"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Dancing With Darkness
in-ten-tion Function: noun
1 : a determination to act in a certain way : RESOLVE
2 : a line which sometimes must never be crossed
I'm pretty sure she was quite shocked, although I expected it as soon as she opened her mouth with the question.
I was at a peer group meeting for people who deal with either major depression or bipolar disorder. I want to guess that there were about twenty people there. Our discussions had wandered across several topics, since it was open floor night, and one lady had just admitted that she had suicidal thoughts every day.
"Every day?" T said. T is our "nurse practitioner" and leads the group. She is incredibly dedicated and vastly appreciated by all of us.
"Oh yes," said my friend R. "Not a day goes by without thinking of killing myself." She said it matter of factly, like one would discuss taking a shower or brushing teeth.
"How many of you think suicidal thoughts on a daily basis?"
Every single hand in the room went up (save one, but he is a special case and another story.)
T said "Daily?!?"
The forest of hands remained. We all knew, we all danced with this darkness every day, we all struggled and won each day of our lives.
Now, don't get me wrong here. People like me aren't ticking time bombs. We aren't going to head out like a bunch of lemmings over the closest ocean cliff. Well, at least the ones of us under rehabilitation and treatment aren't going to.
It's just that we see things differently.
Imagine that we could classify human mood states on a scale of one to ten, with one being depressed and ten being ecstatic. This is the range that most people work with. Most days are spent near the 5 mark, with a few dips and spikes along the way. Extraordinary events cause swings perhaps down as far as 1 or as far up as ten.
To us, it's not like that.
We look at that same scale, but our mood states careen off the chart on a regular basis. Maybe today I'm at 45 or 50. Maybe tomorrow I am at -32. We have no governor, nothing to halt our rise and slide.
Human beings were never meant to experience this. We are 20 watt speakers on a 100 watt amp.
Over the years, and with the help of various treatments, meds and stuff, we learn to handle this. If a normal person was experiencing suicidal thoughts every day, it would be a huge red flag. For many of us, it's just another thought to brush aside and go on about our business.
That is, unless we abandon our therapies and our meds. Then things get real serious real quick. Without their help, we are as helpless as leaves blown in a thunderstorm. Tragedy can and does happen when this occurs.
T told us several stories about friends of hers who are no longer with us. In each, the person stopped medication, and eventually took their own life.
This is why it is so vital that people with these disorders look on their meds as a lifetime commitment. Just like insulin to a diabetic, or dialysis to a person with kidney disease.
On the other hand, we don't just dive, we also fly. I immerse in a book, resound with a song, absorb into a painting. I can turn my volume up way past ten. I can also achieve at that level, leaping from spangled thought to fiery concept, building sparkling bridges between electric ideas and stainless steel goals.
And I would not trade that for the world.
So what there's a few stray thoughts. Not a problem. When you have felt what I have felt, seen what I have seen, there's a sense of perspective about intensity that forms. In essence, thoughts may form or thoughts may present themselves, but if the intention never materializes to act on the thought, it is just meaningless chatter in my thought stream.
It's all about intent, isn't it?
Personally, I'll focus on those shooting stars...
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near Tannhäuser Gate...
-Roy the Android in Blade Runner, before he dies