Noble X — Episode 23: Crisis & The Blue Cloud
JOHN FEELS LIKE HE DOZES. More dreams begin in his mind. Meanwhile his physical body begins to scrawl writing over every inch of his pillow case, continuing to the picture on the bedside table, taking the frame apart to cover every useable bit of surface area. He rises to his feet and begins to spill random thoughts, drawings, numbers, and symbols on the bedroom wall.
At first he starts tucked behind the TV mounted on the wall at least partly aware in his semi-consciousness that this is wrong and that this should be hidden. But his momentum picks up and before long, his swirling blue cloud of sadness blooms from behind the TV to cover the entire wall, nearly from floor to ceiling, reaching over to the door connecting his bedroom to the bathroom.
Shuffling around, he wakes his dad from a very shallow sleep, tossing and turning in his room after a very long talk with his wife. Lying beside him, she battles demons of her own in disturbing dreams that come to her. He starts to head upstairs.
John hears his father’s foot falls on the landing and he floats from semi-consciousness to fully aware, gaping at the gigantic mess he has made, one his dad would discover any minute. He stands there before his swirling blue cloud of sadness, scrawled upon the wall using every last drop of ink in the marker. His eyes follow the fading flow to the final words and symbols, scribbled desperately and barely legible.
“John, what are you doing?” his dad’s worried voice floats through the crack beneath the door. His dad enters, looks at John standing frozen in his underwear before his gigantic mess, and finally turns to the wall, scared of what he sees. Sheer madness six feet high and nearly as wide. His dad’s fear quickly turns to anger. “What the fuck, John?! What is all this?! How could you…”
Frightened and ashamed, feeling like a dog that shit on the carpet, John begins to shake and interrupts his dad, shrieking, “I have the blues! I HAVE THE BLUES!” into his dad’s face, tears streaming down his own, slashing repeated at his wrists with the dried out blue marker as he screams. John collapses into his dad’s arms, sobbing. All the anger dissolves as his dad fights down tears of his own.
Now terrified for his son’s safety and completely at a loss as to what he can do to help his son, he tucks his whimpering baby boy back into bed with shaky hands. He tries to remain calm and talk in a soothing voice to his boy while he feels his heart breaking for John. “I’m going to be right back. I’m going to tell your mom what’s going on and we will plan to go to the hospital in the morning. I’m going to be right back,” his dad repeats. “I’m going to sleep with you tonight.”
John’s mom is wide awake and listens raptly as his dad tries to explain the commotion upstairs. “When you see it, you’ll see how bad off he is. But honey, I’m not sure this is something we will be able to fix ourselves.” He pauses for a long time with a word stuck in his throat. Clearing his throat, he finally manages, “I think John may be suicidal,” recounting the slashing and the screaming, still so fresh in his memory.
Upstairs, tears continue to stream down John’s face, wetting the pillow covered in writing beneath his weary head. John feels as if he has let the top off of some sadness reserve deep inside him and there is no hope of getting that lid back on. Old rotten pain, some tied to specific memories and some not, flood out in a torrent.
He cries for his childhood pets, his students, past and present, and his family. Simultaneously, he cries for the pain and suffering occuring all over the world. The starving, the homeless, the persecuted. He cries for those who have died by suicide and those alone in their struggles.
John feels the Earth’s broken heart inside of him aching and sobs rack his body.
And fear. So much fear. Undefined dark spirits floating around a clearer, central black hole. The fear that he will never find his way back to who he was before all of this.
With great caution, his dad tiptoes back in, sliding into bed beside his son. He reaches over and rests his hand on his boy’s chest, hoping to calm John's sobs. He whispers, “I’ll be right here,” like when they were both much younger as father and son attempt to salvage the remaining hours of the night.
Thank you for reading my series. It means the world to me. There are so many individuals that have experienced scenarios in their lives where their thoughts, feelings, and emotions have significantly impacted their ability to function, to attend school, to go to work, to engage in satisfying relationships, even just to get out of bed in the morning. Good days, bad days, we’ve all got a brains and it’s so important that we share our stories and experiences to help fight the darkness and make the world feel a little less lonely.
Recovery is possible from psychological injuries, just like physical injuries. Some cases require appropriate medical supports and treatments and it’s important to remember that healing takes time. Mental health is complex and solutions are not reached overnight. There’s often trial and error. There’s no magic wand, no one pill, one therapy appointment, one support group that’s going to work for everyone. Find what works for you and know that when all the self-care skills an individual possesses aren’t getting the job done, there’s no shame in seeking professional supports to help you or a loved one through it. It’s ok not to be ok. For more resources, visit hftd.org
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