(Note from Susan: I am completely ok with profanity on my blog, but I wanted to just put up a note here to let readers know that today’s post from Eli is from the heart and contains profanity.)
Lately I’ve been feeling depressed and weirdly optimistic in almost equal measure, though not at the same time. My unending slog through my county’s (and the neighboring county’s) justice system inspires a nice big dose of anxiety and despair every now and then, usually a few times per day, and then the fact that I’m not in jail right NOW makes me feel great for a few minutes. These pesky emotions are not only unpredictable but wildly oscillating. It’s as if my drug consumption gave me artificial bipolar disorder for a time. From past experience I know it eventually gets better, but the road there is pretty long and daunting. Especially right now.
I was actually going to write down all the stuff I have to do in this blog post just to keep track of it and it was so fucking overwhelming that I deleted everything and started over. There’s so much going on and I feel like I’m falling down a waterfall without any control over pretty much anything. I have fines and bills to pay – more than I can ever hope to pay in the time allotted – and no job to pay for them. I can most likely get a great job, but then I’ll probably just lose it in less than two weeks at my next court date (if they do indeed decide to ship me off to a locked-down inpatient rehab). I do yard work to raise money for my fees, which are monumental and will remain while I am in inpatient. To get out of inpatient you have to have a full time job and a place to stay – which requires transportation and a good amount of money. But if I get confined to inpatient, I’ll lose my job, my car, and get my credit absolutely fucked for good measure. How is that going to help me? Am I expected to go out into the world (like the people in their late 20s and 30s I go to Outpatient with) without a car, living in a halfway house and taking a bus all over town to go to my shitty minimum-wage fast food job while every spare cent goes toward bills, fines and food? How the fuck is that setting me up for success?
Today I feel trapped. I feel trapped by time, which marches relentlessly forward to my dreaded August 14th court date. I feel trapped by the court, which demands my compliance with every rule without ever extending grace. I feel trapped by my addiction, which continues to tell me literally all goddamn day every goddamn day that since I’m probably getting taken away anyway I might as well take narcotics until I forget my own fucking name.
I won’t pretend I have a better answer to drug addiction, necessarily, than what my local county offers. All I know is that being treated like a defective criminal is one of the most likely things in the world to turn me into a defective criminal. I don’t want to turn into someone who is 26, works at Taco Bell, and alternates between struggling to catch the bus all over our ghetto of a downtown and relapsing on heroin. But that’s what I see in my treatment here. I was locked up with THREE other guys from my intensive outpatient, for christ’s sake, who all got high too. More are getting high and just aren’t caught yet. Relapsing is rampant, and if it’s not the simple fact that we’re all drug addicts, it’s the simple fact that a tone of hopelessness pervades the entire experience.
I know I need some of this stuff. I just wish I knew which I needed. I’m trying to make the best of it but it’s like I get cut down at every turn. If nobody else wants to cut me down, I often take the reins and do it myself. I remember when I was in high school and I just didn’t give enough of a shit to bring a pencil to a makeup test in my AP English class. The teacher obviously took the subject seriously, and she sighed wistfully, watching me with a sad look on her face as she asked me, “do you always self-sabotage like this?”
I told her yes. And that was the first time I realized it was true. If it’s not self-harm, it’s drugs. And if it’s not any of that it tends to be apathy. Being in my head, at this point, is tortuous, constantly demanding me to ruminate over all the fucking ridiculous shit in my life that was NEVER supposed to happen, and this thing I’ve awoken inside me that refuses to be vanquished. I used to love being so different. Now I wish I was normal. “But Eli,” you frantically stab your keyboard to drive the point home. “There’s no such thing as normal.” Yeah, I’ve heard that and I raise you a heroin addiction and a complete squandering of intellect while literally EVERYONE else my age goes on to college to actually continue their goddamn lives, keeps their fucking jobs and doesn’t get arrested.
Today I’d rather not be me.