And to know the fundamentals of being alive,
– Zack Hemsey
Wake up. Check my surroundings, check my body, check my brain. No one has left, nothing’s gone missing; yet I feel as if, somewhere during the night, everything I know has shriveled and died.
Clench the day into my cramped hands; drop it anyway.
It’s just the way it is sometimes. I think that there’s the difference between sadness and illness, the intensity of it. Sometimes I go outside and the streets I’ve known for years have slightly shifted, changed meaning. The outside world was real and here yesterday, but who can say about today? Pop-up houses, paper trees, on the translucent ground in a cellophane sky. My eyes are separate beings and they might be lying. I woke up in an unknown world on a different planet. Visual illusions, my heart aches for home without being sure it’s truly gone. How can we know that what we see is what is there? If I cannot feel the ground, myself?
There’s a glass wall between me and everyone. I can’t destroy it, I can’t get out. Now, more than when I am alone, do I feel the shattering sadness of isolation.
I am untouchable. Flesh is all that separates my mind from existence. My body is a prison and I can’t breathe. Do you know the full meaning of claustrophobia? I need to cut it open so that I can escape.
A movie reel of atrocities plays behind my eyes. Colors darken, dissolve in a bloody red. My body is the victim and executor of a million violent deaths.
My brain can’t grasp my mental pain and turns it into something physical. An aura of phantom pains surrounds my chest; someone put knives in my lungs.
I hope my thoughts mean that I’m crazy because if I am crazy, my fears have not come true.
These are the bad days. Sometimes I wake up and they’re just there. Some time during the night, in a dream, perhaps, or a slumbering forgotten thought, something just went awry. I wake up and the world has shattered, and I can’t remember what it felt like before. This is a far cry better than once upon a time, when everything was disordered, and the bad days were just days. They’re a shadow, now, from what they were before, they come less often and farther in between; and I am concrete, touchable, both body and mind. But you don’t forget insanity, even though, some moments, I come very close. I wear “before” on my arm, “before” is weaved through my disintegrated memories, reminding me not to turn back. I’m starting to believe that I can do it; but some days, still, the ground shifts, I stumble, almost cross over. I live on the borderline of existence; I think too much; I’m never sure if I am alive.