A Weekend Possessed


On Saturday I dreamt Jessica was away at Montreal Comiccon and I was alone at home becoming increasingly unhinged. It was a strange dream precisely because it was actually true.

I'd awakened from my nightmare the night before quaking with distress, having dreamt I was a child living in a dreary factory where my parents worked. A shipping container delivered us a human-centipede the workers were to cannibalize for food. My relief that I would be dining so much better than the victims of this torture were conflicted with the traumatic horror of witnessing it and having to participate in murder.

What I next remember is doing dishes and singing nonsense songs to myself to ease my despair—the songs became an ecstatic chant extolling the divine and demonic forces that ruled the universe. The loud, rhythmic, pulse of the unceasing incantation poured out of me in an unsettling, almost desperate mania, but I felt compelled to continue—perhaps it was a welcome distraction from a rational appraisal of my current situation.

Next, I tried to do something productive—getting things off my todo list is usually a relief. Unfortunately, my attempts at sorting out the application for my marriage license and the Special Occasion Permit that would allow us to serve alcohol only stirred my agitation into a fever pitch. I loped about the apartment, practically frothing at the mouth, as I tried to declutter the hoarders-apartment mess in my mind—thoughts, feelings, tasks, and information were all in disarray.

The image of cutting myself with a knife popped into my head as might a clip from the Simpsons. I didn't suppose myself to be suicidal, but then, a suicidal mood is little more than such images sticking around like a catchy tune. I protested to myself that it would not look any good on my wedding day for my arms to be all sliced up and declined the unwelcome if not unfamiliar intrusion.

I resolved that if the condition persisted I would call a trusted friend I could count on to look after me for the remainder of the weekend. This brought me some relief. What I decided, perhaps irrationally, was to bike my wedding application over to the city and see if I couldn't dupe them into accepting it without the proper ID (which, oddly, I don't own)—I knew the exercise was futile but somehow I understood that by obtaining the decisive failure I could set the matter to rest.

I rode off on my bicycle vaguely questioning whether I should be operating a vehicle in my current condition. I guessed that expending some much unwanted energy exercising might ease me of the manic spell I was under—that was, after all, my most pressing concern. Upon my arrival at the office I discovered I had not taken my lock with me after unshackling my bike from it. Thus, I rode home and resolved to try again.

The man who finally served me had long womanish hair and skin like white coffee. He also wore a short, well-groomed beard and long polished nails. He explained that me and my girlfriend hadn't even signed the application and that this was even more of a problem than not having the proper ID. And so, I secured the resounding defeat I so craved—along with it, the silent solidarity of being served by someone so obviously gay. I returned home feeling better.

I was still a bit unhinged that evening but it was a more positive, life-affirming kind of craziness. I enjoyed looking at art I admired, worked on the script for my private epic, and reviewed notes and sketches I'd jotted down in my spare sketchbooks—in addition to the one I keep online I apparently I have five others, much less polished. It's nice to rediscover these things. About the most useful thing I got done this weekend was preparing six more sketchbook pages to go online.

I think I mostly made out okay. You know, a decade of psychiatry has done very little for me compared to three years of being with someone who loves me. Actually, perhaps even more important is having someone to love. I have a theory (that I'm sure I'll expound upon at some point) that what we think of us mental illnesses are actually social—our world's inability to meet the psychological needs of its varied people.

Love is perhaps the most important of these needs. I don't mean to say simply that love is something that cures us of love-sickness, which is certainly true, but rather, that love is what allows us to trust one another—even more than an emotion it is an idea and an epistemology. We need others to calibrate our sense of reality: to confirm what is surprising, to explain what is confusing, to help us correct errors in judgement with good advice. The problem is that we are used to adversaries using information to control and manipulate us. Advertisement, propaganda, indoctrination—there are many examples. We need people we can trust not to exploit us if we are to engage in a dialectic with our world.

This weekend, I was very glad for someone to love. I am able to function because I have someone to share my sense of reality and help me hammer out its rough edges.