The Standard Psychotic Break (from Visions)

From my in-progress book on mental illness …


I sigh, as it’s become common place to experience something traumatic because of my racing, delusional, and unbalanced mind, and then write about it when I’m level enough to think clearly and compose my thoughts down on paper.


Last night and even yesterday was hell. I’ll try to keep the story simple, as the details are intense. But suffice to say, it was the standard psychotic break.


My day started out well enough. I went to my therapy appointment at ten thirty in the morning. She was nice, then confused me with some sideswiping comments. At first, I thought it was just me, but then it became severe enough that it began to weigh down on me.


To keep it simple, I thought she’d be content, because she’s been pushing energy healing over and over again, sure that’s the answer, when I’m sure that talking is the answer, because that’s what I do well. I’ve picked up that she doesn’t find what I have to say all that interesting, which actually kind of stings and hurts a little. But this was picked up more significantly than usual, when, she kept saying things. Such as, the fact that I would say my unhappiness is due to circumstance, and she’s convinced it has to do with holding onto emotional baggage of the past: Two completely different metaphysical views and views on the mind and the nature of our problems. She also said that, when I argued this point, by saying philosophers would disagree with her, that she didn’t need to take them seriously. To her, all philosophies are different, which she implied makes their viewpoints irrelevant to a cogent viewpoint. I agreed at the time, for the ease of conversation, but now, after some thought, I would have said, actually, philosophy does make progress, but it takes time, and philosophies contradict and are counterpoints because a bigger picture of the world is constantly emerging, as things change. The final blow was when, after dismissing my reasons for hurting as being mere emotional baggage and not anything to do with having a mental illness and having an illness that limits my mobility in the world and through the world, she said, after I went on a long talk about The Snake Angel, “Well, I’d love to hear more but we’re out of time.” It sounded terse. I could understand that she didn’t have time, in all honesty, but the inflection and context made it sound more like she didn’t care, especially when evoking the idea that she told me she “doesn’t have time to read my work,” when I wanted to give her like five pages or so of one of my books. Plus she criticized my thinking, basically said I’m unhappy because I think too much, when I think the way I do to stay sane and build a solid cognitive system to rely on.


Too much stung, too much hurt. So, I pushed forward, thinking about how her stupid energy healing was going to make me feel weird for a little while, and wondering how that was going to manifest. It manifested as delusion. I had to keep lunch easy (a Subway sandwich) to be all right, thinking about all I’d told her about The Snake Angel, such as that he told me that I was gentle to him when I was like five and saw a garter snake and my Dad told me to stay away but I was kind to the snake, and how that was The Snake Angel, and that meant something to him. Such as the fact that The Snake Angel told me not to ever mix the colors green and orange (corresponding to sensuality and love according to the chakra …). Such as the fact that The Snake Angel is mean to me, like when he was kind to me one night and then said abruptly, “You’re a means to an end.” She assumed that this meant, the fact that I have this harsh personality, that it’s me myself that’s harsh to others, when it’s this personality that’s harsh to me.


Anyway, she was dismissive, confusing, different, indifferent, clearly uninterested in what I had to say, which makes me wonder how I move forward. But anyway, I did my best to be calm, saying on Facebook, after posting a gif of Mr. Robot putting up his hood: to mix “orange and blue.” Instead of orange and green, of course. Blue according to the chakra is supposed to represent the divine.


Whatever, man. Anyway, I did my best, mellowed out, drove to a church dinner. I did okay for a little while, then my delusions crept in.


It started when the Pastor came and I felt alienated from him. I went with one of the guys to go get cups for water. I started pouring cup after of water, because I kept losing track of which cup was mine. Then I ate part of a turkey quesadilla not knowing it had meat (I’m a staunch vegetarian and believe in not hurting animals), which really got my paranoia going. Andrew, my close friend, who made this dish, noticed that this upset me, asked if I was okay, I told him I was, but he knew I wasn’t. I sat at a distance, then, ate my Cliff Bar which I fucking dropped on the ground but still ate, and then, he told me to join them if I felt up to it. He was super apologetic. I remember telling him I was paranoid, that it comes in waves, and in all honesty, I was paranoid. I thought it was intentional, I had been set up to conflict with my values, to clash with the values of the dominant society, and forced to eat meat.


It was a crazy delusion.


I roamed in my thoughts, went to Smith’s, a local grocer, and got some pasta with balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, and blue cheese, and brought it back. They’d sent me a text apologizing about the food, I told them it was okay, it was still subsistence and so I couldn’t complain. But in my heart I hurt for the fucking animals I’d tried for the past half year to save through my conscientious diet. The principle of ahimsa and all that.


Fuck. This all probably sounds so stupid. Anyway, I went back, after listening to the song Extremophile Elite by Between the Buried and Me and singing to them, a cool part, with lyrics I made up since in the song I don’t know what they actually say, I just love the beat. A fucking ton.


I gave Andrew a bite of my pasta, telling him it was bitter, or something like that. I told him I needed a bus transfer. I said I missed a family that hurt my feelings a ton in regards to my mental illness, who was part of our church for a short time. I don’t fucking know.


Then I drifted deeper into my psychosis. I read parts of the book America by E.R. Frank to Andrew, a brave and bold story about a kid who gives up on life and tries to find his way back. A kid with a beautiful spirit. It started when I told him that in the book, it talks about how depression is really anger manifested. I couldn’t find the quote, so I read other parts, such as the kid always screaming in the psyche ward, such as the fact that stuck rhymes with fuck, etc.


I told Andrew that gay men release pheromones. I meant to comment and note how beautiful I think this is, aesthetically. I learned this from a book called A Secret Edge. I babbled about Derridian philosophy, tried to say I learned the art of language through Derrida, the art of sounding good through words, and then told him that his son might have developed the genetic fallacy of depression from a relative of his who suffers with depression, but that this kid, Andrew’s son, doesn’t play with the other kids because of the kid hierarchy, and the fact that the kid has his own ideas about how the world works and what he wants to do.


The most poignant moment was when I made an observation about bees on flowers. I said, the petals are hard, when usually they are smooth. The petals should be smooth like lilac, but they were instead rough. I observed that the bees were in good shape, though, because of the way they’d glide on the flower, saying that they are stressed if they come at a sharp angle. That’s not good, means the bee is having a rough day.


Slowly, everyone left, and then it was just me and the Pastor and his kids. I used the word key, when I pulled out my keys, and he wondered if it had deep significance for me. I told him it did, in terms of layers: The deep layers of my mind. I told him about the time that a guy flashed a key at me when I didn’t steal a candy bar I really wanted. It was in reference to a scene in my first novel, Away from Home. Sure enough, that chapter featured a scene with Samuel Callon cold and hungry outside of a church building, where a reverend lets him inside and feeds him. A metaphor for pastors bringing hope for the homeless, I suppose, was what I meant, and maybe, bringing hope for me.


I don’t know if this message was articulate and clear, but it’s what I meant. I sent him that chapter, called Keys, via email, and we’ll see where that leads.


I struggled the rest of the night.


I did okay for a little while. Took some Ginkgo Biloba, which is supposed to sharpen memory and cognitive capacity. Stupid, because it was right before I take my meds that make me cognitively incompetent and tired as hell and not thinking clearly from being foggy and drugged up, but … I ultimately didn’t take my meds with this supplement. Because, I realized once I arrived at a bar, that I forgot my meds. So I’d have to take them late, probably past eleven.


Sure enough, they were having karaoke. I thought for sure I’d have fun. I’d had fun before there. It’d be fun, for sure. I ultimately sang three songs: MakeDamnSure by Taking Back Sunday, Anna Molly by Incubus, and Bat Country by Avenged Sevenfold. I botched the songs, but I was wearing my sunglasses to keep me cool. All right.


Before I sang, I wrote a poem called The Light Kid, in my collection of poetry The Beautiful Mythology. So I thought I’d be okay. But I ended up roaming alone in the bar. No one wanted to talk to me, which, doesn’t and didn’t surprise me, but still stung. Yeah, yeah, I should have initiated conversation, but no one seemed to give a shit there, so it didn’t matter anyway.


Anyway, I went home, and didn’t get to take my meds until past twelve, which I never do. It threw me off severely.


And then it just got bad.


The standard break: Where nothing I do seems to work, where it takes a tremendous amount of effort to stay sane.


I started grabbing my head in agony, feeling a feeling I just can’t put into words, but is despair distilled: It comes from a deep-rooted fear of uninhibited psychosis, of not being able to control my mind, of being hospitalized against my will as a result of psychosis. I even thought about calling the hospital because I was so confused and scared. I didn’t, though, because I knew I had to get through, but after crying to many songs, such as Home by Three Days Grace and Hail to the King by Avenged Sevenfold, feeling like a fucking loser, feeling hurt, I thought of a new book that is out that I forgot the title of, but that has a guy screaming and grabbing his head on the cover, and is supposed to link madness with philosophy … perfect for the likes of someone like me, where philosophy is my guide to reality, yet so many saying it’s driving me literally insane. It just amped up that fear.


I kept going in and out of my apartment, going on walks around the area, going back to my apartment, trying to sleep, trying to rest in music, trying to pray, trying to meditate, trying to think … but none of it worked. So, I just waited for the meds to work, grabbing my pillow and squeezing it close to my body, and asking to speak to Death, The Snake Angel, and The Light Kid, and at one point, seeing light in my mind, seeing The Light Kid, but hurting because I knew it was delusion and yet I knew it wasn’t delusion, all this stuff is fucking real, I’m telling you, but … delusion.


Finally, though, I managed to crash out. I knew it was just my standard psychotic break. Minor, compared to where I’ve been before, which is insane considering how painful it’s been. These incidents have become more common, it seems, and more intense. I think what’s happening, though, is I’m getting sick of dealing with it over and over again, of the constant mania, the constant delusions, the constant craziness of mind, all that fucking shit, and dealing with stigmas, where you think America (the main character from the book by E.R. Frank) is a murderer and will kill you in your sleep, and all that fun stuff. I’m sick of not having good enough alternatives for getting through it all, and not having the support I need. Because I’m scared of it, man. I’m so fucking scared of it.


Anyway, I’ll close on a relevant note. There’s a gif of Mr. Robot crying, and the caption is, “What do normal people do when they are this sad?” This sums it up. My friend Darren compared me to Mr. Robot, in terms of mannerisms and behaviors, attitude and intelligence. And for now, I am Mr. Robot, backed against a wall, asking this question: What do normal people do when they are this sad?


When, they don’t think they can continue?



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