These two posts are about a piece of advice my boyfriend gave me, from within a dream.
I woke one morning, to recall him telling me, quite emphatically, “it’s about a duality, Ally, not a singularity.” Once I made sure I hadn’t been drinking the night before, and this wasn’t a deep and meaningful we’d had before I passed out, I realised that his voice had spoken to me whilst I slept.
This was so fantastic, and so awesome, that it prompted some extensive pondering. For I knew this already; of course it is about duality, making a connection with somebody you love, and cultivating that bond.
All I wanted, all I wanted, was to get closer to him. To get to know him even more than I already do, and for our relationship to strengthen and deepen as time past.
Old issues, however, and remnants of my psychotic mindset, were making it really hard to translate what I wanted, into reality.
I had been fighting the negative symptoms of said ‘disease’ for so long, that when Ru came into my life it took me some time to realise that I was no longer fighting on my own. It took me a long time to realise that I could take down my blinkers, because he was standing beside me now, and was persistently trying to take my hand.
A scathing little voice kept sneaking back in and saying the exact words that would ruin an intimate moment, scare me when I knew I was safe, and generally undermine anything which was positively meaningful.
It is like trying to kiss someone with a sharp metal spike protruding from your forehead.
Moreover, my mind had constructed various levels of defence to shield me from stimuli and input with the power to send me into a state of upheaval. These defences keep me removed from the state of duality which my boyfriend was gently and patiently holding out in front of me.
Defences aimed at keeping me singular, and keeping me safe.
Because singularity is peaceful, in a lonely sorrowful sense. It is like staring down at the beauty of the earth, on your own, from a satellite orbiting in space; that beauty is uninterrupted by a comment from anybody else, unobscured by another persons impression.
You are not affected by another persons activity, you are singular, you are self contained.
I have always been aware of the concept of defence mechanisms, but I don’t think I previously understood how deep they can run, and how determined they can be in doggedly pursuing your safety and peace of mind.
This is crucial; love is a doing word, love is breathless, racing and fierce.
It brings a kind of peace with it, but it is not all smooth sailing. Love creates new forms of self and feeling, and new lines of sight. Duality does not allow for permanent and continuous peace of mind.
Love impacts your mind, in the most turbulent of ways, and this causes internal warning lights to start flashing if (like me) you have previously lost yourself entirely to such strong stimuli and sensation.
Turbulent feelings trigger defence mechanisms (any thought process which will counter the feeling), and processes designed to make sure, at any cost, that the head doesn’t fail again, and these intense experiences don’t create another psychic implosion.
It was almost comical how efficiently these mechanisms functioned in my poor addled brain.
In that crucial moment when my boyfriend and I were close, a thought process would kick in which would make me feel dumb, uncertain or fearful- so the closer he tried to get to me the more I would pull away.
The negative feelings that came on with these “distractions” were simply too strong, and too undermining; staying close to him felt too intense.
Breaking out from the paranoid clutches of schizophrenia so that you can turn around and give somebody else your full attention is really, really difficult. The defence mechanisms are part of the condition, and visa versa- it is all just different sides to the fearful aspect of the brain.
It has taken my poor, frantic mind some considerable time to realise that I can let go of those defence mechanisms, move past all of that pain, and come back to a place where I can allow somebody else to take a bit of the slack.
Though it must be said that letting go of these defence mechanisms is a lot harder than the song from disneys Frozen makes out. It is massively hard to let go of stuff, which doesn’t seem to want to be let go of; in fact it is like trying to get rid of a boomerang, the harder you throw it away the harder it seems to return to hit you between the eyes.
We have had to work, slowly and over time, at breaking down my barriers. Like a trickle of water eventually overwhelming a dam made of stone.
As my defence mechanisms were broken down, and those walls crumbled, that initial feeling of duality, that initial sensation of uncertainty that came from trusting another person, and allowing another person to influence and affect me, was terrifying, after I had subconsciously resisted it for so long.
The mind works to keep you safe, and it works to protect you from perceived threats. However, like an overbearing parent, it is sometimes overzealous, and sometimes works in ways which don’t coincide with what you actually want.
This is nowhere more pronounced with schizophrenia, and my poor minefield of a mind was resisting the notion of duality, on some fearful and subconscious level, because it only seemed to be a massive can of worms which seemed to work to hurt me.
Remaining singular seemed safer.
So my boyfriends dream advice blew my mind, in the very best of ways.
There have been other moments when I have had that illuminating moment, that light breaking through the dark moment; when I’ve realised just how flipping lucky I am that his path crossed mine when it did.
Because I had forgotten how to be part of a pair, I had forgotten how to connect; how to be with another person.
Singularity is safe yes, and it is calm and self-orientated; easy in it’s simplicity. But it is not what I craved, and not what I knew was going to fire me up and light up my spirit. As Ru and I started to get close, I knew that I wanted to go the whole way with him: duality, not singularity.
He came along and stomached all of my insecurities, dealt with all of my ‘neurosis’ and slowly, over the course of two and half years, lifted me up so that I could actually feel the light again.
Love like that, come as something of a surprise.
Theoretically, I always knew that life was about meeting someone who seems to understand you, and then getting as close to them as you physically and psychologically could. I always knew this truth- that life is about duality, not singularity. But this knowledge was very imagined, hoped for, grasped at.
It has become real for me, over the last two and a half years.
(To be continued )