I woke up feeling a bit odd, a bit panicky, and a bit sick. Crazy Fucking Scotsman (the guy who lives above me) knocked my door as he was harbouring some of my post. He handed me a small parcel (miraculously he hadn’t opened it like he does with most of my damn mail.) I wondered what was in it. Logically, it was one of the three things I’d ordered online this past week:
So yeah, it might be one of those nice things.
Or, it might be,
This thought grabbed hold of my brain like a Rottweiler. It’s spiders, I thought. It’s a box of spiders.
I began to hyperventilate and tried desperately to calm down.
“Don’t be silly, Arthur.” I told myself. “No one wants to send you spiders.”
But that didn’t work because it’s simply not true!! I can think of at least three people who would happily send me spiders.
This was proper delusion territory – I was thinking of all the different ways I could dispose of the box (if I smash it then the spiders will come out, if I burn it I could set the flat on fire, maybe I could…drown…it? In the bath? Agh spiders in the bath!!!)
It’s always a worry when things like this happen, when I get an idea stuck in my head and no amount of logical assessment will uproot it. Sometimes delusions will stick around for an hour or so and then dissolve without any effort, sometimes I need to crank up the meds to dislodge them, and sometimes they persist for weeks on end whilst I struggle to keep them self contained, like a big mad secretive lunatic.
The most damaging ones (for me personally) are delusions that alter the way I see my own body – for example, I once became convinced that my skin was falling off and the only way to stop it was to cover myself in olive oil. That was one slippery fucking summer, let me tell you. Then I thought that my jaw had become dislocated and I kept casually dropping hints into everyday conversation, like ‘Wow, this is a cracking Sunday roast, hey – is my jaw two centimetres to the left or is it just me?’
The ‘spiders in the box’ delusion lasted about two hours this morning before fizzling out, and then (here’s the best part about being crazy) once the delusion had gone away I thought to myself ‘Hahahaha what a nut I am! Spiders in the box!’ and I had instantly forgotten what it was ever like to be frightened that there might be spiders in that box. It’s a little bit like physical pain – when it’s present and raw and happening, you can’t ever see into a future where there is no pain. And then, when it’s over, you can’t look back. You can’t remember pain, all the words are gone for it, there are no reference points, it’s just… gone. That’s why delusions are so dangerous – they spring out from nowhere and are so easily forgotten. You can only really be frightened of them when they’re there.
So, once SpiderBox was over, I spent the day loosely sketching out some novel plots and eating jam straight out of the jar. Then my sister called asking me if I’d thought about the whole ‘going mad alone and being eaten by Lucifer’ thing. I told her that I’m going to get myself a cleaner, that I’m going to talk things through with my shrink, and I’m going to ask Toscar to stay over more when I feel rough. She seemed happy enough with this. I neglected to tell her about the spiders, or that I was eating jam straight out of the jar.
(There were humbugs in the box, by the way. Tastier than spiders.)