Sometimes the Greek god Pan attacks with darts of fear and suffering. Sometimes what has happened in the past comes back to bite us in the rear for no other reason than the bulldog of horrible past experiences does not know how to let go once his jaw is clamped tight to the seat of your pants.
Mental illness is not taken seriously enough in American society. We tend to think that every man, woman, and child ought to always be in control of themselves and never subject to bouts of craziness for which they can not be held responsible. I joke a lot about being crazy. I am not normal in any sense of the word. But my own real mental challenges are no worse than depression caused by diabetes. I get blue a lot. But that is nothing compared to what blew up in my face today. Have you ever seen somebody who is catatonic? Curled up in a ball and unable sit up and stop shaking? And what are you supposed to say to that poor sufferer? What can you do to help? Especially when they are no longer able to communicate with you, hear what you say, or even look at you. It is frightening.
And I can’t even tell more than this. The way we view this kind of problem in our society is a problem in itself. Depression and irrational fear can destroy the entire day for everyone involved. And the persons involved are shamed by what has happened. The solutions to this kind of problem always involve talking about it and discussion. But our society does not want to talk about these things. We are all afraid of slipping into the horror of the Oregon shooter, even though that is not even remotely connected to the problem and the things that happened today. The stigma is crippling. People don’t tend to face this kind of problem until it happens to them or to somebody they love.
The word panic is derived from the Greek god Pan. In mythology, Pan was a god of the forest and wild things, especially herd animals. He was generally a jovial and fun-loving sort, but if you happened on him while he was sleeping, he would awake with a sudden shout, and that shout caused forest animals to stampede. Thus the Greek word “panikon” meaning sudden fear became the word panic. Apparently I stumbled on Pan today and suffered the consequences. I am feeling trampled at present. Don’t worry, though. I have survived. And things that don;t kill us make us stronger. That is what convinced me that I am really Superman, and have only forgotten that fact because of some unfortunate kryptonite exposure.