In the dream, the pavement expands under foot – every step an experience of uncertainty only knowable in that precise moment when balance is suspended. It swells outward, invoking a nautical-nauseousness, combined with the fluttering edge of a trip into the unknown. Every crack in the pavement seems cavernous – the terrifying feeling of the edges of self, expending into the yawning crevice of an utterly mundane northern cul-de-sac, quickens the breath.
Every detail on the pavement becomes a sincere and urgent exploration of the meaning, of this feeling. I approach the inner-sanctum of the cul-de-sac, a giant / small ball occupies the centre. It is at once really really really big, and at once, really really small. It swells enormously, pulsing – it murmurs a hollow vacuum, at once deafening and at once the sound of fine tinnitus, almost imperceptible, the song of a fly. It oscillates between the chaos of expanding-infinitum, threatening the complete rupture of my senses and soul – to the shrinking and collapsing of the enormity asunder, into the most terrifying dimension of an indiscernible circumference.
This dream was at one time recurring – the fear it would illicit would trail with me into waking life, and I’d come to touch what I thought must feel like insanity. For a long time I wondered whether it would eventually envelope me – I often wondered if those poor souls totally consumed by their rabid mental health, are everyday-haunted by the big / small thing.
This dream I have come to know – or rather, suddenly realise, is a mediation on containment and expansion / retainment and spillover / control and chaos. My interpretation in this moment is how it reflects on the spillover – the tumbling of inner conflict, chronic self-depreciation, obsession, vulnerability, uncertainty and anxiety into everyday life.
Poor mental health sucks. The containment of it when you’re feeling a bit gritty is difficult. It spills over into everything, contaminating everything with its sulky tentacles. Like a dreadful bore at an otherwise fun and engaging dinner party. Sometimes, with a loved one – it can feel like whining into the face of a beaming child. Throwing shit at happiness.
You feel so dependant. Your stream of uncertainty needs the positive-rebound, the patience to let you know everything is okay. That you’re okay. That you’re still good and worthy. You feel like the dependancy knows no bounds; the supplements, the extensions, the psychotherapist, the mentor; mitigating circumstances, absence. In the early and more un-concious days; booze, drugs, cigarettes. All crutches, all patches – all fixes for the lack of containment. All fixes for the inability to gracefully tread around and beyond that negative spiral inside.
How do we stop spilling out? Please, do not misunderstand me – I don’t wish to capitulate to the neo-liberal mantra of “suck it up” and get on with it. But how, holistically, for self-preservation, for dignity and progress; for beauty and creativity’s sake – do we hold our demons in our chest and love them? How do we practice a compassionate-containment of the mind-monster, in such a way that let’s us live without its externalities? Or, do we need to?
Maybe it isn’t about containment. Maybe it’s about expression. But a re-oriented form of expression – a fuck you to the fatigue of a rigid, stooped depressive posture. And a hello, to the shaking, vibrating, vibrancy that is your birth right.
Maybe then, this needs re-phrasing?
Fuck containment, give me freedom.