"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:
Monday, June 05, 2006
de-mar-cate Function: transitive verb Etymology: back-formation from demarcation, from Spanish demarcaciÃ³n, from demarcar to delimit, from de- + marcar to mark, probably from Italian marcare, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German marha boundary -- more at MARK 1 : DELIMIT 2 : to set apart : SEPARATE 3 : an ability I am losing
I guess this sort of thing is the logical progression, considering what the road has been like to this point. But I sure did not see it coming.
Partly because it was slow, creeping up on me over months, maybe years. And now I am the frog, boiling unawares.
Madness can do that.
The heavy duty meds that some of us with my illness have to take affect each of us in so many different ways. But one of the common ways is to dull the emotions, corralling our moods into one relatively flat "baseline" state. Which sounds good. But in many ways it's more like living in hell, after seeing heaven.
I remember times when my spirit soared into the stratosphere, wide open armed face to the sun crying out with the joy of all creation. I remember looking at the ocean and knowing the waves and I shared a sort of kinship, longer lasting than all the sunrises and sunsets of all the beaches on earth. I remember feeling alive with every pore of me, every nerve lightening charged and soaking up life like a starving man eating chocolate.
I remember picking up my guitar and it was as much a piece of me as my hand or my feet or my head. I remember loving so hard it hurt like a dagger would, feeling passion like I was suffocating in it.
I didn't know, no one told me, that all these things were wrong, were ill, were not to be for "normal" human beings.
Of course, for every skyrocket ride, there were deep dark enveloping depressions, sucking cavities in the universe that would devour me, then inside would be another darker and deeper that would devour me again.
But these times, these times were the ones were I would sit quietly with my guitar and write song after song, pouring so much of myself out, catharting myself like a gushing wound. And there was beauty there.
Dangerous beauty. Evil, in its way.
So, after my 25 year too late diagnosis, I started eating pills for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We adjusted them, tweaked them every time I hit a bump in the road.
Now don't get me wrong, this is exactly the right way to do it. No other way will work. This illness is a killer, and cheating the reaper is not something you can do without constant attention, altering things as needed to stay one step ahead.
The result, as I said, is gray. For real life anyway.
On the other hand, the meds have some side effects. All the regular ones (weight gain, etc.) along with some weird ones, like seeing small animals from the corner of my eye. I've gotten used to that one and it doesn't bother me any more. The biggest side effect, though, is the dreams.
I'm not talking regular dreams. I'm talking about dreams that are more lifelike than life itself. Where you can smell, taste, feel wind and temperature on your skin, breathe, walk from place to place, have long realistic conversations.
And where you can feel.
Feel like somebody got a ice coldbucketfull of it and poured it over your head. That intense.
And this is where the problem is, the place where the madness lives, isn't it?
We know reality because we know it. We know we are awake because we know we are. We can pinch ourselves, things are chronological.
Now, I've discovered that this no longer works with me. My line between life and dream is blurred, smudged, shifting. I cannot trust my mind.
My dreams are often more real than my reality. When I awaken, I feel that somehow I've drifted off to sleep, and left my real emotions and things that are important behind.
Early this week I dreamed that something from my past had resolved itself, but it had resolved sadly, badly, heartbreakingly. I have been mourning it for days. Mourning something that does not exist. To me, however, it is as real as the keyboard under my fingers.
I've dreamed that I've had phone conversations that I never had, and yet I remember them and my real life actions are based on those false memories.
This has caused problems.
Are these the first steps of madness?
Will I eventually be relegated to an existence lived in the strange land between the real and the figment? How do I even know? Do I find the courage to, with my docs help, try to wean off of some of the meds? But they are just enough to keep me pinned to the tail of the donkey, and I am deeply afraid of juggling them.
I am trying so hard to recapture myself, and I am finding that I can't trust me. So I am going to be looking for anchors, mileposts, ways to tell what, who and where I am.
And as I type this, my mind pulls me to an imaginary building, in an imaginary place, where an imaginary thing has happened, and I can tell you the type of car I am driving, how many bricks are in the wall, how many people are there, their names, how many tiles are in the courtyard, what is on the TV, the temperature, the depth of the water in the wetland at the end of the parking lot, what time it is, what day it is, what month it is, how many cars are there, what I am wearing, and that my heart is breaking so intensely.
Madness is a terrible place, after all.
There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line. Oscar Levant