Monday, January 31, 2011
Part two: Letter to a troubled soul
I had to leave the first blog today as it could not logically be followed by the second part of my veg out moment yesterday. After, my son left to go to his mate's for a private wake, I sat and watched a doco I had taped. I did it because to be honest I wanted to feel good about myself by watching another person's very public downfall... as if to prove to myself that no amount of money in the world can buy happiness.
In another life, I knew this person. We both turn 55 this year and we met when we were both turning 21. There was a magnetism that drew people to this man and I was likewise attracted by it/him. I was often out and about in what I now see was my manic phase and his craziness, unpredictabilty and downright dangerous side was highly alluring. I saw something that I couldn't recognise or name at the time, but there was some sort of connection, at least on my end. A close friend years later said that 'no such connection existed and that I made it up'... but I knew and still do that there were inner demons driving us both.
At the time I realised that despite being charismatic he was actually quite despicable in his entrenched attitudes verging on the anti-social. But it was all hidden beneath a carefully constructed veneer of Mr Nice Guy, Mr Talented. The gay guys wanted to sleep with him and some (including my friend) was quite bitter about his heterosexuality, proclaiming that he wasn't promiscuous (to the point of mysogny) and that all us actresses were just fantasising about him.
Yet as they say 'in vino veritas'. When alcohol was allowed full reign (this other ignorant gay friend also proclaimed publically that this person was tea-totaller!! Rubbish!!!! I know different), some of his opinions and attitudes were positively frightening to me now as a mature-aged woman. In the seventies these attitudes were so anachronistic I chose to think he was just baiting everyone for a response and a little bit of 'drama'. How sad that I now see his beliefs expressed under the influence of grog and times of pillow talk, or when he felt at ease in his own bedroom/lounge space, he was actually letting everybody in. We did not realise that this young man was so deeply troubled.
Thus I moved on in my life and was quite happy to say to those willing to listen, "I knew him before...". I watched his meteoric rise with fascination and a sense of rejection. I was one of those women he deemed beneath contempt and not suited for marrying or breeding with (not that I wanted either at that stage). His rise to me was just party talk cred and cache. I now sit and cry over my ignorance and what has happened.
He literally deserves all the flack he is copping now. After all his money made him immune from criticism. No-one would stand up and say "NO"to this man. No-one said this was unacceptable, and his dysfunctional family (particularly father) allowed him a sense of the world is wrong and we the family know the truth... so trust no-one. Sounds so similar to a religious cult and indoctrination. Yet the demons were no assuaged. Money and privilege allowed him to self medicate with alcohol (perhaps drugs.... I have no idea as I have not met him in over 24 years) and nicotine.
He hid behind a mask of stability and family. Only when his one anchor said "enough is enough" and "I am leaving" did his world begin to disintegrate. This one woman who had sacrificed so much of her life to keeping this man in balance had finally walked away for the sake of their children.
Suddenly the demons have broken free and now I feel saddened and indeed pity. Somehow I also feel a traitor to my own beliefs. I do not condone mysogny, homophobia, rascism, anti-semitism, radical religions or right-wing political blind-spots... yet I still feel that connection with this man from all those years ago.
I sat transfixed and dispassionate as the cameras revealed the downfall of a flawed man... until the experts began speaking. I did not feel sorry for him when they spoke of his need for alcohol detox and rehab, nor admiration when learning of him reaching out to actors and singers at their times of crisis. I felt that this was simply enabling behaviour, such as the Yes-people around him permitted for over 30 years.
Then one psychiatrist came on and made the comment that she believed his behaviour was consistent with Bi-Polar Mood Disorder!
My heart is bleeding for him now. When we were both 20 we could not have known that the manic craziness was part of mental illness. We were both undiagnosed. I lived for over twenty years unaware that I was ill, until after a number of failed attempts at suicide (all designed presumably as calls for help) I was finally and correctly diagnosed and medicated.
My life had to virtually fall apart and be at rock bottom before I could accept that I was in fact ill, and would have to decide on living medicated (and muted) for life or living the risk. I still grieve for the manias and do not miss the 'black dog' yet I know it is the price to pay for the highs. Inow understand how such a man could have kept this crisis moment at bay, by being 'protected by wealth' and his destructive behaviour 'enabled' by people in whose financial interest it was to keep the commodity rolling along.
"You poor lost soul. I feel empathy now. At 55 you have to face losing almost everything before you are given the opportunity to be 'set free' by medical intervention."
"I can now see the connection I felt all those years ago, when no-body else could or would, not even you."
"See this as an opportunity. Not simply for the pseudo trendy detox and rehab stints, but the hard yards of psychotherapy and quest for wellness. I hope that you can have around you a few very trusted spirits who will accept no B/S and call it for what it is. It might mean challenging long held belief systems and your own contradictory behaviours. However, this might just free you of a damaged childhood and past, not of your making. No excuses. Your behaviour and rants cannot be undone by the words, "Sorry". They must be faced head on, with courage and strength and the willingness to pull apart all the previously accepted givens. Sometimes our families are not the safe spaces in which to do this."
"I wish you luck and one trusted friend at this time of crisis, and wish I could extend the hand of empathy and understanding across the globe... but I cannot as you are so isolated."