The Philosophy of The Grum Reapur: Part 1

WARNING: This post details some of the personal difficulties faced by one of the team and may cause some emotional distress.

To cut a long story short Brad ‘mrshoeshineman’ Rumble, the designer and artist, behind the Grum Reapur suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder and has spent many years learning the intricacies of  this condition alongside those of the human condition. For years he struggled to fit in with society, with neurotypicals if you will. Whilst working early jobs as a graphic designer he encountered many struggles with the typical workplace, trying his hardest yet unable to quite grasp the unspoken social contracts that exist in the office environment.

The clash between the BPD and these social contracts meant it was extremely difficult to work for other people and this same job ended up causing a breakdown within his psyche. This breakdown lead to many issues from alcohol abuse to self-harm and suicide attempts. He suffered like this for several years and went through an entire identity crisis, what was his place in this world?

So began the war…

His last visit to the mental ward after a suicide attempt at age 22 lead him to meet 4 people, each with a very hard lesson to teach about the reality of mental health and personality disorders. From the man himself:

“The first lesson I learnt was from one of the elderly male residents who had family visiting, he looked at them with fear and confusion as they looked back with despair and sorrow. This man did not recognise them, the same man who had threatened me the following day for saying something to him, whilst in fact I wasn’t saying anything. The lesson I learnt from him was that I have my wits about me, for years I had written off many of my negative emotions because of the diagnosis, I thought it was just my mind tricking me into feeling terrible rather than being a key part of the human emotional spectrum. Everything in my life was telling me I should be happy to be successful or successful to be happy, that these negative emotions were unacceptable and had to be banished as quickly as possible.”

It was with this that he had gained the insight that he was not as people would say ‘crazy’, his mind was intact and it was his way of dealing with his emotions which needed to be scrutinised. Leading to person number 2:

“This dude was a middle aged guy, the one thing I recall about him was his lack of shoes, he was walking around bare foot in the ward and when I asked him he just said he likes the feel. Little things like that can be quite profound to people with BPD, it’s almost confirmation that it’s completely ok to be different. This guy was in the ward because he felt as though people were after him, yet was sentient enough to know that nobody was actually after him. The idea that the reality and the beliefs we hold can be completely out of sync with one another really struck a note here, this guy knew it was just his mind, but it was powerful enough to effect his physical being, in that he had put himself on the mental ward to get away from a fiction”

Later on Brad would come to find a quote in a book called ‘The Mind in the Making’ part of the freethinker’s library; the first page has the quote:

“Man is more tormented by his opinion of things, than the things themselves”

A stoic proverb that came to become the most prevalent quote in his life allowing him to equip himself with the tools to overcome the issues he faced.

“The other two people I met were both suicide survivors, one had tried to overdose and the other had tried to slit her wrists like myself. The reason behind this was clear; they didn’t feel as though they belonged anywhere, like myself, outsiders looking in to what we are told is the successful life. The older one of them was a smoker and would smoke in the toilets as they refused to let her out to smoke. There was something about this ladies ‘Fuck it’ attitude that was pretty inspiring. This ended up leading to existentialist ideology with a dash of anarchy for good measure”

Rules were only something written down at a point in history by someone who never understood the needs of the individuals particular life. In fact some of these rules are so disconnected with the moral fabric of humanity that the very fact there are rules and laws in place seems absurd.

We shall continue this post next week as it is quite a long tale…with a great ending.