Trying to explain myself to myself


I was manic for over 35 hours

Now I am in a mixed stated, the hypomania is fading, the depression is increasing, as well as irritability and general feelings of discomfort in my chest and stomach

It feels like there are ants crawling in my skin and body

I feel physical pain in my chest

And I can’t make the words make sense

I know I am supposed to be doing a lot but I can’t do them, I can’t think right

Everything is backing up, is piling up, the list of what I need to do becomes larger every day, one thing slips off, one by one they slip off, like when a computer crashes and you don’t know what you’ve lost so you just go on because you have to, even though you lost everything and you don’t even know what

I feel flooded with thoughts and also that I have no thoughts

I don’t know how to explain what is happening in my body

I can’t make anything make sense, I feel very scared and alone and I am having a hard time trying to calm down

When I lose the ability to communicate especially to myself I get scared, when my words go away I get scared, when the things get trapped inside of my body, I get scared.

There are very few people in this world who could tolerate me like this, who could help me feel better like this and two of them are dead.

People start to get frustrated with me and then they ignore me

People want to be there for you but when they can’t make you feel better in five minutes they get frustrated and want you to go get better elsewhere.

People want you to be better so you can continue filling the role that you once filled for them

“You cannot be useful when you are sad like this, Winile.”

Some times people try to show me the trails I had left for myself, so I can find my way home, but I can’t understand them. Some times nobody has these roadmaps.

I appreciate when they try.

What they don’t know is that I am seeing signs everywhere and no one else is seeing them

And then I am seeing nothing everywhere when everyone is seeing magic

I am walking around having long conversations with dead friends and family and it feels like they’re beside me, right beside me

I feel like I am becoming a ghost and living between realms and it is scary

I am a cracked container and the world is pouring through me

I stopped sleeping and my past began erupting into my present everywhere I went and I would see patterns in the clouds and speak in ways that make no sense and I pushed people away in favor of my lonely world

This is what happens when you’re burning, when you are on fire (umlilo)

In siSwati if you want to say “wake up, woman” you say “vuka mfati” which also means wake up the wolf

If you want to say “you hurt me” it is uyangilimata!

I walk around here all day every day screaming UYANGILIMATA because I don’t want the responsibility it takes to heal

In siSwati if you want to say “leave me alone you are too sad” you would say “ngiyekele wena; uyanginyanyisa”

You can also say this to yourself when you are poisoning the root of your own tree

My head feels empty but I know that it is not

Where did I go? Ngaphi lapho?

Speak woman — khulumani bomake

Speak and be heard — khulumani nivakale

Pour out your chest — tfululani tifuba

News buried years ago — khiphani tindzaba temnyaka

All that bad news — letindzaba letimbi

Sweep out the dirt

Nititsanyele tiphume tonkhe tibi

This is what happens when you’re burning, when you are on fire (umlilo):

You connect the dots, you stop sleeping

You connect the dots when you stop sleeping

You can feel people who aren’t alive anymore

You can feel Death beside you and you live with the pain that you’re going to die before you do a fraction of the things you want to accomplish

You cry in anguish at a cruel trick of mortality

All that you have seen and felt will somehow, eventually be gone forever

The memories and experiences lost in time

Like tears in the rain

Sometimes people are stronger when they’re gone

Sometimes people have that power when they’re still alive

Then when you’re lost in the ocean of your nightmares, your fragile wings charred and torn to pieces, burned to ashes because you flew too close to the sun— you watch your dreams and visions crumble around you while you lie there, unable to change your miserable fate

You were a fallen angel, but now you’re just pushing an empty cart down a dirt road talking to yourself.

Where’s your magic now?

Uphi umlingo wakho manje?

You’re in the Quiet Room in mechanical restraints in the psych ward on suicide watch, doped up on sedatives to keep from clawing your skin out.

You are the beginning and the end. The words connect back around to somewhere you have been before.

Somehow, you are the connecting link to the entire universe.

Somehow, you are nothing


I know that people leave their marks. There is a continuum. We carry the dead in our language and the way we speak it. We carry pieces of people we love in our hearts and our eyes and our tongues, even in the knots in our backs or the way we limp down the street.

We carry the dead in stories and the way we tell them and even who we tell them to.

If there are powerful people who played important roles in our lives, they burn impressions into us with their words, actions, and visions, literally leaving impressions that we take no matter what situations we find ourselves in and wherever we find ourselves walking down this winding road. This is how brilliant people live on after they die.

Sometimes the ghosts catch up with me and I am not ready

Someone once said that the same waters the shaman swims in, the schizophrenic drowns in

Sometimes I can’t be present with the people around me

My head keeps slipping into that ethereal place between life and death, memories carrying me back

I have to write this down so I can come back to life and figure out what the fuck to do next

It’s so strange when our friends die, how they get frozen in time while the rest of us keep moving and getting older

Haley was always tempting fate and putting herself in the line of fire, in a way where it was never clear if she was heroically brave, a raving lunatic, or some complex interplay between the two.

Memories fade, voices fade. The only way we can keep our people alive is by telling their stories.

I miss the feeling that my body sits well on my soul

Death is all I’m waiting for and until it comes, I will continue to learn everything in this crazy world.

So the fire raged on

Wababela umlilo

She wailed into the pillow

Wakhala emcamelweni

Then the cyclone began

Wefika zamcolo wakhwehlela wehla

Manje – ke ntfwanami

Now, my daughter


Take good care of yourself


I felt calm after writing this and then I lost control again.

Wefika zamcolo wakhwehlela wehla


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