I recently discovered Daniel Johnston, and in case you haven’t heard of him before either, I thought I’d share this song. Daniel Johnston is a manic depressive, maybe that’s why I felt so taken aback when I first listened to his music.

This song in particular is most likely relatable to everyone on some level, since everyone probably deals with existential boredom at some point. Maybe that’s what it means to reach adulthood; realizing that life is often boring and youthfulness is ephemeral.

Manic depressives might find themselves exceptionally resonating with this song because it almost seems impossible to ever accept those aspects of life. Must I bored all the time? Can’t I be high all the time?

Boredom is homeostasis. Boredom is the fine line between frenetic chaos and catatonic chaos. To be bored is to be on the cusp of complacency. Maybe it’s only true for me (although I doubt it is), but boredom and complacency are insufferable. I find myself scheming for an exit strategy. Cocaine? Sex? Another runaway trip? Except, adulthood shows a person that there is truly no escape. I am rendered helpless in my suffering, and am too aware of the futility of my own escapism to try anything at all. Mania is intoxicating. It gives zest to my life. It brings me thrill. Euphoria. Bliss. Desire. Ecstasy. I want it always, but I know better than to try pinning the tail on the donkey, because the donkey has kicked me in the face more than once. At the end of manic happy trails therein lies a tomb of anxiety and psychosis. At the end of that, a catastrophic mess to clean up.

Daniel sings “Maybe if we were in the movies we wouldn’t be so bored” towards the end of the song, and I think that we all just want to live in a movie. Movies are evocative, otherwise we wouldn’t watch them. But we are not in the movies, and sometimes life is bland.

In another song called “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Your Grievances,” Daniel sings, “Do yourself a favor and be your own savior.” He is a creative 52-year-old manic depressive that’s still alive, and let’s be honest; that’s an impressive feat considering 25-50% of manic depressives have or will attempt suicide. He is inspirational to me, as he has learned how to manage his own illness and wrote a plethora of music so people like me could relate to it and find solace.

A Sentence A Day, Prose, Writing

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“Tears started to cloud my vision, the creases in my smile began to lay flat; the scathingly morose succession of notes to Quasi una fantasia absorbed a little bit more of me with each key, and in that moment I realized that I, too, would one day take my own life, for I was not well.”

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“Sometimes I wonder whether the inability to broadcast your suffering is what separates the mentally ill from the sane.”

At twilight hour on the balcony, faces on bodies seem strange down below. Are they people? Oh, I can feel a dreadful rush coming on. I look to Ryan and wonder whether he feels the energy, but his book is still placed in front of him and he seems oblivious. My eyes dart from the outlet that holds the power for christmas lights wrapped ‘round the railing, to stale coffee, to Ryan, and then pull my vision inward. Those moments make nothing of comfort. The chair wobbles and exasperates spine in my back and I can’t stand being looked at. “Please, Please look elsewhere. But wait! Wait, I can’t stand being ignored!” I wanted to tell him that. Christ, there’s nothing in the world that could give my soul peace.

“I can’t tell whether or not I’m alive.” I say out loud, accidentally.

“How can you not tell that you’re alive? That seems absurd, and if I may say, unnecessarily dramatic.” Ryan responded with a tone that made my heart cringe, and when my heart cringes I cannot control myself any longer.

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Prose, Writing

What Separates the Sane from the Insane

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I can feel it coming, although I’m dealing with it well this time. I’d like to think it’ll disappear if I close my eyes long enough, but it hasn’t yet. I am a carriage turning back into a pumpkin at midnight and it’s always very dark at midnight. All of this vigor, all of those smiles, all of that discipline is disintegrating. But isn’t there something to be said for a laborer that works very heard within his means? What a romantic notion! Doing what one can manage when one cannot manage a lot seems nearly heroic. Sometimes that sentiment propels me when I feel like I have no business in moving. Maybe there’s a sense of stubborn empowerment in working through fatigue, illness, or futility.

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Prose, Writing

What Will I Do with You?

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Writing

The Inner Workings of a Placeholder

Tumult. Tears. Tribulation.

Can I make it to see 22? Burden buried deep in the chest, please just give me a moment to rest. Love in the cosmos, twirling in the starry universe. Kissing, and a fluttering heart. I have felt love, and what magnificence! Do you know how it feels to feel euphoria in your fingers? It feels quite euphoric, I suppose. The kind of euphoria that packs up its belongings and drives away. Through the mountains, through the valleys of green, drives away to curl up. I did not think about why I shouldn’t drive away, but rather how I couldn’t stay in this place. Continue reading

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Writing

Black man with a crossword puzzle

A man politely asks to sit across from me at a table in the library near the reference section. 

“Do you mind if I have a seat at your table? I’m waiting on a fax and this seems to be the only place I can keep an eye on the fax machine.”  The black man has a jean jacket and a gray hat with a construction company slogan on the front.  He’s around 60 years old and has a few dark freckles under his eyes.  He seems like a nice old man, the kind that sneaks his grandchildren cookies when grandma’s not looking.

“No, I don’t mind at all.” I said with politeness, but not inviting conversation. Continue reading

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