Author’s note: Greetings all. I recently announced that Fridays will henceforth be dedicated to interviews and features, however, I need to switch that up and return to regular scheduled programming next week. Be cautioned, however, that today’s post is more like a reflective stream of thoughts that happens to be a tribute to the life of my just-deceased friend. It is pretty much me bleeding and ranting on paper, albeit virtually, in an attempt to make sense of my feelings and the experience of knowing him in the grand scheme of things – it is therefore as lengthy as it is poignant. My apologies.
Saturday, April 12, 2014 – the backstory
Skeptical though I was in the months leading up to our energetic convergence, I managed to open my mind enough to go. I had already declined several invitations and referral meetings and was in fact quite cynical about meeting some random enlightened and erudite geezer everyone referred to as ‘The Guru’… according to the picture I had in my head at least, luckily, it was not so. It was a very dark time for me – something that had unfortunately over the years become more familiar than distant, so rather than the occasional tête-à-tête with depression, I had more bouts of dealing with it – being emotionally crippled and physically drained – than actually living my life and loving it. I was angry and sad mostly, and when I wasn’t, I lived in a fog that was thick enough to shroud me, allowing me to stay far removed from everything else but not too thick to allow everyone around me to see and interact with the pseudo-self I presented without suspecting much of anything.
I was torn about many things and it felt like I was leaking in my spirit, but I was too vacant to stop the bleeding. Seeing, feeling, knowing and examining the gaping wound but being unable to cauterise it, I was okay with just letting it run. There wasn’t much outside of that. Autopilot days in work mode, being fake pleasant and functional, doing a job I loved doing in a place that I loathed being in… it drained my energy. All this woven into a level of stress so deep, it drove me near psychosis, near death and near the complete loss of my essence. Sure, there were moments when I caught a glimpse of my old self, smiling, and could almost touch her, but I was never able. In my head, I had neither time nor desire to share this willingly with anyone. In my heart, I knew I had to do it, so I did.
The olive branch was extended again and I took it, only to swiftly be hauled up out of the abyss, over hot coals and sharp stones, through the muck to end up naked on a stranger’s floor, writhing in pain and screaming for help. Help that is usually promised, attempted even, but never really comes. I was desperately hoping it would be my lucky break… so we met, and so it was. That was 482 days ago. Brief – in the traditional sense of a friendship, yet deep – in the energetic, metaphysical, timeless sense of a soulmate and friend. Our humour aligned immediately. I’ve always hated the word therapist. I have a way of breaking words into syllables that made this particular one unpleasant. On that day as I dragged myself across the porch, sat on the stereotypical couch across from him and gazed around at the view… waiting, his first words at once disarmed me a little and alerted me to the fact that kinship was afoot.
“So you’re here to see The Rapist (therapist)… well, fuck it. I am he.”
In that moment, on Saturday, April 12, 2014, I knew it would be the first truly helpful counselling experience I’ve ever had. There began the most effective depression and anxiety analysis and management strategy sessions… and with it, one of the deepest friendships I’ve had in my life.
We bonded over a love of science (particularly quantum physics) and music. Despite the age chasm, we had several things in common off the bat —both being foul-mouthed with a graphic, twisted sense of humour (we endearingly referred to each other as whoring sodomites – an inside joke that had little to do with either of our actual lifestyles), having emotionally jarring experiences in our youth, and a zest for knowledge about the body and brain. He tapped into my little-known obsession with science to teach me how to really understand my afflictions, so together we could figure out the tell-tale signs at the onset and I’d be better able to identify my triggers before spiralling.
This man, my ‘therapist’ and friend, is the person I credit for helping me to the point where I could manage to go for six months straight (Dec 2014-June 2015) without sinking after a 10-year battle with persistent depression and anxiety despite everything that’s happened this year. As close as I have come to it in the past month, I still have not slipped into any space as dark as I would have prior to meeting him and I am eternally grateful to him for this.
Empathetic as I am, I started feeling his death three days before it actually happened last Wednesday and reached out to uncle George to take me to him before the final hour, but it was already too late.
Myriad thoughts and nonplussed half feelings are running through me at the moment. I’ve been so apathetic in the past month that I’m yet to really react or respond to the news of his death, I also completely missed his thanksgiving service yesterday. At the forefront is a feeling of being cheated of my chance to really say goodbye and having no one to blame but myself. I wonder what would happen if I’d tried to extract my head from my own ass and been there more as his friend in the final lap, if it would have made any difference. Would you he sure then, how much I cared for him? Understand that I retreated because he would know I was slipping and I didn’t want that as an additional burden? On the other hand, I know I did all I could, when I could. From the constant phone calls to showing up at the hospital with food he actually wanted to eat and an irreverent joke here and there.
If anything, there’s one thing I do owe him – the proof that I’m really taking his advice.
“Tami, stop letting fear consume you.”
“Stop hiding your light from the world – you are amazing and magnificent, you have something significant to offer to the world and that’s why you’re so magnetic. There’s a reason why people gravitate to you all the time. Get over it.”
“Where the fuck is your confidence child? Raasclaat man! Sometimes I really want to land you a swift kick in the head.”
“Why are you so choosing to be cynical and angry? It’s a mask. Stop holding on to it, you’re a lover and a fighter… we both know that.”
“I only want the best for you and I need you to understand that you must also want that for yourself.”
Only this time, I will say I agree with you and actually mean it. Walk good, sodomite.