Believe it or not, I used to write the poetry of love. I suppose in some ways I still do. I’ve spent a lot of time in therapy untangling who I am and what drives me. I’ve even had brain scans. The parts of my brain that are responsible for emotional responses are far more active than in ‘normal’ people. They also take much longer to return to a baseline state. My therapist aptly described my state as having the emotional equivalent of third degree burns all over my body – any touch can be intense far beyond what most people will ever experience.
Overall people with this condition have a suicide attempt rate of 80%. Ten percent succeed in ending their own lives. It’s a shocking statistic that reflects the deep anguish felt by so many. Ninety percent of us commit other acts of self-harm. Anything to stop the pain. I cannot remember a time when I didn’t feel like this – except those few short months. David Foster Wallace wrote that the suicide is not so much out of hopelessness, but an overcoming of the fear of death. Because that death can be preferable to interminable and excruciating agony.
So, I spent a lot of time in therapy. There are parts of this condition I would happily be rid of. The terrifying fear of abandonment (now driven by the reality of it), the suffering that can be caused by an ill-chosen word or glance, the horror of feeling nothing at all. But there are other parts of it that bring happiness. When I love, I love wholeheartedly, with nothing held back. I weep in delight at beauty. Some of you might recognise this condition, some of you might even have it. Over the years I’ve dealt with it by way of self-harm, by way of substance abuse, by way of writing.
Mere months ago, I was writing words of love and beauty. I was, and still am, deeply in love. But that is now leavened with despair as my fear of total abandonment came to pass in a coldly callous fashion. With it comes this immense suffering. And falling back on those old stalwarts of substance abuse and harm – although I kept a promise to her by not cutting again. I’ve written a lot. Soon it will be published in book form, with an open dedication to her. None of which, I am sure, she will ever read.
I don’t know how to get out of this despair. I’ve written that each day is worse than the one before, that time does not heal all wounds, but rather makes them fester and weep. I wish I was writing love poetry again; I wish it had never stopped. But the reality is that the universe is a cold and uncaring place. Full of cold and uncaring people. Frequent readers and followers can still see, I think, the underlying love. Ian Curtis once opined that ‘love will tear us apart’. He was right. It’s the most powerful force I have ever known, and the most destructive.
I’m going to keep writing. Some of it is raw. I hope it all touches someone in some way. In this culture of bullshit machismo, it’s frowned upon still for men to discuss emotions; I will continue writing anyway. Perhaps it can only be the expression of a broken being. Be that as it may, it’s a faithful representation of me, of my inner thoughts. Each word can be agony. But each demands expression. Thank you for reading, thank you for listening. I may be ruined and ravaged, but I still have a voice.