Darling, Don't You Dare
(1/5) Psychotic Depression
It's November 2015. Time off. My job as an artist has taken me to to 5 different countries on 3 continents and I've organised and exhibited at over 20 shows this year. It's been wonderful and I'm ready to relax and savoir the fruits of my hard work.
But I am full of a strange pain. Not a pain from the presence of something, but from the absence of it. It feel like a part of me has left, walked out in the night. So I am no longer whole. With it, to took joy, stole hope, and ripped apart peace and tranquility. It is a cold, bitter pain it's left, of strained violin notes on scratched records.
It makes the world seems black and white. This autumns fires and golds stir nothing in me. There is a dullness where my fire once was, an ache... This hole inside me blurs the edges of the world, everything is echos, diluted and dulled. There is little nourishment in living. I do all the things I usually love to do, regardless. seeing friends, exploring, walking, drawing. But they do not fill me, sate me, like they should. They are water pouring into me, I used to have a bucket, now I have a sieve.
But I have fought this beast before.
I know the self help and the slow remedies.
Though this time it feels different. But I can't put my finger on it.
Then the faces start. The mass and scramble of leaves turn into eyes, a man with hollow features stares at me out of the shrubbery. Watching. He's there again in my curtains, looking so real I can almost feel his breath. Not just him, others too, all so interested in my life they've squeezed their way into anything, bin liners, wood grain, coffee stains, just so they can look at me. Often they make me jump, when I notice them, casually staring at me through the folds of my dressing gown. A few seconds longer and I know they are an illusion. I feel uneasy anyway. Like I'm being watched, constantly.
I carry on.
The world starts being stitched together in different places. New connections, meanings burrow into things once mundane. The universal language, mathematics, glistens to me. The random numbers of everyday life call out to me as I pass by, begging to be listened too, to be understood. They hold secrets you see, if you only listen. Numbers are code. There are messages in numbers. Sentences written in digits. They are telling me things. The universe is talking to me in numbers.
I stare as cars wizz past, loaded with numbers.
The white rabbit. It's a thing which pulls you in, beckons you to follow, irresistibly. As it jumps away down the tunnel, you're at the entrance, and it's sunny outside, and the tunnel is dark and long, but big enough for you to fit. As white fur bounds away, and you're worried you'll lose it. Follow the white rabbit. You're supposed to follow. Right? Why wouldn't you follow? Who wouldn't follow? Someone who knows the white rabbit is no good, is not real, and leads only to ruin, that's who. I didn't know.
Numberplates! Yes, the perfect place to hide a code. Cars speed by me as I try and work out what the message is. These messages are important, they are from the universe you see, written so people can read, but only if people realise they are there, and I realsied. Clever me. If only I can decipher what it's trying to tell me... okay..okay... three plus seven, well that's obvious, but with another 3, turns the meaning, a counter-balance to the cadence - Yes! I got it! It's telling me to go to a field a mile from my house. Where, at 13, I had my first kiss. I know the next piece of this puzzle must be there.
The rabbit jumps away to the right, I follow excitedly.
I walk fast to the field. Focused on the rabbit, scared it will get away.
I'm here. Standing right in the middle of the grassy patch, flanked by trees on either side, looking desperately around for the rabbit as my breath rips out of me. I can't see it, no trail to follow, no numbers, nothing. I wait. An hour passes. Darkness creeps in bringing with it my senses. I start to feel foolish, what was I thinking would be here? Where did I think this would lead? My heart sinks with the fading winter sun. I realise this is a fools errand, and take the bus home.
More numberplates... . The rabbit hops forward, beckoning, and I wonder if it's so wise to follow, it's so cold down here. It's showing me another place to go. But I'm not too far from the entrance of the tunnel, I think. I'll wander back. Don't follow the white rabbit.
As I arrive home, and there is a piece of litter waiting for me on my front path: Chocolate 'HIT' Biscuits. Oh god. I know what this means: It's a marker. Someones put a hit on me. I know strongly in this instant there is a sniper trained on me in the house opposite. I cover my head, fling myself inside my font door and run and hide in a room where the windows don't face anything. My heart a thunder drum in my chest, pushing my blood in screams past my ears, so loud I think the sniper will hear from the other house. I hold my breath. What feels like an eternity passes before I am calm enough to rationalise, tell myself it's unlikely. Who would put a hit on me? But the litter. I know what it means. It's hours before I come out of the room. I am empty hungry and my nerves are ragged. I keep telling myself there isn't a sniper, but I avoid the windows anyway.
I carry on.
I am alone in this dark hole, wandering the tunnel complex, undirected, deeper in the warren than I realise. So many white rabbits, jumping over my feet, at every juncture. Sometimes I follow, mostly I don't. White rabbits come in every guise; some benign some sublime, some have sharp teeth. I get better at spotting them, and I try not to follow. December is the toughest month of my life so far, it's exhausting: Constantly having to pull myself back to reality. Check whats real, check what needs deep thought and what should just be ignored. Combine this with the everyday grind of low mood from depression, and life is tricky. I am functioning just well enough, Just on the right side of 'crazy'. I cut out my social interaction, so I don't act 'mad' around anyone. I know it's not 'normal', but I think the white rabbits will pass, and it's my fault anyway for following them..
A white rabbit looks at me disappointedly, as I don't follow. It hops away into the darkness. And I am alone in the dark, with only half of me left.
So, yeah, welcome to part 1 of 5 of the full, true story of my experience with mental illness over this November-March period.
Thank you everyone. Today is my Birthday, if I have a birthday wish, it's for my story to be shared.
Peace, Love and Tunnels,
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