Back in November 2011 I started working on a novel tentatively titled Ghost Hand. The story is about Marine sniper who returns to Los Angeles to recover from severe injuries only to find that the war for him has just started, and there’s more to the world than he knew.
Part of his story is dealing with his PTSD. As he starts to work out his issues he discovers a whole class of people worse off than he is: The homeless.
After several starts at the novel I had to set it aside. I just was not happy with the story. I needed to sit on it more. But in the process I did write a whole of lot fun pieces in the voice of the protagonist. Several of them were designed to be chapter headers, to show up at the beginning of every third chapter or so. These ones are all about mental illness, and are presented from the point of view of someone who has gone through it, and made it out the other side.
I’m going to put them up once a week, for five weeks. This is number five of five.
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On the Fragility of the Human Mind
You can get the same symptoms of a mental illness from just about anything. Fall off a ladder and hit your head, have a bomb go off nearby, witness a bank robbery, or just live though a natural disaster. All of these things can cause PTSD and have. So if I can startle someone, or just whack them upside the head, and it gives them a mental illness then it begs the question; how stable is this thing called sanity? It turns out, not very much.
Everyone in their life will experience some (if not all) of the same symptoms of a crazy person. The only difference will be for how long, and the severity. Sanity is a delicate balance, like a soap bubble, and is easily disrupted. Most people, when knocked out of balance, are able to inflate their bubble again. Some of us can’t, at least right away. Some of us never had one to begin with. But all of us can have their bubble burst.