13% [chapter 15]


By December 2005, you gave yourself the best and worst xmas present ever: Speed Psychosis.

Christmas was always a hard time. Just like it is for a huge percent of the population that lives in familial denial. Most turn to their friends to get through it with some sense of contentment and fellowship. But if no one really enjoys your company, then drugs will do just fine to kill the time.

You were actually in a great mood. So happy to be left alone with this big frosty snowman made outta meth stacked high in front of you. 12 different half finished projects laid strewn haphazardly about the room. All the roommates had gone away to their respective warm holiday gatherings. Sucks to be them, you thought, with not a shred of envy.

You were so glad that you wouldn't have to get into some pointless political argument with one of those right wing bigots related to you. Or hover over a bowl of green beans and mashed potatos while everyone else ridiculed you for being vegetarian. Or hear, yet again, that forced age old question of, "When are you gonna settle down, get married and have some kids with whichever man is crazy enough to have you?!" Always followed up with, "Aww..whatever happened to that guy Zack? You should've married him when you had the chance." Or laugh about that time when your dad, in a drunken frenzy, carved the turkey with his bare hands. Grabbing, mangling and throwing the much labored-over carcass all over the room. Cursing as each limb smacked up against something and fell to the floor, greasily doomed. Picking up the whole table, he flung it over. Toppling off into broken shards went the glasses, the good plates and all trimmings of that delicately prepared meal. Your poor mother sobbed, numbly clutching a broom. But the dog was happy as fuck that afternoon.

Nope, not this year. You could do whatever the hell you wanted to do in this big empty house. So you joyfully consumed almost that entire huge chunk of meth over a heap of sleepless hours. They blurred together in a revolving shock of night/day/night/day with the unforgiving flux of time lapse photograhy. This extensive holiday would forever alter the internal workings of that person you thought was you and only you.

To understand what birthed this seasonal hatred of Christmas, several attempts were made via dream healing and concentrated meditation to trace it back to it's origin: Germany, 1972. You were 3, your brother was 5. The two of you woke up and excitedly started playing with the new toys you'd received for Christmas the day before, all spread out on the floor of the bedroom at 4 or 5 in the morning. Suddenly, the door burst open. Your infuriated red-faced father screamed that it was too early to be making noise. Your brother chirped, "But Daddy, lookie what Santa gave me!" He held up his bright blue Tonka dumptruck gleefully. Your dad grabbed him by the wrist and flung his entire body across the room. He bounced off the wall and landed head first on the floor in front of you. Through your terrified screams you heard a splitting sound. The pretty porcelain tea set you were playing with was broken. For years that's what you believed shattered at that moment. But it was not the china cracking. It was your brother's bones.

Something else snapped then, too. Willy appeared. Sitting there next to you. This happy little 4 year old boy, tenderhearted and true. His calming presence acted as the gatekeeper to all the other alters who would later join him and you, one by one, over the next several years every time a new trauma broke into you. But you never saw them coming. It was only a sneaking suspicion. Like that weird feeling you get when someone else is watching you.

At 12, you saw that movie about a woman with multiple personalities called 'Sybil'. Your reaction to it was, "I'd never be lucky enough to have that problem." Not good enough to have a mental disorder. Not good enough to have a built-in defense mechanism for dealing with life threatening stresses. The ultimate in self-deprecation.

Not even halfway through those 4 days that you spent spun up as fuck, having an enjoyable White Christmas, all of your busy bodied building projects became just background noise to something else that was conspiring for your attention. People began appearing solidly before you. Saying nothing. Just sitting there. Staring at you. How rude.

It was annoyingly disconcerting to look over and see a young boy with eyes wide as saucers, his entire fist shoved into his mouth. His other hand gently caressed his crying girlfriend's head, laying there limp in his lap. Long hair covered most of her face except where it had matted down in her streaming tears. One wet eye peered straight out at you. No amount of pleading, cajolling or yelling seemed to dislodge their dreamlike presence there on your bed. And when you moved around to different parts of the room, only their eyes followed. Creepishly boring into you. This real life nightmare had only just begun.

And here you were, so happy to be left alone for Christmas.

Yet the whole house began filling up with strange people staring at you. There was no escape. No matter where you looked or didn't look. Even with your eyes closed. Everything,everywhere was matrixing into another staring accusatory face in some phase of physiological decomposition or distorted with agonizing bliss.

You tried to amuse yourself with silly ideas. As if all of these figures were the trapped souls of people who died from drug overdoses on this holy holiday. And they all came here to Partay! Wooohooo!! But no amount of dark humor could curb the increasingly unfunny haunting invasion flooding your room, filling the hallway, coming up the stairs, walking around outside the window. It began to frighten you, this complete loss of control. And soon you felt a greater empathy for those schizophrenics on the street as they stand there yelling in the bus stop or at a garbage can, toward someone no one else can see. Stuck in the torment of a terrified brain in crisis, hallucinating mercilessly.

After a couple more day/nights of this, you became so scared, so backed up into the corners of fear, all you could do was sit in the lukewarm bathtub. In the dark. Crying. Then you started singing to calm yourself down. It brought a tiny respite. Silver Bells. Noel. Silent Night. Still the unblinking eyes did not subside. They found their way to you through the faucets, the shower curtain, the peeling light blue paint on the walls and on the ceiling of the bathroom.

So you started praying. "And yea though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death, i shall fear no evil for thou art with me..." Over and over until the bath water turned ice cold. Hot water on. Swirl around. Repeat for another rough ungodly hour. Never alone. Yet so totally alone in your own private hell.

Joseph Campbell once said, "The path is from dreams to visions to gods. All the tomorrows, all the yesterdays are within you. All the hells, all the heavens are within you. All the gods are in you." So you reached out for someone else.

Evan soon showed up after you finally made a frantic phone call for help. He took you to a large luxurious loft in West Oakland where he was housesitting. A completely muted neutral space. Even he became skittish, nervously laughing at the steady stream of nonsensical descriptions detailing these ornate hallucinations with which you were still carousing. He lead you over to the couch, sat you down and gave you a blanket to cover up your shivering, though not cold, body.

Through a tightly clenched mouth, a certain phrase kept repeating itself in broken consonate sounds, "GT STND! GET STND! GET STONED!" So you followed it's direction and got stoned. But it wasn't you talking. This was someone else.

At last, your panicked heart rate began to slow and the hallucinations eased off a bit, mutating into swirls and patterns instead of crazy judgemental dead toy faces. As you laid down, a high pitched ringing drowned out your ramblings. Then cold beads of sweat trickled down your neck. You wanted to vomit suddenly, but had nothing in your stomach. A dark cloud of bile forcibly ejected itself from so far deep down in your gut, it felt like your intestines were being ripped out. Out shot a hoarse blood curdling primal howl. And then, convulsions. Only one step left til Overdose. Death.

With spit flying through your teeth drilled shut like a vice, you tried to voice the words, "Immm hvinnng e seezure!" Evan replied, "What? You want a ceasar salad? I'm not sure if there's any parmesan in th--" "No! Imm hvinng a seezrr! A SEIZURE!!!" But your stiff electric limbs made this obvious by now. Your eyes rolled up into your head and you dropped off the cliff of muscle coordination like a piece of lead. Evan had enough sense at least to hold your head while the rest of your body spasms did their short circuiting stringless puppet dance. It stopped eventually. Then aftershocked over the next few hours in a fog of exhaustion and kinetic helplessness.

Gently, Willy's little face floated in front of you. All other hallucinations had ceased. His smile was so sweet and kind.You asked him, "Were you the one telling me to get stoned?"

"Yeah...we were scared."

"Who's we?"

Willy calmly asked if it would be ok for you to meet all the other alters.

"All the other alters? But...? I thought I didn't have any?!"

He giggled and said that they'd all decided you were too bossy, so they were just gonna hide until you needed them again. So here they were. One by one. Name. Age. Face. When and why they came to be living inside of you. And what they thought about what you were doing to yourself now. You sighed, "I'm so sorry..."

It felt wonderfully warm and loving, this unexpected intervention. This family reunion of secret selves who helped you cope for so many years. Who cared enough about you that they made sure not to show themselves off too much in front of society for fear of getting you thrown away into an institution. They did actually have your back. Even those who wouldn't acknowledge you since they were
so pissed about shit. Even those who would fuck every stupid dude that got drunk with you back in Boston because they were so into it. You still thanked them, though you weren't sure what good it would do. But they did actually care whether or not you lived or died because then, they would all either live or die too.

So much of the past made sense now. Why you never really felt alone. Why it was so neccessary to write everything down, to take photos, to document events and be sure they did actually happen. To keep a record. To keep track of time. Because you often found things written and recorded that you did not recognize or remember as your own. It was a beautiful, long overdue reception. An accidental healing that greatly improved your outlook on life. And Evan graciously sat there listening to this perplexing conversation you were having with all these imaginary people, watching over you as the discussion grew more peaceful. Until finally, you fell into a heavy comatose sleep.

Yeah, maybe it was just the drugs talking. But similar to feeling the presence of The Angel of Death, this kind of knowing experience was too far beyond questioning. So there was no need to quantify it's validity. It was as real as a dream within a life that is as real as the dream itself feels.

It was what it was.

When you woke up 2 days later, it took huge concentrated efforts to speak. Your mouth did not work right. You couldn't string together words or pronounce an understandable sentence. This was the scariest plight yet. Weeping, you were suddenly struck dumb. What if you had just damaged your brain so severly, you'd given yourself some form of cerebral palsy for the rest of your life?! Inside, behind your disabled tongue, you cried, "My God, What Have I Done?!"

MERRY CHRISTMAS DOOKIE HEAD!! Now, you may fully appreciate the ability To Speak. To Think. To Act Freely. To Write. To Feed Yourself. To Wash. To Pee. To Sit Upright.

The next day, you left Oakland to go start a new job at Amoeba Records on Haight Street. Evan said he was hurt that you spent those completely retarded out-of-your-mind nights quarantined to the couch, not sleeping in bed next to him like a good sane girlfriend should. But he could never understand that you already felt so crowded, the last thing you could deal with was being cuddled or screwed. Though you were grateful he showed up to help you, his emotional reaction to this insane situation said something about the clueless and unabashedly inherent selfishness of men. Maybe he felt you owed it to him since he protected your skull during those violent fits of convulsion? But you were too busy almost dying to think about how much he might need to get some head. Really rather unfortunate. From beginning to end.

Although psychologists are still debating whether or not multiple personality disorder even exists, you later researched the different wide ranging theories on this and wondered if 2 opposing conclusions might both be true. If trauma occurs before the age of 7, it is said, the child's brain is far more likely to fracture into different aspects as their personality has not fully formed yet. Those young brains, that in most other mammals, would still be in utero, are too tender and too vulnerable to withstand violent abuse, so it compartmentalizes itself as a natural coping mechanism. Another camp suspects that early trauma injures the aura's spiritual defenses and thus, opens the child up to being possessed by other entities. Maybe they are both correct? Perhaps those alternate personalities are just lost ghosts looking for another host to crawl into? And what better way to show your appreciation than by paying an emotionally protective rent to the original owner of the body that is now housing you? It's just a thought on a subjective goose that is difficult, if not impossible to prove.

Possible or not, that Psychotic Christmas was quite a gift. You recovered. And for a couple years, you severly cut down on your drug use. Because now, there were other people to whom you could turn to feel true long term love and gratitude.

All the hells, all the heavens, all the gods are within you.

*u can call me ph!*