Four o five in the morning.
I’ve taken my Vraylar and a Vitamin D3, and eaten a small Hot Pocket. R— isn’t doing a good job of keeping the store stocked with supplies. There’s not enough stuff for me to eat at that little market. I said something about it to M— last Saturday, and she looked distressed. Maybe today I’ll opt for Grocery Outlet. I can’t go wrong with that Seattle International sourdough bread. I don’t ask for much, just enough food to eat. As long as I’m mobile on my two feet, there’s no reason why I can’t go to the other store… I had a nightmare a bit ago about my dad. He was trying to sabotage me by forcing me to drink a substance with pins and needles in it. The dream didn’t make much literal sense, but the drink was probably alcohol… I anticipate seeing the sunrise this morning.
Five o’clock. I guess I’ll go back to bed and rest for a while longer.
Eight thirty. A fine, misty rain is coming down… The PA at the institute concluded that I should continue the surveillance of my ferritin levels. Very strange. Why did she send me that letter? One person even thought it was a forgery. But W— admitted to doing it… Tonight we film the church service again… The letter from W— disturbs me only because it seems she was condemning me for my past alcoholism. There are always people like that. I’m going to keep the letter she sent, in case of problems down the road. Suddenly reality assumes the shape of a Henry James plot, where I am confronted by the irrational in human affairs. And just as suddenly the sun peeks through.
Eleven o’clock. I walked to Grocery Outlet, but had anxiety and energy issues related to gabapentin withdrawal. I just took a pill. Still, I managed to buy food for me and some really nice natural dog food. Aesop should be very happy with tomorrow’s breakfast. His exact birthday is unknown, but the month is September. I want to do something nice for him… I spotted a blue Amazon delivery truck on my way to the store. Apparently they’re making a go of their own delivery service. Dunno how I feel about that. When I arrived in the store parking lot, I saw quite a few cars and people, as if nothing were wrong. People wore masks, but otherwise it was normal. The dog food had been moved since the last time I bought it there. I was exhausted by the time I got home. Luckily it didn’t rain again while I was out. I passed by a few people on the street who courteously said hi. As always, the sourdough bread is outstanding.
I’m going to try to make today a better day. Think happy thoughts. Yesterday was ridiculous. A downward spiral straight to hell. I used to think reading Sartre was fun, but now it’s too real and gruesome to enjoy. There’s nothing wrong with Romanticism, the beautiful and true. We need something to lift us up from the pits. It may not exist already, but we can create happiness by means of music and poetry.
Nine forty. W— sent me a letter saying it’s unlikely that I have hemochromatosis, but she didn’t tell me what I should do. So, I called the institute and asked about it. I will get a call back later today. It seems to me that W— is trying to be a diagnostic hero or something. Looking for a feather in her cap. The decision is up to the hematologist, not her. Why did she send me the letter? It just seems confrontational on her part. Whatever, I’m getting to the bottom of it. She’s probably right, but still, the doctor is the one to say… People do crazy things in the summertime. The heat gets to everyone, messing up our judgment… Aesop is begging me for his breakfast, due in one minute…
Well, all I have to go by is the note W— wrote. Maybe my reaction was paranoid. I’ve been in a bad frame of mind since yesterday. Perhaps she didn’t think it through to the same conclusion that I did. And my conclusion was, Why be seen for a condition I don’t have? Why waste my insurance money on unnecessary visits and labs? Indeed, I probably did jump to a conclusion that W— hadn’t thought of. Anyway, getting that letter in the mail puzzled me and got my day off to a rather bad start. I’m having a very hard time staying positive. I’m looking for evil motives in people where none exist.
I should burn the Sartre book.
Quarter of ten. I wonder if I should take a gabapentin? Maybe it would help my mood. But this would be psychological dependence on the drug. My cranky mood probably has to do with stopping the med. It is definitely addictive. I think I’m in a mess, a vicious circle of addiction.
Quarter of three. I appear to be physically dependent on gabapentin. I looked up the withdrawals on the internet and not only do they exist, but I could identify with several of them. So I started taking it again just to get rid of the withdrawals. Then I left a message for Darcy at Laurel Hill. I hadn’t realized that gabapentin is potentially addictive. People had said such good things about it. But by now it is well documented on the web that the withdrawals are similar to alcohol and benzodiazepines, which for me is deja vu all over again. I bet my old psychiatrist would have known the risks of prescribing gabapentin. Worst of all, while experiencing the anxiety symptom, I wanted to drink alcohol to make it stop… Therefore I would warn people about this drug before agreeing to have it prescribed for you. In some ways it’s as bad as alcohol and Xanax.
Ten thirty five. I ran into Mike at the market. It went okay. He told me about the neighbors he’d had problems with. As far as music, he is open to me looking elsewhere for opportunities to jam. The store was quite busy this morning. People were courteous to each other and it was a good feeling. It makes me miss the days when I used to work. I was around people a lot more and it was fun, especially the first two years. I passed up the Coke and bought cranberry ginger ale. Looking forward to getting my book of Bishop’s poetry. Aesop’s bones are coming tomorrow. As for church, it’s a part of the community, but the ideas are one size fits all. It’s good that I learned how it works. The obstacle I couldn’t get over was prayer. Ontologically there’s no way it can happen. Like telekinesis, we may wish it were real, but try to move a pencil with your mind: it doesn’t work. So I’ve been keeping my distance from church except for volunteering.
Noon hour. I had a good day yesterday. Usually my day starts out good, and then goes downhill towards afternoon. Maybe I expect too much of myself. I never sleep well anymore. Neither did my mother at this age. The solitude kind of gets me down day after day. Still I feel good about my sobriety. I’d still be drinking if the psychosis weren’t under control.
One twenty. I called Damien: he’s coming out this evening to mow. He sounds a little low because his stepdad has cancer. This afternoon I might take a nap. I should plan a trip to Bi Mart this week. Something to do in the afternoon. I always enjoy seeing Shawn and all the others who have worked at the store for eons. Going in there reminds me of Kate and old times in general.
Two thirty. I wonder if buying a car would tempt me to drink again?… Don’t know if I want to live in the fast lane once more. Too much anxiety. Driving makes me think of money and of how I used to work. These in turn remind me of alcohol… The prospect makes me nervous, so I think I’ll steer clear of it for a while. People drive or choose not to for various reasons.
Six o’clock. I feel agitated and can’t relax very well. Can’t convince myself that I’m in charge of my life. If this house is really mine, then why aren’t I free to come and go? The lockdown is getting me down. But the danger is also from within, for I fear a relapse into drinking. Any way I could relax would be welcome, but I’m afraid that my brain desires alcohol. In that case, I’m at war with myself until my support network is back in place. And this of course is my church, Our Redeemer Lutheran. Possibly the best thing to do is to listen to some music. Soothing classical music would be very nice. I found a Cd of Bartok’s string quartets that I never realized I had. This new music could help me restructure my mind for the present day. I’m very curious about it now.
Eight o’clock. The Bartok was great! I only listened to the first disc of two. I liked the No. 3 string quartet the best. After some incubation, a little of the music should swim back to me and keep me company. While I was listening, I thought a bit about theories of the unconscious and other ideas that were around when Modern art was made. Jungian psychology encouraged composers to dig deeper into the human soul, and lately I’ve been missing this depth. The experience of music brings the unconscious to life for me. Human life is supposed to be organic and whole, not chopped up and mechanical. People need things like fairytales and ballets to keep the soul alive. And there’s something more to nature than just morality. Romantic and Modern art express the very sap, the blood of nature and life. Art breathes just as trees and people do. It does more than educate: it gives pleasure and satisfaction. It makes you feel good.
Ten fifty. I dreamt about my brother. I was staying at some motel, probably on the coast, but without him. I played with some device, perhaps a smartphone or tablet. At some point I left my room, and then I worried about losing my door key, but it was where it was supposed to be. I slipped back upstairs to the room, let myself in, and settled down in bed to watch television. Somehow the room came to be my house as it is in reality. I feared that my brother would intrude on my property. Maybe he would steal my guitars and sell them for cash? Whereas Jeff and I used to drink beer at the coast, I didn’t drink in my dream. There was a sense that I was waiting for something to happen, like impending doom. How long could I live alone like this? I wanted to know what time it was. When I woke up, Aesop needed something. He appeared to be feeling unwell. Now he’s resting at my feet. And still I feel like I’m waiting for something…
Five forty. We’re having a food pantry tomorrow, and I will go help out. But I still feel weird about Christian faith. In our culture, is it the only way to be a good person? Pastor proposes having a Zoom coffee hour after virtual service on Sunday. I don’t know. I feel uncomfortable right now. I’m inclined to go to bed and rest for a while. Maybe I’m a little scared of the virus. But many other people are more afraid than I am. Anyway, I gave my word that I would show up, and that’s that. Also I will send in a check to Our Redeemer next week. I feel a little tired. Anxious and distressed, I’m not sure why. Yet getting out of the house tomorrow is better than being shut in. I don’t feel very well… I’m torn between doing the right thing and doing the easy thing. The right thing is to help out my church. But it’s easier to stay home and read a book. Or just do nothing. I will do what I can.
Ten forty. I was just dreaming about abusing benzodiazepines. I was in my mother’s bed with my fist gripping the pill bottle. Dr T came down the hall and muttered something. I also dreamed that I was in the driver’s seat of a car parked at the roadside. It was night. My head was just inches away from being hit by cars passing in the right lane. I guess the message is that I don’t feel very safe. I’ve put myself in the path of danger. I admonished myself aloud, “Jeez Rob, you need to relax.” And it’s true. My body is tense like a coiled spring and my mind can find no peaceful place. It seems that in tough times there’s no substitute and no alibi, no ticket out. The only way out is through.
Two fifty. Almost time to go to my appointment. A date with fate in a black taxi. I’m not having a good day. This tablet is freaking me out. I posted a rant about how I feel to my blog. It’s been a long day and it isn’t over yet. I feel the way most artists do when privacy is menaced.
One o seven. I need to figure out what is really bugging me lately, and I think it’s my coming colonoscopy. I complained of an invasion of privacy, and a camera up the butt can be no other than that. So I might as well talk about my feelings rather than let them infiltrate all my other thoughts. I feel that a colonoscopy is not only an invasion, but also a violation, even though I know it’s supposed to help me. Medical procedures, from a psychological point of view, are often strangely sexual. I feel the same way about psychotherapy. The bottom line is the word rape, and the word violence is related to the French viol, for rape. Once, when I was psychotic, I was in a bathroom of a phlebotomist and saw lingam and yoni in all the plumbing. The faucet looked like a phallus, the basin like a womb. I wonder if everyone has that experience subconsciously? Likewise, the fiber optic tube of a colonoscopy resembles a very long phallus inserted up the rectum and into the colon. So that whoever invented the procedure was probably anal sadistic, to use a Freudian term. I’m likely making too much of a fuss over a little thing. Everyone over fifty years old undergoes this operation, but still I must confess that I’m not mentally prepared for it…
Quarter after six. Stuart from of old called me a Faust when I visited him in winter 1996. But who cares what he said? I don’t even know if he’s still alive today. He belonged to a very radical church that met for worship up in Harrisburg. Not a very logical bunch. They would’ve scared the crap out of me. People in mobs can create a group psychosis, but it’s ridiculous and childish. How useful is it to behave like superstitious children? Adults have no excuse for acting crazy. And the mentally ill are better off taking their medication. The situation is similar to the end of Lord of the Flies. The boys on the island get rescued before Jack can murder Ralph; but— who is going to rescue the rescuers, the adults in the real world? The human race needs to grow up and be responsible because no supernatural agency is going to hold our hands through tough times. When the solutions to problems are available, by all means use them. If you have a rational mind, then for heaven’s sake use that. Human beings don’t have claws, fangs, camouflage, venom, or a stinger to cope with everyday life. The way we’ve evolved to survive and rule the world was by means of our intellect. When human reason fails, then we’re in a terrible bind. It’s just like me when my psychosis flares up. But people need to recognize when things are not right. Maybe relax and do something low stress or take a nap. Wake up refreshed…