A university dropout, I am living with my parents again. They are shouting. An alcohol fuelled fight. Often I hear them, spite filled, threatening, waves of hate. I am the rocks. Over time even a rock is worn down.
I am not a rock. I am sensitive. These harsh sounds crash upon me, over and over.
They are in their late forties now. They have mellowed somewhat. In fact they are tucked up in bed. The house is still.
What I hear is echoes. Not some distant reflection, an immediate assault.
I tiptoe onto the landing; then, avoiding the boards that complain the most, the top of the stairs. I crouch, head behind the bars of the bannisters. Nothing.
From their bedroom, a snuffling, a sleepy moan, sometimes snoring.
I go back to my room and write seven words.
Caught in the crossfire / They’re arguing again
I don’t usually hear voices. Just this. In that house. Every evening. From my bedroom. So loud and present I have to check every time.
Years after, free from that house, and with the maternal critic largely out of my head (Why bother worrying what someone prone to selfishness without any power over you who receives establishment opinions and never thinks too hard about them thinks about you?), I realise I have somewhere lost the ability to listen with charity.
My upbringing was better than most, materially. It wasn’t miserable, for the most part. Quite possibly I am very sensitive, perhaps even to the sounds. I don’t blame them for what they were. I am trying not to blame anyone. Not myself. There is of course a distinction between responsibility and blame.
I don’t know how much is genetic and how much is environment, or the interplay between the two. The best I can do is try to be a better listener, a better friend, a healthier person. If the self cannot regulate the self (and we know so little about the self) then it’s not as if there is a safe and effective medication for mania.
I appreciate the warmth, simple respect, and social courtesy others have given me. It helps. I am responding to it, I think. I feel more human, gentler, connected.
Come dreaded psychosis, go to the GP and take an antipsychotic for a few months. I wrote this. I remember writing this. Now. Remember that other “now” in the past, Dave. Walking over the pavement in the rain. Saying this is happening “now”. The details may be wrong but the Now happened. So, future self, if you are very paranoid, making lots of connections that seem right but no-one believes when you explain, especially with advertising, it isn’t likely to be Derren Brown or the Government or any secret nefarious organisation. Advertising is designed to make people feel special, talked to personally. Of course advertising feels relevant to you.
If you have been on a big adventure, and feel great guilt about immoral behaviour, and the GP and your friends and your brother and others you trusted before your adventure say you should take an antipsychotic, then take it. You know I care about you. You’ll remember that I love you and you will cry and take the antipsychotic. I am you, calm, not psychotic. It happens. It’s not anyone’s fault. Yes the environment needs changing, yes the world needs changing but you can’t do it on your own.
You can’t do it right now until you come back to reality. Take the pill. Remember, for you at least it’s not true that you can’t bear very much reality. You don’t like it, you try to flee from it, it has contributed to your problems, but come back to us, Dave. Take the pill. Many humans can and do love. A simple concern for you. Three, four months. It will pass and you can come off it again. As you did before.
Be good to yourself and others,