A few weeks ago I was incapable of simply managing daily routines such as bathing; I couldn’t process dual stimuli so if I was brushing my teeth and a faucet was turned on my attention went to the running water and my brushing slowed to a stop as though someone had killed the power. There was no conscious thought besides a gnawing, chewing darkness as though black velvet curtains had been suddenly drawn, shutting out the noonday sun. If I was present I was only present to the fact that I had, almost immediately fallen down a deep tunnel of which there was no light and no escape and no orientation. Or better, as though I had been swallowed by the immediate mud-slide of my life and in complete darkness and suffocation I simply held on to the one hope that maybe my prescription would act as a breathing tube offering me much needed oxygen as Nick, my psychiatrist and friends and family kept begging for me to hold on as help was on the way.
Two days ago I traveled north to Milwaukee to spend a couple of days with my older brother. We sat for nine hours the first day and six hours the next simply talking. Well, I talked and in a profound gesture of brotherhood generosity he listened interjecting sparingly opinions. It was an exhausting experience met with fatigue, resistance and weeping, but I plowed through years of illumination, insights and epiphanies. It was the first time that I was able to track the experiences as they evolved much like tracking a lion or bear by using their footprints in a densely green forest. It was the first time that I was able to collect and sort, catch and dissect, speak and understand a monumental array of thoughts, failed expectations, compromises, distance and pain. My life for the past three years had been laid out before me like a table at Thanksgiving; every piece in its place awaiting their purpose.
Each day my energy has slowly begun to return and I grow stronger. I am still wobbly and use the assistance of a cane to walk; my gait is slow as I amble to the post-box or to the doctor; I often lean upon it when I tire or grab a hold of a fence or the arm of Nick.
But the most important, painful, and fool hardy admission was that I had erected my life cantilevered and precipitously atop a ravine simply for the view. Then one evening a mud-slide swallowed me, my partner and his family, my career and others at work, my family and friends. And now, standing at the base of change, the annihilation of my overlooked life, I now stand alone before this devastation, try to catch a glimpse of any familiar object in order to delay the inevitable: to once again try to salvage any pain my uncaged manic self inflicted