Mental Health

My Mind, My Friend, My Enemy

I’ve always been an intelligent person.  Growing up I always noticed the patterns of things, in shapes and forms, and later in ideas and concepts.  Though homeschooled, I did well and ended up making a high of 1350 on the SAT, 31 on the ACT and then gained a final GPA of 3.69 earning my Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington.  I’ve never not had an agile and competent mind.

my mind always been a source of pride for me

In fact, as might be readily apparent, my mind always been a source of pride for me.  I have always lived in my mind, and I, as do many intelligent introverts, prefer the company of my inner demons and angels than the company of similar beings around and external to me.

I’ve relied on my mind in my career and in my hobbies and in my relationships, utilizing it to make friends and succeed and enjoy the small nuances of life.

But then, about 5 years ago, agitated by a very painful experience leaving the church I grew up in, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder reared it’s tenacious head and what was my favorite gift became my special curse.  My mind – my friend – became my enemy.

Where once I could listen to the internal dialogue with pleasure, now that dialogue became a flood, a torrent of anxiety-inducing madness.  Where once the waters of my mind were fairly tranquil and fair, now I drowned in a shit storm, choked by anxieties and compulsions, depressions and inanities.

Such is the life of someone with OCD.  I do not expect to be healed of it.

Now, 5 years removed, two of which have been spent in therapy and on medication, my mind has become my frenemy: neither/both friend nor enemy, that weird uncle that you have to be related to, but which you really don’t want to be seen with.  It’s a humbling existence: having to rely on something that might very well decide to betray you at the drop of the proverbial hat.  You never know when your day will be roses or thorns (often its both).  Clarity-of-mind and the mind-fog have become close bosom-buddies, and both like to fuck with you and your fears.

Such is the life of someone with OCD.  I do not expect to be healed of it.  In some ways, these days, I don’t know that I want to.  I just want to learn how to live with it.  To exist with it.

Because maybe that weird uncle is me.

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Mental Health

My Many Me’s

I am Four.  Within me swirl four selves, organized chronologically and thus seasonally.  They symbolize for me seasons, elements, and binaries.  I hate and I love them, as seems appropriate.  I am they and they are me – my Little Me, Middle Me, Aging Me and Elder Me.

Little me is me in the Spring of my life and therefore the most unknowable.  He is new and fresh, open to change and possibilities.  He’s also terrified.  I remember being a child, but I can’t really remember being a KID.  I don’t remember the joys of play, nor even the fears of the dark.  I don’t remember what he says, or why he says it.  I don’t know what he looks like or sounds like or what makes him tick.   Little Me seems to be locked in some secret garden, walled off from sight and sound.  Sometimes I think I hear him crying in the dark, but I can never be sure.

I walled him off, ostensibly for protection, but I can never remember what exactly precipitated the incarceration.  An event?  A series of abuses?  A mistake?  I am unable to trust him and his ability to handle an often-times shitty world and I don’t know why.  Where is he and why is he hidden?

I am currently my Middle Me.  He is (unfortunately) the most accessible and relate-able.  And he has lately been ruling my roost.  An angry little bastard, he rages at the world and all its many slights, real and imagined.  He is a boy-man of summer, with all of summer’s brightness and heat, intelligence and passion.  He always starts out brightly, but he inevitably burns out as surely as any Texas summer.  He leaves charred husks and dusted black clay in his wake.  I do not like this Me.  I hate his bitterness and anger and lust.  He disgusts me, but I am he.

When I become burnt out by my Middle Me I tend to assume the form of Aging Me, a sad  and pathetic little fucker.  He’s the Autumn of myself, but not the good, Northeast kind of Autumn.  Rather, he’s the charlatan southern Indian summer masquerading as a fountain of autumnal wisdom and peace.  He’s a piece of shit, is Aging Me.  He thinks he’s something, but he’s nothing.  He acts like he’s at the prime of my life, riding the crest of those mythical glory years, at the perceived pinnacle of masculine achievement and success, but its all just a noxious game of smoke and mirrors.  Deep down he chokes on the rank fumes of my pervasive insecurities, dying in life, wasting away on the dregs of quiet desperation.  I am Aging Me far too often, and I hate him (me?).

Finally, there sits Elder Me.  He is who I’ve always felt I should be, or perhaps wish to be, or perhaps have been all along.  He’s almost as elusive as Little Me, although I’ve more hope that he’s attainable and knowable.  And he seems to me to be intimately related to Little Me.  Almost as if he and Little Me have met up at each ends of the line of my life, the beginning and end of some eternal little circle.   He’s my winter self.  Silent, simple; dark and cold, yet oddly contented.  He retains the trust and faith of extreme youth, but without the simplicity of mind and experience.  He’s seen the hells of the world, and its heavens – it’s glories and its grotesqueries.   He is sane, on the other side of my insanity and I trust him, my Elder Me, as I wish I could trust my Little Me.  Sometimes I hear my Elder Me encouraging me to trust my Little Me.  Perhaps they are the same.  As is life and death, light and dark, male and female.  For, as with an infant, so with the aged, life is both stripped of mystery and infused with it.  Gender is blurred and Truth coalesces into the Great Beyond; for Little Me and Elder Me are both on the cusp of eternity.  Both are near the earth (Little Me rising from it, Elder Me crashing back down) and thus both are as high as the heavens, swimming amidst the stars.

Right now though?  Elder Me is as inaccessible as my imprisoned Little Me.  I am condemned to just fleeting glimpses of the glory of night, and must now dwell in the scorching heat of the light of day, a bloated corpse swelling in my glaring death.

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Doors of the Mind

Perhaps the greatest faculty our minds possess is the ability to cope with pain. Classic thinking teaches us of the four doors of the mind, which everyone moves through according to their need.

First is the door of sleep. Sleep offers us a retreat from the world and all its pain. Sleep marks passing time, giving us distance from the things that have hurt us. When a person is wounded they will often fall unconscious. Similarly, someone who hears traumatic news will often swoon or faint. This is the mind’s way of protecting itself from pain by stepping through the first door.

Second is the door of forgetting. Some wounds are too deep to heal, or too deep to heal quickly. In addition, many memories are simply painful, and there is no healing to be done. The saying ‘time heals all wounds’ is false. Time heals most wounds. The rest are hidden behind this door.

Third is the door of madness. There are times when the mind is dealt such a blow it hides itself in insanity. While this may not seem beneficial, it is. There are times when reality is nothing but pain, and to escape that pain the mind must leave reality behind.

Last is the door of death. The final resort. Nothing can hurt us after we are dead, or so we have been told.


Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind


Alone and Naked in the Light

I’ve lost the language I’ve always known; so much of my faith is unintelligible to me now. Its phrases, concepts and poetry just confuse me. I feel muted. At a loss for words I never knew I had lost. A mind that craves certainty is left gasping, choking on its fears, grasping for any kind of lifeline. I am left groping in the realms of mystery and ambiguity; swimming, drowning in the sea of the primordial wherefore.


My mind has failed me. I melt upon the freezing cobblestones, naked in the dark light, alone before the maw. I need something deeper, something more interconnected. More holistic, natural and earthy.


I grew up denouncing the mystics and pagans, turning an ignorantly blind eye to my own rationalistic biblicism. We huddled in the barn, terrified of the Lion and we missed-out on the joys of that Far Country. I’m tired of missing out, of fearing. I wanna live, dammit.


For death lives in me and I am dead on the vine, a misbegotten corpse hung in the noose of belief, burning up before the sullen, scalding glare of the light. I breath ash, I sweat blood, I move myself inexorably deeper into the eternal quicksand.


I lie squashed beneath the heels of so many feet, a godforsaken bug, broken and alone in my asphalt hell.


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Mental Health

Madness. Madness, all.

I don’t fit in anywhere.  I’ve no connections, no history, no group, no tribe.  I’m alone and I hate it and I love it.  I am an odd duck no matter where I go or what I do or who I am.  Fuck the world…

On edge…  teetering on the cusp of breakdown…  I’ll never be rid of the darkness and madness…  my brain whispers at me, its constant buzzing drone is forever with me.  I can never be rid of it.  It will never leave me.

I know why folks attempt suicide.  To get people to finally pay some fucking attention.  Depression and anxiety is so passé.  No one hears.  Then, you finally attempt it, it’s “Oh, I see now, he is depressed.”  Ya, no shit mother-fuckers… People pay attention when there is blood streaming from the cuts on your arms.  Suddenly, it’s real.

My mind doesn’t work.  It’s all scattered and sporadic.  I have such a hard time with the details of things.  It keeps going to ultimate things, then getting lost, it flounders.  Too many voices, too many swirls, too many eddies and currents and flaccid fluctuations.  I cannot keep anything still.  It’s all fucking broken and I cannot escape from it.  Madness, all.  I’m lost, lost in the fog.  I am imprisoned by my mind…

Madness and misery.  Nothing makes sense.  Questions, All are Questions.  No one understands.  No one trusts me.  No one tries.  I am alone in the fog.  Alone in the dark.  Alone in the confusion and in the chaos.  It’s all broken and shattered.  Cracked.  Dust.  Constant reboots.  Perpetual confusion.  There is no constancy or consistency…

I crave silence of mind.  Just a modicum of peace…  It’s all a never-ending storm.  Until it’s not.  When it is again…

I am my enemy, and my enemy is me.


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My Poetry

A Mad Lot

The world is mad
The lot of us are fools
At best, a few are shitty saints

Silence reigns
when words should be expressed
and worse:
the noise when mouths should shut

We scurry, furious on futile paths, indignant in our rage
we shake our fists at our perceived injurious wounds
denouncing ghost and smoke

Fools of false divinity, we’re rebels all –
The lot of us are mad