004-Light Under the Shade-Memoir


Georgie slept a full 15 hours last night and all day, he was a complete zombie.

I, however, didn’t feel like a zombie. I felt “zombie.” Coffee wouldn’t cure the no-energy. I’ve been cutting down my coffee and nicotine intake, now being the Second Day. (Well, I quit the caffeine-in-a-can junk—just sticking to regular coffee, hoping that I won’t ever resign to being a damn “tea freak,” as one of the techs suggested when he heard I was cutting down, if I ever put an end to the plain coffee, way down the road).

Dropping in, tuning out…

I pack smaller and smaller doses of dip; the Skoal Straight smokeless tobacco junk—and gave up masturbating for good. Fact is, I have nowhere I can go to get energy drinks or tobacco, and I’m not going to spank off with a roommate sleeping in the same vicinity—other than Georgie. Still haven’t even said hello to my roommate. All I know is that he’s a heroin junky with Sz. He’s only been clean for a few days, and that scares the daylights out of me.

I’ve barely been talking about sex, fetish, scat—gross stuff—not sure if this is a good thing or not.

My roommate—with his diagnosis of schizoaffective too, involving a mood disorder—he doesn’t have a fully blunted affect. Neither of us have a fully blunted affect.

He’s been reminding me of Georgie—of that part of me—that facet. A little worried, I don’t want to screw up any more identities. I mean sometimes, actually quite often, I believe that because this kid (my roommate) and Georgie (Ben?) have so much in common with each other. I need to keep the roommate separate.

The kid—my roommate—He’s 21. He’s a junky. He’s a schizophrenic, and a porn addict. “The porn,” he said, first thing he ever said to me, “it messed up my head, you know?”

His name is Steve. Steven.

Time passes and we start talking. For real.

I like it, that I’ve got Steve the Schizophrenic living with me. And he’s already been telling me that I have been helping him, along the way.

Thing is, this kid has been helping me. I know how to connect with him. He’s all screwed up, like me, and he’s worried and concerned about himself and his reality, and their reality. Always making sure he hasn’t done anything wrong, constantly needing reassurance, all the time, like me, we crave it. We give it to each other.

It’s kind of like with Kelly and me. When I’m doing well, I can “help” (God I hate that word) Kelly get through her frustrations. I can help Steve-O to know that, “Hey bro, it’s only the illness. It’s not you. It’s just the illness.”

He tells the staff here when he’s on a symptom-trip, “Oh, hey, it’s just the illness. Ben taught me that. I am who I am, and it’s all OK.” (He makes me sound like a Saint.)

And here I am worried about helping others.

It’s all coming from the stuff Georgie’s been telling me all along. Maybe this is the stuff I’ve got to hear—the stuff that I’ve got to really hear—implying a reaction on my part. All this stuff.

I wonder if I’ll ever decide to literally synthesize with Georgie. To be myself, Ben (Jonathan), but to allow my safe alter ego to incorporate with the Ben-ego without having to bitch and complain and agonize about my “selling out,” or not being able to be that Transgressive Prodigy—I mean all that I’ve already written in Parts 1-3—are they even considered transgressive? I read back on some of it and it doesn’t even seem transgressive at all, maybe just slightly. I might end up deciding to become a self-help book writer and not just a self-help book reader (audio book listener) and self-help book antagonist. Screw it—who do I think I am—Screw it, if I sell out by helping others. I haven’t even sold in. How could I sell out so fast?

Maybe a real honest Ben is better.

Maybe it’s all you’ll get for now.

Maybe I’ll wimp out that way and join the public speakers circuit. Sail away on a cruise with Ben Schreiber: the Self Help Guru. The kid with the heart of gold.

I’ll get carried away, like I am right now. Like a Buddhist monk, into a whole different mindset.

About Jonathan Harnisch

Author | Mental Health Advocate | Schizophrenia | Artist | Blogger | Podcast Host | Patent Holder | Hedge Fund Manager | Film & TV Producer | Musician
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