When I have time, I write small portions of a book taking space in my head. It is in first person and it is meant to look like an authors account of true events, or rather my life story. When I put it all together, it will be about a woman who struggles to cope with mental illness in a world that constantly judges. She copes in other ways too, but that’s the voices talking.
When I was young, I would question my existence. I would ponder the meaning of why. Why did we bother to do anything if we were just going to die in the end? What was the point? Why try?
I managed to press through the thoughts. I sought out other ideas, hobbies, and allowed myself to live a little.
Once in a while, the thoughts come back.
When I was younger, I wasn’t aware of the state I put myself in when questioning why I bother to live. What a sight it must have been for others to see me sad; so suddenly.
I’m better at hiding it now. I work, I form relationships, I seek some sort of happiness. It looms, the agony, the dread. But I’m better at pushing through – sometimes. Lately, it hovers longer than I’d like. Often, it clings and I can’t shake it, wash it, peel back its decaying skin. It hangs like the air on a humid day.
I become stuck. I stick to my thoughts. They control my fighting mind; the part of my mind that resists the constant question – why are you still here? Why hasn’t anyone found you in a pool of blood?
I’m not sure, but my resisting mind wants to know why these demons keep lurking around? What is their purpose? Why did they choose me?
When you think of yourself, others don’t find themselves into the equation. Depression, for me is a one way street. Ahh, but that isn’t really true because the anxiety in me only cares about others, and the looming psychopath in me wants to murder every soul I see.
Mental illness isn’t cute anymore. It never was.
I grew up in a time where it was a growing trend of weirdos who dressed in black and were always sad. They made depression somehow glamorous and soon nearly everyone I knew wore eyeliner and combed their hair over one eye. But what about the people who were trying to act normal because they fought real demons? Not ones that pretended to just so they could fight the establishment and in return draw attention to themselves because no one at home gave a shit.
I had parents who gave a shit, they just didn’t know they had to. To them, I was normal. I did normal things, had normal friends, and had a normal mind.
I actually wanted to be normal. Instead, I fought to live. My mind wanted my soul and it almost won, more than a few times. I prayed to die and hoped I wouldn’t make it past 25. In fact, I was certain I wouldn’t live past then. I was so sure, I started doing things to speed along the process. It never happened. When 25 came, I cried until I nearly went into a psychosis. I took some pills to wash away the pain, and I woke in a heavier dispair. I was with someone then. Someone who saw my crazy. They seemed to embrace it and I’ll never know and never want to know why.
At this point, I gave in. I stayed with this person and just became someone I wasn’t – normal. I thought I should so I could at least stop the voices. I had to stop the demons.
But they were still there. In fact they came on full force. I started taking meds. It was a tragic sight. I changed. The voices stopped. The demons stopped licking the gray matter, but the claws never retracted.
I started living. I went to therapy. I was normal. But we’re not really normal, are we? We just turn into zombies.
I made cakes, made friends, cooked dinner, and went to parties. I was a wife. Sometimes I was really good. Sometimes I really sucked.
The demons played sometimes. They broke the med spell and when they played, the voices were worse than before. I would cry until I lost parts of me that I’ll never see again. I broke. After I broke, I broke again and again until the meds were gone and I started to sabbatoge my existence. If I was miserable, so was everyone else. No one was safe.
My unstable life made the voices more active. I had boughs of hysteria,as the old school doctors would say, more often than boughs of sanity. I longed to be institutionalized. I joked about it. That’s what you do. You joke about how crazy you are so you can deflect your problems. People laugh with you and it reinforces the behavior until even you start to believe the lies. They are just jokes, you tell yourself. You’re not crazy.
So you live your life. Like normal people do, but your thoughts are more demented. So you hang around people who are almost the same. It makes you feel better about yourself.
They don’t know the truth. No one knows the truth. When you confide in someone, they disregard you and just say things that they think will make you feel better because in reality you’ve made them feel uncomfortable and now they don’t know how to act around you and you find your list of friends getting smaller and smaller.
Don’t worry, you have the voices.
I do. The demons are nice as well. I enjoy their powerful hold. Their tight, crippling grip of despair. In fact, I’ve grown so accustomed to their presence I’m not sure I’d know how to be without them -which actually scares me to the core.
It’s time for another story.
She couldn’t understand the worry on her friends face. It was discontent, She knew his circumstances, his recent job loss, the divorce, and the house in foreclosure. She understood all those things. Today was different. All the other things were ancient. What she couldn’t understand was his constant need to keep dragging up the past. In her mind it was over and he should forget that it ever happened. That was easy enough, right? For her, it was easy to detach – to leave her emotions at bay. She considered herself emotionally gifted. She never worried, cried, laughed, or became angry. She often became agitated, though it never gave for much concern. The loss of her parents and siblings didn’t really effect her. Her friend, on the other hand, was distraught for years. He still brings it up. For her, it becomes more a nuisance to discuss. She rolls her eyes, and she lets him know she doesn’t want to speak of the issues; not because she is trying to repress the memories, but because it annoys her when his eyes start to get wet and his nose starts draining. He suddenly needs a tissue and it wasn’t even his family.
She changed the subject. He still had the worried look even though the topic was light enough to make anyone content. He kept talking of his constant sorrow. He started to cry. She became more annoyed. She started to tap her fingers on the table. Her taps became louder and louder. Her friend didn’t seem to notice, although other patrons of the cafe started to stare. His sobs became louder. She stopped tapping. She looked around her and everyone was looking over, craning their necks to gawk at the scene. She breathed a heavy breath. He looked up and wiped his tears with the heavy cloth napkin. He blew his nose into the material. The sound was deafening. She pounded her hands on the table. She snatched the cloth from his hands. She twisted the cloth by its edges, gaining a firm grip until the cloth resembled a tightly wound rope. She took her aim and snapped one end toward his eyeball. She always had perfect aim and impeccable wrist control. She made a perfect basketball player, if she would have ever tried for the team. He screamed in pain. He immediately covered his eye with his hand. She couldn’t see the results right way, but she saw the blood trickle between his fingers.
He desperately reached for another cloth napkin. She handed it to him, in hopes he would release his hand from his injured eye. He took it and he took the bait and she quickly wound the cloth napkin and took aim for his other eye. He bled profusely. His screams echoed off the cafe walls. Everyone was panicked. He was now covering both of his eyes and the blood covered his hands. He paused a moment and looked at her in sheer confusion. She smiled a sly grin, “I just wanted you to stop crying.”
The rocks, the dirt, the gritty debris… I seemed to become part of the landscape. The only difference between myself and the stones was the blood. I was trying to climb away – up, the last place I wanted to be, further from the ground, but I had no other options. They were gaining. My body was exhausted. Every time I moved my body closer to the top, each limb grew heavier. It was my escape that astonished me. If I could make it out of this scenario, I might live to tell about it. I reached for another rock. I turned my head to look down at my pursuers. I lost my grip. My body descended to the trees below. There wasn’t any time to reach for anything to stop this fall. I thought I would make it, I really did. My heart sank, my stomach seemed to flip. The ground gained closer. I tried to scream, but I stared in shock. I saw their faces, also in disbelief or just in shock that it was over too soon. Or perhaps glad it ended. I snapped out of my stupor and reached for my side arm. If I was going to die, the people who tortured me were going to die too. Each bullet reached their heads just in time. My body smacked a tree limb and I felt my ribs crack. My body folded and my head hit a larger limb. That is all I know. Three dead assholes, and me, lying on the ground, broken – severely broken.
I have been plagued with a Windows phone. It works when it wants to and when it does work, it is great. When it doesn’t work, it found itself being thrown. I have anger management issues. So I traded that P.O.S in for a phone I have had since it made its debut and have returned to when my other phones start lacking. The iPhone. Call me names or start calling me a conformist if you would like, but I am rarely ever near my computer and when I am, I have to put together a presentation or wrote a research paper. My phone is for fun things. I got my iPhone and signed into my account. To my amazement, all of my old apps I love start downloading themselves to the phone. Awesome. I open the note app and expect it to be empty. I was wrong. It is full of old stories, ideas, and some quotes. Oh My God! I could die. But if I did, I wouldn’t be able to let you read something I wrote around three in the morning a few years ago. I edited the story because when you write at three in the morning and read it when you are coherent, it tends to not make much sense. So here you are. I give you a story for your Sunday. Here, in the land of mountains, it is dreary and cold. A perfect day to read. Enjoy and Happy Sunday.
I run through the thick woods, trying to be careful of every step. Hoping I don’t break my ankle or something worse that will render me useless. The thick brush seems to encase itself around me and I struggle to break my self free of its tight clutches. I break a branch that nearly smacks me in the face and my eyes catch what I have been searching for. Its peeling paint and sagging roof remind me of every stereotypical idea my thoughts can produce about killers. The old, decomposing house in an area thick with trees, hidden from view. Although the windows looked incased with mud, I did my best to become like the house – hidden. If anyone was inside, I didn’t want to bother them. Not just yet. The sun was setting and the fading light offered the right amount of camouflage . I came to what looked like a bathroom window. It was nested at eye level and to my amazement, was cracked open. I wondered if it was a trap, but erased the thought from my head. How could they know anything. Everyone I loved was dead. Unless they tortured them. If that was the case, I knew to be extra careful. I put my face to the glass. I wanted a better look inside. I took the sleeve from my coat and scraped a small section of mud and filth from the window. I could barely make out the lining of a shower and toilet. I surveyed the window for wires or any thing suspicious. Satisfied I wouldn’t die instantly or become impaled, I slowly opened the window. It made small creaking sounds and I cringed every time. I pleaded for no one to be inside. I finally opened the window and started to squeeze in, feet first. The floor felt slimy and it took all my strength to hang onto the window sill and keep my balance. In seconds I would find out what was under my feet and I wasn’t ready. I imagined a layer of film from an once overflowing toilet. Or just grime from a house in ruins. I must have been seduced by the crisp night air, for as soon as my entire body entered the bathroom, my nostrils filled with the smell of bile. I almost lost what was left in my stomach. But another stench crept in and it took a while for the smell to register. I have smelt it before. My mother smelled the same way before she died. I know because I held her in my arms. It was all I could do to keep her alive, but the wound was so deep. I then knew what it was. Blood. I thought of how my mother knew exactly where to cut. To make a mark in her skin that no one could heal. When I found her she was covered and lying in a pool of this familiar stench. I tried to stop the bleeding, but it was too late. The bathroom was suddenly my old home and I could see my mother curled up on the floor half awake, half dead. I was sad and deeply confused. When she died I only felt anger. I see her on the floor and I want to run to her. A loud sound from another room breaks my trance. I quickly hide in the only safe place – the shower. It’s an old tub that rest on for post in the shape of talons. A single rod from the floor hold a circle that hangs above the tub. A moldy plastic sheet hangs from rust covered hooks. I pull the sheet around me and wait patiently; silently. Trying to hold my breath. My heart is pounding and I swear it sounds like drums. The footsteps grow louder and I prayed they would pass the bathroom door. Please don’t have to pee. Please. The footsteps stop in front of the door. A voice from another room yells at the person in the hallway. I can’t make out the words, but it causes the person to grunt in a disaproving tone. The person starts to open the bathroom door and I am sure that I will be seen. I can die just as my mother did – on a bathroom floor. Except no one will be there to comfort me and I will not have taken my own life, just brutally murdered in a bathroom. The door pushes open and I cover my mouth hoping my silent breath will stop my noisy heart. The voice from the other room yells again. The bathroom door shuts slightly and the person grunts loudly and walks down the hall. This is my chance. I step out of the shower and slowly make my way out of the bathroom. Away from my death. I can feel my mothers clutches and I stall. Half of my body in the hallway and half in the bathroom. I search the hallway for the next available hiding spot and shake my leg. “not today, mother”. This momentary fight for life gives me the courage to doge into an adjacent room. I hide in the closet and find myself seated holding my knees on the floor. I decide to wait until the house is empty. Until then I devise a new plan. I’ll find my answers in the morning.