A Lament: the slippery slopes of my mind.

I have been struggling. There is a lamp on my roommate’s table — it’s yellow and my only source of light because white light bothers me. And all the other light fittings are white. The lamp throws out a pale light, mimicry of light actually, because it’s heavy, burned out and dying. It reminds me of myself: aglow in the centre, at the beginning, but fading with time and distance. Moving away from myself, washing into the gloom.

It’s a funny thing mental illness — it makes the world close in and the voices in our head too loud to hear. And our voice, our identities become indistinct, falling silent in face of cacophony. And this sudden silence inside of us, of us, has no outlet. It is overriding and isolating. For me, this silence goes and comes. At times it is overpowered by a burst of drums, a marching band; a stampede breaks the silence with a fervour that makes me question whether it ever existed at all. I plan, I look up and smile the genuine smile; I am certain of victory. I hope. I believe. A wave of energy crashes over me. Ideas and hopes that rush into me and out of me making time contracts in face of the endless possibilities. And amidst these surges, for a brief moment, the silence becomes a forgotten fact. Then it comes back with a vengeance. It inches up before raining down on the marching band till every sound has ducked for shelter and I have, once again, been submerged.

For some, these phases of excitement and lethargy are like waves that rise and fall, crashing against them with breathtaking force. For me they are like weather — storm and sunshine, storm more often. I sit in my house as it shakes in the storm, step out when the sun comes out, and run back in racing against the rain. These phases are normal, human. Everyone rides the ups and downs of life. But for me, they come and go too often, within days and hours. I find no time to adjust.

But it’s not the browbeating noise and silence that bothers me most; it’s my complicity. I let the noise continue and refuse to speak in the silence. I let the waves crash and cannot drag my feet away from the tempestuous shore. I let the rain chase me into the house and depend on the sun to step out. As if I have given in. It is my complacency that lets me suffer, my complicity with the illness, my acceptance of it. But at the same time, denying the weather and walking out into a storm does not seem to be a good idea.

I have been told that I must recognise the weather for what it is — external, passing and separate from me. But that is easier said than done when the storm and the sunshine are in me. I have been told that I must function regardless of the weather. To wear a cap and head out in the sun so that its brightness doesn’t swallow me and spit me out in the rain. To wear a poncho and head out in the storm so that I don’t grow cold and wet from its intensity. But that’s not the life I want to look forward to. I want to find a way to kill the silence and the noise. I want soft melodies to play in their place, ones that form a background to a clear voice and identity. I want a solution, not a band-aid. Otherwise, I fear I shall always be navigating the slippery slopes of my mind.

If you understand this experience please ❤ it so others who share it can see it and, hopefully, feel a little less alone.

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