When you are depressed, the rest of the human population suddenly morphs into more of an alien species than it already is. Smiles become oddities and laughter blasphemy. It is inconceivable that there are happy people in the world when you are mired in discontent. If only our external worlds validated our internal, the clouds unleashing rain when we are sad, a lightning bolt cracking the heavens in echo of our flashes of temper, everyone frowning and wearing black clothes when a piece of our soul withers and dies. What a wonderful world that would be.
There are moments when terrible thoughts pierce one’s mind like invisible vultures, then flit away in wisps of feathers, leaving only a vague sense of unease. Don’t you ever have those moments? When suddenly nothing feels right, nothing at all, although you can’t say exactly what it is wrong, only perhaps the world is tilted in some way, reality flawed, a slight defect marring the scintillating depths of the jewel. The very tip-of-the-tongue quality of it is enough to make one scream.
Pain is only experienced on an individual basis; that is to say, when you are writhing in agony, it is impossible for another creature who is not in agony to comprehend or truly sympathize with your plight. We each squirm through pain utterly alone, confined by our respective consciousnesses. Your toothache is only the end of the world for you. That is why people die and people do not care. What we do not realise is that, sprouting from the same great mass of consciousness, we are in fact all each other. This means that every person who has suffered in history has been us, and will continue to be us. This is why it is idiotic for us to hurt each other, and smart for us to help each other. Remember: helping another person is helping yourself, as they are you.
Is there any word in the English language able to encapsulate the restlessness one feels when lunch ends and afternoon slumps around? The clock transforms into a tiny dictator, ticking away each second of our life, and nothing, not the books, not the internet, not the newspapers, not writing or magical worlds, hold the slightest bit of meaning. Such afternoons drain the colour out of life entirely, spitting it back only when night draws near. How wearisome.
Many people in the world are carefree, a word that puts one in the mind of butterflies and meadows and galumphing, cheery elephants. For someone who is afflicted with an anxiety disorder, the very existence of such people is an affront. To make matters worse, deep down, us fretful folk know the best way to live life is to stay in the moment, and not give a damn about anything. But despite knowing this, we still worry, worry, worry.
What I am most envious of is the ability of certain writers to immerse the reader in a dream-state after a couple of pages. Most writers, in fact, can do this. I, however, at my current level of ability, cannot. Instead, my stories are more fragmented affairs, as if the dreamer was woken up repeatedly throughout the night by a bludgeon to the head.
Daily existence is characterized by nothing more than irritants. For instance, right now a person in the apartment below where I live is drilling, and above someone plays the same piano song over and over. My stomach is currently quite empty, and when this happens it always feels rather cold, like a black hole. On the inside of my lower lip there resides a canker sore, no doubt borne of my recent panic attacks, and it feels like a spot of acid boring through the tender flesh. I have a headache, and my finger bones feel slightly achy from typing (or something worse, if I allow my hypochondria to run loose). Sunlight piercing eyes. Discomfort around other people. These little tidbits added together make up the sum of life, which is why so many people in the world are miserable. It is an unfortunate truth that we are ruled by our physical bodies.
You see right now consciousness is spinning itself out a billion times, a billion brains thinking a billion different things, a billion eyes looking at different things. This is why you should not fear death: other consciousnesses will live on after you, and more will blossom, and they will all be you. Think of how many eyes throughout history have looked upon the same sunset; this will make you feel a sense of grand unity with the universe and everyone who has lived and will live.
Books allow us to cram a thousand lives into our single one. In that sense, they are the stuff of life itself.