(Hmmm…word of warning up top: this one is a little heavy. I was going through some of my random files and found the following. It was deep into a really tough life event (about a year ago), and is basically a diary entry from then. I’m mostly putting it on here as…well, going on whim, really; but also in case it resonates with anyone. I’m going to omit some names, given the nature of the thing, but otherwise, it’s just something I sat down and typed out as the feelings arose. Anyway, consider yourself informed [sounds less dramatic than “warned,” and we’re trying to have fun here- well, not today, exactly, but just in general and you get what I- oh God, okay, onto the thing]).
I think I might be going insane.
It’s been about seven months since mom went to the hospital, and about that long since we first heard the word “dementia” as it relates to her. Since then, it’s been neurology visit after neurology visit, insurance call after insurance call, email after email with hospital management – everybody either not knowing what to do or trying to get rid of us.
I just woke up from the same nightmare, three times in the same night, and bawled my eyes out.
I cried for an hour.
In it, mom died, the bank wanted to take her house, [landlady] said she couldn’t keep me as a tenant, and nobody was around – Mandy, [uncle], [aunt], [cousin], [in-law], [in-law], [aunt], [Pierre], even city workers from the damned coroner’s office – absolutely nobody.
There were people, but no one I knew and no one who was willing to help.
I was utterly alone.
And I woke up feeling that way, thinking that way.
Mandy came to bed when I called and lie there, consoling me. I told her the voice in my head kept telling me that the dream was right, that no one would miss me if I was gone. She told me that I was loved and listed people who felt that way.
In the nightmare, though, that was just the thing. Nobody was around, nobody cared. And all the people who would love me…the feeling just didn’t go that far. Nightmares have always been that way: I need to run, I’m slow; I need to punch, I hit light as a feather; I need love, the most someone can feel towards me is casually like me.
It was a world where love towards me just didn’t exist.
Every name she gave, the voice found a way to tell me why that wasn’t true. (Except when she said “Jeremy”. Weirdly, the voice said “Yeah, I guess him, actually”.)
She told me that I was family, and that her family was mine too, that I needed to let go of this feeling that I’d be so easily abandoned. She gave [a sibling] as an example of how persevering her family was with troubles.
Again, the voice piped up and told me that that was different. [A sibling] is family by blood, it said. Of course they won’t abandon him, it continued, he’s a son and brother by blood – you, though…?
“Even marriage,” it said, “is different.”
It seems true for everyone else, I tried telling it.
“For them, yeah. But for you…?”
I went from crying to laughing into her chest and shoulder. And I’m not sure why. I think it was because I could see how crazy this all looked and sounded, and the laughing didn’t help but kept going anyway.
When we had to put Ferdinand (our cat) down a couple of years ago, it was the reminder of how harsh but sure a teacher experience can be – or rather, just is.
I stood in the bathroom and she brought me a glass of water and a hug. After she left, I swirled the water around and drank it. And I think I know why people prefer the burn of whiskey or scotch in moments like that, like in the movies.
I’m starting to wonder when people describe voices in their head, whether they mean actually hearing someone speaking to them inside their head or if it’s impulses or thoughts that just don’t sound like what they’d usually think to themselves. Foreign ideas and concepts that feel like invaders.
Because this voice was fully the latter.
But boy it was convincing. And I think that’s because it sounds like I’m talking to myself, telling myself things. But it still sounds like a voice that’s not mine.
So I’m starting to think that’s what insanity is. It may not just be a sudden crack into mad raving, but soft touches like this, a voice that tells your low worth, how easily you’ll be forgotten, and that if you confide this in anyone, that gives them power over you and they might use it just for fun, because they know they have it now.
The more I woke up, though, the quieter the voice got – which isn’t really a super sign in and of itself. You shouldn’t be afraid of sleep, afraid of whatever-this-is waiting for you when you’re tired. But as I woke up, another voice spoke up that told the first to shut the fuck up.
It told me that I’m not the only who gets like this, and I believe that.
Which is both comforting and kind of scary, isn’t it? I don’t want the people around me to wake up crying and then cackle about it, and to have that be something normal.
But se la vie.
Which is what the voice said next. “That’s part of the human experience, baby. Learn to love it. Happiness, anger, thrill, depression – they’re all in the same basket.”
It didn’t say the parts past “baby”, but I know it’s what it meant.
While I was crying into Mandy’s shoulder, I told her something. Something very true that I don’t think I’ve told anyone – even myself.
I’m afraid of dying alone.
Not “dying while single” or “dying and not being in a relationship” or even “dying with nobody around at that particular moment” even though they’re all definitely true.
I’m scared (ironically to death) of dying and nobody caring.
Then my team of mental coaches – Deadpool, Kevin Hart, and Kratos – ganged up and beat up the voice in a cartoon dust cloud.
And I’ve been pretty optimistic and comfortable in my skin since.
Also, because I think I learned something.
When I was a kid, I thought going crazy was scary, but maybe a little fun. I thought you’d get used to seeing people that weren’t there or hearing voices no one spoke and you could just make it a fun new world view.
But I think insanity’s a little softer than that and a LOT more intimate.
We’re all a little bit insane.
Or at least part of me hopes so.