Warning psychiatric history lesson ( my style): So there was this dudenamed jung, he hung out with Freud (weird guy that wanted to sleep with his mom). Obviously Jung got tired of his s@#$ and bailed. Then Jung went a little nuts, he had this psychotic episode. Feeling his mind slipping, he began to catalougue his crazy hallucinations and dreams. He wrote down every distrubing thought that he had. It was the famed Red Book, never published, later discovered by his family and published it. The book was actually basis for some of his most critical work. When I say crazy, I mean grade A whacko, he was envisioning the end of the world and stuff out of revelations. He drew whacked out pictures of all the disturbing crap he came up with and was just altogether losing it…… my kind of book. In the experience he just lets his imagination go, he envisions these figures that take on a life of their own, he later said that, “brought home to me the crucial insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not produce, but which produce themselves and have their own life.” And so we circle back around to the point, that of which i am sure you have been searching for in this mass of words.
Things in your psyche which you do not make, but they make themselves and have their own life…… I would have to say that describes part of the struggle of life after combat. The things I experience, the struggles I face are not something that I conjured up but are sure as hell part of my psyche. They have ebbed and flowed on their own accord with no influence from me. These things, these habits were dictated not chosen. But really I am just scrathching the surface of how the red book applies to us as combat vets.
Jung’s book, was a personal diary his attempt to pull himself back from the brink of insanity by finding a place to put his crazy. He transcribed every crazy and disturbing thought to this book. He drew outlandish pictures in old school style of the dark age bibles. Imagine for a moment, if you as a combat vet, wrote down and drew out every disturbing thought. If I did it I bet my creation would make Quentin Tarrantino shy away from all the blood and senseless violence or make a weird movie out of it. Consider writing down what you wanted to do every time you got mad, every time you did assessments, every time you visualized the kill. On the flip side imagine how therapeutic that could be, to not have to carry, store and hide all your dark thoughts. That was the genius of Jung’s red book. He saved his mind with a private catalog of his dark thoughts. He did this until he felt he could control himself again. Jung used his red book writing to base most of his more important work on. He would later state that the unconscious self becomes more and more dangerous the more it is repressed and not expressed. So consider what a day of dark thoughts puts on you, what about a week, a year, a decade. You go from a live round, to a frag, to a time bomb, to a nuke, to a black hole.
I have decided to begin keeping a red book, not gonna share it with you, thats not the point. The point is to find a place for the darkest most shameful thoughts I have on a daily basis so that they can’t find a place in my psyche to fester and become a cancer. You should consider it too. Also look into the Red Book, its not cheap but there are e-book versions out there