WITH deaths from Covid-19 hounding relatives and friends and the latest killing of lawyer Rex Fernandez, paranoia seems to have taken me over. My son, who is in first year college, simply said, “You are being paranoid, Pa” when I expressed the fears I was feeling the past several days.
He then explained to me what he learned from Google and other sources about the matter. Fellow SunStar columnist and GMA 7 top gun Bobby Nalzaro was blunt. “Ikaw, Sir Bong, nagkatiguwang ka kay nagkatalawan na nuon ka.” My wife showed her displeasure with my actions but strove to help me overcome my fears.
I have learned things from this recent episode of paranoia I went through, although I have always held on to the kind of objective analysis of situations I learned from dialectical materialism. It is time for me to take a break and let go of the inhibitions and worries sparked by our current situation. This is one difficult balancing act. For the past days, for example, I always insisted on staying at home. With only my younger son unvaccinated for company, perhaps we should spend time outside sometimes.
There are places we could hie off to that are not far but could provide some relaxation time. I was in that place recently and was surprised that the stay calmed my mind. When the worries start to act up again, I may have to drag my family with me to one of those places. I am indeed too old for this serious stuff and may need a break from time to time. One place I need to visit is my homeplace in Camotes. But I want my sons to be there.
The episode of paranoia I went through was a product of the convergence of past and present experiences. Before this pandemic, I spent what a movie title described as “years of living dangerously.” It took a toll on my nerves and I had a nervous breakdown, although not many noticed its outward symptoms. I looked normal outside but was a nervous wreck, or at least that was what I felt, inside. That seems to be coming back.
But that was different then because I was single. I could not afford to be paranoid now because it also takes a toll on my family life. I remember what happened to the sister of my father in Tudela town in Camotes whose paranoia severely affected her thinking. She always thought that somebody was speaking ill of her behind her back. She ranted alone often and that affected the image of her family in the town.
I don’t know if I need medical help now, but I feel I can do the calming on my own. There is a tinge of arrogance in that statement, which is why we, Filipinos are not in the practice of seeking professional psychological help. Aside from pride, the thought that doing so is costly makes us prefer the DIY (do it yourself) route. And the situation we are in is not helping things.
So I would like to thank those who helped me go through this paranoid episode. I won’t name names but they tried helping me understand better the current situation and provide me with some learning curves. I just hope this won’t happen again.