The dividing line itself may be a false option; for, there may well exist a spectrum of alternatives prior to falling off of the fathomless cliff into the netherworld of the opposite. Yet, human behavior often reveals to us the tenuous hold we have upon this thin reed we identify as the “civilized” world, where conformity to standards of behavior are relatively followed, and the social contract between citizens constrains open aggression towards one another; and from the individual’s viewpoint, the internal mechanism of orderliness remains fairly intact.
We recognize, however, that there exists such a dividing line; how else to explain the rise of dystopian novels and movies depicting the quick regression into chaos and madness? Then, on an individualized scale, the daily pressures, the stresses encountered, the bombardment of data, needless and useless information, and the constant obsession with our Smartphones — we come to believe that the demarcation is between sanity and the “other” universe, comprised of complete loss of rational discourse.
That is why we come to accept that a person has “snapped” or “gone postal“; and the new normalcy includes a bomb being set off in a crowded mall, and certainly for some endangered countries and populations, that is a daily occurrence to be expected, like birth, death, taxes and sweaty palms on a first date of teenage romance.
Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must work under conditions of daily and almost intolerable levels of stress, well comprehend the plight of that fragile decomposition of demarcations. For, when a medical condition begins to impact the Federal or Postal employee’s capacity and ability to continue performing all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the exponential quantification of stress levels begins to expand and show the almost-imperceptible cracks opening the inner resolve to “tough it out“.
The question is: How long does it take, and not “whether”, but “when”? The reason why the little old lady next door always says to the reporter, “He was such a nice young man…” is that we rarely take the time to notice the subtle changes of decomposition. Instead, we tend to observe things in incremental jumps, like warp speeds of bouncing into another universe of experiential encounters, instead of being watchful to daily needs and wants.
For the Federal or Postal employee whose medical condition has come to a point where it becomes clear that simply “existing” as opposed to “living” has become a daily reality, the time may be now that preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has become a necessity, and not merely a theoretical option for an obscure future event.
The dystopian universe first begins with the demarcation between sanity and reality, and the failure to recognize and identify the source of deterioration; rarely is it between sanity and its opposite, except perhaps in timeless tunnels of inchoate universes where the whispers of crying fears shout out in chasms of darkness, in a madness we are creating daily for ourselves as we delay the inevitable.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire