A blank stare, a soul-less automaton staring back at me. It became all encompassing, that even suicide was not an option, for the fear presented itself after death as well – it was all of reality, not simply this Earth. All of existence had dropped from meaning, and left me alone and isolated from consciousness, the interconnectedness of all.
The fear grew even more irrational, shaping itself into a cosmic truman show, that this was intentionally done to me, to watch me suffer. That the entire universe itself was watching my fear grow and distort, almost for its own enjoyment, it’s own purpose that was far, far secluded from my grasp, so that not even the meaning of my suffering could be known to me.
I walked upon Earth with a kind of existential crisis the size of the solar system, acting engaged in the cosmic play before me, attempting to ‘reground’ myself in the nostalgia of once believing people were conscious, loving beings. What could I do otherwise? I had no choice but to play the game. I was confronted with the fear that claiming insanity, that attempting suicide, that removing all care for repercussions would make the fear more palatable, more present, more gripping. The fear was inescapable, and the only option was to reintegrate into the past. What I had ‘seen’ needed to be forgotten, I was assured.
This ‘assurance’ came in many different forms, most often it was in the form of some sort of communication through psychedelic experiences. I would see this ‘part’ of the universe I suppose I was not meant to see, a horrifying, deathly place, cold, expansive, and conscious-less. I had visited it and revisited it, hoping that this wasn’t all there was to see on “the other side” – that one of these days, one of these trips, or at the very least, one of these meditations, would free me from this perspective, and show me the ‘all encompassing’ love I’d read so much about.
The more I tried, the more psychotic I felt, the more distant and chaotic the world seemed, and ultimately, my will to thrive was diminished. I had become stuck between the largest rock, and the hardest place. Life was unbearable and death was no escape. I was to simply ride out an eternity of false ideologies, beliefs that what I was doing made sense and meant something, however, with a cringing nagging negative feeling, like a dagger dripping of tar, shanked into my side, as I was reminded relentlessly that I was separate, that the universe was just watching me, like a frightened pup, and showed no remorse.
This fear still hangs over my head, and is the largest most pervasive thought I have. I have spent the majority of my waking hours, ever since I was 16, devoted to over coming it, understanding it, and prospectively, dominating it. That day has not yet come, but it has shown me lessons in life that are so far beyond what anything else can teach me. I feel so far removed from worldly issues at times, that I sometimes seem to be unable to relate for the opposite reason; not that the universe is cold and dark, but that reality is not to be taken so seriously. Even this life on Earth seems to be a minor blip in what my spirit body, or soul, or mind, or consciousness, what have you, is destined for. And I’ve seen hints of massive, positive, omnipotent love as well.
It took me years to first see any glimmer of hope – any light at the end of a long, dismal tunnel, and the only thing I really had to do, was ask. And I had to ask honestly. I asked myself, my higher, true self, to see love and feel love. I wanted to feel the opposite end of the spectrum, and stop attempting to see “above” this dismal haze, but rather simply flip the spectrum. I had been going downwards, with the hopes that the farther down I went in the abyss of nothingness, that eventually I would reach some logic, some master-working that would tell me that this negativity I feel is nothing more than a figment. But the farther I went, the more engulfing it became. I reset to ground zero, and looked up. I asked to see the other side, to understand goodness.
In many of these scenarios, I was aided fully by substances like DMT, psilocybin, or LSD. This particular event – the first of any experience in which I felt a positive outcome – I was showered with love. A feeling of total euphoria rushed over me and became me. I felt as if I was being cradled by my mother, and that mother was the universe itself, that love was the universe itself. I began to weep uncontrollably. As I came down to sobriety, I was yanked back down to the abyss, almost as if I was showing myself that these two exist simultaneously, but that I had become more accustomed to the dimness of what was below – almost as if I felt safer there, because I understood it.
I am here today with a great intent to overcome this fear to a rational point – a point where I understand it’s existence, and that I can acknowledge its power – but that it no longer interferes with the majority of my days, that it no longer interferes with my waking life more so than my experience in this body and interactions with these people on this lovely planet. I’d like to thank all of you in this community for a place to speak, to sort through myself, and hear myself. The world is a beautiful, magnificent place when you can see the consciousness in others, the twinkle of your own essence in another – that connectedness of life and the mind.
One day I will understand enough to move on, so to speak. A place where contentedness out-weighs the unease of the unknown. That my understanding of the balance – the ying and yang – of the universe is enough to place me in the middle, and not run me askew.
I know there are many out there that have similar experiences - similar sufferings, similar fears - and we're here to understand these fears, face them, not run from them.
Life is an incredible journey, a most chaotic experience, something so beyond our wildest imaginations, yet we get to experience all of it, raw, here, now. It's terrifyingly beautiful, and beautifully terrifying. There is peace, love, and there is fear, pain. Take it all in. Experience it all.