Sounds and silences

I apologize that I become a hack Elizabeth Wurtzel/Sylvia Plath/Cat Marnell when I drink. The fact that I become a monster right before my period doesn’t help either. Add that to the fact that in my personal life, when it rains, it fucking DELUGES and I haven’t been able to burn one I feel like crying most of the time.

Boo hoo poor me and my first world problems.

Fuck you if you are going to judge me for feeling sad. Feelings are okay but I feel them so intensely they make me act out in ways I often really really regret. Time heals all wounds when it comes to those inflicted by my sick mind, or as my tattoo reads “NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY”.

I know I don’t have problems in the way that my clients who are homeless, recovering from addiction, in the cycle of domestic violence, AND have mental health issues; trying to help them find solutions for their situations while dealing with my own crisis while trying to stay mentally health can be very fucking challenging. Especially now that the seasons are changing. Long days when the sun doesn’t get until 8 pm are long gone.

I don’t watch Game of Thrones but WINTER IS COMING….It is hard to describe what the onset of a depressive episode feels like so I’ll do my best.

I feel like there is a dark cloud; surrounding me. It feels like there is a storm forming, foreboding thunderheads following me everywhere. I’m familiar with the signs and symptoms of upcoming episode like the back of my hand. Clock work. From the research that I’ve done, with each depressive episode one experiences, the higher the chances the person is of having subsequent episodes over the course of the life time. You can challenge me on this as I’m not citing sources.

The cloud turns into a haze, I forget things easily. Most things make me sad and sad things make me weep. Resting bitch face is a way of being. The storm has taken hold and I’m hiding out in my tunnel. The tunnel is a scary place; I’ve been there before many times and if I don’t catch myself early enough, I can ruin relationships and do some really scary things.

Valley of the Dolls (film)I get scared of where my mind will take me…the obsessive thoughts, shame, apathy, intense feelings of rejection, emotional numbness, apathy, lethargy, physical pain. The storm is coming, at least I know the signs, symptoms, and triggers. Drinking at all is not helpful. I don’t behave well when I drink. Those are the times I am most self destructive, when I cause the most visible damage. The uncontrollable urge to self harm; the ritualized picking apart of razor blades; the cathartic pain, blossom of crimson. Then shame. How do I hide this…?

English: Razor

And this is what happens to your relationships.

This story happened years ago.


 

 I honestly don’t remember how the fight started. I do remember how it ended: [the ex] calling Ali to come over and take care of me.

There was blood everywhere. In my anxiety and rage induced fury I had punched out the kitchen cabinet, which in this apartment was a window like pane of glass, busting my knuckles open and spraying glass everywhere. I guess I had also slashed my arm with a pair of scissors because my arm was bleeding too.

At least this was when I was still in college and didn’t have to explain the cuts to fragile minds. I did not have the foresight to hide them. The scars are now covered by beautiful tattoos, by the way.

Sidenote, a therapist I now work with likes to give me shit about my ink and tells me often, “Remember, scars have more character than tattoos”. That kind of character (flaw?) I don’t need the world to see, or to be reminded of daily.

It was either call her, take me to my brothers, or call the cops and have me taken to the hospital for a psych eval. I chose the least restrictive option (and the one that would worry my family the least, I’ve put them through enough).

All I can remember is the feeling of that night. A feeling of abandonment and fear. This was one of the worst nights of my life. I remember [the ex] just trying to leave and me trying to get him to stay and talk to me, to come to some kind of common understanding. He just wanted to leave my crazy ass and go to his mother’s to cool off. When they talk about fight or flight mode, I was in fight and he was in flight.

I did not understand why? WHY???? Like I said, I don’t remember how the fight started. It was probably during the beginning of the end, when our relationship became one sided. I have always been a stoner. The Nerd knew this from the very beginning. One day, seemingly out of the blue, he told me he didn’t want me smoking weed anymore because it was illegal. ILLEGAL! In a state where medical marijuana is legal and people smoking doobies in the open is the norm?

English: Medical marijuana neon sign at a disp...

In reality, it was his way of controlling my behavior by proxy. He did not like my friends. All my friends smoked weed or even sold it. Hell, some of my best friends grew the shit. The. Shit. Now he said he did not trust me and thought my friends were bad influences. I shouldn’t hang out with said friends. WTF?! But I was in love. You see where this is going…

But however the argument began, I was determined to win. I was hopeless. Beyond hysterical. Every time he tried to leave, I screamed after him, threatening more self harm. I’m surprised the neighbors didn’t call the cops. But again, thinking about the neighborhood we lived in, it’s not really surprising.

That’s when he took my phone and started scrolling through my contacts and I really FREAKED THE FUCK OUT.

“Who do you want me to call?” he said, with a look of smug arrogance that became all too familiar to me in the coming years. “Should I call _________ to come pick you up so you can stay on his couch?”

“NO FUCKING WAY!” I screeched like a banshee. “He doesn’t need to deal with this!” My brother is younger than me and is not good in a crisis. “Call Ali! She’ll know what to do!”

It was about 2 am. This was the normal hour for our knock down drag outs. Ali did get called. I don’t remember if I called her or if he did, but I do remember waiting tensely while [the ex] packed and overnight bag while I sat outside in the freezing ass cold chain smoking Marlboro 27s and crying my mascara off, wondering what my friend would think about me. I’m a fucked up skag.

Ali arrived about 15 minutes later and [the ex] made himself scarce. I don’t think I saw him again for a few days. She helped me clean my wounds and clean the glass from the kitchen floor. I cried on her shoulder and she persuaded me to take my Xanax (I was still apprehensive about taking the highly addictive medication). I was asleep 30 minutes later. She helped me, listened, and didn’t judge.

We’ve fallen apart over the years, but I truly value her friendship.

It really is good to know who your friends are when shit gets weird…

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No excess.

The Stories of Ray Bradbury

The Stories of Ray Bradbury (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever read “The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury? It’s a brilliant short story (a classic of science fiction literature, in my non-expert opinion) that takes place in a dystopic future in which a family lives in a home that is not only self sustaining but also completely fulfills the needs of it’s inhabitants. It’s a Happy-life Home!

In addition to cooking and cleaning, the house makes sure its tenants are comfortable and entertained as well. It’s completely climate controlled and has been retrofitted with a super fancy nursery for the happy couple’s two mischievous rugrats. What is exceptional about this nursery is that it has the ability to simulate whatever environment the user wishes.

Essentially they have the holodeck from Star Trek as a room in their house.

Now these kids are spoiled little shits. They are developing anti-social behaviors and don’t react well to “no”. And they have genius IQs to boot.The parents are upper middle class and privileged, though they do have a sense of guilt about it and what their opulent lifestyle is doing to their children’s developing psyches.

This is when things get weird(er). Mom thinks a shrink should come check out the nursery because something fucked up is going down in there and it’s got her freaked out. There is Africa in the nursery. Nature at it’s worst. These children hadn’t conjured images of island beaches or Lewis Carol’s Wonderland, but oppressive heat, sulking lions, hovering vultures, and the faint smell of death. Believing mom is just having woman’s hysterics (this story was written in 1951), dad goes to the nursery to take a look for himself.

Indeed, he passes the threshold of the nursery and is transported to Africa. Though he knows that it is an illusion created by the house, it seems scarily real; he can smell the gaminess of the animals and hear them eating. What really freaks dad out is an old wallet that looked like it had been chewed on by beasts. It had belonged it him. Things get too real when one of the lions lunges at him and he runs like hell and bolts the door behind him.

The parents meet with a shrink. They show him the nursery, which is still projecting a simulation of the African veldt all around them. The doc analyzes the scene. He correctly guesses that the children are over indulged and disappointed by their parents. He concludes that the children are using the nursery to act out their violent fantasies. Dad admits that he didn’t let the kids go on a field trip to New York and in his concern for the kids behavior, has become more of a disciplinarian. The doctor breaks it down for the desperate parents.

Where they had a Santa Claus now they have a Scrooge. Children prefer Santa. You’ve let this room and house replace you and your wife in your children’s affections. This room is their mother and father, far more important in their lives than their real parents. And now you’ve come to shut it off. No wonder there’s hatred here.

Deciding the the house has made the family lazy and spoiled, the parents decide they will turn the Happy-Life Home off for a while. Brush their own teeth, cook, make their beds and what not. They would take a vacation. The little demons do not take the news well. They throw a hysterical tantrum before convincing their parents to come enjoy the nursery one last time. Mom and dad see no harm in it and go to the nursery to join the children only to find the nursery empty. Expect for that eerily realistic veldt scene and it’s lions…

A family friend comes to take them all to the airport only to find the children sitting alone, drinking tea, the sound of their parents screaming in the distance.


There are so many facets of this story that fascinate me and I could analyze them all, but since I am responding to a writing prompt, “The Veldt” is an interesting look at the culture of excess and the psychological toll it takes. Not only on individuals, but culturally, and socially. The family in the story had integrated into their lives a piece of technology that ensures physical comfort and contentment. They don’t need to prepare meals, do their laundry, or even bathe themselves. Their Happy-life Home maintains perfect homeostasis. Without meals to plan or chores to do, the parents feel useless. The house even entertains the children for them, with it’s state of the art virtual reality nursery.

Maybe I don’t have enough to do. Maybe I have time to think too much[…] I feel like I don’t belong here. The house is  wife and mother and nursemaid.

The sentiment is not unfounded, as the children’s view of their parent’s existence expresses itself through the nursery, foreshadowed to by the discovery of the wallet in the virtual Africa. The children had also been harboring rage towards the parents for keeping them from getting something they wanted- at trip to New York. That incident made these too-smart-for-their-own-good kids realize that Happy-life Home provided everything they needed. They had never need disciplined before. Parents had only existed to provide.

We’ve given the children everything the ever wanted. Is this our reward-secrecy and disobedience?”

Who was is said, “Children are carpets, they should be stepped on occasionally”? We’ve never lifted a hand. They’re insufferable-let’s admit it. They come and go when they like; they treat us as if we were offspring. There’re spoiled and we’re spoiled.

In a way, the children and the home were dependent on each other. Bradbury leaves it up to the reader to decide whether the house is sentient and can make the projections in the nursery a reality. If this is so, killing the parents would allow the house to remain plugged in and thus “live”, validating the mother’s fears that she is purposeless.

But the parents became coddled to the point of uselessness by their own want for comfort and pleasure. They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on technological upgrades to a house that took care of all their base needs, indulged every want of their children and never disciplined them. They literally gave their children everything and when the children’s ability to live excessively privileged lives was threatened, they removed the threat.

“Perhaps too much of everything is as bad as too little.” – Edna Ferber