I never hold on too tightly to things.
It is not unusual for me to throw mental clutter and old ideas away like the bags of throwaways in the thrift shop bin by the train line. I hate collecting knick knacks, old papers, and books I’ve already read. If it has no purpose, it’s as good as gone.
Anything we hold onto becomes part of our tapestry and if you hold on too tight, it hurts more when you let it go because you’ve let it become part of your bones.
Oh, my bones must be weak then.
Some things we hold onto too tightly hurt us because they are bags full of secrets. Secrets that wield razor blades which slice through our bags and cut through our skin. Then it hurts even more to pick it all back up again and make order of a broken bag. The disorganisation will weigh us down, even more than the weight of what we’re holding.
No one wants to live with a broken bag.
My broken bag is the story of who I am.
It is my collection of traumas. It is my sexuality. It is my dark treasures, my little darlings, which have stained my soul and cracked my glasses.
I can’t see straight.
I once read that when a pilot can’t see due to weather and low visibility, they become disoriented. They think they are flying straight, but in fact, they are not. It is only when their wing dips and the airplane enters the death spiral that they realise something is really wrong, and by then, it is too late.
Isn’t that a bit like life?
You go along through life. You have tendencies. People are nice to your face. You bumble along, unaware of whatever is slowly eating away at you from the inside.
Then something changes.
Something big comes along. A near-death experience. A majorly traumatic experience. A grief. Or maybe all of the above, captured like a snowball rolling down your lifespan.
You begin to see things in your sleep. Visions of your own death a thousand times over. Your dreamscape becomes one never-ending snuff film…
Then you stop sleeping. Then you stop leaving the house.
Then your broken bag collects all manner of dirt and dust.
You can’t go on. But you do. And you do. And you do.
You never sleep, and you wonder why people always complain that nothing ever gets done. Have they not heard of the wee morning hours? Obviously not. The more days without sleep, the more momentum you gain. Then you peak. After that, it all becomes a little messy and disorganised again. You start drawing clocks with the numbers going around the outside of the circle. The doctor pulls you up.
“Are you taking the piss?”
Nothing makes sense.
“Maybe you just need some time away,” they say.
“At least it’s not cancer.”
“My friend had something like this.. they call it a disorder, can’t remember which one.”
The doctor interviews you. It feels like hours. You keep looking at her phone sitting on the table. You watch what you say. You are slightly paranoid. Whatever they’ve got you on, it isn’t working.
Electroconvulsive therapy has come a long way since the shock treatments of the 20th century.
First, they take you for a brain scan. They ask you if you feel safe as you cross the road.
The scan comes back fine and you’re cleared for your first round of ECT.
It’s not all bad and you won’t be awake for it.
You just wake up five minutes later, confused, in a room with a TV that’s playing One Direction.
They do it five more times over. You start to feel better.
You start to call your doctor, Doctor Frybaby.
The night terrors stop. You sleep through the night again. You won’t be able to thrash your body so hard you break yourself, but that’s for the best.
You begin to excel at your studies because this experience has gifted you an amazing insight into the human mental condition.
The only thing is, your mind never seems to shut off. The thoughts continue to race.
I can’t look at a licence plate without adding the numbers in my head. I get irritated when they aren’t even numbers. I can’t look at a sign without adding all the letters. Likewise, I hate a lack of symmetry. Even songs I listen to.. they have to be symmetrical.
Well, at least when my mind plays tricks like this, I am not having completely intrusive thoughts. It never shuts off, but maybe this is a small price to pay.
I can no longer shoot out of bed at 4am to run a hard and fast 5km…. but I know how many letters are in every word.
This is all exhausting. It is chronic. It is hard work. The self-criticism in my thoughts makes it all so much harder.
I keep an awful lot to myself and some of it is very heavy, and my bag is still broken.
I am not the person I was before all of this. But I am now a high-functioning sequel to the original horror story.