The Dark Place

It slams through my head suddenly, and it doesn’t really seem to matter where I am or what I’m doing. It’s just there, this foreign conception spreading like black poison through my brain, and there it is, just sitting their vitriolic and caustic, twisting spasm through my thoughts and I cannot control it.

I think about what I would do and how I would do it. I think about knives and guns and hypodermic needles full of too much opiates and hands full of pills and train tracks and car crashes and getting shot by a crackhead for my phone. Just me, and it’s voluntary, and these deep, macabre fantasies about the edge and me being over it. My hands start to shake as I think about the world and me not being in it, the fantasy and the majesty of leaving this all behind, but not in a, “I’m going to run away to Mexico” kind of way but in the ethereal, heaven and harps kind of way. I stare down into the black pit of myself, and when I see nothing staring back, these are the thoughts that come to me.

But I know what this is about, and I know where they come from, and I try to shake the genetic predisposition to stare down the barrel of a gun. I look at my life and remember that everything is amazing. My friends love me, I’m not an addict, I can afford to eat every day, I live in the freest country in the world and I get to say whatever I want. I’m not getting raped every day, I’m not a prisoner of war, I’m not destitute and abused. And even for the people who do have to suffer through those kinds of living conditions – well, they’re still suffering through it, and I’m aware that these kinds of urges come from a place of extreme privilege and also probably mental illness. I understand objectively that there’s no logical motivation for feeling this way, so I take a deep breath, consider calling a doctor, then I don’t call a doctor, because getting 51/50’d seems incredibly inconvenient, and aren’t I too old for that by now?

I get a headache the next day from the neurochemical dysfunction, but I tell myself everything is okay, and even though I thought that these kinds of urges and feelings would be merely relegated to the teenage angst of “I hate my life,” I realize that mental illness is a real thing that I should come to deal with. I feel guilty for all of this, and I wish it away, but it always comes back. Sooner or later, and I wake up every once in a while with the pills on the floor and the knives on my bed and the guns in my mind and the clanking bottles of whiskey and cigarette butts and it just feels awful.