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And then one day, the butterflies are gone. The next day, the bee’s disappeared. The day after that, the flowers have all died, and the day after that, the sun stops shining. It doesn’t shine for a week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks, and then one day you go to look outside again, and and the window’s gone. Then the door. Then all the furnishings and electronics and books and music and everything else disappears from your house, which has somehow shrunk to 1 room. In that room, you sit on the floor, with no blanket or pillow, and it’s okay, you’re not cold anyway. You’re not anything. All your food tastes like water and dry bread, or not even like water and dry bread, but that’s okay too, you’re not really hungry. That person there, holding your hand, at least you still have them, and you remember when you cared and were grateful and loved them the way they seem to love you, but you can’t feel it anymore. You can’t feel anything. And slowly, you stop hearing them when they talk; you have earplugs in, permanent ones. Soon, their features start to blur. You realize you’re wearing sunglasses, in an already dimly-lit house, but you can’t take them off. And eventually, you realize you’re walking through water, and it’s okay, because apparently you can breathe under water, or you don’t need to breathe anymore, and some part of you is academically aware that that ought to be the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you, but since taking 5 steps from the couch to the computer–when the computer’s even visible, to you–is too much effort, and you’re sleeping 14 hours a night anyway, you can’t really muster any enthusiasm. And one day, you realize 3 months have passed since you stayed awake for more than 10 hours in a row, since you laughed at a joke, since you made love with your partner, since you did anything other than exist… and after a month of telling yourself not to, you come off the meds.

A week passes, maybe 2, and all of a sudden, you look at that person who holds your hand and you think, “I love you.” This is magic, this is heaven. Another week or 2, and in spite of a dozen mood swings and an episode of self-harming, you feel better than ever. You can hear music again. Your food tastes like whatever it is, not dry bread and warm water. Your chairs and couch and bed and tv all reappear, and you know exactly what you want to do with each of them–you sit in the chairs and talk, really talk, to the hand-holder, and you lie on the couch and snuggle them or watch dvds, and in bed, you do all kinds of stuff you haven’t done in half a year or more, and you record half a dozen things to watch on the tv because it’s all so INTERESTING. Maybe you even start writing a blog, or a book, or you start taking night classes in something you’ve always wanted to do, or you join a gym or get married or take a vacation to the Bahamas. Whatever you do, you can FEEL yourself doing it, and it feels good.

And one day, you go to your back door, and you walk through and onto your patio like there’s nothing to it. You bring some orange juice and a bagel, you sit outside in your dressing gown in the sun and you just ARE. And even without your partner, you’re okay. Better than okay. You’re great. When a butterfly lands on the back of your hand and has a sniff of your juice, you’re careful not to damage it’s wings, and by the time you’ve finished your breakfast and wandered back inside your house to get dressed, you feel invincible. It’s the best time of your life, and it’s made all the better by the memory of what came before. Your mornings on the patio are resumed, and you are pathetically grateful for every precious day you spend sitting in the sun.

And then, one day, you go outside… and you have this feeling. A feeling like you’re being watched, and you don’t know how, but you know the intruder means you harm… and you realize you have 2 choices. Live in constant terror, unable to function in any meaningful way, or live underwater, completely cut off from everyone else, unable to relate to anyone in any meaningful way.

And suddenly you realize that this is your life. Forever and ever, amen. And there is nothing, absolutely nothing, you can do about it.