Thursday, July 26, 2012

A speculation about what caused me to become psychotic in 1974

I have cast about wildly looking for the reason I became psychotic in 1974, drawing together extended combinations of events, not reaching any one such drawing of much more certainty than another.

It may however be simple.

Just before I began the full-blown psychotic marathon of three days or so, within a few days of it, I was assigned to work on a model for the housing section of the Abu Dhabi architectural team at The Architects Collaborative in Cambridge, MA. Soren Rono, the head of the housing section, gave me the assignment, a definite opportunity for me to show my talents.

I was given a space in which to work. It was the office supplies room, a roughly five foot by seven foot square space with a foot and a half diameter column in the middle of it. A door was in place on supports, against the wall of the space. That was my work table. There were no windows.

This was not enough space to do serious work in.

But my mission was to do what I was asked to do, especially when it was architecture-related work such as this was. I did not permit myself to consider my comfort. Another person might have complained. I was not a complainer.

This was not in this case a good character trait. It led to me sitting at the table wallowing in the details of the work and reaching a point where all I could do was sit and stare at the materials at hand. Soren popped his head in the door, and not recognizing that the space was too small assessed the situation as a failure on my part. He gave me a sympathetic but disappointed look and said he would take over, not verbally expressing his assessment of what I was doing. He did not have to move into the space there. He had his own layout that was plenty big in another room in the office, the housing section room with several other architects, and some windows. Each architect in the firm had at least two working tables each about three feet by six feet.

This is the reason I went psychotic. I lost my grip on reality, my tenacity to be effective in all circumstances. I lost my sense of self-defense. All this because I couldn't draw a line where I saw trespass occurring on my rights. I hope I am able to incorporate this understanding of my basic wits into my life now and start speaking up for my needs. Mission and my comfort need to be reconciled before I reach the point of disaster in my means of living.

This is an issue that first surfaced in my freshman year at Yale when I conceived of my mission being to work independently from all other groups in some city's ghetto. I reflected that it would require a large discomfort. I didn't consider it all with responsibility that would make it a done deal. The next year I simply dropped the whole thing when I took a girlfriend and wasn't able to incorporate my mission into the idea of having a life partner. I never confided in anyone the degree of severity of life I was anticipating, making for a night-mare of unvocalized personal motives, one of which was not complaining when my mission, whatever it morphed into, led to my personal discomfort.

This is obviously not the end of all this.