An alchemy of mental illness

alchemical laboratory

What good can come out of this? This thing I can hardly talk about, but weighs down my every day. Isn’t that the thing? We want to know that whatever difficulties we’re going through, it’s all worth something.

I look at these last couple years since my mom reappeared, at all the time and energy spent trying to get her off the streets, dealing with my own overwhelm. I feel alienated like I’ve never before known. This city I have known and loved for so many years, I’m seeing its cruelty. Every day, allowing this to go on, complicit in this desperation.

I’m disgusted, resentful, and there doesn’t seem a way to transform this feeling. So, I avoid going into town. I’m gravitating toward small towns where people actually know and care about their neighbors. I love to wander around and engaging my fantasy of what living there would be like. I think about the town I grew up in. There was a time where even though there were challenges, there were not these challenges in my life.

I go to cafes to suburban strip malls where I can be anonymous. There is a comfort in the sameness, the cookie cutter set of chain stores. I don’t know anyone and no one knows. There’s no pretense of community.

At the same time, I’m stronger for the experience. “What doesn’t kill you…,” right? I hate that expression, excusing every tragedy. I’m stronger and I resent that, too. Still I’m trying to make something positive from this.

I talk with friends about things they are struggling with and I notice a difference. I know they can handle it now, because I know what’s happening with my mother and I, and I’m handling it. I know I can handle supporting them in their struggles.

I am less swayed by the ups and downs. I know that feeling of fight-or-flight adrenaline going on for months. I know that too subsides.