Friday, February 13, 2009

He moves in mysterious ways

For the last little while, i have had a roommate (we will call Mr. D), whom i have had many problems with. I met him originally last year, when i first arrived in Boulder, at a meeting. He talked a lot of pseudo-mysticism, was separated from his wife and family, and frankly reminded me of my old friend Micah, who took his life a while back. I still carry a lot of residual guilt, although i helped Micah in every way imaginable, it just sucks when our efforts aren't enough, when we can't spare someone their fate, or make decisions for them. One of the most hardcore lessons of my 20s has been that you can't save anybody. I myself couldn't be saved, although a buoy or three presented themselves, when i decided i was ready to be helped. Anyway, D. had a history of mental illness, a spiritual malaise, and he believed he was being thrust into spiritual purgatory realms, The Bardos he called them. I myself have a leaning towards that philosophy, so i sympathize and can relate, also having lost my mind at one point (a harrowing tale i long to tell one day.) The timing coincided with my quitting my job at Safeway, and i was more or less homeless, or living very close to the streets, anyway. Broke and hungry, we were in a position to help one another. So i offered to let him stay with me for a while, paying a percentage of the rent, and living on my sofa. Fast forward 5 months...
Everything was cool for quite a while, we were scrabbling together work and food, staying up late, talking about black magick, the mayans, the Chicago metal/industrial scene, war stories, girls. We laughed, we cried, we were brothers. Then something happened. Around the holiday season, he went home to visit family, and started the battle to quit cigarettes, and all the pressures combined with an unknown catalyst, triggered his mental illness. I think he quit taking his meds, too. For the last two, two-and-a-half months i have been watching the brother lose his grip on reality, descending into madness. Paranoia, terror, aimless drifting thoughts; there just didn't seem to be a solution for the guy, and i didn't have the right answers. For all my experience with addiction and mental illness, i have not really been face-to-face with someone out-and-out schizo-effective crazy. I just avoided my apartment, and when i got my job i gave him a notice, be out by the first of March.
It was getting worse and worse. Sue, god bless her, let me stay at her place a bunch, would give me a place to de-compress, unwind, stop worrying. I don't know what the fuck i would do without that girl. When i would go home, i lived behind a plastic tower, untouched and untouchable. It was very hard, to watch someone suffer so much, and know that i could do nothing for them. I have a long history with vampiric, co-dependent relations, with people who don't know how to access the sunlight of the spirit, themselves, and aren't willing to do the work. They treat me like an Energizer; and when i would start off healthy and happy, i would try and spread light and hope to diseased people, i would end up empty and drained, and i would drink again. These days, that would be a major catastrophe (i'm talking Vesuvius erupting, folks), so i am incredibly guarded against this cycle, but i still have those ingrained habits. So i have been playing a waiting game, living in resentment and going crazy myself. I got less and less involved every time i saw him.
Last night, i came home to him screaming at me in night terrors. I told him he should get help, maybe go to a hospital, and that i basically didn't want to be around him, and had no help to give him. Pretty harsh, to a drowning person, but i am not a life preserver. As wise Ben puts it, 'Their disease is stronger than our cure.' This morning i was awakened after 6 hours of sleep to him demanding money and generally freaking out. I haven't been that close to violence in a long time, and i calmly told him to go fuck himself. Now, those of you who know me, know that it takes a lot to get to that point, and can imagine what lies on the other side of said breaking point. And do not ever EVER wake me up like that. Let sleeping leopards lie.
I was awakened again at 11:40 a, to find my next-door neighbor at my door, telling me that he had to go, otherwise the police would be contacted, and i would be evicted. We're not allowed to have people stay with us at Thistle, and he had managed to piss off everybody he came into contact with. I told her i'd deal with it, (he was sitting right there), shut the door and said, 'you heard the lady'. God bless you, Anne, you are an Archangel and my deliverer from evil. Its interesting, as i got less and less involved with another person's fate, it would allow room for grace to shine in my life. I said 'enough' last night, and that was it. Lets hope the transition is smooth and does not end up with me having a broken fist.
So i came over here to Folsom St. coffee shop, the neighborhood cafe where i do all my computing, affectionately referred to as The Office, scrounged up some music online, and sat down to write this. I've been listening to Chris Brokaw's Canaris and Jane's Paradise. Chris Brokaw was the guitar player for Codeine, and this album was him doing his best John Fahey/Loren Connors meets Harvestman/Steve von Till power-drone tastiness. Jane is a project with Panda Bear from Animal Collective doing some experimental electro-beats, bedroom house tape experiments, tight solid beats with otherworld sound effects. Kind of lo-fi, pretty innocuos for the most part, doesn't bleed into the foreground all that often, but as i stop to pay attention, its actually pretty beautiful. This is the first time i've heard either. I've been getting into a new habit of coming over here and writing and jamming some headphones for an hour or two. I really like it, its soothing and nice. Today i start my official schedule at work, which will be around 4 til midnight or so, which means it should be pretty mellow, i'll be able to do my own thing more (listen to CDs and do my work), and that i will be able to make it to work on time. This job is one of the major blessings that has come my way, and was one of the first results in my washing my hands of D's fate. I really feel amazingly blessed in so many ways, and would like to shout-out to all my people (my extended spiritual family) for all you've done for me, and how amazing you are. You know who you are.

So i will leave you with an interesting link that i discovered this morning. Angela, if you are reading this, should take special note, i think you'd dig it
"i believe in the magic and authority of words." - Christopher Merrill
discovered from the wonderful and interesting Wood s Lot blog, that i can't wait to peruse further.


  1. Thanks for your comment on .
    Enjoy the music - there's lots of goodies to be discovered.

    Regarding your "friend" Mr. D. - I understand what you were going through, having experienced a similar situation in my student time. My roommate went to mental hospital by himself, when he had recognized there was no other way, and you know what - in the beginning it was horrible to see how he was living there, he was numbed beyond recognition, was just like a zombie. But in the long run it was the right decision. They really could help him, and nowadays he lives quite a normal life - complete without shizophrenic episodes. When he left the hospital he did a therapy called "Familienaufstellung" nach Hellinger (sorry, don't know if this is known in the USA and how it is called), that helped him very much. In this therapy one works with other people who stand for one's family members - very effective.

    Another person, another case, also shizophrenia: this guy is (to my knowledge) still in hospital - he was quite dangerous to other people (not in a violent way, but psychologically). Sometimes we only have one way to act: leave people that are "bad" for us behind (i don't mean only some mentally ill people with "bad") - no need to feel guilty. We can try to help people to solve their problems, but we can't solve the problems for them...


  2. @mike-floyd: not only do you run an excellent blog, you have sage words of wisdom to boot. Leaving toxic people behind has been one of the great challenges of my 20s, and i eventually had to move halfway across the country (1200 miles) to find healthy people who are good for me. Thanks for the comment, and all the good work on the tunes.