Steps of Madness? | Teen Ink

Steps of Madness?

May 27, 2016
By shawnrbliss SILVER, Watkins Glen, New York
shawnrbliss SILVER, Watkins Glen, New York
6 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Being driven into madness is strange. Maybe it's just my perspective or maybe it's others too. But for me, I guess, it's strange. To some, the mind is located in your head. To some, the mind is the controlling factor, or what some call the brain. I'm not sure if that's entirely the truth. But I can't say for sure I know the truth. To me, I see the mind as a whole, not just the brain, but the soul. It is a decision making source of your life. The mind stores, combines, and rationalizes everything, even the irrational. It attaches control over your body, your life. So, what happens when the madness occurs? I can't tell you the facts, but I'll tell you how I feel. In my explanation, madness happens when the human psyche, or mind, is driven to the brink where reality and understanding becomes deluded with nonsense. Where you believe things, not because of faith or knowledge but because you have no choice. The mind is unhinged from yourself and you control without thinking through or thinking at all. Madness. Some think madness occurs when something so traumatic happens that the mind can't wrap itself around a logical solution or understanding of the situation. Instead, the mind warps and tears to fit and claim its own perception which can be torturous or unreal. But my madness didn't come from such an event. Or maybe it did. I'm not sure, but I feel as though it was the small things in my life, the things that maybe some people overlook or even brush off without a bat of an eye. The little things. The moments when your friends change and leave to become a different group. When you try and change how you act, what you do, how you do it to fit in, but never quite make it. You couldn't because you didn't hit puberty as quickly as your old friends did. You couldn't sink the basketball from the foul line like your old friends, you couldn't run as long or as fast as your old friends. You couldn't think like them, you couldn't look like them. Years and years pass and finally puberty had you become a full fledged acceptable person. Or so you thought. Because in that time you tried to grow, they grew and progressed farther. Though you were where you're at, where the bell curve says that where you stand, what you know, and what you do is normal, you aren't with those that you see normal. I guess that's one step. Do others feel the same way? I'm not sure, maybe they do. I use to do sports, a lot of sports, and I was good, not great, but good. I knew what I was doing, and I could accomplish the task. I knew how to shoot the basketball, I knew the strength and arc I had to accomplish for it to fall through the hoop. My arms and legs and eyes knew what to do because night after night I drilled the motion, the thought, the image of the hoop distance, the angle of my arm, the 90 degrees that stood perfectly in that arm, the position of the hands that gripped the ball, and the knees that bent as the weight shifted and compressed on my toes. I knew it, I knew the science, I knew the drill. But even though I drilled this constant redundant action every night, I didn't make all my shots. Why? I shot thousands, sometimes I felt like I shot millions of baskets, yet I couldn't get them all to fall through the hoop. I saw why; the slight twitch in my body, the ill balance of a used basketball, the unplanned stutter of the feet; seemingly the tiniest deviation made the whole drill fall apart. That's when I knew, I could go on a lifetime of shooting hoops, I could restart my life while holding the same drill and knowledge and never make every single basket. I guess that's the second step. I wonder if others realized that too? I can't say for them. Maybe they could make every shot. So, I grew up. I can't say I had a terrible childhood, I mean, I got to celebrate all my birthdays until I was 18. Why until 18? Well, I like to boast that I made the decision to stop because it was childish to have friends come over, have your mom do all the work to bake the cake or clean the house. I was 18, I could drive and have it at a burger joint, on the basketball court with greasy pizza. You never realize how greasy pizza is until you eat 5 slices and try to shoot a basketball afterwards. I did lose a cat when I was 16. I heard it fall with a sickening thud, and the wheezing from it's barely opened mouth. I remember that I thought it was choking, choking on food possibly, I guess I never found out. It was strange though, because I was at a loss, I didn't know how to give CPR to a cat. I'm not sure if the motions and chest compression transitioned from humans to cats were the same. I knew that baby CPR was different from adult CPR. We buried it out behind a barn that was close to our house. Our dog was buried close to where the at was placed. We had a dog. It passed when I was still in middle school. I guess it's strange to think about because I use to feed it in te morning, and one day I stopped because there wasn't a dog anymore. I never questioned where it went because I never realized it was truly gone. Until a few months later, and which my parents enlightened me with the truth that it was dead. I guess I was oblivious even though I had taken care of Rikki, which is the dog's name, for years, but never realized that it was gone. It's confusing how much something can be in your life, but you've never had it apart of your life.  It dawned on me that we forget things even if they're in front of us. Is that another step? Do others know this or even experienced this? I can't say, I'm not everyone else. I guess I grew up fine, and I did get a job. I got an apartment which was a big deal because it was a lot of money, I mean it wasn't millions of course, but it did take a good amount from my pay check every month. Oh, there was the car bills and the electric bills, and can't forget about the wifi. Did I mention I got married? I did, to a beautiful woman who was smart and funny. I worked a lot, because I wanted to save money but more importantly spend it on what was necessary. I worked for hours, from the afternoons to that early mornings, I mean really early mornings. I would come home and sleep and eat and shower and watch tv and relax and game. Oh, and I would write the checks out to the landlord, to the insurance companies and use my credit card to pay for the diapers and baby wipes. Did I tell you that we had a baby? It was a baby girl and she is chubby and beautiful. She is playful and loves to talk gibberish, a baby's first language. So it comes to no surprise to understand time goes on. From those moments when we are born to the moments we die, and the moments after and before all that. Well, something happened. Maybe I wasn't doing well, but I was, I knew I was. I did everything I was suppose to in my job, I did everything efficiently and correctly. I drilled the desk organization, the call flow, the tone of my voice, the inflection of sincerity and the casual friendly smile and hello to my coworkers. I appealed to the boss and their boss. I agreed when necessary and spoken when asked. I stepped in at work five minutes early, and I sat down two minutes before my shift, I clocked in at the exact moment the computer time switched to match my start of my work time. I do remember when I first started, I was surrounded by others, people that I have never met, people who were local, people who weren't local, people who weren't then were local. I sat with them from the start of my job. I remember their names, but not their faces. I could tell you their names and where they sat if you came in and worked with me. But outside of work, I couldn't tell them apart from the people walking through the grocery aisle or the street. But on this certain day, I was approached by my boss. He told me things and I nodded like I was suppose to, I spoke when he asked me questions, because that was the drill. But something happened; I raised an eyebrow, something that wasn't in fact drilled into me by my job. I raised it because it was a reaction to my mind. Something was amiss, I heard his words and my mind processed what he was saying, but it wasn't registering a solution, only a response of a raised eyebrow. I looked around, to find that most of my coworkers that I've been sitting with since the beginning of my job, were gone. Were they let go too? Did I miss their conclusion and exit from this work place? I don't know, because I don't remember. Logically, I realized that what my boss was saying is true; they are indeed, the company that is, closing this branch. You know, whenever I get sad, I like to eat, but I eat all the time, does that mean I'm sad all the time? I went home early that day. 3 hours and 42 minutes early from the punch out that I'm use to. The roads looked different when I drove home. I wasn't sure what exactly to do. Maybe find a different job? That's what I decided on, going straight for the newspaper help wanted section that I flipped past everyday, because it didn't apply to me, well, not before at least. I don't think I ever found anything, I do remember submitting resumes to companies and stores. I don't think I got called in an interview, I don't remember, but really what I do remember is my wife and my baby. I guess it was a few weeks after the job loss when my mind became blank. The drill from my previous job would fill out most of my day, but I haven't exercised that drill in weeks and my mind decided to let it go. So when it blanked, I could fill it again. I saw my wife and child. My child, oh sweet baby girl, was crying. Crying loudly, so loudly like she was in agony. That cry made my cringe and shook me to the bone. My wife, her eyes were deep with dark circles, her mouth thinned but speaking softly, trying to comfort the baby. Her hair was tangled and frizzled. The child would not be calmed. So, what did I do next? Nothing. I didn't know what to do. I haven't comforted my child at all. I didn't really ask my wife about anything about the process to help. All I knew was work, well work from my previous job. I felt it. A unfathomable force in the back of my mind that felt like my body was slowly tearing. I felt that strange force making me realize I don't remember the last time my child cried, because I would come home and sleep, I would come home to sleep, I would come home to relax. I guess I never realized how much time I spent at work, but that was my job right? And my wife, that person that was holding my child, I have never seen her like she was before, or at least it never really stuck in my mind. It dawned on me that she has been in that state for awhile. So, no matter what I did, something was amiss. I guess myself? Was I not aware or logical? Maybe I was too much, logical that is. I mean, I needed money, my family needed money, we needed money to survive. I provided that money by working for money to pay off things that required money. Unhinged, that's what I felt like my mind did. Something snapped, or maybe it was already unhinged for awhile. I like to think of a tire that is loose and as you drive the bumps on the road shakes it loose until you find yourself swerving into the guard rail with the tire in your rear view mirror. How many steps occurred in that moment? I don't remember, it was a lot of steps, it wasn't a leap, but steps. It's strange isn't it? I see myself on the brink of darkness, a drop off in a void. I can't turn back not now, it wouldn't make since, right? Or is that madness? Not wanting to turn back? Maybe I should step off, and just fall. Oh yeah, time doesn't stop, as I mentioned before, so do you know where I am? A mirror or a bridge? I don't remember, because I see both. I was on the bridge, well the over the side of the bridge. My body leaned forward and in front of me was the void, or what I imagined the void because in some sliver of my mind I knew the bridge was a 100 feet up from a rocky bottom, but it was only a sliver in my mind. In this scenario I took a step off and leaned forward, falling into the void. Oh yeah, the mirror. I didn't see myself in the mirror, instead it was this horrid, grim monster. I had to get rid of the abomination. I knew the solution, the only solution. This abomination was feeding off me, so I had to sever the connection, the link that tied me with this creature. I smiled with victory, knowing it's true weakness. It was a quick motion and I saw the spray, the splash of the thick dark red on the mirror. As my wrists poured out the blood of this fiend, my vision shook, I saw the monster fading. In the back of my mind, in a tiny sliver I knew what was happening, but I don't believe it because it didn't make sense. It's strange isn't it? Is this madness? Do others feel the same or have felt or will feel? I don't know, because I will never be them or anyone else, and I'm slowly realizing, I'm never going to be me again.

The author's comments:

A writing piece about madness. Keep in mind it's suppose to be from the perspective of a person already dwelling in madness. That's why it might feel jumbled or even out of place in some moments. You might realize that the person repeats often.

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