Let's Talk About Madness With A Cup Of Tea
Everyone knows the Mad Hatter from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and though I am not implying that you can potentially be as magnificently mad as that fictional character straight out of Lewis Carroll’s imagination, I do say that madness is a matter of circumstances and other factors coming both from inside and outside of you.
But why am I even talking about it? Madness is a serious topic and am I not going too far by starting this serious topic with mentioning the Mad Hatter? I guess, being a fiction writer could explain my sudden association of madness with the Mad Hatter, but the main point of today’s discussion is that everyone, no matter how sainty-painty you are, has a madness trigger and I have a few words on that.
We are all mad because we live in a mad world.
Madness. Wikipedia also refers to it as insanity (which makes sense, of course) and it is a term to, and I quote, describe a spectrum of individual and group behaviors that are characterized by certain abnormal mental or behavioral patterns. So, if you put aside the bewitching appearance of the Mad Hatter, does the word madness still sound charmingly sweet to you?
For most part, we associate madness with something dark and yet something that gives our imagination a freedom to wonder boldly through what stands far beyond usual and accustomed. But as long as we separate reality from our own imagination, holding ourselves in lines of normal, we are being safe from the madness itself.
Still, madness is closer than we think.
I don not consider myself a mad person, neither do the people I know but I’m sure most know the feeling, the rising feeling of madness once being trapped in a crumbling reality. I will tell you a story that even after so many years stands as clear in my mind as if it was yesterday.
I was twelve when it happened.
My mom and I were standing in line waiting for our turn to order a load of goodies in one of the street café. Behind was a noisy stretch of the road. It was mid of November and Russian autumn weather, foggy on the north and drizzling all the way from the west. The smell of cheap coffee, and freshly baked buns and cookies were pleasantly tingling my nose. My classes ended around hour ago and I still had my backpack on the shoulders.
It was normal day until I heard a tire screeching and a deafening with its shortness sound of clash. I saw a man falling on the road, just a few inches ahead of the car, his body as one of a fish thrown out on a shore was hitting in vain convulsion. There was blood that I spotted at once on his face and hands, and there was panic.
I was twelve and I have never seen anyone dying in my entire life. I had no notion of death in my reality yet and now I was looking it straight in the eye. The solid carcasses of my mind crumbled and the panic of the scene hit me as a darn current. I was silently losing my mind.
I do not remember how we got home but later that day I leant that the man I saw dying was one of the seniors from my school. I’ve never seen him before and the only thing I remember about him was that face as he was lying on the road yet in indecision of the fate if he was going to live or die.
I do not know if he died or not, my mind refused to know, but next year I think I saw him not far from that same road. Was me seeing him, a manifestation of madness or not, I hardly can tell but I remember the feeling when it happened.
It was like every cell in my body was falling apart and all I knew or believed in before slowly peeled off my mind and for a long time there was nothing but emptiness.
Madness is the kind of process that at first seems stripping your mind of support and rationality. Some manage to go mad temporary. Like losing it when pushed too far, shouting and breaking the dishes in the kitchen in the middle of the night, or laughing while gulping down second bottle of wine, all alone. Some, like the Mad Hatter enter their madness and stay in it, building their habitat in it that goes far beyond what can be accepted or understood by the masses.
We all have a madness trigger, an explosion mechanism that can work off any time if we are not handling our mind and emotions well. And the main thought that occurred to me recently was that madness has so many forms and shapes that sometimes it becomes a new norm.
Look at what the world is going through now.
As a passive aggressor, I have to deal with unexpressed emotions all the time and sometimes it causes an eruption of madness that I either let out by chaotic, irrational behaviour or sublimate it into hardly making sense poems and short stories.
Being not able to stand up for your personal boundaries can be a push-over for a madness explosion as well. People do not take responsibility for their actions directed at another person and so unintentionally they can cause a long sleeping volcano erupt in the ugliest way possible.
Madness is a kind of permission ticket that takes some and gives some. Madness is edge which mind learns to tiptoe on. For the Mad Hatter, madness was self-expression.
The only difference is which way you use it. Maybe, we should learn how to be great in our madness instead of falling victims in it.