Prolonged bereavement — Case Study No. 181221
Page from patient diary — CONFIDENTIAL — provided by Dr. Wilhelm Michelob, Einrichtung für Psychiatrie, Vienna.
Notes: Patient appears to be addressing his former place of residence.
Yes yes lowly bungalow you don’t have to tell me… I know I’m going mad… it’s been progressing unsteadily since my wife died twentyone months and seventeen days ago… but you know that because you were here and saw the whole thing unravel, the ambulance, wailing death screamer in the night and the medics… such desperate looks of hopelessness… and even though the madness started slowly it has been growing, hidden away from the few friends and relatives I have left and even to myself because my wife kept me sane and now I am drifting in a sea of madness and people don’t say it because no one talks to me anymore but I know they are thinking, Grow up you fool you weak minded idiot, wives and husbands die all the time and remaining spouses get over it and go on with their lives so why the hell should you be any different than everybody else, talking and acting so weird, so way out of proportion, so crazy and drinking eightyproof firewater like there’s no tomorrow and all I can tell them is that I’m not everybody else and if you want to know the truth I had the seeds of madness to begin with… even my son went mad and I think my mother was mad but as long as my wife was in my life and in my head the seeds stayed in the ground and did not grow but the moment she died they started to grow and now it’s my wife who is in the ground and the seeds are weeds overgrowing my brain and I’ll have to go to the hardware store tomorrow and get a Goddamn weed-cutter
[Note ends abruptly]
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4 thoughts on “Weeds of madness”
Why complicate things, Billy 🐝 You are not mad, neither was your son – I know he killed himself, but he was clear-minded and advanced thinking – I know it from some of his writings you shared. Since we don’t have his decisiveness and bravery, we must carry on and make it work. So stop giving yourself excuses. You are not only what you eat, but also what you think – if you keep letting your mind circling the same old unwanted thoughts, you become those thoughts 🦦
Try thinking of something else, how about:
1. replace the old pictures in the rooms with new wall-hangs, the brighter the colors the better, extending the scenery to somewhere far and vast and beyond …
2. stop watching those old movies, watch something new – subscribe to Netflix if you have to;
3. find your neighborhood on nextdoor.com to join if you haven’t, so that you could watch the goings on within your radius; you could also post message up there to donate outdated clothing or bulky furniture that you no longer need.
4. with the old junks gone, you could even start practicing meditation in the newfound space …
Just a few uninspiring thoughts, please pardon my tactless manner 🦔 I know you have a brilliant mind to come up with something else truly befitting your style 🍄
Ah, Dot, I do love you so and your voice of reason. I will forward your suggestions for changing or at least brightening my surroundings to the annoying, cawing Jackdaw of Unreason who seems to have taken up a perch in my head. (Perhaps I should shoot the sob!)
I am sorry Billy, I realized my last comment was made in a state of insensibility 🐢 I can be in lack of empathy just like that, probably because I watched too little good movies🦉 BTW, I’ve watched the one you once recommended, The Station Agent, and it’s truly a great movie (Netflix doesn’t have it, so I got it from the library), all the actors are perfect for their characters, and the soundtracks are just beautiful … If you’re in for something less wistful but insanely funny, I’d recommend Rat Race, and Dinner for Schmucks🦔
Dot, I didn’t notice any ‘lack of empathy’ in your comment, it was all good advice. Yes, indeed, I can watch ‘The Station Agent’ every time it comes on, a poignant and ultimately joyful movie; and that haunting soundtrack comes from a zither, which also provided the theme for the 1949 British film noir ‘The Third Man’ — another great movie. I’ll hold off on ‘Dinner for Schmucks’ until I get more grass.