“It’s quiet now, and I think my thoughts alone…”
The opening line of Oneiro’s ‘Shhh!’ I’ve quoted so many times before.
“…I try to keep my head straight but I think I’m too far gone.”
It’s a song whose lyrics leak into my conscious brain and snare my attention, focus it on something raw and unpleasant. As much now as the first time I heard them, wired to the hilt, almost twenty years ago.
“For in this silence, the truth rings even louder. A constant grinding begging recognition of its power.”
You know these songs, the ones seemingly written about you, the songwriter peering into the depths of your soul and exposing all the things you’ve worked so hard to hide from the world, and from yourself. This is one of those.
The silence. God, I hated the silence. Always surrounded myself with people, noise, activities, music – anything. Just so that I didn’t have to hear that constant grinding. The voice inside begging to be heard – shouting out at every lull in momentum: accusing, criticizing, hating.
“Through its eyes I take the trip. Destiny – the place of pain and pleasure absolute, where sorrow has a face”
But now? Now I find myself in a mental space where darkness and silence are the only things I crave. Something has happened. Something broke. Something inside my head.
“A place of time where spirit – asked to stand its ground – has lost its equilibrium and is slowly sinking down.”
There’s a massive upheaval of emotion that grips my heart in early hours of every morning and tries to force it up my throat and out my mouth. Daybreak begins with the terror in my chest, pulse thrumming in my ears fit to burst.
On bad days it lasts for hours. On the really bad days I won’t leave my room. I won’t see people or go outside. Just writing about going outside now has my pulse racing again, and my throat is constricted.
“Down into the darkness that the lack of will affords. Down into the shadows, past the junkies, past the whores.”
At night when I can slow my thoughts down enough to sleep for a couple of hours, my dreams are dramatically sentimental. Peopled with ghosts of the dead and the past, memories of another life some imposter got to live while I shack up with these demons in my head.
“Down into the mire suffocating all that lives. But if I say I care, I lie – for I have no more left to give.”
It’s in these moments that I think about Kirstin, and Gareth. Jacqui. Johan. Were they consumed by relentless inner terrors that made opting out of life the better way? The easier choice? It’s at moments like this that I most envy them their freedom from their anguish.
“Well, I suppose a hand would help. Oh yeah – there’s no one here. Guess that’s what I wanted… once again, my greatest fear”
But in my case there are so many people here, so many who love and want to help, who reach out. So many, too, who know there’s only me that can fix this by reaching out and asking for that help. And still others, who watch, who see, who react like this poison in my head is a poison that will erupt in theirs. I watch, I see them turning away; strong friendships crumbled into dust as the poison finds its mark.
“I just long to hear a bird’s song, just to let me know there’s light – for as we all know a songbird never sings its songs at night.”
Still though, it’s only fair to tell you that the poison in me is so strong that all the good will and tough love in the world is meaningless. “Go get help” and “Get into recovery” … may as well tell me to sprout wings and fly to Mars.
It’s not that I won’t. It’s that the thought of opening up and talking about all this noise is so overwhelming it cripples me. So for now, I retreat to the place I know best: ignoring it, pretending it doesn’t exist, and dealing with the physical manifestations in the paranoia, fear and anxiety that are my constant companions.
“The darkness, sure and silent, holds fast being my reach. A ray of light has not a chance – the shadows can’t be breached.”
The only safe space is this little room, my three by four. In here, I can’t be reached. In here, I can distract, and hide, and feel, and weep, and not have to account for who I am or where I am on whatever journey this is.
In here, you can’t get to me.
“What now? I ask the guide, of this – my final fate – as I’m lead into the cell I hear the closing of the gate.”
Funny old thing, life. I once used crowds and noise and people to keep the terrors out, and now its crowds and noise and people that amplify those terrors and make them more real.
“The silence I once feared is at last my final end. The silence I once hated had become my only friend. Again.
It’s quiet now.”
It’s dark now. Really dark. But if there’s one thing I know, it’s that I’ve been here before. It’s all so depressingly familiar.
And it will pass.
It always does.
©️ Dave Luis 2020. All Rights Reserved.