The third-floor attic of my mother’s house was my escape from reality. The room had hardwood floors, a large bay window overlooking the street and it was big enough to be an efficiency apartment.
Along the far right wall, I had a king-sized waterbed. In front of the bay window was a hutch that held my stereo and record player. Where the stairs met the third-floor there was a safety wall, so I placed a couch there – you know for guests.
In the back of the room was a small window. I could see the high school football stadium. During Friday night games I would get drunk and piss out the window. It was my way of sticking it to the man. God, what a joke.
In this space, I was free to listen to obnoxious industrial music while getting whacked out of my mind. A personal favorite spinning on the record platter was Christian Death’s ‘Sex, Drugs and Jesus Christ,’ on the cover was an image of Jesus using a rig to get high.
Gitane DeMone crooned, “Jesus if you love me where’s the sugar?” while I freebased cocaine and drank cheap beer.
It was a dark space, for sure. In school, I was considered a gothy-punk rocker. I painted my nails, wore all black and thought handcuffs made the perfect accessory. The decor of the room reflected my fashion sense.
Occasionally “friends” would ask to come over to partake in my proprietary concoction of cocaine, muscle relaxers and if I was lucky Ketamine. The mixture of uppers and downers made your entire body numb, and I liked numb.
I remember a time when some “wannabes” asked if they could come over. I guess the word was getting around school? Sure, I said come on over.
After doing our thing, we sat there, and I asked if I could put some music on. I decided that Skinny Puppy, another industrial band, was an excellent choice. These guys were all hip-hop. About a half minute into the track, these two made a b-line for the stairs tripping over their jello legs.
I guess it takes a certain level of darkness to hang? Oh well, more for me.
Another time, two “hippie” types from school asked if they could come over. Unbeknownst to me, they never even smoked pot but since I had no background on their drug histories, I just assumed they were cool.
I think the dosage may have been a bit too much for these clowns because they both just laid on the floor while I sat on the couch waiting for them to come back. I thought I killed them. That was the last time they visited.
It makes sense that I pass out in the evenings and then wake up in the same clothes with piss stains. I was always checking in and checking out, one step closer to checking out for good.
This morning, I woke up in bed, my legs from the knees down hanging off the mattress with my arms stretched out to the sides. As I slowly turned to my right to push myself up, I felt groggy as if I was dreaming and sick to my stomach I puked.
I just woke up from a deadly combination of “taking-too-much” with “I-just-don’t-care-anymore.” Here’s what I remember from last night.
I remember that for the past few weeks I’ve needed to take stronger amounts of drugs to get the same feeling. As the drugs began kicking in, there was an immediate sense that I went too far and I started to geek out.
Inside my chest, I could feel my heart pounding two to three times into my ribs like it was going to burst out of me and then it would stop for a beat or two. Then I started to experience extreme cold.
I stumbled downstairs to the bathroom and looked into the mirror, the color in my face was draining to a chilled blue. Thinking a hot shower would warm me up; I stripped off my clothes and cranked the handle to “H.”
Inside the shower was a caddy rack and on one shelf a mirror. As the hot water fell off my body, I looked at my reflection thinking you fucking idiot.
The hot water calmed me down, so I got out and ventured back to my third-floor lair. As I got dressed I was coming down, so naturally, I went back for more, to get high again. Following the same protocol of needing more to get more, I pushed the limits again. I sat on the edge of my bed, Christian Death spinning on the turntable, and fell back into darkness.
Fast forward to this morning; I heard the scratching sound of the turntable arm running the edge of the inside of the record. It was already too late to get to school.
Eventually, I was able to drag myself from the bed and ventured downstairs to find my mother in the kitchen. She took one look at me and asked what the hell happened.
Apparently, my face said it all and enough was enough. So my mom drove me to a hospital, and during the visit, the doctor determined that an involuntary psychiatric commitment was needed.
Since I was seventeen at the time, the psychiatric commitment was beyond my control. I couldn’t sign myself out even if I wanted to, something I learned about during my first visit to a state hospital three years earlier.
Before I knew it, they took my shoelaces, my belt, and my handcuffs. I was strapped down to a gurney, rolled into the back of an ambulance and on my way to another hospital.
No dark lair. No industrial records. No drugs. No more visits from “friends.” I was about to check in to the psych ward on the sixth floor of a city hospital to spend some quality one-on-one time with myself.
If you know someone who is suffering from addiction or depression, please reach out to them today and tell them that you love them! For more resources and support, please consider visiting NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Originally appeared on CM.
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