July 29, 2019:

My breakdown put a definitive end to self-confidence. It's like a switch was thrown: one binary state to another.

Before: boundless energy, utter lack of self-consciousness, never a hint of awkwardness. Comfortable speaking with strangers; effusive, often ebullient. Comfortable speaking to crowds, comfortable performing music for friends and strangers, eager to share writing. Ability to shrug-off failures, knowing that high-quality work will follow. In love with sun, ocean, the struggle for a more just world.

After: struggle to lift the fork from the plate to the mouth without spilling the peas. Struggle to place one foot after another, to wash, to leave the apartment. Fear of strangers. Extreme anxiety in social situations. Inability to speak through music: lifeless performances without emotion. Hatred of the gray sky, the gray ocean, the gray city, the gray world. Bottomless exhaustion.

The simplest activity is depleting, for example, removing sheets from the bed for washing. Removing them makes me need to lie down. Leaving the apartment makes me want to cry. Moving around inside the apartment makes me want to cry. Standing up makes me want to cry.

Colors feel pointless, as though I'm unable to process them. I replace the furnishings with all-black: black sheets, black curtains, black towels, black rugs. Black is soothing, like rest. I feel an affinity with it, as though I could crawl inside it. It's beautiful, the only shade with vibrancy in a world where colors are dim.

There's no point to washing sheets 'cos they'll never be shared. I feel that sexuality is harmful, that any woman who enters my life will be damaged emotionally, and because I hate the thought of causing pain to others I set out to systematically destroy any attractiveness I may once have possessed. I stop washing or cutting my hair, stop shaving, hide my eyes behind dirty wire frames, gain weight, go for days without changing clothes. I do all of these things consciously, with purpose. I won't let anyone touch me.

I smile at everyone and am incapable of speaking with them. I'm not sleeping and I tell no-one what's happening. I self-medicate with opiates, becoming addicted to heroin. I fail to seek help because I misunderstand what's happening. My belief is that I'm grieving over a shattering loss. In reality it's my brain that's shattered, and my heart, and my life. Broken, dysfunctional, kaput, run down the curtain, joined the choir invisible and ceased to be. I'm an ex-parrot. A significant amount of time will pass before that's fully grasped.