Apologies To Johnny Depp. It Wasn’t You, Man. It Was Me.
It was in the summer of 2007. I was sitting in a nearly empty movie theatre in Scarborough with my wife and my popcorn and my water bottle.
I was all set to be amused and entertained for a couple of hours, suspending my disbelief to the moon and watch the 3rd installment of the wildly successful Pirates of The Caribbean franchise.
But something happened that day.
As the movie rolled and some of the familiar sights and sounds began coursing through my consciousness, I started to develop a strange feeling. Kind of like the walls were closing in.
There was really no reason that popped into my brain for this to be happening. The theatre was nearly deserted because it was a weekday afternoon, which is when we always went to the movies.
The popcorn smelled great. I was with my honey on a date. Everything was pretty freakin’ normal. Everything but me.
As the movie progressed I became more obsessed with my feeling of restlessness and resentment of the darkness all around me. Finally I apologized to my wife and told her that I couldn’t stay in the theatre any longer.
After convincing her to stay, I went and camped out in the lobby with a paperback I always carried in my bag and read for the next two hours. In the light.
On the way home we talked about it a bit. But only a bit because I couldn’t explain it. We concluded that it was probably just a movie thing, because I had never really been crazy about sequels apart from Aliens (the sequel to Alien), which was pretty freakin’ scary good.
I thought about it for quite a while and finally decided to talk to my doctor, Earl The Pearl.
And that was the beginning of my journey to discovering what was wrong with me. Because honestly, up to that one specific point in time, I didn’t believe that this would, two neurologist visits later, be diagnosed as Tic Syndrome, which is a mercifully mild form of Tourette’s Syndrome.
I had had nervous tics all my life, and never really thought much about them when I was younger, because I was a kid and what kid really thinks all that deeply about anything.
I asked the neurologist why I suddenly started to feel so claustrophobic in a virtually empty theatre.
He told me that there really was little that was known about what causes Tic Syndrome, but in his opinion it was probably a misfiring of one of more synapses in the brain, and that, depending on the synapses, it could affect impulses like fear, anger, paranoia, focus and the inability to shut the brain down to make way for sleep.
That kinda scared the shit out of me, but at the same time, it really did explain a lot of my internal behaviour as an adult, and a lot of the dark writing I would do as well as a lot of the action oriented fiction I was attracted to as well as my obsessive work habits.
What followed was a couple years of experimentation with various forms of medication, most of which was pretty heavy and genuinely mood altering. This, of course, created another level of fear in me…fear for my sanity.
But oddly enough, the old chestnut, knowledge is power, came into play in my brain, and knowing the nature of my affliction, and having a fairly good brain, I was able to impose a certain amount of discipline on myself.
My writing helped immensely, because the focus required to do it allowed me to override a lot of the anxiety that this malady creates. Same was true for my bike riding and other forms of exercise.
Over the years, I have gotten much better at managing this condition, and now really only rely on very small doses of Lorazepam to help me calm down and get to sleep at night.
Getting to this point was a painful and scary process. But every day I am thankful that it was not something worse. My heart goes out to people who are in the process of dealing with, well, just about anything serious.
If you feel anything is a little odd about your behaviour, talk to your doctor. Despite the fact that I was told that my condition does not worsen over time and is relatively easy to manage, I have no idea where my head would be right now, if I had not gone to see my doc, and if he had not taken my symptoms seriously.
As far as I know, we only have this one body and while it can take a lot of abuse if it needs to, it’s much better to take as good care of it as possible.
FYI. I have not set foot in a movie theatre since the Pirates Of The Caribbean day. I have stayed up on the movies but from the comfort of my La-z-boy rocker. And you know what, it has actually been more enjoyable than sitting in a dark room with a few hundred other humanoids with all their various noises and distractions.
Have a great weekend. jim out.
You can follow Jim
On beBee: https://www.bebee.com/bee/jim-murray
On LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-murray-b8a3a4/
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jimbobmur
On Facebook: https://tinyurl.com/y97gxro4
This is the first short story I have written in ma ...
The good old USA is showing signs of unraveling. I ...