I happened on a little paperback called ‘The Search for Meaning’ by Viktor Frankl which had come free with a newspaper some time ago but which I had not looked at. It is a Holocaust memoir by a psychiatrist. How strangely comforting it can sometimes be to be reminded of the very extreme sufferings others have endured and still managed to hold on to hope.
Well at any rate I guess it should put my own stuff into some kind of perspective.
Anyway, I felt my mood lift around Sunday. My appetite returned…a huge relief. R came over and helped me sort my house out, and I cooked tomato soup from our home grown tomatoes and made bread. That I found the ability to do this (and really enjoy eating it) was cheering of itself.
Today I was assessed for a stay at Alexandra Road Crisis Unit. They’ve given me two weeks. I was a little unsure whether to go ahead, but on balance decided to do so. Later today I have my first meeting with my new counsellor. Fingers crossed it goes well.
Whether it’s the meds, I still feel punch drunk, a bit numb and sedated. ‘The Search for Meaning’ never came at a better time, because now I am coming out of the grim ‘survival mode’ I still wonder what to make of the Hell of the last six months.
Viktor Frankl comments that the concentration camp prisoners had stopped expecting meaning from life but that life could still set them a meaningful task…even if it was simply to bear suffering as best they could.
I can only hope and trust that I passed the test of my own relatively small sufferings. To be honest, I’m sure of very little right now. In the book Frankl uses the metaphor of gas filling a space, to describe how suffering permeates human consciousness fully, regardless of the cause.
I have a sense of emotional flatness and lack of ‘affect’…as if all feeling had been used up and exhausted. I have the sense that nothing much matters. That I no longer care. That all passion is spent.
If a beloved friend can turn and betray you and your partner does not defend you…well that’s it. There’s little point in loving or caring.
I might be better off avoiding intimacy, as R does. He avoids any extremes of suffering such as I’ve endured.
Then again I have to ask myself how much of this I brought on myself.
Right now I have no neat answers. Only questions. The main one, as ever with me, is ‘why?’