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  • Writer's pictureAtsuko

Living with my Ghost

Recently I watched a film where the main character suffered schizophrenia. (I’m not naming the title of the film because it would be a spoiler but message me if you want to know!) While studying in the university, in his mind he lived with a delusional flat mate and he had an imaginary family. After graduation and becoming a teacher, he developed a delusion and paranoia that he was working for the government secret service and he was persecuted by Soviet agents. He eventually got sent to the mental hospital but the treatment was harsh and his family took him off the treatment and he learned to live with the delusions.

He never got rid of the hallucination but he learned to live with it by ignoring it. The film has a happy ending and he finally got professional recognition for his academic work. Towards the end of the film, his colleague tentatively asks him if he got rid of the problem. He says he hasn’t. The colleague asks again if it is very difficult to ignore the delusion. Then he replies saying, ‘Yes, it is difficult, but isn’t it the same as everyone? Don’t we all have to live with fear, worry or anxiety, and have to learn to ignore them?’ This was thrown in as quite a casual comment but I thought it was very profound.

When I was a child, I used to get really scared going to the toilet at night because of the ghost stories I read. The ghosts only lived in my mind but it was very rea and I had to wake my mother to come to the toilet with me. Even recently my teenage daughter and I watched Jack Nicholson’s ‘Shining’ and got so spooked out that we had to sleep together that night.

And we do this all the time with our worries. When we are worried about something, don’t we go over again and again, instead of making conscious effort to focus on something else? Don’t we go to the worst case scenario, and get completely convinced that we have somehow developed some supernatural power to foresee the future and this is definitely going to happen? No wonder we are so afraid and fearful because we have created ghosts in our mind.

Sadhguru in India says that there are only three modes of focusing of our mind. You can either focus on the memory, imagination or now. All our regrets, guilt, hurts and anger are our memories, and our fear, worry and anxiety are our imagination. We can choose to focus on them. Or we can choose to focus on now.

It’s not easy, as the character in the film says. But it’s something we all have to do if we want to have peace in our mind. It is good to remind ourselves again.

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