by Darick Taylor
I danced naked—primal and ecstatic—
a chasm opened by crumbling synapses
where the drugs had been.
The benzodiazepines and dextroamphetamine
were given to me by cold men who saddled me
with a prognosis of “poor to fair.”
This was the initiation rite:
to survive the long dark
of being something both more and less
The god-shaped hole in
my chemically damaged brain
was met with a constellation of deities
as the universe poured into its blackness.
I lay hallucinating—
an eternal terror of being outside of time
where the vast vacuum of meaninglessness
at least trembled at my unwillingness
to give up and die—
as so many others had, would, and will.
Darick Taylor is a mental-health advocate and survivor. He studies Converged Communications at Florida State College at Jacksonville, and he hopes to use his growing skills in media production to combat stigma and support all people who experience mental illness.