When The Enemy Is Me

I look out at the world through the window of my disease. The world peers back at me, a taunting, twisting version of itself that tells me it is real.

Trust is not an issue. My mind is a flawed projector; I know it lies to me. Sometimes. One of the lies is that heroin will help me write. The horror of it is, at times it does. It clears my fears away, pinpoints my focus and, laser-like, my ideas take shape on paper. Yet the laser burns on both ends and soon I am unable to live without the substance.

At times my thoughts assault me with such intensity that suicide becomes a viable option. I smile at you as you pass me; I greet you warmly. I am glad to see you so I am not lying, however, inside myself, I am thinking of how best to do away with myself.

I get tired. I feel as if I am on a futile treadmill. It will not stop. I take one weary step after another. It is an effort to simply tie my shoelaces. My fingers tap the keys on the computer and I try to turn out another story, another poem; I try to create one more reason to keep on living.

My death rushes at me. It comes in so many forms: heart attack, cancer, cerebral hemorrhage, staph infection. Maybe a car in the oncoming lane will veer, its occupant stricken with a lapse of attention, possibly deep in a conversation on his cell phone, the car will hit just at the moment at which I most want to keep living.

I am still tired. My eyes snap open in the early morning; the light invades my sensorium. Fear grips my chest. I am unable to take a deep breath and I pant, desperate to take in my ration of oxygen. A heavy weight sits upon me. Heart attack.

My range of focus begins to fade. I am wild with fear. I pick up the phone and call the ambulance.

After hours they determine I have just had a severe panic attack and send me home with a mild sedative related to Valium. I feel foolish and I am ashamed of myself. However, to me, the paralyzing fear was absolutely real.

At this point I know I will never write again. No matter what I do my life will continue to spiral in the depths. Negative thoughts torture me. They pepper my image of myself like a barrage of bullets. I have a fully armed assault team attacking me and the horror of it is, the enemy is me.

If you have ever experienced the effects of prolonged physical pain then you can only imagine what it is like to be under the control of a reign of terror waged on the Spirit through the thought-world.

A reign of terror. If anyone did to me what my own mind does to me, if anyone said to me the words of sadistic cruelty that my own mind spits at my Being, I would seek to leave their company forever.

Why commit suicide? Indeed, why not? Everyday I must come up with a reason to continue with my life. At times I have to take medication which modifies the terror, drops it down to a low hum where I can only detect it as a vague feeling of something out of synch.

You, out there, enough of you have read my writing to know some of the denizens which inhabit my mind. They are all real. They track out of my dreams, my nightmares, dragging their stinking selves into the daylight of my reality. I have to deal with them.

I place them on paper so your eyes can eat them, your minds can devour them, and while you read them, I get some relief. Believe me when I tell you that some of these creatures are me.

I am the Troll, I am the Frankenstein, especially I am, in an alternate world, Moshe Dean, who is trapped in the world of active addiction. For you, I open the window, just a little bit, to let you peep in to the window of my disease. I don’t know about Stephen King but the world I write about lives inside me.

The doctors call it major depression, severe panic disorder, addiction. I call it reality. I am just a shot away from hell.

This chapter was written some time ago. I thought I’d put it down for you all to read because I am actually celebrating. What am I celebrating? A long-lost, to me, member of my family has reached out to me. I believe in miracles. Yes.

from my book: Essays On Major Mental Illness with a Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorder or What Came First: The Chicken or The White Horse–