19 Aug

It was a psychiatrist named Erfinder who discovered a startling likeness between himself and a new patient of his.

Did their sameness of personality exist in the real world, or was it a creation of his own wild imagination? the therapist wondered.

Each session with Mr. Bixs presented the problem of dealing with an exact psychological duplicate of himself.

Erfinder finally decided that he had to make an open, candid revelation of the truth to the man whose inner conflict was a perfect replica of his own.

The two men were physical opposites. Bixs was short and chubby, with blond wooly hair and pale isinglass eyes. The doctor was a lanky brunet with dark sooty eyes. Yet in thoughts and emotions, the pair mirrored each other.

Once Bixs was seated in a soft easy chair, Erfinder began to speak from behind his titanium desk.

“Are you feeling better, my friend?” began the analyst.

“What can I say?” muttered the patient. “If I knew that, would I be here with you?”

Erfinder made himself smile. “I have studied all my notes from the sessions we have had together, and I believe that certain definite conclusions are now possible.”

“What can they be, then?” asked Bixs, suddenly excited and aroused.

The doctor lowered his voice to almost a whisper. “I think I now know how to label you. This allows me to define precisely what malady of the mind you are suffering from.”

“Tell me what it is that bedevils my soul,” begged the fat young man. “That is the reason that I started coming to you.”

“It is always useful to categorize an illness, for that is most important in deciding upon proper treatment. The day that you and I first met, you arrived with a prior diagnosis of bipolar manic-depression. But that was not precise enough for me, so a series of conversational exchanges between us became necessary. This allowed me to analyze you with greater detail and specificity.

“As a result of what I learned directly, I decided to treat you as a cyclophrenic, suffering from the rotation of up and down phases. But the need for more information and insight led me to have more talks with you, delving deeper and deeper into your interior unconscious.” Erfinder paused a few moments. “My final decision is to amend my diagnosis and define your condition as that of a cryptonesiac. Have you ever heard of that concept?”

“No,” nervously replied Bixs. “Will you please explain it for me, Doctor?”

All at once, Erfinder rose out of his chair and stepped around the desk until he stood in front of his patient.

The two men stared at each other’s faces as if hunting for a secret.

The psychiatrist broke the silence. “In a cycloidal personality, there is an alternating focus on the melancholic and the ebullient halves of the mind. It is like the movement of a spotlight back and forth between the two areas of thought and feeling. That is the foundation of all cyclophrenitis.

“But the condition of cryptonesia is quite different in nature, and is therefore a unique illness.”

Bixs leaned forward in his chair, his eyes bulging forward as he waited for the definition of what he suffered from.

“Certain individuals become ill in personality because of a sort of invasion from another plane, another level. The intrusion arrives from a hidden source that is unseen and unknown. It is invisible and unrecognized in its approach and effect.”

For a short time, the patient grappled with the strange and fascinating idea just described for him.

“How can an external, foreign factor do so much? I find that hard to understand or accept,” said Bixs with reluctance.

Unexpectedly, Erfinder gave a single laugh before answering.

“The cause of the mood swings you suffer from is like a germ infection that attacks out of the blue and refuses to remove itself. There is an atrabiliar part of it that brings about melancholic hypochondria and another manic portion that results in mental vigor, acuteness, and exuberance.” The psychiatrist then spoke in a slow, careful tone.

“I must confess something to you: I am also a cryptonesiac. No one has recognized the condition in me because I have managed to hide it from the outside world.

“Let me explain to you how such concealment is possible and how the condition can be overcome. The secretive nature of the illness can itself be utilized, once it is discovered and known.

“A new self-consciousness results from the recognition of the nature of the cryptoid complex within one’s mind. As a result of this, the outward appearance of manic-depressive cycloidal rotations disappear. They no longer exist once the cryptonesia is acknowledged and dealt with.”

Bixs listened intently for several minutes, absorbing everything as if satisfying a thirst unknown to him till then.

It took only one week for the rotation of exaggerated emotional moods to end for the patient. His deep melancholic spells vanished, but so also did the delusional excitements and enthusiasms.

Both halves of the cycle were no longer present in his behavior or thoughts.

Bixs came to realize that he would no longer need to see Dr. Erlander, the person who was similar to himself, according to what he himself claimed.

The pair congratulated each other on what they had in a very short time succeeded in accomplishing.

“Thank you from the heart for what you did for me,” smiled the recovered, restored man to his healer. “I once saw myself as a cyclothymic who could never be cured or helped. But your revelation of what afflicted you at one time opened up the truth for me. I now understand that behind what I then thought was cycloidal there lay an invading mental virus, my hidden cryptonesia.

“Now that I recognize what it is, I am able to expel it from my mind. It could not have been done without the aid of another who had also suffered from that illness and knew what it was.”

Erfinder grinned with understanding. “It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to find and assist others who are unknowingly our brothers and sisters with the same malady.”

“I plan to do so,” vowed Bixs. “That is my duty to them.”

The two rose and shook hands over the doctor’s titanium desk.

Once Bixs had departed for home, his therapist sat down and turned his chair so that he could look out the window of his office.

He viewed the scene as the recovered cryptonesiac climbed into his powercar and drove off.

Another victory over the misinterpreted, hidden illness. Another salvation of a neurotic with a similar enigmatic disorder.

All of a sudden, Erlander frowned.

Was he peddling a fantasy that replaced illness with delusion?

Did cryptonesia, in fact, actually exist? Or was it a pretended diagnosis used as an instrument in imaginary therapy?

Erlander reminded himself that despite all his cures of that illness, he continued to suffer its symptoms in his own mind.


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