My father came and brought my medications late in the afternoon. Rosa decided to stay home last night as well. It was the perfect opportunity to go urban camping down at the old cotton mill. I packed up my camp stove, my cheese and crackers for a snack, lots of bottled water, my radio, candle lantern, and a bundle of National Geographic magazines I had yet to read. I hiked the mile down to the tracks where my discarded tent sat behind that grand old mill. It was beautiful evening befitting the special mood I was in last night. I had struggled so deeply all day and needed to get out of my house and to lose myself in such an adventure. A bright, almost full moon graced the sky to the east as I arrived at my tent to crawl in and comfort myself for the night -- zipping up the door and closing out the harsh world that had so stymied me all day. I was where no one could find me or bother me. I was all alone. Solace.
It grew late in the evening as I lay on my side in my sleeping bag reading my magazines by candlelight -- the magazines taking me to far distant lands and learning about creatures never heard of before. Far off, into the woods, stray dogs barked vigorously bringing me comfort -- the only sound besides the numerous trains rumbling by on the tracks nearby. I thought musingly about how I am also a mongrel of a human being just like those stray canines barking in the night. Wanted by few and left to fend for myself for the most part. A person of many, various aspects and parts -- a piecemeal of a being. Writer. Lover. Companion. Schizophrenic. Alcoholic. A myriad of puzzle pieces making a whole being.
I slept a sleep befitting a king during the night only awaking to use the bathroom once. Morning arrived with the sun already on its way up into the sky. I begrudgingly crawled out of my sleeping bag to start my day. I boiled some water and ate a bowl of hot oatmeal along with a few sweet, salty, and nutty granola bars. Drinks of lemon/lime Gatorade accompanied my meal.
I have found that more and more recently: my senses, one by one, becoming hypersensitive -- started with sound, then taste and now smell, almost like layers of me are being peeled off. I am not sure if this is a byproduct of my schizophrenia, but it feels invigorating. I felt so alive and vibrant this morning -- as if I could take on the whole world at once. My heightened senses causing me to view the world with technicolor lenses and rose colored glasses.
After breakfast, I sat smoking a plethora of cigarettes and writing in my pen and paper journal. What surprised me was the amount of emotion that came flowing out as I wrote. So many feelings, fears, and thoughts came pouring out onto the pages of my little composition notebook. I wrote furiously until my hand began to cramp, trying to get all my thoughts down as fast as they would come to my mind. I thought of posting copies of my writings here. That's what I had intended to do, just because this is where I have been writing everything else, but in the end I couldn't do it. Couldn't, because I didn't want anyone here to worry about me any more than I know some of you already do. The emails and comments I get are so kind, and so supportive, but in a way, recently, I have found myself being a bit inhibited here by them too.
Not sure I have said quite what I mean there, because I really do appreciate all the support I get here. I really, really do, and I think you all know that. But when I first started writing in this blog I wanted to write everything, even about the times I have felt I couldn't go on, too, all the darker things -- the aberrant thoughts and urges my mental illness saddles me with. I struggled with my desire to write of my schizophrenia and alcoholism openly and honestly. I also struggled with the aspect that I didn't want this to become another whiney journal about what ails me. It is a careful balancing act I commit to everyday -- to write what is on my mind or to give a more reader friendly version of my life. A dilemma really, because it defeats the purpose of this blog if I can't be honest in it.
So, I just want to say that I am stronger than I may seem. I wouldn't want to wish this situation on anybody, but I come to this blog to vent my emotions and feelings. I enjoy the catharsis of it all -- to be able to write down and share my most intimate thoughts with my friends and confidants. Something I cannot do with my family or Rosa as they would grow too worried and concerned.
I then left my campsite after packing up my gear into my big orange and yellow Kelty backpack and hiked down the highway to Merl's Diner to get a hot cup of coffee. I could see Clara sitting out in front of the dollar store up at the shopping center. I got another coffee to-go and walked her way.
"Good morning," I said, greeting her and handing her the Styrofoam cup of steaming liquid.
She looked up at me with sad, red, and hung over eyes. I could see a lifetime of emotion in her face. I wanted to give her a hug.
"Hey," she said quietly and morosely as I sat beside her.
"You feeling okay?"
"Sunday was a long day," she replied. "I thought Monday would never get here."
"Was for me too," I said with a sigh.
She reached into her backpack to pull out a half empty pint of Southern Comfort and poured a liberal dollop of the sweet liquor into her coffee.
"Want some? I've been nursing this bottle all night."
I held out my cup towards her as she poured some in. We sat drinking our alcoholic coffee, watching the world go round -- countless people visiting the shops at the center and going about their early days. The warmth of that alcohol felt so good. I felt as if I could take on the whole world.
"You still going to go to A.A. after drinking all that?" Clara asked, amused.
"Yeah," I replied. "Maybe it will allow me to drink in moderation."
Clara laughed and patted me on the leg. "Lack of money moderates my drinking," she said.
I smiled, feeling mentally well for the first time in days -- glad to be alive and enjoying this simple moment with one of my friends. My alcoholic brain was in overdrive this morning -- thinking of what if I can moderate my drinking. To only have a few drinks and then quit. That liberal dollop of Southern Comfort worked wonders for what has been ailing me. I felt calm and relaxed. Sublime. If the doctors won't help me then I will medicate myself.