In Recovery

Sorry I have not written, but my health has not been well.

I lost my voice about a month or two ago, just after my father died. Over the years I have grown accustomed to losing my voice for about a week or so, nothing too long. The last time this happened was about five years, when I lost my voice for two months. Whatever infection that had settled onto my lungs had became pneumonia before I knew it. That was a terrible time.

It seemed to happen again, but I don’t think it was pneumonia this time. I think it was straight up madness. For the last year I have been living in the farthest room in the house from Phillip, so that we could both have our space, our own sense of privacy and isolation while we figure out what the hell is going on with us….

That farthest room became something dangerous and potentially deadly. I fashioned it like a simple studio apartment, so I wouldn’t have to leave for the day. I’d wake and work in that space, eat and dream in that space, leaving only to take a walk to 7-11. I’d then scurry back….but, this time my agoraphobia took a wicked turn. I not only came into the house to lock myself away from the world, but then turned to that far little room to lock myself away from the rest of the house.

There was no reason for me to leave that room, no reason at all. As a matter of fact, I caught myself curled up in the farthest corner of my little bed one evening, pretending that I was somewhere else, so desperate to burrow myself even further away from everything. I only woke because the intense fetal position I was in had caused me so much pain.

The room has no functioning windows, so there was never any fresh air, and for one year I simply recycled everything I breathed. Whatever I inhaled into my lungs was exactly what I had just exhaled. No real difference. And then one morning I couldn’t breathe.

I had already been experiencing these hellish mornings where I spent the first two hours purging my body of discharge. The process was so exhausting I’d have to go back to bed….only to wake and do it all over again. But, one morning about two weeks ago, I found it hard to purge and breathe at the same time. There was just so much that I felt like I was drowning from the inside.

Phillip found me, pulled me out of that room and took me to his. His room is on the opposite side of the house, the Florida room, nothing but screens on two sides, nothing but constant fresh air, nothing but cool breezes that need only a little fan.

beds“That’s it. We’re getting you out of that room.” And much like a scene out of “The Madam and Mr. Brown,” Phillip went back to my room, folded up my little bed, grabbed the mattress under one arm and placed them in his room, tucking them right next to his own little place of slumber.

“You need fresh air, you need to get out of there, out of your head. You will NOT go back in that room. Grab your knitting, your laptop, and whatever else you need and set them up in here. Do NOT go back in that room, do you understand me? I’ll get you some pho to sip on then I have to get to work. REST HERE. And if you do need to defy me, because I know how you are, Gregory, then sit outside….like you used to.”

So, for the last two weeks I’ve been living in the Florida room with Phillip, or outside in our little garden set up. We tend to walk the neighborhood Wednesday nights. It’s the night before the BIG trash is picked up, so you get to see what furniture and stuff everyone is throwing out that you might want. He found this adorable table that he’s going to put out in our little garden section at the back of the house. I like sitting there under the Ligustrum, Phillip’s succulent collection off to the side.

And at night, I’ve been able to curl into my little bed, next to his big mattress, and turn my head across the pillow and look out the wide open window screen, my eyes gobbling up the sight of the moon as they weaken and dim with comfort. As my head quiets, I hear the warbling of night birds, the serenade of a cricket choir, and the scavenging of recklessly loud racoons. The cool air of the fans wash over us in waves, random waves, never knowing where that fresh blast of night air will hit you next.

What a blessed way to sleep.

I’ve started feeling better the last few days. I haven’t had the desperate, wreaking, purge of my body. I painted the living room yesterday. I’m going to put my workspace back in there, as it was last year before Phillip and I got divorced, when I felt that I was at the height of my creative abilities, writing, embroidering, knitting, exploring, searching, learning, and loving every new experience that came my way.

In Phillip’s defense, he didn’t notice anything weird or strange about what was happening, because I had totally cut myself off from him, the world, this house, this life…..Why did I allow that to happen?

Why did I find it necessary to dig into the most hurtful part of myself and stay there for so long? Some may say that when an artist digs deep into their own mud they find the pearl they need to create something beautiful.

To which I can only respond, if I’m capable of finding some beauty in the darkness, then why don’t I allow myself to find the beauty in my own light….and just work with that? Why do I find myself languishing in so many dark places when so many brighter ones are in my own backyard?

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7 comments

  1. we all have a touch of madness sometimes in our lives..Some come out of it faster than others, but its always there, the depression is always near…I am happy Philip was there to hand you a lifeline and get you out of that soulless room..Dont ever give up, each step you take is a good step to keep moving..Surround yourself with what makes you happy….hugs and light to you both..

  2. Sounds like bronchitis. To moisturize your throat, inhale moist air (steam from water in a pot), drink lots of liquids to thin the discharge (mucus), drink tea with honey and gargle with warm water and salt added. Remember, your father had serious lung issues. It’s good to take note what physical difficulties our parents had and avoid any habits so as not to encounter their same experiences. Maybe think about stopping smoking at this point in your life. Glad you are feeling better. P.S. Phillip is such a nice person. I like what I hear about him.

  3. Oh my goodness, Gregory. Thank God for Phillip. I’m so glad to hear you’re better. Please, Gregory, make a true effort to sit in the light, in the fresh air. You are important to this world. Don’t take yourself out.

  4. My heart and soul are in tears in reading yur last post. Be brave be strong dear one. Try praying a few hours of the office. Ask our holy father St Francis and St Benedict to be with you during these troubling times. Hugs yur brother in Christ, Tobias, Eloy AZ tobiascorner@yahoo.com Landlord raised my rent by a hundred bucks and water bill came 137.00 Tomorrow the 4th I’ll be 76. It gets harder each year to make ends meet. Hugs T

  5. Gregory, I’m glad you’re getting better. Thankfully, you were not alone and Phillip got you out of the closed in room. Do, get some light daily. Take care of yourself.

  6. I am so glad you are getting better. Bless Phillip for helping you. I understand, I get in my head and then I want to hide from the world. For months at a time all I did was go to work and go home. I refused to leave my house for any reason on the weekends. It was bad and I was depressed. A friend set up a video call and we talked for hours and it helped. I still don’t want to leave the house on weekends but I make myself. My daughter helps to, she will come and drag me from the house to go shopping or just to take a walk. Being in your head all the time is a bad place to be. God created us as social creatures. We need one another. Not having contact with the outside world or with people in general can be very bad. It is worse for you with agoraphobia. Hug Phillip and tell him I said thank you for saving you!

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