Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/364

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And then, there is "disappointment "—in love, in business, in politics, in health, in preparation for life, in church affiliation, in children; disappointment in man's sense of honor, in woman's high soul, in the constancy of friends, in all ambitious prospects—for which we so glibly say, "show thyself a man," or "wait patiently on the Lord "—and think that we have said it all; and so we probably have, until we, in turn, direfully find ourselves learning very differently, through what our would-be friends call just our "own doing." Then, how different does pooh-poohed disappointment seem; how revelational, too, in that now we can see how others did actually suffer while we were regarding them as merely "weak" and consequently as but "poor things," at best. Kor does it matter really, if "one has brought it all on one's self "; indeed, all the more should we see how much does this but add to his distress, and how much does it have to do in prolonging and deepening this indefinitely; indeed, until it may most unexpectedly result in such permanent registerings, as may quite absolutely unfit him for any further useful accomplishment in life. For, first and last and all the time, it must be remembered that the outcome of psychalgia, unless acting upon exceptional constitutions, is unfitness for even the commonplaces of life. Of course, the exceptionally endowed individuality reacts differently, at least for a time, and for the most part, constructively; but the common cry of the victim of mental pain is, "I no longer can do as I once could; I'm not really fit for anything now "; and his subsequent life is apt only too conclusively to prove the correctness of his cry, and the predictive fear which accompanies it.

Morbid "self-consciousness," too,—how wide, vague, mysterious is this, yet how fearfully painful, especially when subject to misunderstanding, neglect, or brutality. Shall any one say that here is something that is not a source distinctively of the most interfering if not destructive kind of psychalgia? Try to get a definite appreciation of the flashy personal commotions, the wide-spread vaso-motor reactions, the stagefright, the unaccountable antipathies and fears and obfuscations and general overwhelmings, that such a one suffers from; try to get a clear vision of all the futile efforts of intellect and feeling and will to ward off and overcome these; try to get a fellow-feeling of all that this means to the personality which would be something and do something and feel something like other people; and then see if it be possible to regard mental pain as less significant than physical pain, either distinctly, or side by side. Certainly, no one who has never suffered the pangs of morbid self-consciousness should stupidly deny their existence; for there are many, many people who go through life virtually conscious of nothing else, in any vividly continuing sense. With every glimpse of their own bodies, with every movement, with every contact with others, with every thought of planning or doing anything, with all their hop