Gary Rinsem

My Failure

How to know how a person will respond? It is impossible. It's my greatest failure.

(2021 NOTE: This journal has been fussed with often since 1981, but soon after Susan died I added the most significant bit about her that I can possibly write. Truth be told... so I'll be happy to have it in my online journal. Susan would be horrified at the thought of people knowing. Hiding was THE main activity in her life..)

The majority of people are ruled by a jumble of irrational emotion, superstition and self serving motives, convinced to believe constantly changing realities. There is no logic to be anticipated. They live totally disconnected from reality. Familiarity brings some sense of their mind's function, but there is never a way of predicting how they will react.

A simple fact stated can result in rage from broken minds intent on denial of reality. Most commonly that rage is contained, but obvious in the change in their personality and focus. Their minds become blatantly conflicted when confronted with truth denied.

How do they function in abject chaos? Clearly, their lives are lived step by step, nothing but implementation of the thought and behavior they've learned to apply to common circumstances. Successful in the past is good for the present, with no involvement of intellect in their lives. Mass confusion and anger often follow when the result differs from their desire, or differs from past situations.

Four decades later

This brings me to Susan. She was very intelligent with a multifaceted personality. There were periods, long and short, where she shut down and lived in the world described above. She became the anti-Susan in those periods. It could last weeks or a brief moment in time caused by the desire to deny reality. Usually denial of suffering from depression, but also a simple desire to get what she wanted.

The second version of Susan suffered from the worst depression imaginable. Concerned and discussing with her brother, I learned Susan was treated for it as a teen. One time she discussed it in detail. Susan understood depression from many years study. She called her condition "Catatonic depression with hallucinations." The definitions I find for catatonia don't strictly match Susan's symptoms. She was unconscious for hours at a time with absolutely zero movement of any part of her body. When enough was enough, I'd spend 30 minutes bringing her out of it. It took sitting her up on the sofa or bed and loudly talking to her. I repeatedly told her what was happening in the real world to break through the hallucinations. The worst event was 18 hours. Susan emerged demanding it didn't happen, believing in a complete fantasy day of baking and laundry and housework. When challenged to show the cookies and cakes and clean laundry, Susan said "You're not a doctor." Denial complete.

The woman I loved was phenomenal. She'd show up, sometimes for minutes and sometimes for weeks, as an intellectual challenge with a giant smile whenever she could win. I learned to spot the three Sues and react more or less appropriately. No predicting the first two, but Susan number three was a joy.