They say that madness and genius are linked, a fine line, but that is crap. There are correlations between intelligence and mental illness. It has been displayed throughout history. Many of the renowned genius’ of their time carried their own burdens. They own weights of illness.
Mine has been different, like Nostradamus, Socrates, Sir Isaac Newton, Joan of Arc, I have temporal lobe epilepsy which can manifest in religious, or other kinds of epiphany, but for most is an unrelenting hell of seizures than mess with your emotions. Each feeling has to be picked apart and analysed, to discover if its real. And who can really know? I could be justifiably angry about something or depressed about a normal loss.
It all started for me as a small boy. I saw things, heard things that no one else could see or hear. Now, they weren’t hallucinations as such. They were my mind waking up, telling me things that I should already know. The lies that people tell to each other, white and black. The dissonance between word and action. My voices guided me, aided me through what was a difficult time.
And then I grew up and the voices faded, I didn’t need them anymore, I could see it all on my own. But that didn’t end all my troubles, if anything it made them worse. I became bored, violent, increasingly out of control. My life spiralled down and down, and I took refuge in drugs. They eased the constant thrum of knowing in my head.
But there is only so long you can go the self-destruction route before something snaps. In this case someone. I found a purpose in being there, in giving what I could to someone in need and we grew closer. I’m not sure I can call it love, for I have had a long time trying to control my emotions.
The doctors after years of fobbing me of with “it’s just normal adolescence. Hormones. It will pass.” Finally came up with something it could be: Temporal lobe epilepsy.
For those that don’t know what that is, it’s horrible. There are different kinds of epilepsy, some you all know, the light sensitive. The narcolepsy. For me it is different. It affects, memory, mood, emotion beyond the blues, but it comes with odd flashes of insight. Ways of fitting discordant pieces to create more than the sum of their parts. Few things are all bad, what is taken with one hand can be given with another.
But that is not why I write this. The why’s are always important and I will get to it. I will thread it through to tease and intrigue you.
The title “Angels fall first” was chosen for a specific reason. And the reason is grief.
Go to any funeral and someone will say “I wish we had more time.” “They took him too young and he had so much to live for.”
And every single one is a platitude. Oh, there might be real grief hidden behind it, but as humans we fail at grief. We all lose someone or something that means something to us. It could be a person, a family member. It could be a sense of belonging. It could be an emotion. And we grieve for that loss.
Everyone you meet is struggling with something. It may be big; it may be small. And humans instantly want to help. They offer to talk, to help carry the load. Which is nice, but for many conditions it does nothing except hurt.
Like, if someone came up to me and said “you know you are miserable all the time, I have just the fix.” I wouldn’t even stop to think. I would take it.
Depression has been covered by a lot of people, and I don’t need to cover it in depth here. It affects people in so many ways that it is actually hard to notice it creeping up on you. Until a crisis happens, and then you suddenly realise in a jolt. You don’t care though. You just want the end.
For some sensitive types, and I use the term loosely, because it’s not a sign of weakness, and creatives have a strong inclination to bouts of depression, mania, psychosis.
Now, I am both a creative, a writer, and slightly too bright for my own good as well as having depression and epilepsy. This is not a good combination. It makes me not willing to buy into the same delusions as many other people.
Now, I know there is a link. Is it the compulsion to create? The desire to see meaning in things? Is it the sheer amount of information we ingest and process that fills in blanks and leaves others?
It could be any and all, or none of those things.
Many of us are solitary creatures, night owls that rarely see another human soul unless forced. Some have partners, tolerant ones, that put up with us hardly be present as we turn over an aspect of a story or an idea. I find people grate on me especially when they are discordant. When their words don’t match their actions. Part of that is science, we are wired to judge someone by their actions more than their words.
Do we make ourselves miserable with the constant introspection, the virtual words we create?
Do we lack the ability to be here in the present, fully?
I have no answers for these questions so I pose them to you.
Why do the brightest burn fastest?
Why is the suicide rate among creatives so high?
Why does greatness, or something close, kill us?
And finally, why do angels fall first?
Some of the greatest artists, scientists, thinkers, people in the whole world are taken too soon, or even worse, live lives of misery from their conditions.
I have no reason for writing this other than a desire to write something real for a change. Make of it what you will.