I stir to the distant screech of fingernails running down a blackboard. The threaded folds of the tall curtain are unmoved. My jaw hangs open. My cheek and chin press with reluctance against the cold wet corner of my pillow. My body lies exhausted in a numb heap.
Ring around the Rosie pocketful of posy … Maggie and Peter, smitten with their own good humor, pay no heed to my discomfort. I put out my arms to hold their hands and with maximum effort stumble over the simple tune.
The only obstacle to surmount is the vacant silence of an empty house. The severe bleakness plays loudly and melodically. Shoulders set forward, head held up by submission, I grasp the knife in my palm and place it across my wrist.
In the vice of blunt trauma and forced restraint, my mind remains able to read her snappish temperament and impatient behavior. A scarlet countenance embitters her towards me. Grimacing with anguish and recoiling in my seat, I shut my eyes and raise up my arm. An unforgiving backhand blow knocks me over.
I wake dispirited and disconsolate, an imposed glumness inducing me to savor the comfort of my bed. Bound in this way by the stupor of morose and sterile chains, it is a beneficial fortitude that heaves me up.
I walk, carrying limbs steadfastly through a muffled gait. Up the narrows-like way of a wizened river bed, I seek the gleam of the rising sun. With unfaltering stride, I traverse upwards, doggedly I lurch around, down and up, and under unchecked steam — beyond those natural constraints of a more than ambling locomotion — I coast clear of the arbor.
I stand abreast the weather. The expanse of water is clearly strewn with the overlapping lines of white caps. The wind is without doubt blowing thick and indeterminate gusts. Yet I am not buffeted, nor am I humored by the excitement of a shouldering sea.
Damn this illness and damn these medications! An emptiness exerts itself where there should be robust anger. Marauders wield their clubs where there once had been gumption. In a shroud of loneliness, wanting of intimacy, I head homewards.
Nearly besotted, I scour the words penned by another. I search expectantly for any outpost, however remote, of hope. I am prejudiced in favor of electrical shocks to my brain. Anything to break the manacles hindering my mischievous love of life.
Time, days, weeks, months pass. New meds, add-ons and new regimes altogether, smile upon me while not releasing me from their dismantling haze. The home of a peer jibes up the street with a new addition. I am a person with a mental illness.
I sit, invigorated by the thought challenging my mind. The word I seek takes residence and I feel its charm. It has been two months since my latest change in medication — this time a drug altogether different. I am fresh again.
I stand before the resounding attention of a placid sea. My words carry the ache of a stranded soul. I brace myself against the jolt of applause– holding back the swell of tears.
I believe I will love again.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.