Where am I?
And how did I get there?
How can a place like that even exist?
Let alone be slipped and fallen into unawares?
I have met darkness.
Its hands are cold.
Its grip is firm.
And it whispers at you in a voice that sounds mockingly like your own.
Abject, heart-stopping fear.
Like the pressure of all the oceans on lungs that want to scream,
But can only whimper short, sharp breaths
That barely keep them alive enough to keep feeling terror.
To feel the mind physically break.
To watch the house go up in flames.
To spin around in endless circles, looking for somewhere to run,
Just in case your legs grow back.
To emerge from something like this.
They say it makes you stronger if it doesn’t kill you?
I don’t know about that.
I don’t feel stronger.
I feel like I have survived a ghost.
And all that’s left is a new-found fear of ghosts.
I didn’t believe in ghosts before.
Now I wear their fingers like icy undershirts.
When you cross the event horizon,
Some of you does not make it back,
In its place, you bring a passenger.
That was once just the stuff of campfire tales and crazy people.
I have woken up from a nightmare,
In someone else’s bed.
In someone else’s head.
In someone else’s life.
And I don’t know where I am.
I don’t know how to find me.
I don’t remember the way back.
Because I wasn’t driving when we came here.
– Gord Laws 2016
This is a tough one for me. It’s from a set of three poems I wrote when I was trying to encapsulate my experiences, nearly dying from acute insomnia. I had dealt with the condition for about four years, but kept it under control through medical treatment. In August 2016 though, it reached a breaking point and nearly killed me. Days at a time without sleep was hell, but the medication, which seldom worked, was worse. I eventually found a specialist and a programme that got me back to normal, but it was a long hard road. It was, and to this day remains, the darkest period of my life. I hope it stays that way.
See also: The Cousin of Death