Angst: The Hideous Dread, Without a Dreadmaker
This is a recent account of my experiences with ‘Angst,’ written (significantly) in the middle of one of these attacks; they are rare, but they can be very brutal indeed.
Many foolish and ignorant people throw this word ‘Angst’ around flippantly and casually; it is actually a matter of life and death; in one way or another.
I offer it, in case any of you thought you were alone in this.
Angst is something so horrible, and so horrifically difficult to describe, that it is almost never talked about. It is a spiritual and a moral obscenity.
But I will take the risk of sharing these words with you.
It may be that they are of some meagre comfort to one or two of you.
Many times I have been unable to explain this feeling of sheer terror, this satanic thunderfield of anxiety and despair that comes upon me like a whirlwind.
I am writing this, in case it should ever be of some modest benefit to me.
I have, upon occasion, been so foolish as to try and reach out to a friend.
I only shocked and bewildered them, I am sure.
It must have seemed I was merely being peculiar.
It is not so much that.
It was a cry for help; and more.
It was a scream for mercy.
But how could they understand?
There is no ear on earth that can understand the scream of a terrified chick, as she sees the cruel fox devour her mother, or the gentle kitten as she sees her siblings assailed by such ruthless villains and heartless ruffians.
Every atom, every meagre, infinitesimal slice of time is as though brimming with menace and threat.
This is not the old ancient world of many foul and evil spirits; only a single, undifferentiated and indivisible dread, and threat of doom.
Tears well up in my eyes, and my voice dries away into the gentle whimper of a beaten puppy.
My sad and tender eyes look up to the threatening fist, which I cannot master, and cannot once understand.
Why do you torment me so?
Also, I know, when I am in this state, that I do not know what I am being accused of.
Of course, there is no accusation; nobody is accusing me, I know. I have no enemies on earth.
But it is as though I am being tormented and driven by despair, and I cannot say a word to defend myself, but I do not know what I am supposed to have done.
Is it any one thing?
It seems not?
Is it my very existence?
Again, it seems not.
I am so afraid, and I know there can be no-one to comfort me.
Not now, not ever.
I write these notes, because I want to read them once again.
Nobody else will ever understand.
It does not matter.
I feel like I am King Rilian, bound to the Silver Chair.
The everyday life I lead, it seems so real.
But then it is as though, once in a thousand years, I awaken, and realise my dream is not real.
No matter how long my ‘real life’ seems to last, I find myself asking myself if THIS is the only reality, and I am running and fleeing from it all the time.
Thus are the beautiful and tender words of my poem, ‘In Another Spring,’ thrown back at me, and cast in my teeth.
And yet another hideous parody; not ‘Zhuangzi and the Butterfly,’ but Zhuangzi and the Cockroach.
I once concocted a ‘parable of the Cockroach’ to warn a woman of good character and spirit off me.
I never wrote it down.
Nor did I ever tell her.
I said nothing.
Perhaps I will carry this to my grave.
In fact, I only 99% believe I will ever have a grave.
What if the grave itself is only part of my Grand Delusion, the Big Lie.
But this is foolish.
My reason tells me this is not so.
But my sentiments have me by the throat.
Let me at least do some small good in this world.
I do not even ask that it be non-literary.
“Like a baby, still born
Like a beast
With his horn
I have torn
Who reached out to me”
And I did it not because I was wicked.
But because I was gentle, and weak, and counted myself for nothing.
And that is the one unforgivable transgression
That has made the Heaven and Seas to tremble
Because every Alec has his humble seat in purgatory
But Angel Clare is the most loathsome companion of the fire
Now and forevermore
Because it is an eternal and irrevocable Law of Laws
That he to whom much has been given
Of him much shall be required.
And woe to he who shall dare to rob the beautiful ones,
The true ones,
And the good
Of what the most damnable, barbaric souls in all of Creation
Have blushing offered
At the close of harvest.