Yes, I think that is 
a good description
of the depths of nothingness... 
wrapped in pain... 

The grief... loss... acceptance...
of the reality of the moment...

No way out but up...

Well, that's not really true
I've been farther down before
But up is the only way I want to go.

Yes, I may look depressed.

But this does not feel
like depression.
I feel more settled and calm, 
than despair.

In 1977, I "crashed".

I fought my way out of 
the Mental Health System,
fought with no tools, 
no information and little help.

Only the belief that
"Working people don't get locked up"

So I worked...& worked...
3 jobs at a time...unrelentingly...
until the body collapsed...

In 1987 I lost everything 
I had worked so hard for.

Awoke from the coma,
Hearing the words:
"Your life has changed"
such an understatement!

I had to restart my life, 
retrain my body and mind...

Working hard to reclaim 
my right to adapt...
to see, accept and heal 
from past damage and horrors.

To face the reality,
yes even the option, 
of having a future for 
the first time in my life.

In 1992, I began to feel 
an incessant sense 
of panic... of urgency... 
not to again be caught 
in the 1997 crash.  

Rushing to form the roots of my life 
before I crash...again...  

Moved here from Santa Rosa, 
bought a house to settle a life 
with Diane...

That crashed apart when she "affaired"
and left me...then manipulated me...
to move out of our home...

At the 30th street house 
I again attempted to settle 
a life... create roots... 

Fighting off the despair... 
the even deeper panic 
that I was running out of time,
out of energy to restart (again)

Then Esther took it all away  

The fog began to roll in...
"At least save the plants..." 

My desperate attempt to hold onto
some vestige of stability...
of life...

I fought to dig them up, 
friends did not understand, 
why I wasted energy over mere plants 

They didn't know, couldn't conceive,
that those were the last symbols 
of my hope and security.

Then Diane locked me out. 

I discovered that she had 
ripped away my settlement...
lied to me...our friends...
declared bankruptcy on our home...
tore my life apart.

All but a shred of hope was gone.

I moved into the apartment, all my life;
my art & supplies in storage.

Actions of the property manager 
plus downstairs tenants' violence 
took the last of my hope of safety, 
my ability to function...

My last shred of hope, 
the yellow table on the porch,
the symbol that I would have a home, 
a safe place to eat, live, breathe

I poured my residual amounts 
of energy into school...

Yes, School.

The last vestige of hope. 
The expression of my life's experience
 ... my passion ...
my soul ... my connection with Gİd.

I tried exhaustingly, to function, 
to appear normal to others
as my hopes dimmed.

Yet, unnoticed by me, 
the last of my ability 
to care for myself, to function, 
was draining away...

Then that too was gone.

I'd forgot to eat...
medication not taken...
money lost...bills not paid...
cleanliness lost...
cognitive concepts fading out...

My brain stopped working.

Soon I could no longer even 
attend class.

Academic incomplete, 
financial aid suspension.
It's over.

No more shreds of hope 
to hold on to...

The incessant panic is gone, 

I have crashed, though only
1995 and not yet 40, 
it has happened, again. 

No, I didn't get settled.

Others found me... saved me... 
Though I didn't comprehend 
most of what they said.

"It's a red thing" 

I had to trust that, 
though I saw blue, they saw red, 
and it really was red.

They knew better. 

I had no more choices...
no energy to fight as they lifted me 
out of the vermin infested apartment

I hope they understood that
I couldn't even comprehend 
how bad my life had become.

They sorted my belongings, 
threw things away damaged, broken... 
this is the hardest for me to accept
'cuz they decided I didn't need it.

They forgot my yellow table,
(even lied to me about it), symbol of hope...

Attendants were brought in,
medication, food administered, 
body needs cared for.

The fog began to thin.

So here I am: 
Starting over, again. 
Facing coming out of the fog.

Feeling the depths of nothingness 
wrapped in pain, the grief, loss, 
acceptance of the reality 
of the moment...

Not even a yellow table...

The tears don't even flow
not dead ... not alive...

Just resting, eating, 
going to meetings,
building up strength 
to come out of the fog... 
A friend appeals to Oprah! 
in hopes that 1996 
will bring a gift of hope.

The gift of a way to buy a house
...the proven security...
to base my life, my art, my hope...

I can only hope for a gift or a miracle.
Because I can no long create it 
out of my own sweat and blood.

Here I am on the last day of 1995
Starting over, again...

Or, as a friend says,
"Doing the next indicated step".
Where will it lead this time?

I can't even imagine.

Naomi Marie   
December 31, 1995