There was a time during my personal dark ages when I was pretty sure that as I walked down the street, everyone was thinking at me. They hated me; they laughed at me; they thought such terrible thoughts about me that after years of medication and behavior modification therapy, I can’t even find that part of my brain to remember what those thoughts were.
Just as I put a face on the voice inside my head as a child and called her my middle name, Susan, I confounded my paranoia (a putrifying rose by any other name … ) and demonized strangers. Though I was not exactly directly blaming them for the chaos inside my head, for about a year and a half, I periodically whacked a male stranger upside his head with my umbrella.
I did not do this inside my head. I did it, literally. It was violent and horrible. And like I said, medication and therapy erased the path to the part of me that had some esoteric reasons for it, which I explained to myself and my providers through the elaborate, sometimes even eloquent, anti-logic of paranoia.
Over the past year – longer, really, probably since the Trayvon Martin murder – as there has been gradually more disclosure about police shootings and other police violence affecting African Americans in particular, I have watched happen in American social media and “popular news” sources the same anti-logic that used to happen inside my head.
I am coming out a clinical depression that is so mild and brief (about 17 days) compared to what happens to a lot of people I know that I am ashamed to mention it except that it gave me a bit of writer’s block. I am very grateful for the medication and therapy that helped me off the path where fear only leads to more fear and anger that one is afraid. I am grateful that I was able to change my thought patterns.
A few years ago at my favorite shoe store, they gave me a beautiful umbrella. It is so big that 4 or 5 people could shelter under it. It does not fit into a handbag, of course. I am grateful that I can safely carry it nowadays.
I love my umbrella.