It descends quickly.
There was a day in 2017 that I listened to “Lithium” by Nirvana over and over. I grew enamored with the lyric “And just maybe I’m to blame for all I’ve heard, but I’m not sure” which, in my opinion, is Kurt Cobain’s greatest line. That will never be a popular choice, but I’m okay with that. It doesn’t have to be popular to be meaningful.
It’s not “tattoo on my arm” meaningful, though let’s not be hasty in ruling that out.
Anyway, it descends quickly when it decides to go. “It” being whatever examples people use to describe me as “crazy” to others. (Maybe no one describes me as that. That would be sweet, but I highly doubt I’m wrong.) A mixed episode, for me, is just a precursor to depression so I always feel like I have to find as many ways as possible to capitalize on the upswing before it changes.
It leads to some really panicked good times. And who doesn’t love those?
By the end of April last year, everything felt serious. The mania was entirely gone, replaced by this very weird animal of desperation crossed with disillusionment. I felt trapped by my past while trying to build a brand new future and in the midst of all that, I received my very first subpoena to face an old adversary in a tiny room on the fourth floor of a building without a functioning elevator.
I am obviously not going to go too deeply into this, but I sat with a worry stone that said “Every little thing is gonna be alright” and mocked myself for trying to believe that while simultaneously answering questions from an arrogant asshole lawyer (which might just be a redundant description). I promised myself I was going to hold onto whatever part of me I needed to get through that and release it after. Like I made a deal with the devil: Let me be successful at this and then I will give in to it all.
I believe that, whenever I die, it will be at least 20 days too early because of what that situation cost me.
[Editor’s note: She thinks about death too much which is so ridiculous because she is brave in the face of nothing. She crinkles like tissue paper the second she is threatened with loss. She does not let anything go easily and the thought of absolutism keeps her up most nights.]
[Editor’s note squared: But occasionally she dances stupidly in a Radisson at 2 a.m. and wonders why the world is so beautiful and how she got so lucky to be a part of it.]
[Editor’s note cubed: She fears she will not ever be able to accomplish enough to have made a difference. That’s acceptable. But she also fears she won’t be interesting enough to have an interesting obituary. That is not a normal goal, dumbass.]
[Editor’s note … raised to the power of four?…: As Twenty-One Pilots would say, “Death inspires me like a dog inspires a rabbit.” It’s not Cobain, but it still works. The other one is more likely to end up on her arm, though.]
Hey, Editor. Shut up.
Anyway, mixed episode me has significant issues communicating. It’s a combination of thoughts going too quickly with the subject matter being too dark for almost anyone. I don’t wish that version of myself on anybody. If I am not talking… if I am not telling a story or entertaining people… then my silence is resounding for whoever loves me.
I don’t blame anyone for giving up on me, for reference. I just wish they wouldn’t.
Look, I’m going to be honest (because what are my options and what on earth is the point of lying). Mixed episode me is the absolute worst version because it is so incredibly selfish and hates itself for it. At least manic me just simply has no restraints or interest in being a better person. And depressed me would never hurt anyone intentionally and feels bad for absolutely everything.
But mixed episode me is unscrupulous about its intentions while knowing that every single little thing it does is being placed in a bank to use as a reason to hate myself later. Mixed episode me tries to pretend it believes in the “do what makes you happy” philosophy, but it seems like it always costs me something. It sometimes turns into a debt I cannot repay.
In any case, all of it will now always remind me of Eddie Butler.
Eddie Butler is a pitcher who made his Cubs debut in May 2017 and pitched six shutout innings against the Cardinals. They won 3-2. It is literally the only Cubs game from last year’s entire regular season I remember. This thing, baseball, that I love more than anything disappeared into the void, hidden in the folds of a mind that was in the midst of descending quickly. This redhead pitcher I knew nothing about helped win a game against the team I loathe.
And I explained the whole thing to a person I loved who knew nothing about baseball but was willing to learn and watched it with me. I talked coherently about the game, the pitches, the strategy, the quirks of the hitters, how Busch Stadium has the worst fucking hot dogs on earth… I talked about all of it pretty articulately. I was impressed with myself.
“Maybe I’ll be okay,” I told myself even though 24 hours earlier I had looked at an apartment; attended a Happiness Project gathering that I (ironically?) had to leave because I was sad; sat alone in my house chatting online trying to make her laugh by pretending I had huge dog ears and hoping she would ignore how not okay I was; and finally hanging up because (and I distinctly remember this) I simply couldn’t stand to be myself anymore.
Eddie Butler signaled the end of mixed episode me. It was a hell of a game. And I fell asleep that night with the last vestiges of hope I could muster.
It descends quickly. And just maybe I’m to blame for all I’ve heard.
But I’m not sure.