So, here I am, not particularly striking, with my weird nose, rather tired. I look normal enough. Nothing much going on there. Visualise tumbleweeds, flotsam, carrion shuddering on bone in an arid desert…
And here’s my brain- poetic license has been observed.
(Note: Not actual size. It has been proven that manic depressives have brains that are the size of walnuts, rather like sauropods. Both are regarded with more sentimentality than they maybe deserve).
Then you get a bit closer…
This is the Universal Depressive Translator.
He takes seemingly friendly and innocuous salutations, actions, laughter, jokes and so on and then turns them into horrible things that make me wonder if everybody really hates my guts so that I spend my entire waking life locked in a jumpy, paranoid ballet, loathing myself for every thing I say, do and am because it all seems to illicit further (albeit veiled) disgust from the world at large.
It makes it very difficult for me to concentrate on anything because I have to disentangle my thoughts, and other people’s words, from the sound of his voice.
So I lie awake and his voice spins around in my head, over and over again.
He doesn’t hate me, not really. It’s what he has to say, what he has to do. And I don’t really hate him either. I regard him almost affectionately, because I have known him for a really long time. Both of us are just going through the motions.
But I do everything to try and drown him out- I walk around singing, I vocalise my thoughts. And it works, for a while. But eventually, my voice is lost altogether. What I want stops mattering, stops even being real. I want to live, I think. I become a phantom.