In a college psychology text book, I once read a description of schizophrenia that intrigued me. A psychologist in England opined that schizophrenia is really a sane reaction to an insane world. In other words, crazy people simply opt out of society because they are being lied to, lied about, stolen from, abused verbally, emotionally or physically… or all of the above. They see the world around them as an ugly place to be so they drop out.

I tend to agree with that opinion because it makes sense to me but it brings up another thought for consideration – I see everybody around me dropping out on occasion, people take vacations to get away from the “rat race”,  drink coffee to wake up, alcohol to forget the work day, take drugs to temporarily relieve pain, anxiety or depression; or just to feel better for a little while;  people get sick, get divorced, buy chocolate, cinnamon rolls, a fast car, a boat or a motorcycle, fix baldness, get a facelift, join a support group, or even go so far as to become homeless to avoid the burden of paying rent. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t intend to be hard on folks, just observant.

Considering the crazy world around us today, it isn’t any wonder that people drop out, and they are doing it at all levels. The President and congress lie to us and we involuntarily pay them to do it. That isn’t to say they are all crazy but sometimes I wonder, and I also wonder if we all might be a little bit crazy. I know we’re handicapped. Even the President makes mistakes. President of what?,,,, I leave it to you.

I was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADHD) when I was over 40 and I thought I was handicapped, so I took my prescribed Ritalin for awhile until I realized that with ADHD I was really in the company of some darned special people. Then I switched to vitamins on the advice of a good doctor and left the drugs behind. I have since come to realize that many accomplished achievers were probably ADHD, like Churchill, Patton, Einstein, Buckminster Fuller and many others who didn’t do well in school for lack of interest in subject material that seemed useless at the time and were sometimes prone to insubordination. WOW! My 6th grade teacher used to put me in the hall on multiple occasions, not because I was a bad boy after all, but just to get me out of her way so she could teach the class without my interference, yet I’m really a winner here? Now that’s a handicap I can live with.

I love it! We are all crazy. Isn’t that great! And guess what, we are all handicapped too. I have never met anybody who really had it all together. The blind, hearing impaired, autistic, artistic, proud, rich and famous …… or broke and famous, there are a lot of those out there too.  When you are rich or famous you are handicapped because you can’t tell anyone you are broke or sick and its hard to tell who your real friends are and the ones who are just enamoured with your iconic presence. Now, having met you, they can hardly wait to rush home and tell their friends. They say they love you but what they really love is how you have increased their attention getting ability in their own social circles. How do you tell the difference? That is a handicap and it can get darned lonesome in that condition. Uh Oh, bring on the feel good substances. Time to cry a little. Life confined to a wheel chair, blind or something might be easier in some ways than being rich or famous.

Beware of fame and fortune just as well as a life of struggle and poverty. They have their disadvantages too. There is always a price to pay, no matter the degree of acheivement. So what? At some point sensibility has to trump the cop out or we all fail.

You know,  this is really kind of exciting, to realize we are all handicapped in some way. (If you don’t believe you are at this point just wait until you get a little older) . See how your bones feel then. So we are all handicapped and crazy, now that makes sense. Now I can live a little longer in the rat race and feel OK about it. Sometimes the rats appear to be winning but that’s just a test of my confidence and determination to be free, so I guess I won’t drop out after all.

I returned to college for a semester at the age of 52. While I was there I took a class on movie making. There was a text book and weekly assignments to watch a movie and write a revue. At the end of the semester, I delivered my final paper to the professor and he read it on the spot. His comment was: “interesting dichotomy here – why is it that you get A’s on all of your papers and F’s on all of your tests? ” My reply was ” The older I get and the more focused I become, the less apt I am to memorize useless information.” He said “Oh, you mean you read the material but you don’t commit it to memory? ” My answer: That’s right, if I ever need the material, I know where to find it. It’s in that book.” He gave me a final B in the course in spite of the fact I had flunked all of his tests.

Incidentally, knowing that I’m really OK, just handicapped and crazy, helps me sleep better, smile a lot, be nicer to people (even if they don’t think I’m cute) and be confident enough to outstrip the depression and disappointments of the human condition without the supplements…..and with a clear head. “Onward and upward” as an old colleague used to say. The world is really not as bad as I used to think it was.

I think its a matter of choice. I can choose to take that pill, or I can feel better on my own. Well, I guess it doesn’t work that way all of the time but I think if I choose to feel better on my own and practice a little bit, I can feel the pain less and get over it a little easier and faster and perhaps even permanently without all of the cop out supplements.

I don’t want to hurt, I don’t want to be sad or depressed, But I don’t want to be dependent on substances to preserve my well being. In short, I would like to be a better person. So, in spite of the crazy world things are always lookin’ up,  “I’m happy now, I’m living in the sun” (from the song “Changin’ Up by Ike Picket)

Sounds easy?

Well we all know it isn’t all that easy to change habits that have been around for awhile but I want to leave the thought with you that with the right attitude and a degree of determination, we can at least head in the right direction with the confidence in knowing that a goal is out there and can be reached and that a little improvement along the way represents success in itself. There are things that need to be stopped “cold turkey” or we can’t move ahead. But it helps to know that It doesn’t matter so much where we are today or how far we have come as it does where we are headed. I hope for me and all my friends out there that we are headed for freedom and more individual responsibility. I guarantee from my own experience that there is  a large measure of happiness in it.

Do something nice for someboy before the day is over. It will lift your spirit and make YOU feel better. You are the true beneficiary of your charity for others.

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