FEBRUARY, 2020 - I AM FINALLY SEEING SOME SUNLIGHT AFTER A CATASTROPHIC THREE AND A HALF YEAR DEPRESSIVE STATE. I AM UNDERGOING TMS TREATMENTS - AND IT'S WORKING! ONE SNOWY NIGHT, I PERFORM AT THE ONE NIGHT STAN'S OPEN MIC DESPITE SUFFERING FROM LARYNGITIS.

i WALK ON STAGE, MAKE IT TO THE MIC, AND START WITH: "SO I JUST GOT OFF A CHINESE CRUISE SHIP." THIS WON ME A COUPLE OF RESPECTFUL CHUCKLES. YOU KNOW THE KIND: "hA! BAD THINGS HAPPENING TO SOMEONE, BUT NOT ME!"

 

IAS I SAT DOWN AND WATCHED THE OTHER COMICS, I FELT LIKE I HAD FINALLY FOUND A HOME AND A PURPOSE. EVER SINCE WALKING INTO COMEDY 101 AT MARK RIDLEY'S COMEDY CASTLE TEN MONTHS EARLIER, LIFE HAD BEEN ON THE UPSWING, AND i WAS SO GRATEFUL FOR IT. I SPOTTED A CORNER UP AHEAD, AND I WAS ABOUT TO TURN IT, MY HANDS STEADY AT 9 AND 3.

MY VOICE CAME BACK, BUT I WAS ABOUT TO LOSE MOST OF WHAT HAD KEPT ME ALIVE LONG ENOUGH TO HOPE THE SIX DIFFERENT CHEMICAL AGENTS BACK-STROKING THROUGH MY BLOODSTREAM MIGHT FINALLY SHIFT ME BACK TO MY DEFAULT FACTORY SETTINGS.

IFIRST, MY BELOVED CAT SHAKESPEARE - A GIFTED EMPATH WHO COULD SENSE DEPRESSION ANd SPENT EVERY OUNCE OF HIS ENERGY FIGHTING TO EXORCISE IT FROM MY BODY - PASSED AWAY AFTER A SLOWLY DEVELOPING MASS IN HIS STOMACH CHARGED INTO A SPRINT. THERE IS NO ADJECTIVE THAT COULD EVER EXPRESS THE DEEP SENSE OF LOSS I FELT THEN AND STILL FEEL TO THIS DAY. I WANT TO ALWAYS HOLD ON TO A PIECE OF THAT PAIN; I KEEP IT IN MY DRAWER NEXT TO HIS i.D. TAGS AND WATER BOWL.

TMS TREATMENT CENTER: CLOSED. OFF TO THE GYM TO OUTRUN THE SADNESS? CLOSED. AT LEAST WE HAD THE ESCAPISM OF THE MOVIES AND COMEDY CLUBS, EXCEPT WE DIDN'T; SIX MONTHS LATER? STILL CLOSED. CERTAINLY BILLY CORGAN WOULD SAVE ME AS HE HAD A MILLION TIMES BEFORE? ALL CONCERTS CANCELED. MY TRUSTED THERAPIST OF TWELVE YEARS WAS ONLY ALLOWED TO MEET VIRTUALLY, A STINGING REMINDER OF THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US.

 

 

I KNOW THIS SOUNDS FAMILIAR, BECAUSE EACH OF YOU HAS YOUR OWN VERSION OF THIS. MAYBE YOU HAD IT BETTER THAN ME, MAYBE YOU HAD IT WORSE; BUT YOU'VE HAD IT, IF NOT WITH COVID, THEN WITH SOMETHING ELSE. i STILL HAD AMANDA, RIGHT BESIDE AS THE DUST SETTLED, LIKE ALWAYS. BUT SHE WAS REELING, THE SAME AS I, AND I COULD NOT EXPECT HER TO SHOULDER ALL OF THIS YET AGAIN.  

THANK GOD I STILL HAD OUR OTHER CAT, MY PRECIOUS ONE-EYED INSPIRATION AND SOUL-MATE SIENA MARIE. I HAD DEVOTED THE PAST THREE YEARS TO TAKING CARE OF HER, AFTER OLD AGE AND A MULTITUDE OF HEALTH CONDITIONS STARTED KICKING IN. IT WAS DIFFICULT AND STRESSFUL, AND ALSO THE MOST REWARDING TASK I EVER UNDERTOOK. BUT IN EARLY JUNE, WHATEVER TINY THREAD HOLDING MY BELOVED GIRL TOGETHER FINALLY GAVE WAY. I WAS DEVASTATED AND LOST, MY TWO BEST FRIENDS ASCENDING TO A HIGHER EXISTENCE, AND ALL OF MY ANCHORS LOST AT SEA.

AND SO COMES THE DOOMSDAY SHELTER: A PLACE FOR EVERYONE TO LOVE, LAUGH, SHARE, TO BE INSPIRED, TO AWAKEN THE INSPIRATION IN ANOTHER. OUTSIDE, IT'S DOOMSDAY. IN HERE, THE SHELTER. THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO COME, AND ALL OF IT IS GREAT. WE CAN'T HEAL YOU, BUT WE CAN TURN YOUR ATTENTION TO OTHER THINGS WHILE YOU WAIT FOR THAT MAGICAL HEALING TO KICK IN, AND MAYBE HELP YOU DISCOVER SOMETHING NEW ALONG THE WAY. THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING ME TO GUIDE YOU TOWARD POSITIVE OUTCOMES AND INFINITE POSSIBILITIES. WELCOME TO THE DOOMSDAY SHELTER; THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A PLACE FOR YOU HERE.

JASON fYLAN-mARES