Monday, September 24, 2007


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.


Mary said...

Andrew, I read everything that you write with more empathy and understanding than I have words to express. We all need to vent our emotions and feelings in a safe way, in a safe place. I understand when you express viewing the world with technicolor lenses. Sometimes the view is exhilerating - sometimes daunting. I also believe if we can express our darkest moments they become just a bit lighter. I admire your strength, determination, and honesty.

I'm glad you went camping. The trains would keep me awake but I understand the comfort they give you. I wish I could find a quiet place with nothing but the sound of a soft breeze and a whip-o-will's call.

Again let me say that you have my support. We all need to express ourselves and this is the perfect forum. I hope you have a peaceful day.

Beautifully Profound said...

Do you tell Rosa when you drink?

Dave said...

Sometimes we all need to escape to the secret place in order to find solitude... A place where we can quietly sort things out in our mind.

You are so right about the purpose of our blogging. What's the point of writing if we can't be honest?

Thanks for your honesty. Thanks for the depth that you share with us.

Anonymous Boxer said...

I started by blog to clear some things that were hidden very deeply and it's why I am "anonymous", but as I receive emails, or on days I open for comments it does freak me out .... and I noticed my writing was starting to change. I started thinking too much about who was reading more than what I was writing. It can't be that way for me. And you must be honest here.

Your blog and your honesty has helped me understand so much that I didn't know in my own family.

So, thank you.

justLacey said...

Sometimes I read anonymous boxers blog. I understand why people have a love/hate relationship with comments. When they are good or people can relate with a story or their own, it makes you feel good. When they are judgemental though, I guess it can be hurtful. Even with people you don't know. I find sometimes with thoughts expressed on paper, thehy are sometimes misinterpreted.

Mom's Blog said...

Have you ever read the book The Artist Way???? Your morning writings where you write what ever comes to mind.. no matter what is described there as "Morning Pages" and very important to your creativity. However, like you said not everything written there is meant to be shared. One of the things that I have learned is some soul searching is only meant to be between you and God.. but out of that soul searching also comes things meant to share with the world. I think you already have a good balance as to what you share on the blog. Trust yourself.

Portia said...

i hope you are able to find a way to get past feeling hindered in your blogging, though i know exactly what you mean. i love the openness and honesty (harsh or not) with which you share here. and of course i wish you the best, even through those dark times.

Beautifully Profound said...

Going to AA and learning to drink in moderation don't go hand in hand.

Barb said...

I am getting to a place where I think that you have enough sense to do what is good for you...not me, not portia, not justlacey, or Rosa to name a few. You do what seems like a tap dance on a cliff, or that which is more beautiful than anything anyone has ever even dreamed~~ but it is you! We can chose to love you, or delete you!
I chose the latter!!


SOUL: said...

andrew.... be careful. you can't have it both ways. you know that. so many try and fail. page 449 my brotha.
hang in there.
i'll be back soon to check in.

CJM-R said...

Comments can get noisy is OK if you need a break from them.

Chaim said...

This may not be the appropriate word to use, but I can't think of a better one: Your blog is intoxicating. You are an extremely gifted writer.

You mention in your post some anxiety about overloading the blog with negativity, with your problems. I think the thing that draw people to this blog is that in every one of your posts is something that one of us can relate to. For example, I've never been homeless, nor have a struggled with addiction, but your passionate artist's mind and insatiable wanderlust come forward to me as if from my own soul.

Sharing of yourself is a powerful thing, because it serves to teach that which we all have in common.

I hope you continue to share more honestly, not for us but for yourself. I read perhaps a hundred blogs on a regular basis, but this is certainly one I hold in special regard.