There’s an old Iron Maiden song called Man on the Edge, based on the movie Falling Down with Michael Douglas. The song (and the movie) are about a man slowly losing his sanity, and the repeated lyrics, “Falling down, falling down, falling down” echo through my mind frequently these days.
You see, going into autumn kind of messes me up. I never foresee it, but it happens every year nonetheless; come the colder, darker days I lose my grip on reality, on positivity. And it really, truly feels like falling down; it feels like I’m free falling down a well, into a great black abyss at terminal velocity, waiting for the sharp cold shock of a return to reality, of plunging into the black waters at the bottom of the pit.
Even sitting here as I type this, I feel the surge of adrenaline, the dryness of my palms, the hyperawareness of everything around me. The sudden loss of focus, my eyes staring blankly through the computer screen for minutes on end, are the only respite.
As I might have mentioned in the past, there’s a deep comfort in this for me. A sense of belonging, of returning to the primordial. There’s a safety in the darkness, a feeling that I can escape all the hurt and frustration of the real world, and just sit in a bleak corner forever, staring at the people passing by around me, oblivious to my despair.
I feel so tired, so utterly exhausted, and there’s no end in sight. Only the thought of crawling into bed at the end of the day, closing my eyes, switching off – only this keeps me moving through the day, with its painfully blinding lights and offensive smiles and laughter.
And when I sleep, I revisit this place in dreams. I don’t have fantastical, otherworldly dreamscapes; instead, my mind takes me back to work, to home, to little arguments and bigger stresses, magnifies them and turns them into outlandish caricatures of reality, goblins and demons reaching out to assault me.
There’s really no escape, and it’s all I can do to carry on, day after day, week after week, into the depths of winter and the bleakest, grayest days. And as difficult as it is, I still find myself somehow looking forward to it, simply because this darkness is where I came from, and ultimately it’s where I’ll return to.
For now, I continue falling, the wind lashing my face and stinging my eyes, waiting eternally for the cold blow of the end.