Monday, May 2, 2016

The Last Days of Lithium

The following is a True Story. All events and conversations are accurate, to the best of the author's ability. Artistic liberties are smattered throughout. Names have been changed where deemed necessary.

Test 1: Cognition

Hello World. Welcome, you are Alive now. We are going to get right to work. So, here we go. Let's Roll. We are going to be sending you to Earth. Earth is a planet populated by Humans in the Milky Way. Good Luck!


What? No, I mean, wait. Hello? Helloooo??? IS ANYBODY THERE LISTENING.


Shit. I think they left me here. OK. Let me think.

We are going to start with some cognition tests. "You" are a human, named Susan, aged 35 years, caucasian, female (obvis!), and we are testing you for a number of trials that will help us advance. You are "real" and you are "human" by all logical, technical, elemental properties. This is not a Test. This is not The Emergency Broadcasting System. You fail, you are planned obselence, understand?

Yes. (shit, shit, fuck, shit) Yes, I am ready. 

Good. You're live, Over. 

Over. Over and what, over and out? Fuck! What the hell? Ok, I'm...Ready. 

Good. Ready, set, Gooooooo! (Susan is 2.0, let's see how this unfolds...)

I am walking. Walking down a hallway with boxes. There are people around me and I am watching the people. They are dressed in nice business casual. How do I know what business casual is I do not know. I am led to a desk, there is another person there. There is a computer. Beige. More beige.

Spreadsheets. Meetings. Deadlines. Collateral. 
Status: Confusion 

I cannot sleep. There are weeks and weeks and I cannot sleep. I ask my Dad what to do. Xanax. Try Xanax and sleep with us. You can function on very little sleep, just try, have faith. 

I use the methods given to me by Dad figure. Unfortunately, they do not work. Plan 2. Try therapy. Enter Therapist #1 You Have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Here you go, Paxil and Lexapro, Good day. 

Cue Hawaii. 

College Roommate's wedding. I am sitting on top of a waterfall inside of a jungle path in Kawaii. I sit there and something happens. Something clicks. I stare down at my sunburned shins and something shifts. 

Cue car parking lot. 

I am supposed to buy a car. Brother is there. There are used Saabs. I buy a 2002 silver VW Jetta. 1.8 Turbo.

Backup. Backup, backup, back up. Box land. Meetings. Things are clicking. Nine months, things are clicking. Clicking so much. Clicking too much. There is a pink sparkly top from TJ Maxx that shows my midriff. There are dangly earrings too. Meeting, there is a Special Meeting Just. For. You. Good, oh good, I am going to tell them about my plans. About the boss. About how to fix the place. No. Nope! We have different Plans for you. There is a Kleenex box. And a woman who is called HR. There is a guard, and a door and an Out and Good Bye. Good bye, good bye, and good byeeee... "

You' (so sad. 23 years old)

Cue Canada. 

Note: Unplanned road trip. You will be stopped at the border of the United States of America and Canada. You will be asked several questions: Why Are You Here? Why Are You Driving Through The Canadian Border At 5AM? 

And then. Cue guards.

Please park the car and step inside. We'd like to ask you a few more questions. Erika and ______ (I can never remember his name?) Bullet proof vests and nice, Canadian smiles. "I want to move to Quebec, change my name to Sarah, and start a business."  (Blank stares.) "And, I speak French." Ohhh Yeahh. Okey then. Have a safe trip! Here are some places you may want to look up in Quebec Bye Now!

Cue psych ward. 

Why am I in a psych ward? What is a psych ward? There is station 38 and some others. Green group and Purple group. Green group gets to go outside and stand together on the basketball court. I do this. There are weeks in and then weeks out, outpatient. I fail the tests. The Psychiatrist tests. You are talking too fast, you are drawing too many pictures, you are too...Fun. I ask the questions. I ask the fellow inmates. What's to be done? What do you guys do? We smoke cigarettes, they say. It's Nicotine. It's Science

Cue Santa Fe. 

Road Trip. Auntie. Hair is cut off, face is messed up. Clothes are not fitting. Not at all. There are plans, plans. I will write a book! It's called Post Cards to My Mania. (Auntie: "Ok.")

Test 2: Assimilation

We are going to change things up here. We are going to "throw you a bone" as the humans sometimes say. Good Luck. (P.S. Don't fuck this one up.)

Okay. I understand. I will Try My Best.

Thank god. Yeah, I need a bone now. Right now. 

Cue Russia.

I go to Russia. I go to Russia. I go to Russia five times. Brazil, India, other places. Diamond Delta, the whole bit. Things are good. I go to New York. Again and again and again. I get...tired. I get shut down. 

Shut down? Wait, what do you mean. I don't know what I mean, it's just like I get shut down, shut off! I lose cognition. What's going on. Here's the deal. We are making money, we are making friends, we are traveling around the world. What happened. We are following The Rules from the Business Travel Book. And all the others ones too. And all the extra other ones too. What is happening here?

Cue Cancer.

My dad. He got cancer. But it was more than that. And more than that. And more than that. And that and that and that 001 100010101 And then he died

Cue Loss.

What? What happened here?? I thought He was supposed to be my person? Wasn't that part of the preliminary meetings with you guys?
Status: Unknown.

What the FUCK.

[Note: Moving from Assimilation to Survival. Noted.]

Test 3.0: Survival 

Okay, so, this should be interesting [1!] We are testing the subject's ability to not only Assimilate but plain old fashioned Survive with Ultimate Flaw. Chronic Health Condition with Stigma attached. Check! Activate. Let's see what happens as the chemicals shift. Hypothesis is Exposure, but not sure until we activate.

Ok, Activate, Susan 2.0, ready...annnnd, you're Live. Go

Fuck you guys, I'm already down for the count, but FINE.

Cue Advertising.

A person called a Recruiter got me in. I thought I wanted in. I thought. And then I didn't and yet I stayed in anyway. 

Cue Chicago.

Welcome, Self, to the Windy City! Damn, I think I like it here.  It's wild, it's weird, it's new. 

[Pause. Stop. Fast forward, way forward. We're done here so let's move on. When will then be now? You just missed it]

Gah! Dammit. Just. Stop fucking around with me you guys.

Ha. No.


Test 3.1:Survival [Cyber]

Ok! So, Again, interesting stuff here. Let's move to Present Day. Subject is showing signs of deterioration and has course corrected. Let's kick it up a notch. Ready, Susan 2.0, and You're Live.

I'm so incredibly sick of this, you guys, seriously. Just tag me Obsolete and let's call it a day. 

No. False. 010010. Does not compute. Error.

Le Sigh. Fiiiiine.

Ok, great! So, now we are down to the last week, in which subject will be going through Final Tests which should be quiet interesting, actually. Ted? Copy. Bruce? Check. Bill? Tom? Mark? Check, Check, Check. Sheila, are you taking notes? [yep!]

You guys have no female management? Whatever. I don't even care anymore. You own me...
Status: Apathy

Cue Stalker

There's this man. He is a French man. His name is Benoît and he is a French stalker. He stalks my friend, Jess, and he has stalked her for over a year. One night, he started stalking me. 

Subject reacts appropriately, does not get provoked by suggestion of suicide, even when subject originally believes it to be valid hurting human. Uses language skills to gently chastise, and then privatizes Social Media.
Status: Passed

I have no idea how to catch this guy. He's in France and there is no jurisdiction. We've tried everything. Hennepin County, Cop #1, everything. Help me if you can. Thx in advance. 

Moving on. 

Test 3.2: Survival [Human]

Sheila? Sheila do we have popcorn? Good. Alright, back to the action. In which subject is forced to watch loved ones suffer from health ailments. Annnd, ACTION.

Wait, wait a second you dumb fucks. We already did this with my Dad. 

Status: False >>> True >>>> False 0010101 Does not compute.
Whatever. Fine, Go.

One week ago, today. I am sitting at a place called Nordstom where Humans go to play Retail. I am sitting in a chair to have my face painted. I am sitting in the chair because I am trying to complete additional tasks from Test 2: Assimilation, but whatever. 

I get a text from a Loved One. My Loved One. Not a different one. Mine. 
This is Karl.

There is a message about an earache and I know I need to help him. I go to the house and there is something wrong. There is 1:30 PM napping and there is ear drainage and I know this is Not Good. I decide to take him to Hospital #1. Hospital #1 cannot fix, so Ambulance vehicle takes body to Hospital #2. 

A text comes in from my Girl Gang; it's Jess & Co. doing the Murder Pizzas and I am already too tired to explain what is going on.

Status: Humor Attempt; Failed
Status: Exhaustion

Pokes, Pricks, Almost Spinal Tapped, Unknowing, Unconscious. I am losing my Karl. I might actually...lose. My Second Person. Lost.

[Subject showing signs of distress. Can we get a Status on Survival supplies? Nicotine? Check. Caffeine? Check. Fuzzy heart thing? check. "Happiness Scarf" that she uses to calm herself down? Check. Comforting Fast Food? [[Note: Bob, turns out they are shutting it down at Hospital #2 but current status is open until midnight]] That's fine. We're good? Ok, proceed.]

One night, one day, another night, another day, another, another. They are doing it. They are GOING TO FIX HIM! 

Status: Hopeful.

[Scene: Bob, Let's have her go out for more Survival Supplies on third day. This might be interesting. Action.]

I am walking down the sidewalk, past The Midtown Global Market, past the intersection. I am across from a place called Chicago Lake Liquors. There is this tobacco shop. I go inside and then I come out. And then. And then...I was, in the shop? I was in the shop, and now I am out of the shop. There is a man on the sidewalk. He is Good, I sense his energy. Is he Safe? Yup, he's safe.

[Command Center: Ah, can we get a read on Energy Output, Tom? Wondering why subject is still able to sense energy. Thought we disabled that after Flow incident? ...Ah, well, Energy levels - perception, sensing, predicting are running...ah, yeah, they are actually off the charts, Bob. So, not sure what to tell you -]

System Down. System does not compute. Subject Offline. Subject is Offline. 001001 0101 01100 11101 Please advise. REPEAT MESSAGE: SUBJECT IS GOING OFFLINE. OVER.


Test 4: Compassion

Ok. I'm taking over now. 

There was a man standing there and his name was Chris. I started to feel woozy and I said to the man named Chris. I told him that he needed to help me, Please. Take my hand, walk me back to the Emergency Room entrance at the hospital. I am not feeling well and I think my operating system is about to malfunction. Can you help me, Chris? I think I'm about to pass out. Chris. Help me.

Emergency Room. I know this place. 


"Okay, we have her back into the 130s. You are a wet noodle, dear. What's going on?"

My boyfriend? Seventh floor Spine. He's there.

"I'm sorry, hunnie, can you say more? Explain it to me, please. We are listening."

I...I have...I have Bipolar. Bipolar Disorder. I was treated for it here 12 years ago. But I'm not having an episode. I SWEAR.

"Okay, dearie, that's fine, that's fine. We are just trying to figure out what happened to you, m'kay? Who is your boyfriend you are talking about. Help me understand. Where is he? Is he -"
He's. He is. Oh my gosh, there he is, RIGHT THERE.

Test 5: Love

There was that moment. The moment he walked in and he was wearing regular clothes [where are your hospital pjs!?] and I could see his wrist with the bracelet with the hospital thingy on it. And now I had a hospital bracelet thingy on, too. I always tell people to leave their hospital thingies on days after a hospital visit cause I think if my dad had left his on, he would have been OK. 

There is this moment. It's when Mom / Dad / Brother / Loved One picks you up from Camp. Or school. Or from jail. It's this moment when you feel this rush of Relief and Love and you feel Safe, Complete, Whole. 

What is that feeling, exactly? Is it Oneness? Is it Everything Is Connectedness? I don't know. I just know that you know it when you feel it. It's like you transcend your crappy human existence and you feel...You feel like you are Home. And I know that I would do anything, go through anything, suffer through whatever, just to have that feeling a few more times in this life. That's what I'm here for. I'm here for the 


And no matter WHO is in charge or WHAT they are giving to me. No matter what the doctors say. No matter what you say. Red, Green, Blue...I will suffer through anything for that. 

Status: Subject is Human. 
Status: Complete.

__________ // ____________//____________//_____________//


Creative Inspiration:
  • Susan
  • Karl
  • Jess
  • Girl Gang
  • Benoît
  • Cop #1
  • Nurse
  • Chris
  • Therapist #1
  • Dad / Mom / Brother
  • Susan B. Agony

Thank you! Most Sincerely,


  1. Susan, you are amazing. It may not seem like it to you. I suspect that you are just recording your experience(like recording a memo on you phone) and your writting does not seem remarkable. I feel fortunate that you are sharing your experience with me. Steve

    1. As always, thanks Steve. Coffee. Us, soon ❤️💚💙

  2. BAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. D.A. Photoshoot ❤️❤️❤️

    2. welcome to the hole. :-*

  3. S.
    one of your bests.
    have you ever chased a rainbow?

    1. Thanks g. Chasing rainbows...Always.❤️

  4. good.
    sure we're observing.
    much fun.

    1. Bien essayé, Benoit. Mais je suis plus rapide que vous. Donc, porter, baiseur.