I get this pain in my chest when I start to picture what it looks like when it all falls apart.

When I see all the pieces I worked so hard to set so neatly come crumbling down with no care at all. No regard for all the work that was put into making them perfectly placed. It brings me a level of fear and anxiety I can not describe accurately.

My face gets warmer with every bad thing I visualize. It slowly gets harder to breathe, like I don’t notice it until it’s too late and I can’t breathe. My whole world will shake and then in ultra slow motion come crashing down around me.

Sometimes the burning crumble of life is legitimate. I’ve ventured to some pretty dark places in the reality of this world. Sometimes though it’s all in my head and I’m the only one seeing it.

These are the times it’s the hardest to face. I know it sounds ridiculous. You would think real Tragedy would be much more difficult to face as most times these things are life-altering.

Not for me. Those things I tend to handle ridiculously well. There will be a moment of weakness or two along the way but I stand up and I prove myself and the circumstances wrong. Every. Damn. Time.

When MY world is on fire. When I am the only one who sees the flames and feels the heat I am completely lost. I don’t know where the smoking is coming from so I am unable to focus and I become chaotic.

Everything is wrong and nothing is fulfilling. I feel as though I’m doing all the things wrong and can’t remember how to do any of them right. I feel like an overwhelming burden to those who care because they just want to help me and I can’t even explain what is wrong.

I have more of these moments then I care to admit to. Sometimes I can just talk myself back to level ground as see the world around me as it is and not how I feel. Those are my short-lived manic times.

The long stretches of mania are what leads me down that dark hole I can find so inviting. Those are the times where I can’t see the logic or reasons. Where there is no answer to be found in my forest of questions.

In those times I am erratic and unorganized. I am emotional to the extreme on both ends of the spectrum at any given time. I disconnect from things and people that at one point brought me calmness and reason. I close myself as much as I can or overindulge in others or work.

I have no balance no middle ground, and very little hope.

Eventually, the things around me will stop burning and the mania will subside and balance will be restored.

Regardless of that, the days leading to the extinguishment of said flames feel like an eternity, and for that eternity I am lost.

All I’m trying to do is not join my ancestral spirits just yet.     

Joshua Nkomo