A Scream Leaves a Ragged Throat

Music helps when I’m affected like that. I pulled tracks from here and there on YouTube, gradually homing in on Shawn Colvin’s ‘Set the Prairie on Fire’, which is the go-to track for when I’m feeling low, and enclosed and empty. I sat up late, listening to it, on repeat, and reading old blogs on here, the fly by ones that, like last night, are just an instant response to what is going on around me and how I feel, the nearest things to a diary.

Sleep late, wake early. I thought I was something like normal again, that is to say every bit as fucked up, just able to contain it and balance it. I had lots of things in my head, bits of writing, the novel, things for this blog, but unable to go to any of these when I had a deadline, work, the Friday shift.

And having to leave earlier today, a trip to the Bank, a Transfer to make, a special item, something that will remind me of better times. Maybe it’s not wise just now, be have something so tangible to remind me that things were once a hell of a lot better than they are now, than they ever will be again.

Some of that time filled up with this week’s The Big Bang Theory. A lot of boggling at the sudden, insane popularity of this blog, more visits overnight than I have ever had in a single day before, more visitors than and single day ever: what the hell is all that about?

So when the time I was due, I showered and shaved and set off, went to the Bank. It’s only Friday. But every step, every minute, I’m getting heavier in the head until, arriving thirty minutes early, I am in no way better than I was last night.

I asked my manager for a quiet word, asked for a day’s unpaid leave. Never done that before. I can do the job. I can go into performance mode every time the phone rings, the customer’s will never know the difference, I do it that way anyway. But I don’t want to. I do not want to face people. I do not want to have anything to do with them. I want to shrink, fold in, lock myself away until I can get through this latest bout.

He’s sympathetic. He’s concerned. Talking helps, briefly, the chance to unload but, paradoxically, unless you can lead me to a Counsellor today who can draw out this poison again, the remedy is silence. He takes it upon himself to authorise me to go.

I make it back intact. He wants to talk again next week. I eat the sandwiches I bought for lunch, later. Then a great weariness steals over me, and I pull the duvet cover over me, even though I’m fully dressed, I set YouTube to The Beatles, ‘Nowhere Man’, and let it run. And I don’t sleep, but I go put of my head for an hour or two. I register the music without hearing it, the sequence of songs, but I’m not here. I’m not thinking about anything.

It’s a weird state but I get through and come to and have thoughts again. There was another time, a decade ago, weirder, more intense, but I am reminded.

Grimly, I assemble little sequences, build them into order, change a few lines, a few links. Nothing massively creative, just a clear deck. And I still can’t concentrate.And I’m ravenous. Bloody hungry. I could eat all night. I haven’t been so nonstop wanting food for I don’t know how long.

The visitor count keeps ascending. Massively out of proportion for the small audience I am used to, with nothing to show for why. But I am still disjointed. I manage to read a short book, with a few self-interruptions. Eat. Drink. Rinse. Repeat.

I’m trying to wind myself down now, go to sleep. YouTube is spinning me the full ‘Forever Changes’ album by Love, which is a marvelous calming sound. I’ve written this because what happened yesterday hasn’t receded yet and putting down what it’s done has discharged another level of the poison, because all through my life, going back to when I had no understanding of what these moods meant, my instinct was always to dive deep, to go all out and furiously for the very bottom because from there the recovery is forced to start.

For once, I have no smart wrap-up lines.


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