Artistic Ways of Expressing Sickness in the World

Below is a story I put together while being inspired in a creative writing class. Eventually I had some help to expand upon it and finalise it. However, it’s more about my life and how I’ve come to see things due to my experiences, showing that because of Psychiatry this is what happened to me. There are metaphors and fantastical views about the relationships I’ve had, and then the expression of the reality that showed what I went through. Relationships have been essential for me to keep faith that I have some reason to live. I believe we are guided by divine influence to the people in our lives:

Title: Forever
I am 6 years old. In a world of fists and scars, it’s difficult to love everyone you meet. Yet, you try to anyway. Greeting anyone who approaches with a smile and leaving confused with tears as you go. The days are bitter with the kiss of cold, and it spreads like an infection to the souls of those who reside here. The grey against the gravel is mirrored in the sky, and the heart is a reflection of the deep depression. It’s time to go from this place. The leaves falling off their trees say farewell, telling of a story which one cannot speak. The men in green coats do their best to reassure and console, but the transformable toy in hand explains all that is necessary. They have both gone away from here now. To a place of barred windows and meals at midday – a place no child should have to visit to feel their loved one’s embrace.

The doors of my heart once were revolving, letting anyone come and go as they please. There was no thought of what harm may come – after all, are we not all open this way? It started with marks and stains upon the glass and then soon enough the cracks came to show themselves , telling of how fragile this entrance could be. Rather than the usual fluid motion that came with the doors spinning around, there was now some effort required to move through them. Then the day came where nothing could get in or out, except for that which could only pass by through the holes in the glass.
It’s difficult to know how long it remained this way. Occasionally someone or something could treacherously navigate the dangerous passage ways, yet it became easier to border those up. The door had to be removed and replaced with a wall of stone, sporadically punctured with tiny holes…and so it stayed this way as the years passed.

I am 15 years old. The looks on their faces are turned up and tuned in to the current social vibe. Out of the solitude and isolation – staring through the looking glass – we are so close yet so far away. The colour of the code blends together across the pellucid screen, awash with the next generation of everyday actors. It is almost time to leave this place. One last final exit – draw the curtains and send the audience home. Yet one voice demands to know the illusive performer. A match that could only be made on a virtual landscape, where fantasy reigns supreme. There is something to share on our technicolour windows travelling down busy analogue highways. However too much is celluloid superficial, where only one really feels the depth of the canvas. Set up, knocked down and beautifully bruised to live for another day.

One day, something surprising happened. A light came shining through the gaps in the wall, radiating and lighting up parts of the darkness. There was a curious desire to see what was capable of such a thing. I needed to see more. Prying open the small spaces in order to allow more in, I felt a warmth not felt before now. I slowly began to pull down more and more of the wall, until it was completely exposed. There I basked in the heat and felt alive again. Such a thing was not meant to last. The light turned into a deeper darkness and pushed through, penetrating further inside. It took a while to border up the entrance with bricks and mortar, with only a strange arrangement of holes to see through. I wandered off down the passage way of darkness.

How long has it been? How long have I been left alone here trying to feel my way around? Is this who I really am?

I am 24 years old. Artificial conversations and mundane musings are the ingredients for a chemical lobotomy. Finally a voice jumps out from the others and an otherwise murky atmosphere gets a little fresher. The anticipation mounts and the ride has just begun. Where it stops, nobody knows. We fast forward and the wheels turn round and round on a journey to an unknown destination. The music is the soundtrack for the scenery, glossed over in luminous greens and thick, black motorways. Love is a friendship on fire, yet sometimes it burns out too soon. From the ashes, it goes from nothing to nowhere, in search of something lost between the cracks at the core. The speed accelerates to dangerous temptations and visions outside the window are switched up to eleven. Being lost in smoke and daggers somehow seems like the better solution. Soul destroying nightmares are now the new reality and ephemeral illusions hide the source of enlightenment.

I woke up with a glow on my face today. It looks like a single beam of light has managed to find me back here. Should I try again? What if what happened last time happens again? Could I bare it?

Reluctantly I walked back down to the entrance to see a similar sight as before. I took my time to chip away at the concrete between the bricks, taking the rocks out one by one. Nervously, I removed the last of the brick and felt the warmth once more. This time I felt safe to stay here a while and maybe even venture outside. After spending a while in the light, it came time to move forward. I didn’t think such things existed. Yet maybe it was the fault of the darkness I had now become and in turn brought with me. Does anything really last for long? I was hit backwards stumbling through the entrance and pushed further back into the darkness which had expanded further. I had no strength left to close the passage way, but I knew I had to. Just a little longer here, then I can go do it before it becomes too much. I took the timber laying at my feet and hammered them across the opening with long steel nails. Now all that existed was me and the darkness. If this is all that I am, then so be it.

I know nothing else. I only see the shadows now. Yet I managed to find a candle and light it, as if some hope still exists to be free from here.

I am 33 years old. An artistic expression in ones and zeros attracts a curious mind. An unforeseen message is sent to receiver and an unfathomable connection is made. Before long there are story boards featuring machines that fly in the sky, along with ocean blankets and pillows of fluffy clouds. This land promises freedom in a melting pot of extremities. The concrete jungles expand far and wide, with super-sized lifestyles to complement them. There are four lives in all to consider here. The responsibility of adopted roles and authority figures changes from one thing to another. Night flights and self-serving friends become more regular than usual. It takes it’s toll. Promises and engagements are made, with little thought of consequence. It’s tearing at the seams like a patchwork doll without the hand to make it all better. It bends, then breaks, and what was once whole now shatters. There are too many slivers to make it meld back to the way it was. False hopes settle down as a bitter taste in the mouth. Time to move on and start over yet again.

I hear banging at my sealed door. The noise is an unexpected one. I crawl up the passage way to see what would make such a sound. A piece of wood is on the floor and a brighter light comes through. “Not again!”, I wonder. Do I dare entertain the dream once again? “What is there left to lose?”, I say. Although where did I put my tools so I can let it happen? I search and find the means to pluck out the nails one at a time, slowly but surely. This is a different kind of warmth and I’m prepared to explore it. I still hold onto the darkness, but I am what I am. I feel welcome here, not just by one but others also. “I could make a home here”, I believe. Yet I ignore something nagging at my soul. Something isn’t quite right. Yet still I continue to be here, amongst them. Everything has to fall. I am sucked back through the opening and further into the darkness which expands once again. Please, no more work to close it. Yet I know I have to – it is all that can be done. I momentarily get pulled back into the light, yet there is no certainty here – there is only doubt. I must get to work. I put up a sheet of thick glass so I will be able to look and see if anything is coming, should I want to look. I can sit in the darkness and keep an eye on things without a need to break it away.

Why do I keep wanting to stare out? Staying lock away like this amounts to nothing. I weather the cycles of disharmony with hopes to rise above them. I look inwards to look out. What do I look outside for?

I am 42 years old.

I see the brightest light approaching and for some reason it wants in. I walk up to the glass and hit it with my fist. It shatters and I am drawn out. I feel safe to now. I feel more welcome than before. Is this real or dream? I can no longer tell. It feels better to be here. Can I just stay here? Yet the darkness speaks to me. It tells me to worry. It tells me that it will just end like before. Will it end? I think it’s right. As wonderful as all this seems, something isn’t quite right. I am not quite myself and myself fears itself to be lost. It is so cosy here though. I don’t wish to go back. Suddenly the skies grey and the clouds blacken the sky. My darkest moment has come and I must walk back into my solitary unravelling. All that can be done now is to seal the entrance forever. I weld the strong steel barrier together and take my candle to the furthest depths of the darkness. I accept that I have to be here now and maybe, just maybe, when I have figured out what I am suppose to do, I will take back my actions. Yet hope is smaller than this flame I hold and the wax is running down.

I feel at peace here now. It’s almost time to leave. If only I knew my way back out and how to take down that cold metal in my way.

The candle is gone, yet the hope remains. The flame I once looked upon outside myself, now resides inside me. I take my time to walk up the passage ways, illuminating all that there is here. I see how much that I have learned from gazing at the carvings on the walls and….I now understand. I know that this darkness was not meant to be shut away for good. It has a place in the light, just as I do. If I am to be accepted and taken for who I am, then all this must be also.

I near the doorway and walk up to it. I reach out and place my hands flat across it’s cold surface and allow the heat to flow through and from me. It permeates the doorway and slowly the molten metal returns to the ground. I look back out into the light and see clearly for what seems like the first time. There are so many orbs of light here. I watch them pass by without noticing me, swimming along going to who knows where. I feel safe leaving the passage way completely open, yet I have grown fond of doorways. I visualise indestructible panels which are free to swing inwards or outwards and then construct them with my mind’s eye. I am happy for others to come and go as they please now, yet it will require those of a special and unique quality to open them.

Soon after I have finished, the most wonderful and mysterious orb of light enters and takes a look around. It stays a while, curious to know what it all means. Then it comes close to me to stare at the flame I hold. It beckons me to follow it out into the light and I am very happy to oblige. I’m curious to know how such a beauty came to be.

We walk along out in the open space and I feel a calm sense of freedom, while at the same time a childish amazement. It’s like breathing in fresh air and being reborn.

In the distance, I see the doors to the heart of another. It looks especially strong, and the pattern formed across them tells of a story full of complexity and hardship. The orb of light whistles by me and glides through the entrance. A figure emerges between the doors – their head pokes through to take a look at me. I am drawn closer and feel excited to learn more. I am given the signal to approach and come in. I smile and skip along, softly pushing through the doorway.

When inside I look around in awe. There is so much I wish to know here which is unfamiliar to me – yet at the same time, there is much that resembles the carvings on my own walls. I am filled with joy to witness all this – it is both a privilege and an honour to be here. I want to stay here for as long as I am allowed to and to discover everything that there is to see.

It may take me a lifetime, but I have all the time I need now.

After all, what I have is forever.

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