Me and My Crazy Self

Me and My Crazy Self

I hate the designation of mental illness. Loathe might be a better choice, yet I’m forced, for lack of a better term, to use it. Those two words, “mental illness,” hang around my neck like a millstone. The cynic in me even prefers “crazy,” but I’ve never truly settled, truly felt peace with a way of speaking about myself that is both comfortable to the heart, to the ear and requires little in the way of explanation. So as odd and as easy as it rolls off the tongue, I find myself most at home with crazy. It just seems a bit more honest, less contagious and it suits me just fine enough that I can live with it, though I doubt that you’ll find me introducing myself as crazy, as entertaining, and as oddly truthful as that might be. No, I take that back, you probably will find me putting out a hand one day at church with a “Hi, I’m crazy” slipping right out.

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A Life Lived Together

A Life Lived Together

Candor. Truth-telling. It’s never been my way, it lets people in, and that can mean strangers in the house. Candor has never been a word in my lexicon. I’m a man who measures phone conversations in syllables. Yet, I am—so it seems—at my most eloquent when I am most honest. Truth has an elegance that can never be mimicked nor manufactured for a purpose, a story or a cause that isn’t worthwhile. If the truth is not holding it all together, the enjoyment is merely synthetic, manufactured to captivate, control, and mesmerize, but leaving no memory to cherish, no lessons to be learned, no legacy to lean on.

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My Time With Mental Illness

My Time With Mental Illness

Most Friday’s or Saturday’s (pre-pandemic) I would spend my daytime hours at a local cigar shop, reading, with perhaps a bit of writing tossed in; a weekly moments recovery. Ironically, I spent much of my days alone. I don’t work. I can’t. It’s not that I don’t want to, but mental illness and I can’t seem to get out of each other’s way. So, in my quiet corner, I made feeble, anemic attempts at sorting through my crowded, tired mind. But the ability to unravel from the trauma of life is just a mirage that flickers in the sun’s heat. What most people might reckon a typical day is itself the persistent connection of anguish, sensory overload, and disorientation that I contend with. That’s why when I hear people talk about learning to cope with mental illness, a macabre chuckle in the back my head reverberates. Coping is easier said than done. When you find yourself in a battle for a solid grasp of who you are amidst paranoia of differing degrees, mania and severe depression whip lashing your psyche at 180 mph before hitting the wall and various cocktails of psychotropics coursing through your veins that leave you with little sense of who you might have been before this journey into a realm of darkness and fire; coping is a myth, survival is the dream.  Because the prize in this marathon is peace, a sense self; at least that’s what is at stake for me. 

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