“I’m struggling to stay alive,” they texted me. They were my best friend, and there wasn’t anything I could do to help.

Words ceased to have meaning. Everything became pictures, colors, mandalas of sound. But no words. I could hear a mother screeching at the loss of her child. Gun shots to the head, the splatter of meat and bone. Crunching of limbs in machinery, the slight vibration of bruises forming on a beaten man's torso. The movement of blood towards the skin, the breaking of blood vessels like spiderwebs. I imagined smashing my hand with a hammer, stabbing my cat with scissors, smothering my grandmother, who would involuntarily kick until she died. I could not be left to my own devices, I was not to be trusted. I clench my jaw until I notice pain, even then I have to concentrate to relax. Pressure in my bowels, evacuation. Nausea. Loneliness. Fear. I prayed that one day I could get high again.