February 15, 2020:

The window is cracked. I think it's the window, the rest of the compartment seems undamaged. Swaying train car, rhythm of steel on steel. Where am I going? Away. Why? I don't know.

My consciousness is fragmented. It's like watching clips from movies which have been intercut at random. Something begins to happen but before it can conclude it's interrupted by something else seemingly unrelated.

I hear my voice in my head, in imagination, speaking multiple narratives jumbled and overlaid, a multidimensional tapestry of discourses. Some are observations about myself, in third person: "He's in pain", "He's lost", "He's not going to make it". Others are to-do lists; observations of external events; judgments of memories. "I should have done the other"; "I'll lose my tan if I stay indoors". They're obviously disordered but I don't know what "ordered" would mean right now.

I can't sleep. I'm up 48 or 72 hours in increasingly dreamlike states where I wonder if memories are dreams and this state is the reality of "real" life. Eventually I'll crash for two or four hours then wake with a start, sobbing. I'll rock and sob until daybreak, then sleep another hour.

I'm working in law libraries. It's San Francisco, I'm a temp. Women in all directions are flirting; one says she wants to rape me. I must be functioning externally: nobody fires me or complains of my accuracy on the job. We're on the 15th floor and I think, all the time, of falling through the window.

I realize things are wrong but I ascribe these phenomena to grief. I've lost someone. Someone who I'd thought would always be my bedrock is gone and it's like the death of a loved one or suicide of a best friend. I believe I'm grieving but there's no relaxation over time, no feeling of adjustment after processing. It just goes on.

I discover I can successfully self-medicate with street drugs. Heroin lets me sleep. Chase the dragon: the agitation relaxes, the fight-or-flight relaxes, draining materially down my legs out both feet into the floor. Then I can sleep.

I have access to free supplies. Two sources: a record industry advance girl and an addicted young Irish lawyer named Colleen. They supply me, I fuck them, we go on adventures, often involving very high-speed car rides in Colleen's crazy-expensive Italian roadster. "Irresponsible behaviors", is I believe the clinical phrase.

These circumstances last about 18 months, until my friend from out of state moves in and calms me down. I feel grounded with her, and too embarrassed to openly practice drug abuse and car chases.

My last high was January 27, 1991. During the first Gulf War, during a large conference of campus activists I'd called and helped organize. I had flu-like symptoms for a few days and afterward found I was sleeping better, often with a pretty Korean undergrad who was brilliant but crippled by narcissism. Two steps forward, one step back, into the very constellation which triggered my breakdown in the first place.