Saturday, December 4, 2010

Feedback Please

One more excerpt. This one describes the post traumatic stress that manifested as pure anxiety.

Feedback, please.

I cannot really remember when it started. It just seemed like one day, I could not seem to focus. I could not concentrate on my thoughts. And it seemed like my heart was racing. I could not sit still. I had this feeling inching down into my bones that was not unlike the uncomfortable, cannot sit still feeling that accompanies dope sickness. I knew it was not the dope; the methadone had me nodding out just a week before.
I sat down on the couch. I turned on the television. Flipped through channels. Too fast to really see anything. Too fast to really even catch a sound bite. Just various images. Flashing images, of all sorts of things. Flashing across the television screen, as I flip faster and faster. Trying to avoid the chaos. Flip, flip, flip…the sound of television static clicking between the flashing images. Flashing images in my mind. Alex. Blue. Johnny. Blue. Linda. Howling like a fucking cat. Flashing images of water. Just look the other way. Just pretend like you are watching the television as you flip, flip, flip. The sounds are driving me crazy.
Thoughts flitter. Birds flapping their wings, pounding my brain with the sound of flutter. Maybe I could read a book. Open up the pages, they feel rough in my hands. Close the cover, smooth to the touch…as I fingered the image of Anthony Keidis on the cover. Smooth cover. Rough pages. Uneven on the edges, when I run my hands along the sides of the closed book. Smooth cover, smooth and shiny, slipping slightly beneath my fingers. Open the book again. Read the first page. Read it over again. Read the first paragraph. I don’t know what it was about. Read it again. Uncomfortable. Stand back up.
I walked around that little living room. Again. And again. I walked out on the balcony. The air seemed to be a little colder. And I am really nervous. My heart is pounding all the time. I cannot sit still. I am smoking tons of cigarettes, but I think I want another. Liquor. Liquor. The pills do not really seem to be working.
I take a couple Seroquel. Am I building a tolerance to these things? I took several of the small ones. I waited. Still nervous. Sit. Stand back up. Walk to the kitchen. Open the refrigerator. Look inside. I see everything. I see nothing. Thoughts of cigarettes, the need for something is screaming at me in a rushed and hurried pace. Thoughts of vodka. Cheap vodka. The cheap and flavored kind.
I discovered Burnett’s vodka in those days in Rhode Island. I have always been a Jameson drinker. And I generally drank for free in the club…and I always drank for cheap in New Orleans. Well, Jameson was expensive in Rhode Island. Everything was expensive in Rhode Island. Cigarettes were six dollars a fucking pack. And I had taken to smoking cloves, my voice had become gravelly…and I always smelled like apple pie. A half gallon of Burnett’s vodka was around ten bucks.
The flavors made it more palatable. Orange, grape, sometimes raspberry. Liam and were drinking about a half gallon a day. We mixed it with Gatorade. We mixed it with Sprite. We drank it straight. I mostly just swilled it right out of that big plastic bottle, chasing it with whatever was fruity. The alcohol did not seem to permeate through the anxiety a lot of days. I dank, and drank, and drank. Seemed like nothing was getting through that insane exterior that was keeping me pacing around the room.
The pacing. Pacing back and forth. Pacing back from one bedroom, to the next. Then around the table, and through the living room. Pacing through the kitchen, before I started the circuit all over again. I wanted to cuddle with the new kitten. But, I could only hold him while I was pacing. Back and forth I wore a hole in the carpet. Back and forth I wore a hole in the linoleum.
I woke up in the dark of morning every day, with several hours of a fitful sleep under my belt, and within minutes, the anxiety took over. The pacing began. The trek to the clinic was riddled with insanity. Sitting still on the fucking city bus was impossible. Middleton is a pretty small place, and in small places…it seems like you wait forever for the bus to come. I paced the streets where the bus stop was. I walked up and down that block, looking in the distance for the bus. It always seemed like an eternity in the dark, cold autumn mornings for that damn bus to appear.
Then, once on the bus…I was instantly relieved when I saw the bus approach. I felt like the wait was over and maybe I could get on with the next step. But, all the steps of my day were riddled with anxiety and everything seemed to run together. I wanted off that fucking bus, just as soon as I had gotten on. I could not sit still in my seat. Shifting my weight, and shifting around in my seat. Looking out the window. Feeling fucking trapped. Let the clinic get here quickly. Let me off this fucking bus…it feels like I cannot breath. I want to get off the fucking bus. Let me off this fucking bus…I am screaming in my mind. I am pacing in my mind. Back and forth. Back and forth. Running all over the same ground with broken thoughts and fucked up images. Yet, somehow, I am not sure what is wrong with me. Get me off the fucking bus.
Off the bus. I want to run. I need a fucking smoke. It has only been fifteen or twenty minutes since I got on the bus. I still need a fucking cigarette. I need one bad. I probably smoked five waiting for the bus…but I need another fucking cigarette. I need to do something with my hands. Occupy my hands…and maybe I will occupy my mind. Six bucks a pack, and I am smoking two packs a day sometimes. Cloves. Newports. Whatever….
I puff on the clove cigarette like a madwoman as I walk to the clinic. I am surprised I did not pass out on those little walks. It was only about three blocks, and I would inhale a whole smoke in that time. I walked at the insane pace, with the hurried gate that is only owned by a crazy person.
The methadone clinic sat on the corner. It had one of those caddy cornered doors facing each street. This little part of downtown Newport is really cool. I wish I could go back there now. I would like to look around. I really do not remember that much about it.
It is weird how my memory is so disjointed in this time. I think that the anxiety left my memory more busted up than any drug use ever could. I cannot clearly remember so much of that time in Rhode Island. It was running by too fast in my mind. Images flashing all day, and most of the night. I was blind to the world around me because I was constantly bombarded by the world inside me. I remember bits and pieces, and I am convinced everything in my mind was disjointed in those months.
I would get my dose, gulping down the methadone with orange kool-aid each morning. I left as quickly as I came in. I am sure I breezed in with a scared expression, and a panicked manner…rushing back to the dosing line. If there was a line, I fidgeted the whole time. Shifting my weight back and forth. Twitching my hands. Looking back to the left. Glancing back to the right. Shift my weight again. Look ahead. Look back. My mind spinning, thoughts running a marathon through my mind. Shifting back and forth. Fiddling with my ring on my hand. My skin feels rough and cold. My heart…beat,beat…beat,beat…beat,beat…beat,beat…and echo in my head of that panicked heartbeat. An echo in my head of Linda screaming. Always echoes in my head of that scream. I was frantic inside, trying to keep the cover on this insanity as I shift back and forth on my feet.
When the dosing was over, it was back to the fucking bus again. I was too frantic to talk to any of the strangers at the clinic. When I did try to communicate in those mornings, my words seemed to merely jumble up in my mind, and all I could do was look stupid while thoughts raced through my head. Duh, uh, duh, uh. Mumbling and bumbling and fumbling through attempts to speak. I hoped no one asked me a question. I hoped no one in authority even talked to me. I smoked another cigarette. All I wanted to do after the methadone hit the back of my throat was get back to the safety of the apartment, and start drinking again. At least the vodka made me for forget…a little. It helped me to sit…a little. It helped me to stop shifting and shaking…a little.
Vodka. Gotta get the vodka. Of course, Liam and I emptied another bottle last night. The sun had barely come over the horizon. The bus ride here was mostly in the dark. Now, the sun seemed to be blaring all around me. Singing like an alarm that another fucking day had begun. Back on the bus, and I just wanted to get back off again. I felt like I am fucking trapped. I could not get out of here, even if I wanted to. The city flowed past me, as I barely took notice. All I could think about is vodka. And getting the fuck off the bus. I was ready for another fucking cigarette. I will need to get more smokes before I get home. I will be chain smoking while I wait for the liquor store to open.
After an eternity, the bus finally got to my destination. We passed several liquor stores. They were all closed. The two near the bus stop are also closed. I cannot take it. I was shaking, and shifting, as I waited to get off. Open the fucking door already; I wanted to scream at the driver. When the door opened, I came exploding out as if I was shot from a strange trajectory.
I guess I needed to stop at the store. I could tell the methadone was sinking down in my bones because I was starting to get hungry. Grocery store it is. Maybe I should get Liam first. I started across the street, headed home. I changed my mind. I needed to go to the store. My stomach rumbled. I stopped short, turned around. When I got to the other side, I hesitated again. Unsure. Unsure where to go. Home? Store? I continued to the grocery store. It wasn’t far.
Up and down the isles. The pacing had settled in again. At least here, in the grocery store, I could look at everything with my mad pacing. I was sure I got something sweet for breakfast. Sweets were all I craved on methadone. Cigarettes. Oh, and I went ahead and got a 12 pack. Headed back to the apartment.
When Liam woke up, I was drinking and smoking. I was pacing back and forth with a beer. This was generally how my morning went. Get to the clinic. Come home and drink. And smoke. And smoke. And pace, and pace, and pace.


  1. Not sure what kind of feedback you are looking for, but this is great writing...raw, real and descriptive. I couldn't help thinking of my son as you described some of the symptoms of your anxiety and wondering if that's how it is for him?

    (Did you ever finish reading Scar Tissue?)

  2. @Barbara...I like the term raw. I think that hits the nail on the head. I guess I am just wondering what people think. I finished the first draft of the book today. I think it is really good, but sometimes I guess I need to hear it from others. Maybe I could email you a copy? And yes, I did finish Scar Tissue...which I loved, but I also learned from that book that Anthony Keidis is basically a stalker. As cute as he is, I would never want to be the object of his affections! Did you read it?

    You know, I am really thankful that anxiety was temporary for me. I am not sure I could live like that all the time. I understand how anxiety can make someone crack. I think my aim with this piece is to make someone who has not experienced this anxiety know what it feels like.

  3. viscerally very evocative. the paranoia and desperation you feel is expressed clearly and realistically. guess i would have to read more to put it all into context and know who the people are you are talking about.

    if i have one criticism the narrative jumps about a lot - from what you're doing in the here and now to memories of times past, but that's a small niggle.

    PS love jameson's too! being irish i gotta!

  4. Your work is naturally well written. You have a God given talent for the putting sentences together that make the reader want to keep reading. You will get published. Just a matter of finding the right publishing house that suites you. I have no critiques for you, as you are the better writer than I. I wish I could help you out, but it seems to me you got it down.
    If you don't mind me asking, how many pages is the manuscript. Are you going to send it in to Janklow and Nesbit Literary agents? They are the biggest Literary agents, Harry Potter's author( I forgot her name), Steven King, etc. Just for a try. Email them at & get the email to send in the manuscript.

    Thanks for the feed back on my book. Mucho appreciated. They are editing the book, and I get to look the book over before it goes into press so I can make changes. I believe I'll be making a lot of changes, but I paid to publish the book so they can kiss my ass. They want it out and on the Internet available on Amazon by March. I don't think that will happen. It'll probably be put it off until April.

  5. Hi BMelonsLemonade,
    I'm new to your blog.
    Anna recommended it to me.
    You have a great way of capturing experiences with words.
    Anyway, it is gripping and your book must be fantastic.
    My heads aching for sleep.
    Glad to know you,

  6. Hi, i want to keep reading. I was not a heroin user but i can really relate to the anxiety thing. i spent 6 months in a medium sized town (I am from New Zealand, so maybe a small town to you) and i couldn't find my way around even the places i was in daily... yet years later i went back and it was simple to learn my way around. anxiety is fucked up like that. I'm really enjoying reading your story. I'm not much of a critique though.
    Keep writing you have a gift