Bed Raft

Dixie Bat.jpg

Fingers clutch desperately to the sides of my double bed/life raft. The sea is rough, waves 40 feet tall! Crash, they threaten to thrust me into the deepest part of this ocean. Down to 118 pounds. The slightest tip and my frail body will slip into the sea.

Stare up into the sky, through bedroom ceiling. Pitch dark night a comfort, always. Steady. Focus. “Be a good soldier.”

Find the North Star, Polaris. The one you pledged to follow when UFO aliens demanded “Choose!”

It isn’t there! Constellations whirl like a wild carousel, blurring as they pass my frantic, searching eyes.

Suddenly, I’m far above the bed/raft. Winds use my body as a sail. I hover over a desert land. A man strides ahead of a huge crowd, gesturing as he speaks.

“Kill him!” That evil voice insists, whisper-shouting in my ear.

“Kill him!” Now we’re close enough to see features on dark skinned faces.

“NOOOO!” I scream, wailing through centuries.

Mom comes into my room. She wraps her arms around me so tightly, I cannot breathe.

“I’ve seen, the man, he’ll be killed. Someone will listen to the voice of ancient evil!”

My babbling makes no sense.

“You will always be my firstborn.”

This pronouncement stabs my entire being with terror. Throughout all history, every incarnation, I’ll be this woman’s firstborn child? NO!

My parents’ friends sit in the living room. Ralph says, “That damned LSD.”

A fragment of my broken mind lights up. I run to face him eyes to eyes.

“I have NEVER taken LSD! NEVER!”

It’s true. The thought of a drug to sending me into Alice’s horrific Wonderland made me avoid acid and all other hard drugs. Booze and pot had been comforts but I’d quit smoking pot while living in the crash pad and stopped drinking, too. No, it was evil. Voices had taken over my brain. The virus infected my entire being.

“It got my son.” He muttered.

RUN! Screamed a thousand wide-open mouths.

Bolt out into the darkness, seek its peace. Away from accusing eyes, eyes, eyes.

“Get her! Bob, get her!”

My six foot tall younger brother groaned and dashed out to fetch me.

“Come back here, you crazy hippy.”

Bob grabbed me by the shoulders, turned me around and dragged me away from the beautiful forest. I am a prisoner. Trapped. The brick walls of my parents’ home are a fortress.

Next week is the appointment with another devil, the psychiatrist. He’ll lock me up in the loony bin! No hope. No escape. No Exit.


Having read numerous books (including all of Kay Redfield-Jamison’s) and articles (in JAMA and BMJ, etc.) and consulting with psychiatrists, I now know I’d been in the grip of an extreme mania for three months in 1971. The severe insomnia (sleeping less than 3 hours a night) and frenzied mental state, along with a raging strep throat infection, had sent my brain into deep psychosis.

Author: dixiewriter

Due to my father's job as an explorer/cartographer, my family moved 48 times before I turned 13. We lived where Dad worked: on mountain tops (in park ranger cabins), in deserts, swamps, along coastlines from Maine to Key West & other wild places. My father mapped parts of Antarctica, living there for 8 months in 1961-62. A mountain peak & a glacier are named after him (William C. Elder, USGS) As an adult, I helped Lars Eric Lindblad (then president of World Wildlife) find out about the migration path of Silverback gorillas (from Tanzania into Kenya). On my information, he chose to move Lindblad Travel's photographic safari camps to accommodate these wonderful creatures. I got a Jimmy Carter grant to teach after I graduated from Madison College. Grantees had to sign up to teach for at least a year in a severely impoverished school anywhere in America. I taught for 3 & 1/2 years in SW Virginia near Bluegrass Central (Galax, VA). I taught 7th-9th grade English, Drama, Journalism. I was the forensics coach. Moved to Connecticut & worked for Lars Lindblad, typing up the manuscript for his autobiography, working with Liz & John Fuller on this book. (They co-wrote "Ghost of Flight 415" & other books about unusual phenomenon. Moved to Colorado in 1982. Worked as "gal friday" for 12 detectives at the Boulder Police Dept. Set up files for DA to use in court amongst other things. Then at a law firm. Next, CU/Boulder for 10 years. At CU, workers could take a free course each semester. So I did 5 Master's levels courses in special ed' & many in creative writing/history/religion & other subjects at the Master's level. I taught "Drama for the Disabled" in Boulder, CO after the teacher had to quit due to health issues. It was wonderful! My last 7 years working, I helped adults/teens/children with various brain differences such as autism. I was diagnosed at age 45 with 3 types of seizures, manic depression (atypical, rarely depressions, mostly manias), OCD & PTSD. At age 67 (!!) this diagnosis was changed. The manias are most likely due to temporal lobe "disturbance." The other symptoms are due to "high functioning" autism or Asperger's. Shock!! I do Tai Chi 3x/day which helps me to calm down. My husband & I work out at a gym 3-5 times/week for balance mostly but also weight training, running etc. We climb the beautiful Rocky Mountain High places (like Long's Peak & Maroon Bells) in summertime/autumn. We love archaeology, so when we travel, it's in order to discover ancient sites. My husband is an actor with a "day job." He has performed in shows with Zero Mostel (Fiddler on the Roof, the road show), Dick van Dyke (Diagnosis Murder), Firesign Theatre/John Goodman/Annette Bening et al. (Wizard of Oz/radio show) & many other wonderful people since age 14. We have traveled to: Iceland, Scotland (twice), Germany (3 times to visit friends), Ireland & fascinating places in America. We usually spend a month when we travel. So we go about every 5-6 years. Otherwise, we stay at home in a town in Colorado, attending Poetry sessions, working in local theater, enjoying our shelter rescue cats, writing, painting & dancing.

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