Part Thirteen: Dollhouse

Confesh-sesh #16: Have I gone mad? I’m afraid so, mad, entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret, all the best people are…

Folie à deux which literally translates to ‘madness for two’ is one of the most interesting phenomena that I’ve ever learnt. I strongly believe that it doesn’t exist only in a psychiatric sense but also in  everyday life. You become what you associate yourself with, hang out with someone long enough and you begin to pick up similarities, you talk the same, have similar mannerisms, start liking the same things… Of course, it doesn’t define you.

Personally, I’ve never believed in the saying ‘show me your friends and I’d tell you who you are’. While certainly a group of friends share things in common, the same interests and traits, each person is still an individual. There are things my friends do and like which I don’t, and vice versa. We have a multitude of things that make us the same but still set us apart, but it also proves that the more time we spent together the more alike we became.

*    *    *    *

Folie à deux specifically refers to a psychiatric conditon in which a delusional belief is transferred from one individual to another. Confused? Have no fear, I’m here (#RhymeBoss). Think of it like this, a mom believes that an alien has invaded her house and is living in the TV (you’re laughing but I’ve seen patients that have said this), there’s no logical or cultural explanation for this belief, thereby labeling it a ‘delusion’. Her son who lives with her, also by her actions and delusions begins to believe the same delusion. He now thinks there’s an alien living in their TV, and his behaviors are now defined by this shared delusion.

Remove him from the situation, allow him to spend a couple days away from his mother and he realizes, that that scenario wasn’t real. He no longer is influenced by her delusion that was never his in the first place. Cool isn’t it?

*    *    *    *

The human mind is an amazing thing. It is so powerful and is so often trivialized. All our actions and behaviors come from the way we perceive things, all based on how we think and how we process. Dreams are the perfect example. That shit feels so real, all the sensations, the thoughts, feelings, surroundings, everything. That’s your mind working. I do honestly feel extremely sorry for people who have mental illnesses because it’s so difficult for them to separate reality from delusion or whatever it is they are suffering from. They have no sense of reality, no sense of the now. Their lives are ruled by these delusions and these are so powerful that all of their senses are affected.

What makes it more difficult for everyone else to understand is that you can’t see it. You can’t tell if someone has a mental illness, the symptom list is so different. They don’t cough, they don’t have a runny nose. They look and act like ‘normal’ people. It’s extremely difficult for someone to accept especially in Trinidad because older people say “she/he just playing mad” or “dey arse too happy”. But it’s real and very prevalent and often a part of medicine and life that gets neglected. #HealthyMINDBodyAndSoul

#MentalHealthAwareness #MentalIllnessIsReal #DSM5

*    *    *    *

Sorry, got a little passionate there.

Disclaimer: No one in this story suffers from mental illness… No diagnosed mental illness anyway.

*    *    *    *

Mr A and my fights became more and more regular. It was always him accusing me of just about anything and him with the delusion that I didn’t love him. The more time I spent with him, the more his delusions started becoming my own…

Towards him.

If there was a thing called ‘Insecurity à deux’, best believe we had it. We often consoled ourselves thinking it was because of how strong our feelings were that we reacted that way. I had never felt that way about anyone in my past and he claimed the same.

However, based on what I learnt about his past was that his anger was the same and even worse with his exes. I never fought with mine. The ones that counted anyway… I’m still friends with almost all of my exes and whenever we speak about the way I was with Mr A, they’re all in disbelief. I can literally count the fights on ONE finger that I had with my ex prior to Mr A.

*    *    *    *

It would be remiss of me to act like I was perfect in my relationship with Mr A. I wasn’t… but I came damn close. My imperfections stemmed from my growing insecurity. The delusion that I began harboring… He didn’t love me. He must have someone else. Right?

My delusions didn’t turn out to be delusions after all, but I’m jumping the gun again.

*    *    *    *

Mr A went to a bachelor party in another country. I was fine, slightly uncomfortable but I had no issue. After his first night, reaching home at 4AM, I got a message.

(Don’t be alarmed, I found a WhatsApp Generator online, it’s not an actual screenshot…Technology guys. Making this AS realistic as possible for y’all. Get into the story, yasssss).

Let’s play a game. What did Mr A say that was wrong?

*    *    *    *

Well, first of all, what the fuck was going on for you to be so good about?! I knew it was a bachelor party and I didn’t expect them to be sitting around braiding each other’s hair and eating ice cream while talking about unicorns. I knew there was going to be boobs and lap dances BUT I didn’t understand what was going on that was so horrendous that ‘I wouldn’t believe how good he was being’. #CueTheCrazyBitch

I think I knew what he was trying to get across when he sent that message but he could have probably stopped at ‘I love you so much, mumma.’ I did trip because in my ‘insecurity à deux’ mind and things he told me about trips he had taken before, all I thought was ‘fuck, fuck, fuck, he’s coming home with an STD’. I am a notorious over-thinker. People can tell me the most inconsequential thing with the most inconsequential intention and I will analyze until I find meaning. That’s what I did…

We put it to rest because I was going to the bachelorette party to that bachelor party. #GirlsJustWannaHaveFun

Oh, how the roles were reversed now. For a short time anyway.

*    *    *    *

Mr A was constantly blowing up my phone for updates to which I obliged because I was getting to talk to him. Let’s be real, I was missing him like crazy and the fact that he was taking time out from his boys to message me made me feel really happy. We reached a point in the night when we both stopped messaging each other. We were fine with it.

Then the girls started talking…For the next 48 hours all I was hearing was how horrible the boys were when they were together, I heard stories of things they did, ‘their lost weekends’, the girls, the booze… My head started spinning, coupled with alcohol that I’d been drinking. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. I couldn’t bare to think of the man I loved with someone else. I drew the line at lap dance…(still not even 100% with that).

Image result for lap dance gif

My insecurity paired with the alcohol, mixed with everything I’d been hearing, the message he sent and the fact that he went MIA until 5AM turned me into a text terrorist. I don’t even know what I was saying and why, but my keyboard was hot. I swear there was smoke coming off my phone by the time I was done.

When I read back what I sent, I was so embarrassed. I didn’t mean any of it. It was actual word vomit. I couldn’t take any of it back. It was gone into cyber space, sent out into the world. Fuck. Someone reallllyyyy needs to start taking away my phone from me when I drink.

Dear Friends,

Please take note.

Your friend who becomes a worse text terrorist when she drinks,

Nerala.

I started doing damage control and apologizing profusely. We had coordinated our flights back to Trinidad to arrive at the same time so we could go home together. We agreed to enjoy the rest of our time and talk about it when we got back. (That’s saying it much nicer than it really happened).

*    *    *    *

We saw each other at the airport, I immediately forgot our stupid bickering, I was just happy to see him. He was still visibly upset but I could tell that he was just as happy to see me. We arrived at his house shortly after, I sat on his bed waiting for the fireworks. He didn’t explode. I told him everything that had happened and apologized repeatedly for my message. He looked at me, his whole demeanor changing. He jumped on me and scooped me into his arms.

Image result for huge hug boy and girl gif

I breathed a sigh of relief. We both giggled like dizzy school girls because we missed each other so much. He ran off excitedly into his suitcase, “I got presents!”

*    *    *    *

If there was any couple that overreacted and had no real issues, it was Mr A and I. The most trivial things turned into huge fights.

We were both ready for bed one night, I had a glass and I proceeded to the sink to wash it. I heard him grunting behind me telling me to leave it in the sink. I couldn’t do that. It was MY glass and I wasn’t about to leave dishes in the sink in a house that wasn’t mine. “I’d meet you upstairs, let me just wash this. It’s literally one glass!”

I saw smoke come out of his ears, he was so upset and to this day I never understood why. He started yelling at me, telling me awful things (by this time, I was long finished washing the glass). I stood there dumbfounded.

He grabbed all of my things and insisted he had to drop me home immediately. My tears didn’t matter. He didn’t understand why I had to wash that glass and I didn’t understand why it was such a big deal. I sat in silence as he dropped me home and regained my composure. Halfway through the car ride, he realized how ridiculous he was being and reached for my hand. I didn’t move my hand but I didn’t hold his hand either. I stormed out of the car.

*    *    *    *

Our pattern continued, until we decided it was time for a change…He couldn’t keep toying with me.

Image result for time for a change gif