There were times, often late at night and deeply seated into the void, when the thing in his spine would stir, fitfully. The fluid around it would seem to boil and pop, filling the space around it with frenetic energy and a sound deafening in the vacuous space, a sound to mask the absence of everything. Beneath the massive static of that sound the thing would whisper in a voice like a stifled scream. The whisper carried lies that he could not but claim as truths about the nature of all things and the terrible ways they all carried about within it.
I slept less than two hours last night, and then worked a 12 hour day. I’ve gotten maybe five or six hours of sleep a night every night for at least two weeks, sometimes less. I should be exhausted, which I am, but I’m also WIDE the fuck awake and not just a little hyperactive. One might even say “giddy.” 😜
I enjoy that delightful level of sleep deprivation where shit gets weird and absurd and kind of shimmering around the edges. But this is that deranged level of sleep deprivation where my brain is refusing to cooperate, I can’t seem to control my body enough not to run into everything or fumble anything I touch, and I’m mostly just confused, anxious, irritable, and delirious. I can’t even form a sentence without forgetting half the…the, uh…those things. What are they called? Oh, right. WORDS. And then there are the hallucinations. The tall man is creeping about throughout the apartment, the spider people are closing in, some ugly hag with a hideous smile and a filthy red dress seems to be trying to blink into existence just past my periphery, and then of course there are the bats.
But no hope of sleep. Whatever. “Sleep? Maybe I’m too smart to sleep…” 😁🖒
I was searching, for what felt like years all stitched together with fragile ribbons of nerve tissue, through an infinite mound of sun-hot sand, for something completely intangible and without name but somehow I knew finding it to be essential. Thousands of small, deformed, multicolored beetles with razor-head mandibles would come scurrying out from underneath each handful of dirt and detritus, shimmering brilliantly in the oppressive sunlight, running rampant in chaotic shooting starbursts to every corner of existence. The sound was ungodly. I woke up before I could find the thing.
The place I reside on the Bipolar spectrum has me pretty much rubbing shoulders with schizophrenia to the point that sometimes I question whether I’ve been correctly diagnosed. My inner thoughts are basically a constant commentary by / conversation between five distinct people. When the mania really ramps up, I often experience what are best described as delusional thoughts, and sometimes see things that other people don’t see. I can sometimes get confused and believe that people, often those closest to me, are conspiring against me or wish me harm, or, when it goes even further, that they are controlling my thoughts and otherwise fucking with my head. That experience often multiplies into an acutely agoraphobic experience of paranoid delusions about humanity and this “reality” as a whole. Fortunately, I’ve gotten fairly good at being mindful and self-aware about these things and am generally able to treat and manage these symptoms through meditation, mindfulness, critical thinking, by channeling my energy into things like art, writing, and music, and with herbal remedies. Yet, like any other treatment for mental illness, nothing is a perfect, beautiful, simple cure, and the insanity still leaks through. And, let’s be honest, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it to a certain extent.
However, when every day is already a struggle to varying degrees to maintain perspective and not lose myself in the other, less strictly defined parts of myself, it makes it pretty fucking difficult when someone in my life is actually legitimately and, seemingly, intentionally fucking with my serenity, and that’s what it feels like is happening at work right now. I got along with this individual quite swimmingly when she was managing the front of house, but since the managers played musical chairs and this person took over as culinary manager, nearly every shift I work with her is an exercise in futility and misery. She seems to have completely lost her sense of humor, so my inherently sarcastic and often cartoonishly absurd personality is suddenly a problem. When I do get serious and have a legitimate concern to discuss with her in the spirit of making my job and the experience for the rest of the team better she takes it as a personal attack on her character or leadership ability, and instead of hearing my concern and addressing the issue the conversation is turned against me to where I am accused of being the source of the problem. Classic gaslighting behavior. And on top of all that, since she has taken over the schedule I am regularly passed over for CGM or CRS shifts, which is where the money is made, but am still expected to go above and beyond every shift and carry the rest of the team or be available to cover callouts or house shifts at a moment’s notice. So now I have this almost daily experience with someone who actually fucking seems to be out to get me and it is causing the bullshit head trip nonsense that otherwise would be a more manageable issue to compound and multiply, and, well, we all know what the fuck went down last time that happened. Well, all of Us over here do, anyhow. Hashtag psychotic break bruh.
So, anyways, that’s why I’m looking for other work. Anyone wanna hire me?? 😂😂😂😂😂
Well, shit…I suppose my “plan” to get back to writing and posting here more regularly hasn’t really been seen through, so far. But the thought struck me, like a Nike sneaker to the skull at a hardcore show, as to what the future of this page and my contributions therein should be. And it goes back to the very title of the blog, Dharma and Belligerence. And it seems so fucking CLEAR all of a sudden, maaaan! But that could be the brain damage talking…
In any case, if I really want to start trying to pour myself out on these digital pages again, I think it needs to revolve around the things which consume most of my time. Which would be 1.))) My struggles with mental illness and attempts to cope with the symptoms of said illnesses, which include mindfulness and meditation (the Dharma), and which also includes COPIOUS amounts of 2.))) MUSIC. Something I posted on Facebook a day or two ago sums this up nicely:
“The past few days have basically been one constant panic attack occasionally broken up by periods of immersion in music where I am able to lose myself and thereby remove my psyche from the existential dread that pervades my being and is the source of my debilitating anxiety. Not even drugs (prescription or otherwise), meditation, essential oils, exercise, rage episodes, destruction of people and property, or any other remedy I’ve tried has a comparable effect.
THAT’S what I mean when I say music is my therapy.”
So my intention with this page is to write with increasing frequency, ferocity, and volume about mental illness, my life philosophies that have largely come about as a response to mental illness, and the role music plays for me in all of that – including probably a LOT of detail about the vast amounts of music I love and consume.
I hope y’all enjoy hanging out and checking in when you can. 🤘
In the meantime, feel free to troll my very candid, very public Facebook page for a bunch of pics and live streaming footage of a KILLER local hardcore and heavy music festival I attended this weekend, as well as a whole host of other strange and terrible content, observations, and wisecracks. I’m sure there is a link to it somewhere here (I really need to refamiliarize myself with all of this zany WordPress nonsense 😂), or here is a direct link to the video for one of the absolute highlights of the fest for me and the new heavy band, local or otherwise, that I am most excited about, Tucson’s HIST:
Looks like it has been around two months shy of three years since I posted here. I barely remember why I stopped posting, stopped writing in general, but I do very much recall the overall “event” that influenced my stepping away. I wrote about some of it here, back then, as I recall, but there was more, and so much has happened since, and I’m sure some or all of it will be covered here in future posts. Because I want to get back to it. I have wanted to for some time. And while you may notice I really don’t have anything of substance to say with this post, I wanted mostly to just break the cycle of not posting, of not writing much of anything beyond snarky Facebook and Twitter status updates, and now that I have I truly intend it to lead to more regular mental regurgitation upon these “pages.” And we will we what will happen. I barely remember who I was three years ago, and I certainly am no longer whoever he was. Strange the way life goes, though. Last week I had the worst psychotic episode since the one just over three years ago that led to a psychotic break, that led to so many things, among them a veritable cessation of most creative activity. And that cannot be allowed to stand. But strange that another difficult brain fuck experience led me back to trying to write here. And elsewhere. Other awesome things are happening! I hope to tell you about them, and I hope the you that chooses to join me and listen in is more than just me and all of my friends in my head. 😊
Damn yo…I don’t even remember how to do stuff here. 😂
“Waves crash down, unrelenting, unending. We are stone shaped by the force of its abuse; colossal mountain ranges eroded to jagged shorelines; aged cliff tops, decrepit and helpless; earthen cadavers now ripe for mining to the very core of our souls. Or so we would have you think. Magic is willpower. Willpower is magic. Self-knowledge is the key to the perfect control of the will. After destroying the decades of our youth, after being crushed under the pillars of heaven–the bonds we make and the bonds we break ever come crashing down.”
Thou, “By Endurance We Conquer” from the album Summit
There’s a Way to Stop Mass Shootings, and You Won’t Like It.
That’s right. You’re not going to like it because it’s going to require you to do something personally, as opposed to shouting for the government, or anyone to “do something!”
You ready? Here it is:
“Notice those around you who seem isolated, and engage them.”
If every one of us did this we’d have a culture that was deeply committed to ensuring no one was left lonely. And make no mistake, as I’ve written before loneliness is what causes these shooters to lash out. People with solid connections to other people don’t indiscriminately fire guns at strangers.
I know what you’re thinking. That’s never going to work because no one is going to make the effort to connect with the strange kid sitting by himself at lunch each day. No one is going to reach out to…
I was just reading an article I randomly came across, discussing the phenomena of ball lightning. Suddenly, I had a flashback to a memory from when I was maybe seven, eight years old, playing outside in good ol’ Fruitland, New Mexico, and I saw a flash of what I now think was this ball lightening, maybe five or ten feet in front of me. TRIPPY… I remember it freaking me out at the time, and making me all tingly and whatnot.
I’m pretty sure this is a real memory that got knocked loose up there, and not some subconscious fabrication to pass the time. But, with my brain, “pretty sure” is probably 50% at best. I mean, I can’t even be certain that an awkward conversation I had a few days ago with some dude in a lab coat about the domes outside Phoenix was real or just a dream that I had, or just me talking to myself in my mind.
From what little detail is given in this article concerning the recent mass shooting, it seems clear that the shooter in Oregon had an extensive history of mental illness. Once again, everybody is “up in arms” (pun absolutely intended) on either side of the gun rights debate, as is what always happens after one of these now all-too-familiar tragedies. Nobody ever seems to have much to say about the mental illness aspect that is present in nearly each one of these cases.
My personal experience has confirmed what I already believed, that the way mental illness is perceived, addressed, and handled by today’s society is in need of drastic change. The way mental illness and those seeking help are treated by social programs and government bureaucracy is in need of drastic fucking change. And, while I absolutely support the 2nd Amendment and believe Americans are entitled to the right to legally obtain and possess firearms, I also believe their need to be measures in place to prevent these firearms from ending up in the “wrong” hands, whatever that is defined to be.
People with certain severe mental illnesses, myself probably included, should be regulated in some manner in relation to handling and possessing potentially deadly machines. Cars, guns, rocket launchers, forklifts, armored tanks, Mexican firecrackers, whatever…REGULATED. I made the personal choice not long ago to sell or give away all of my firearms, for my own safety and for yours. Too many nights spent in a fucked up head-space with the barrel of a .45 in my mouth, or days spent in a misanthropic murder fantasy. Not everyone with similar problems has the capacity for such a personal decision, and these are the times when a governing body is meant to step in for the safety of the people.
Nothing is so black and white as we make it.
Here is a link to an article with more information about the nine deceased victims of this tragedy.