Well folks, I think that wraps up “The Malcontent” collection. Spoiler Alert! – I survived!
As you can see, if you have followed to the final piece, it was a return to faith in the spiritual that led me out of the dark place that I was in. This is of course, very common with criminals and drug addicts and assorted deviants of all stripes. We see the error of our ways and turn back to whatever divine path we recognise culturally in an attempt to find our compass for getting our lives “back on track”.
In my case, it was not some fiery crash to the bottom that jolted me from my disease and excess. There was no “intervention” to speak of, nor did I suddenly look around at my life and realize I needed to change – the change started with an odd event.
In my 20’s I suffered from terrible insomnia. I would be awake for days. The night itself had become daunting, as I was experiencing a phenomena that made the prospect of sleep absolutely terrifying. It is a sleep abnormality know as “Sleep Paralysis”. In the middle of the night, I would wake from a deep sleep, unable to move my body and always there would be a dark and malevolent presence staring at me from the dark corner of my tiny room. I would try to move, to get away, to scream – anything, but my body was useless, my eyes locked on the black spectre. The feeling of sheer panic, terror and helplessness was visceral. Eventually, I would pass out from the fear and wake later, shaken and traumatized. Once, the experience occurred while I had someone in my bed with me, one of the most powerful of such events. I remember fighting to gain some control of my body, as the evil entity appeared in the dark and I can vividly remember gaining just enough control of my muscles to crawl over the person sleeping next to me and on to the floor. The motions of my muscles were odd and strained, as animal terror overcame the mind/body disconnect of sleep. I tried to crawl across the floor, away from the demonic figure in the corner and that was where I woke a little while later; on the floor, about half my body length from the bed. The next morning, I asked my guest how their sleep had been, and they replied it had been undisturbed. This baffled me, as this person was smaller in stature than I and I remember with horrible detail dragging my half-responsive body over theirs to get to the floor in an attempt to make my escape from the demonic presence I was seeing in my fugue state.
This went on for a few months and the lack of sleep, coupled with my other self abuses were really taking their toll on my body and mind. You can read in the writing that there is real fear and confusion in my thoughts. I was on and off with hard drugs, but mostly off, I was clean more often in those days, maybe that had something to do with what I was experiencing and what happened to me next.
It was another late night, or early morning and I was laying in bed, reading another large book in an attempt to stave off slumber. I remember looking over into the corner of my room where the dark entity always seemed to be waiting, even in the daylight. I had come to avoid that shadowy convergence of odd angles. Reading wasn’t doing the job of keeping me awake and with the inevitable victory of exhaustion setting in, I resigned myself to what would be another run of the gauntlet once my eyes closed, but as I thought about putting my book on the bedside table and shutting off the light a sensation began in my chest that I had never known before.
It started out as a warm feeling in the center of my chest. The sensation of heat grew, until I felt it fill my chest and spread down my limbs, all the way to my finger tips and the soles of my feet. Warmth that had the presence of a physical touch suffused my entire being and when it reached the top of my head, I remember a smile spreading across my face – the first genuine smile I had known in some years. The experience persisted and I felt like a little kid being pulled from the bath; cold, wet and exposed – then wrapped in an impossibly soft towel, freshly warm from the dryer. It was like a warm hug around my soul. There was no room for fear in my heart, or mind. There was no pain, no anger, no regret left in me. For those brief moments, I knew that I was loved and that I was going to be okay and that Love was a real and powerful thing, greater than all others. I don’t really remember the sensation leaving my body, but I slept and woke the next morning knowing that I had experienced something special. I knew, without a doubt in my mind, that God existed and God is Love. I never had another episode of Sleep Paralysis to this day and hope I never do, it is a terrible and horrifying experience to have your brain hijacked and your body abandon you.
Of course, this is the real world and even perceived divine and supernatural interventions don’t lead to “…and he lived happily ever after.” scenarios. Life is hard and even harder when you have handicapped yourself with a decade of bad decisions. The experience that night became the catalyst of change in my life. Small, hard fought, incremental changes that continue to this day. It was probably 2 years after that event that I finally got clean off drugs. It has been over 10 years now and I won’t lie and say that old habits don’t die hard, but I have made something of myself other than what I was. I am a work in progress and hopefully, only half done with many decades of work ahead of me. I settled many of my bad relationships and now have a wonderful wife and great people around me.
“The Malcontent” collection will remain a story of personal struggle, that I am glad I was able to share. One day, hopefully, it will find the printed page. Maybe it will help someone who is alone and struggling and maybe it will serve as a cautionary tale, or maybe a journey into addiction, dysfunction and madness, but whatever it becomes – it is no longer just mine.
Thank you all for reading along with me and for all of your comments of support. I will continue to write and post my work to the blog and will probably look at changing the look and style of it in the coming weeks. Spring is here and summer comes, a great time for living a life worth writing about!
Thank you all again,
HG – 03/19/16