all the dark places


“black holes are the remnants of former stars; they’re so dense that not even light can escape; they lurk inside every galaxy; they’re the most destructive force in the cosmos; as a black hole passes through space, it engulfs everything that comes close to it, stars, comets, planets…” (theodore finch in all the bright places; niven, page 304).

the whole time i was reading this book i thought of things i wanted to say, comments in concert to content of this novel. i almost posted about it first before the book because the thoughts were swirling so close to the surface but didn’t because: a) i blog about mental health a lot, i think — maybe too much — and people are probably as tired of my depression rants as i am of others’ political tweets; b) i felt i should at least wait until i’d finished the book — that blogging about it before wouldn’t be right. and then i wasn’t going to post about my thoughts at all because there’s a hurricane and environmental and political unrest and… i kept telling myself that my voice doesn’t really matter all that much.

and in the end, that last thought is exactly why i am posting. because that is exactly what’s wrong with this picture.

i watched pieces of some documentary about walt disney last night, of how he’d built this amazing studio to accommodate the growing number of employees contributing to and carrying out his ideas, of how he’d created a pyramid system there, a hierarchy… that if you did this much work, you could have this many perks. and if you went around that system and tried to share your perks with others, you would be stripped of those perks.

i’m reading the beginning of everything by robyn schneider, and in it a character becomes more aware of social status and how the elite feel that only their voices matter. he’d not been listening to others, had not even thought to do so because he’d believed himself to be fairly content with his world and how it revolved.

of all the passages that i felt best summed up what it’s like to have bipolar disorder, the one above about black holes does it the best. the last therapist i saw said she thought i had major depressive disorder, and not bipolar disorder as so many of my counselors and therapists suggested in my twenties. maybe that’s true. i can tell you though… there’s a point in all the bright places in which theodore is so overcome by his emotions, so exhausted from trying to be good, as he put it, that he moved into his closet and hid there. i can tell you that i’ve come out of my room a handful of times today, and only briefly — trips to the kitchen and the bath. i’ve not changed out of my pajamas. the only self care i’ve done today is brush my hair and teeth. i made a half a sandwich for lunch. i had a small bowl of ice cream and a handful of saltines. i’ve drunk two coca-colas and am sipping on ginger ale. i am not hungry. i am eating because i know i should be. i threw up the sandwich, by the way — maybe twenty minutes after having eaten it. not by choice, yall. i didn’t stick a finger down my throat. i HATE being sick that way and would never choose to be so.

i am not doing well right now, which is why i’m in my room. i’ve not slept well in weeks. last night was the first night i’d not taken some sort of sleep aid because i thought maybe i would sleep better if i didn’t, but i had bad dreams. i did awful things in them.

the only people who have texted me today are my writing friends with updates on their status regarding the damage from harvey, and that’s because i’m in a group text. were i not to be in that group text, i would not have heard from any of them. the only other person to text me was the daughter-in-law of one of my mother’s oldest friends, wanting to know how things were for us.

i text friends, and with the exceptions of a couple of people, it may be days before they reply. and when they do, i think they’re only doing it because they feel guilty for not having done so sooner.

i think — often, much too often — as theodore does: i am broken, i am a fraud, i am impossible to love. i feel like that. all the time.

and there’s the guilt. that i cannot be good. that i cannot be better. that i can’t shrug this shit off. that i can’t suck it up and plow through my day like so many others do. that i think it would be better if i drove my car onto the three-lane frontage road in front of pappadeaux’s restaurant, where i go to write, and let the oncoming traffic traveling at fifty miles an hour or so t-bone me. that i have to remind myself how wrong that is, how selfish, how stupid, how costly. that i can’t tell my parents or my friends when i’m being tossed about in the tempest because they won’t understand and it’s wrong to burden them with my troubles when they can’t comprehend them. that i cannot appreciate all the good in my world (and i know it’s there. you can’t have a category four hurricane strike texas and put a shield over my home as karma has somehow done and not know of the good) as fully as i should. that i cannot be what the world wants me to be. i get up out of bed every morning and put on a mask the moment i go downstairs. and then i go outside, and if i’m lucky, i can wear that mask for the entirety of the time i’m around others. and sometimes it’s not so much a challenge to wear it because somedays i’m stronger than others.

but my head hurts. every day. i hurt. EVERY day, and it’s not just because i have that mild case of cerebral palsy. it’s that my head’s FUCKED, and tylenol or advil, vitamins and claritin and wellbutrin… they are drops in the bucket sometimes.

i am a black hole. and the best place for me to be is in my room, in my jammies, bundled in my blankets, resting on my pillows. banging on these keys or reading a book… or best of all… sleeping. because sometimes being awake sucks ass.

i hear all the time how nice i am. like yesterday, when the guys who take care of our pool texted to say they’d be by this week, i told them that our pool looked pretty damned good and they could put us last on their list. i was told of how sweet i am. instead of saying thank you, as i should have, i texted: actually, i’m not.

because really, i’m not. i have to do nice things to combat the evil within. i have to do nice things to remind myself that i am capable of good. i have to do nice things so the madness doesn’t win.

they say you get what you give. i’m of the mind that you give what you get. and what i’ve gotten, since birth is the notion that i should be hidden away — first by my doctors, then by my teachers and peers, and after college, the world, really. the only people i can say who truly care for me are my mother and my father.

i type that, and there’s a part of me that knows it’s wrong of me to say. there’s a part of me that weeps because i feel that way. there’s a part of me that is desperate to say this isn’t so. it’s not true. it’s your mind lying to you.

i don’t have the energy right now to find evidence to the contrary. were i to make the effort, i wouldn’t believe what i found, even if it were in black and white.

i am a black hole. i keep everything, good and bad. the trouble is, there’s so much more bad.

maybe i was capable of shining once. maybe. if so, it was so long ago i don’t remember.

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1 comment

  1. You are still capable of shining now. You just don't see your own shine. You brightened my day, shined on me, when I visited and we went to lunch. You are the ONLY person who has offered to drive to Huntsville to have lunch with me. I fly to the other side of the world primarily to see family. It is lovely that friends want to see me too…but no one prior has ever offered to drive down I45 to see me. That shined.

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