Cultivation of the Rational Observer so I can eat Casserole in Peace.

A broken dish — Ima 2020

Four times a day, every four hours timed by an alarm on my phone, I swallow a little yellow capsule with the numbers “215” stamped on the larger side in blue. Without it my brain almost short circuits.

I’ve been putting off writing all day today because I was hoping I would find something else I would want to write about but at the end of the day, this is what is destroying the hamster wheel in my mind.

It took 8 years of trying new meds going off those new meds trying a new one or four or five at a time and never getting the chemicals right and lithium makes it so I can’t talk and I traded my Ativan for weed and adderall and sleeping too much and not ever sleeping and hallucinating and not being able to walk fast or think fast or thinking too fast or nausea or headaches and haloperidol and losing weeks of my life not being able to feed myself and going back off the pills and being impulsive and not being able to be a person just a different dangerous babbling version of myself.

8 years is a long time but I’ve idealized suicide since puberty hit. Life was really hard and I think I survived a lot of it because people told me I wouldn’t. Because I saw something else in the world that other people couldn’t or wouldn’t see.

I self medicated when I wasn’t trying medication from doctors.

I self medicated with heroin when I was 17 and that was a fucking mess. I had to move to North Dakota the day after my 18th birthday to detox because I could feel the cold fingers of death close to my neck.

I self medicated with anything I could grab. I heard the term “buffet addict” and I’ve never connected with anything that much.

Alcohol, weed, painkillers and other opiates, sex, muscle relaxers, hallucinogens, some shit people called research chemicals, DMT, speed, whatever was on the table.

Anything that would make the warped thoughts that I wasn’t real or that the world wasn’t real to slow down.

Sometimes I get so depressed I feel like there is a tree growing in my chest, pushing all the organs to the side and squeezing my heart and my lungs so I can’t move or breath, making it so there is no room left in my body to feel anything but the pain that nourishes this growing tree.

Sometimes I am elated and surrounded with the something magic in the world. I am on top of that tree and I see things as I think they really are, not the lies I have been told. Like I know all the secrets but have never been given the words to share them.

I forgot to take my meds yesterday until late afternoon. I took it when I remembered and feeling off wasn’t a big deal since the plan was snacks and watching the Pagemaster. A beloved movie from my childhood that most definitely holds up.

I made a delicious vegetarian casserole out of cauliflower, loads of garlic, broccoli, onion, homemade seitan, mashed potatoes and some other really healthy things. For dessert I crafted stove top Carmel sauce, threw in some fresh peaches and topped it with vanilla Greek yogurt. It was spectacular. I even sent my lovely friend, Britney, home with a Tupperware.

It was the most grown up I had ever felt.

I realized it too late, but I had missed the rest of my meds for the day and my brain started to spiral.

I either forgot to set the alarm or it hadn’t gone off but at 1:00am I was looking at the banister and the stairs not believing that they could possibly be real. I tried to justify going off the meds for the night but I couldn’t form sentences to Joseph. Everything was happening all at once and time just kept overlapping and my sentences overlapped with it. I’m sure I wasn’t making sense and I couldn’t figure out how to describe what was going on. He reminded me to just take it, and I did, but I tried to convince myself and Joe why I didn’t need to, briefly, before agreeing that it was a good idea and my brain is against me.

That’s the part that freaked me out. How missing some screwed with my brain chemistry enough to start fibbing myself.

I stepped outside and looked at the silhouette of the trees and the sky looked fake and the trees looked like they were made of paper and my hands didn’t feel attached but they definitely were and I had no way of explaining what fake meant or that it’s a gut feeling and how the observer and the subconscious were fighting each with their own strong opinion the observer knew that it was just missing the meds and everything really was real but the other part wholly convinced that it was fake and not being cognizant enough to make a good argument as to how or why it’s all fake or what that even meant.

So I read a book in the comfort of my shower hoping my mind would return to normal before I finished the book and had to go to bed. I certainly didn’t want to lay in the dark with a war rattling around in my skull.

Joseph kept me pretty grounded, like he has for the past decade, but eventually he went to sleep with my blessing and I had almost 3 hours to myself for a full on conversation rooted in the absurdity of my world findings.

I woke this morning and took my meds and made sure that I had alarms set vigilantly and as of now, at 1:52a.m. 25 hours after the episode I am starting to feel normal. Not that I understand what that means either.

I don’t know if this is a story or a note to self to remember that I am on meds for a reason. That I finally found a pill that has helped me. Just one. After 8 years. But either way, I am glad to have my mind back.

It is weird to have this Mr. Hyde residing inside of my body. It is not a bad thing, that part of myself had almost drifted away like a forgotten dream. I cherish the moments where my brain looks at the world differently from other people. I wish I had a better way of explaining it. I wish I had the words to describe what it is like. I will keep trying.

I think that chemically tamed part of my brain is the reason that I fully believe in the magic of the world.

Sure. I don’t know how to pay bills, and I am not sure I fully know what a deductible is, but I believe that I have a perspective on life that is a gift. I can see through the veil sometimes and it renews my senses and reminds me that there is more to life that what I can see with my eyes and as long as I keep cultivating that rational observer and surround myself with unconditional love for myself than I am safe and I can take care when my brain peeks through the visual world into the something else.




Austin based writer of personal essays and fiction. I have a dog named Ice-T.

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Austin based writer of personal essays and fiction. I have a dog named Ice-T.

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