Dorothy was right, though

You’re at a loss
Just because
It wasn’t all that you thought it was.
You are a fugitive
But you don’t know what you’re running away from.

Sometimes, my brain is full. It’s as if I am thinking so many thoughts and am so overwhelmed with information and feelings and worries and memories and nightmares that my brain cannot possibly hold any more. And so, it overflows. The diseases that are in my brain spill out and manifest themselves in other ways — physically, rather than mentally.

My mental illnesses, these diseases that live inside this skull and beat inside this brain, become observable as they creep out of their nest and slyly adapt to their newfound corporeal form.

Depression dances across my white wrists, graceful yet simultaneously frantic, leaving a trail of bloody footprints up to the crook of my elbow then whispering in my ear, “Looks like you’ll have to wear long sleeves for a while, honey.”

When I cry a huge amount, the blood vessels around my eyes burst. Depression lives in these tiny capillaries, the ones that have reached the surface of the swollen socket, the ones that decorate the dark circles that no amount of makeup can cover.

Depression is the unwashed hair and the unshaved armpits, the unbrushed teeth and the unplucked eyebrows because, “Seriously, what’s the fucking point?”

After being evicted from my brain, Mania decides to pitch a tent in my stomach and build a fire. I want everything and everyone and everywhere and I want them NOW and so I run and my eyes are so wide and I cannot blink or think or blink or sink, I will never sink just laugh laugh laugh.

Mania is the pregnancy scare, the bruises between my legs, the regrettable tattoos, the blue hair dye slathered on my head, the hangover, the comedown, the fancy clothes, the feeling of my cheek as it rests on the cold concrete floor of the police cell.

Sometimes, the diseases club together so I am unsure who is the culprit, which illness is responsible for my physical suffering. Biting my nails until they bleed, we shall attribute to Auntie Anxiety. Or are Paranoia and the murderer sitting next to me on the bus to blame? Or am I biting my nails because I’m nervous because I spent all of my money when I was out partying with Mama Mania? Or do I do it because I am sad? Or do I bite my nails just because. Anxiety is the moment that both of my feet are on the scales, anxiety is answering a phonecall, anxiety is breathing too loudly.

When I’ve ripped my hair out of my head it’s surely always been the work of my old pal Psychosis. But then he also makes me cut my wrists, so perhaps it’s not Depression’s fault after all. When I smash my head repeatedly against the wall, it’s definitely Psychosis. Or maybe it’s all of you. Maybe I would like you all to kindly fuck off out of my head and leave me alone. Or maybe I would like to leave. Who knows.

Borderline Personality Disorder = broken noses and overdoses. BPD is every kiss and every hug and every smile I have ever given. It is shouting horrible, evil things at the love of my life; it is his arms wrapped around me after I’ve apologised for shouting horrible, evil things; it is the tears when he leaves to go to work. BPD is sometimes a sex siren, sometimes a police siren, but never both, either one or the other, good or bad, white or black, right or wrong, love or hate, smile or grimace on my face.

Sometimes I can blame one specific disease for my physical ailments, as above, but recently my illnesses have all been working together in some sort of sick collaboration. “Why do you have to find something to blame? Can’t you just accept that you’re generally unwell and focus on recovery?”, I hear you ask. Well, no:

I need something to blame because it would be nice for things to make sense in my head as I know what exactly is causing my problems i.e. if my excessive shaking is caused by anxiety, I need new meds, but if my excessive shaking is caused by the Lithium which I take for bipolar disorder, then I need a medication review, but if my excessive shaking is caused by a neurological disorder then I need to see a specialist and discuss this, but if my excessive shaking is caused by alcohol/drugs/caffeine then I need to get my arse to rehab.

I have been diagnosed with many, many mental illnesses over the years, some of which may be accurate, some of which may be totally incorrect: I don’t know. All I know is that these diseases are the white noise in my ears, the memory loss, the cardiac arrhythmia, the countless blood tests, the broken knuckles, the weight loss, the weight gain, the violent tremors, the chest pains, the permanent bruises, the excessive sweating, the scars, the insomnia, the fatigue, the lethargy, the nausea, the tears, the side effects of every medication I have ever taken in a bid to stop all of this destruction.

They are my diseases and although they usually live inside of my head, sometimes I can feel them under my skin.

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2 thoughts on “Dorothy was right, though

  1. Like you said so kindly about my poetry, this punched me in the gut in a really beautiful way. I hope you don’t mind but I shared this post on my FB page because I wanted people to understand how it can feel to have a mental illness (or illnesses). Also, would you possibly consider letting me interview you as a writer for my new project: http://www.questionsforartists.com ?

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