Thoughts from My Tower

by | Art by

“One day I will smile from my heart again; but for now, it will have to be just from my lips”. With that thought, she drowned 4 more pills in the hope that sleep would envelop her soon so she could just get the day over with.

There was almost a duality to her presence: a patient and an observer. Both taciturn and neither expressing judgment on the other. It started gradually and chronically, like most ailments. Once cornered, she tried all sorts of coping mechanisms, knowing full well that they would only lead down one very dark road. It was almost like autopilot was switched on, despite the guilt and daily penitence followed by increasingly erratic behavior and increasing guilt. 

So, the days would roll as such and nothing changed at all. She was the accused, the lawyer, the judge, and the jury all rolled into one complex entity. She knew right from wrong; she understood the weaknesses to the point that she would not defend them. The pain of every inhale blinded her for the split second it took for her to swallow more pills than she should have, to drink what she should not have drunk, or to smoke what she knew would poison her lungs — or, more recently, to ravage her skin so that she could focus on tangible pain rather than an abstract ache. 

Nonetheless, she ran the errands, she made decisions; she was a healer and a leader. She could reduce the various roles and responsibilities she took on to bite-sized tasks, carrying them out precisely and promptly. While she strategized on how to best help her loved ones, she herself was undergoing the same ailment, albeit behind the scenes, in the privacy of her own mind and home. As every addict will say: “I have control, I can stop whenever I want.” 

What they don’t tell you is that they don’t want to stop. Because stopping means you leave your heart in the open. Stopping means that you may not weather the storm around you. Stopping isn’t worth the risk. 

Now, imagine all this pain existing within someone who has a moral compass. Someone who does have faith, someone who does believe that things can and should be tackled in particular ways — someone who accordingly believes that they are repeatedly failing their own morality, their own goodness. Perhaps even their destiny.

That morality brings on a deeper kind of pain to the equation. It pushes one towards dreadful suppression and silence; moans of guilt cry out from your core. But you’re tired. You are so, so tired. You go downstairs and you smile. Hug your nephew and watch him in wonder with so much love. You can’t help but think of yourself as a child, how big your dreams were, and how much you believed in yourself back then. You take a deep breath. Pet the cats. Love the creatures around you. Plan to redecorate and to create something new and lovely…

Then it’s up the stairs you go, as if to a tower of darkness where the curtains are pulled shut again and you have a hard time breathing. You have a hard time talking, answering the phone. Being normal. You just want those pills to work and throw you into a sweet slumber. And just as you realize you’re finally swaying away into that lovely sleep, your heart skips a beat because you know there and then that what awaits you afterward is waking up: and feeling it all over again.