"And you can't fight the tears that ain't comingOr the moment of truth in your liesWhen everything feels like the moviesYeah, you bleed just to know you're aliveAnd I don't want the world to see me'Cause I don't think that they'd understandWhen everything's made to be brokenI just want you to know who I am"
Iris (1998) by Goo Goo Dolls
Have you ever attended a funeral of someone you knew all your life and not feel even a twinge of sadness? And all you felt were detachment and you wondered if there was something wrong with you? Have you ever, in the heat of a fight with some one you love, step out of the crossfire in your mind? And you watch disinterestedly as the two of you kill each other with words? Have you ever have thoughts so dark that you bury them where you buried your soul because you are afraid that people will see you as the monster you secretly are, and they would cast you out in the wilderness with the other beasts that prowls in the shadow of humanity? That you just want to hold down a pretty girl who spurned you and force yourself on her? That you want to strangle your baby because he refuses to sleep and wouldn't stop crying? That sometimes, you wish you can just stop pretending to care about others and fulfil all your selfish desires or to live free of inconveniences and pain?
Do you feel as if you are somehow different from everyone around you? Do you smile and greet your friends, your colleagues, your neighbours, hoping desperately they wouldn't know what you really are and burn you at the stake? Does it seem like you alone can see all the ugliness of the world in stark black and white, while all others wander stupidly like farm animals through life in a dream, a fantasy? That there is goodness? Hope? A good God who loves you no matter what and listens to your tiny, whiny prayers as if they were at all important to the grand spinning orrery of the cosmos? Isn't that what God is? A lie you tell yourself to feel special, that the most important being in the universe cares about you, has a plan for you and had prepared a heaven for you to spend eternity with him while he casts everyone you dislike down to hell to burn? You'd like that don't you? You'd pretend to feel sorry for them, and you'd even blame them for all the delightful torture you have imagined for them for daring to disbelieve in your special imaginary friend. Serve those bastards right! All while thinking you are righteous and adored by God.
Do you feel like you are always pretending so you would not scare your friends or family away by that gaping bottomless void inside you? That there is no one home? Just yawning emptiness stretching miles and miles with no oases, no horizons and no daylight? Unlike the schizophrenics and psychotically depressed, you have the opposite of voices talking to you - you hear the deafening roar of silence. Not the silence of a library or that of restful sleep, but the silence of a predator stalking in the long, tall grass right before the red chase and the death of prey.
I sit in my office, behind a large solid wooden table, in the Psychiatry clinic everyday. And across that table - no, diagonally from where I sit so my patients would feel less of a barrier between them and I as what the handbooks say - I listen as they tell me their innermost anguish. I heard how ugly husbands and wives can be to one another in spite of their sincerest vows. I get all the most sickening details of how they were sexually violated, how they were brutalised by those they love. I see the carrions of families, their festering entrails laid out before me in various stages of being torn apart by diseases, drugs, money and the basest passions. No wonder all these poor wretched souls need their prayers, their blind unquestioning faith and their flimsy origami gods, folded in exactly the shapes they want them to be. And I, in spite sharing none of their beliefs, encourage them to do just that even though all I really want to do is tear it down and tell them how stupid they all are. I would say: Go to church or your mosque or your temple and be with people. Feel supported, feel the safety net on your soles. Live the delusions that hold you together and make you think you are whole. They need these things and they need me to play my part. And I play it so well that some of my patients would even tell me what a great, caring, understanding doctor I am. One woman told her mother, whom I was treating, "You must thank God for giving you such a good doctor!" I put on my smile at that praise even though I really wanted to laugh.
Even though I want to reach across that table of mine, grab my patients by their shoulders, shake them and scream: "I am just as broken as you! Can't you see how broken I am?!"
Half the time, the mask feels warm, like soft flesh with pounding pulse beneath it. When I feel the sadness and grief of others, when I try my hardest to help them, was it empathy? Or was it something that walks like it and quacks like it but is far more hollow? Maybe I'm so good that I fool myself. I don't know anymore. I think I used to but what once was certain just faded like a dream in the morning, no colours or details whatsoever - just a vague sense of something missing. I want to be a good person, a good doctor, a good husband and a good father. I want to do right by all of those beside me. I want to love and be loved. But right now, I am so tired of failing I just want to shut everyone out, lock myself away and throw the key down the deepest well of self-loathing and self-pity I can find.
I hate that I can't change the world. I hate that I can't change even one person. I hate most that I can't, no matter how hard I try or how loudly I cry, change who I am inside.
k0k s3n w4i