Dolor in Color

All storms begin as disturbances, and when they brew, it is ubiquitous. It is in your classroom, the show you are watching, the walk to your car at 9PM. Association is a powerful thing, and soon you are left with tainted memories and blurred visions.

Anger makes you see red. You want to scream. To run away. To throw things. To break faces. To wring necks. To fly into a rage of fire and blood.

In the end your fury concentrates itself into an ache in your stomach, and there you sit, quiet but dangerous, like a ticking time bomb.

Orange is dawn. It is the sunlight filtering through the blinds, a bothersome reminder that the universe goes on even as you bury your face in your pillow and beg it to stop. You hate mornings in general, and waking up on days like this in particular has earned a place in that part of your being reserved for those unpleasantries you’d rather condemn to hell.

The sun is the picture of active friendliness, frustratingly cheerful as it beckons you out of bed, into the shower, and out into the world.

The sun is one of those unpleasantries.

Among others.

Yellow is the smile you put on for show. Mania is, after all, a cover for depression, so you go through the motions of the day like your normal livewire self: dressing in shirts covered with sparkles, ever the ringleader in jesting and mischief, active and eager at color guard practice. The more you do, the less you dwell.

You toss your flag and watch it unfurl, yellow silk against black sky, and you wonder whether you will be able to catch it when it falls or be forced to dodge the blow as it crashes unheeded to the ground.

Green is envy, destructive and poisonous. You resent the fact that something that should be yours is not. You feel excluded, betrayed, cheated, cast aside, passed over, cuckolded, displaced, and above all, stupid, stupid, stupid.

Looking in the mirror, you find every flaw magnified. You’re painfully aware of all the things you aren’t and all the things you haven’t got. Worse still, the voices in your head remind you that, despite all the things you are and all the things you have got, if you yourself are not what is wanted, it will never be enough.

That’s what kills you.

The A-words are writ in blue: avolition, anhedonia, anergia.

Your lack of interest is astonishing. School sucks. Food tastes like cardboard, sex is out of the question, reading requires mental energy you don’t have. Music makes you confront feelings you aren’t ready to address, so you languish in silence. Even picking up a pencil is exhausting.

You have strength only for sleep, and that you do splendidly, at every opportunity, and for as long as possible. Somnolent detachment is an art and a science, and your mastery is evident as you wrap your arms around yourself and slip into oblivion.

The sky darkens to a despairing, desperate indigo and you sink into a vortex made of your own dread and fears come true, and you try to hold them back but the first unstoppable tear spills down your cheek, and you mustn’t cry, you never cry, but the dam has burst and waves of agony are crashing over you one after the other, and you’re crumbling into keening, heaving sobs, rising in intensity until you’re gasping for breath, and you can’t remember the last time you cried this hard, and you’re losing it, and you’re lost and you’re drowning, drowning –

And then all is calm.

Dusk falls, a reminder that no matter how badly a day has gone, it always has to end. After the moon and the sun jealously battle for their place in the sky, twilight raises banners of violet above everything, as if to announce who is triumphant and whose time is now over.

Perspectives are set to rights. This affair, sordid though it may be, is but a mere moment in the continuum of eternity. It will take a while, but there is nothing time cannot heal. All crises resolve by themselves, and equilibrium eventually returns. □
An exercise in 100-word challenges and psychiatric nursing concepts.

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