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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder
The Frog
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Head Trip of Mass Destruction

"I am become Death, destroyer of worlds."
-- J. Robert Oppenheimer upon the occasion of Trinity,
the successful test of history's first atomic bomb.

Jonathan Swift
mdcrawford@gmail.com

I turn now to the conscious understanding of what at one time had been my experience of the Hydrogen Bomb metaphor as objective reality.

While I have found this whole book strangely difficult to write, this particular installment is the most difficult of all. It's not that I don't know what to say, or how to say it. It's that the slightest contemplation of what I know I must say sends me, shall we say, On A Trip Down Memory Lane. A Very Special Memory Lane.

In 2003, I wrote in The Heebie-Jeebies, a section of Living with Schizoaffective Disorder:


The problem I have is that it is dangerous for me to have the kind of experience that would allow me to write vividly about my illness. I have found in the past that to experience memories of my symptoms with too much clarity causes me to experience the actual symptoms again. It can happen that simply reflecting on my past in a deep way can bring about the insanity. This happened once during a time when I was corresponding regularly with a bipolar friend, and when I told her what it was like to really remember, she very anxiously pleaded with me to stop, let go and forget lest I be drawn into the darkness again.

After some reflection I realize that the danger is in remembering the feelings I have had when I've been symptomatic. There is no problem with recalling the events, looking at old photos from the time, or reading what I wrote when I was wigging. What is dangerous is to remember the feelings by actually feeling them again. Remembering that I felt afraid is OK, what is not is to actually feel the same fear I once felt. To write the best I could hope to I would have to recall the actual feelings again, and I think it is best I not do that.


My simple intention to write this section, without any thought as to what I will actually say, leads me to remember some of the very worst of the feelings I have ever felt in my entire forty-five year Cluster Fuck of a life, by actually feeling them again.

Clearly you see the danger, but it's far worse than you suspect.

It's three-thirty in the morning as I write this. My experience of reliving all this Madness in such a vivid way leads me to report that it has been three solid days since I last slept. Going without sleep often causes bipolar folk such as myself to become manic. Mania leads one to lose any sense that one even needs sleep. These two feed on each other in a vicious cycle, a mental and emotional Dresden Firestorm.

Many of you folks think I'm crazy. But very, very few of my readers have ever seen me in full-on bipolar mania, because I am so very careful to avoid ever allowing myself to become manic. Mania in me is not a subtle thing: I am like a bull in a china shop. My experience of mania is a matter for the police - lots of police. It could take a dozen cops just to get the handcuffs on me. I Am Absolutely Not Kidding About This.

I say all this to emphasize my complete and unhesitant understanding of the seriousness of the decision I have made. None of you need point out the damnfool course of self-destruction upon which I now embark. I have spent quite some time quietly contemplating the fact that there are occasions when damnfool courses of self-destruction are simple requirements.

Every craftsman uses the right tool for the job. Many jobs offer a choice of tools; there are certain advantages to one tool, other advantages to the other. But there are some jobs for which only one tool is right. There are some jobs for which only one tool has any hope of working at all.

Many of a craftsman's tools are powerful, sharp and dangerous. The wise craftsman does not hesitate to use these tools. He instead learns to wield them with care and skill.

The powerful, sharp, dangerous, and only tool for the combat soldier is the machine gun. The wise combat soldier does not hesitate to use his machine gun. He learns to wield his weapon with care, with skill - and with utter mercilessness. He must use his tool to kill, lest he be killed, and all his comrades with him.

Now is the time for such a tool: this afternoon while driving North up Interstate 5 out of Portland, towards my mother's place in Salmon Creek, I arrived at the understanding that to write this particular section of my book required that I enter an altered state of reality. Having understood and accepted that fact, I set into motion my transition from a perfectly rational - if distressed - state of mind, into an utterly, completely batshit insane one.

Most who desire such a state of mind would Drop Acid, Eat Magic Mushrooms, stalk, slay then feed upon the Meat of a certain Deer, Drink of a certain Root. But I don't need any of that.

I don't need drugs to get high. All I require to go completely out of my tree is to adopt a certain frame of mind. Now it takes some time - but once having set the process into motion, I often find it becomes difficult, even impossible, to stop.

To understand the reason for my damnfool course of self-destruction, consider what I wrote in the Introduction to this book:

Being psychotic allows one to use a portion of one's brain that otherwise lays completely idle in the brains of those who have no mental illness, thereby enabling us psychotics to think in ways that are beyond the reach of purely rational minds, and so solve certain kinds of problems that the sane are completely unable to.

It is important to understand that my purpose is not at all to explain to you lot what my Hydrogen Bomb metaphor really is. I could have done just that in four or five lines of text.

No.

My purpose is to escape the grip of a Madness that I once thought captured my mind twenty-six years ago, when I was twenty years old, but that I only recently realized captured my mind forty-two years ago, when I was three years old - just a toddler.

That kind of healing requires Powerful Medicine. Not just any Powerful Medicine:

Powerful Voodoo.

I have long understood - and in quite a deep and profound way - that for me personally, the very most Powerful Voodoo of all is my own writing.

It is far too late, you see, for any of you to talk sense into me. Simply by having written what you have read so far, I now find my rational mind slipping quickly away. I have not been quite truthful; I wrote this not at all to inform you, or acknowledge the danger of anything. To write this section of my book has been for me what others would Drop Acid for, Eat Magic Mushrooms for, to stalk, slay then eat the Meat of a certain Deer for, to Drink of a certain Root for.

I will set aside this essay for a little while, go back to Mom's place - I've been writing this stuff from a Shari's 24-Hour restaurant just off I-5 close to the Columbia in Portland - then lay on my bed until I am able to see that the fun has begun in earnest.

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