Monday 31 March 2008

Death Is The Ultimate High

Well, I've told you pretty much everything else, so I might as well tell you this.

After all, I often think that it's pretty much one of the most important facts about me.
You either feel this way, or you don't.

And it's like Adam and Eve eating the apple, you can't uneat it. Once you've had this vision, got stuck on this thought, you can't be shifted.
It's your world now, and you will carry it forever.

Death is the ultimate high.
A favoured saying in real life of the author of this blog.
A belief that the most euphoric ecstasy to be felt is right on the very edge, the border between life and death.

That it is only when you know that you are being flung irrevocably towards your final moments that you will truly cling onto and savour them, as the sweat pours off your brow, your mind is full of the most powerful illuminations you've ever seen, and your blood vessels pump their way to oblivion.

I've never actually been suicidal in my life, not really. On two occasions, the very worst in my life, the idea crossed my mind for a brief period, more in a kind of speculative exhaustion, but a couple of beers soon dispelled such notions.

However, it is also true that I don't really try extra hard to stay alive either. One could say I am largely indifferent to the moment of my calling. The idea of dieing doesn't bother me over much.
Partly I suppose, there is my general hankering to die in glory rather than old age, but also, there is the fixation with the 'death is the ultimate high' thing.

Where did this start?

It's actually one of the shared rites of passage myself and the Baker went through. We both talk about it sometimes. It was the same for both of us, that night. The night life changed forever. The night we both changed. Both suddenly saw the world in a way most people never will. The night mind altering drugs, altered our minds for good.
An end to physical fear. An end to fear of mortality. But an end also, to happiness the way ordinary people may find it.

The Opera House, Bournemouth. Summer 1998.

We weren't either of us big Ecstasy or Cocaine users then. We did use it, but not hugely.
We enjoyed it, but it wasn't everything.

This night, we got carried away. Any guy who asked us if we wanted more pills, got a 'yes' answer.
And we ended up taking three each in the space of five minutes.
On top of everything else (whatever that was, and neither of use at that point were used to triple dropping, though sadly I did later become so), this was a bit crazy.

Next thing I knew, I was a-flying.
Literally, it seemed.

Below was a beautiful city.
I could feel the wind blowing as I zoomed through the clouds.
Illuminated by night, thousands of lights, little silver craft flitting through the ziggurats.

Euphoria. Ecstasy. Orgasm.
It was an out of body experience, I've never felt so close.

And then I began to realise, it wasn't a city.
It was the floor. What I could see, was simply a strobe lighting effect.
I was lieing on some seats, next to the Baker. And I couldn't move.

I wondered if I'd ever move again. I was paralysed. And yet, my bloodvessels felt volcanic. My pulse raced, it was like a wind was blowing through my mind.

Am I overdosing, I wondered.
If I am, I don't care. If you had to pick a way to go, this surely is it.
Worth dieing, just to feel this.

And then it subsided. I shook the Baker and we attempted to reach the dancefloor.
I fell down a staircase, because I couldn't actually see it. It looked like flat carpet to me.

I pulled on the dancefloor as well, God knows how. She came from Hertfordshire, I know that.

Later, getting stoned, the Baker and I talked about it. He'd had almost word for word the same experience.
Even then, I said 'Our lives have changed. That was amazing. At one time, I thought this was just a uni thing, now I know; Coke and pills together are better than sex, better than anything. Nothing can possibly compare to what I felt tonight. Nothing. Even Joanna couldn't do that.'

This was six months after I'd split from Joanna, the only girl I ever loved.
I've never loved anyone since- or had any real hope I would.

I guess this experience changed me. The world really was different. Because every moment I've ever lived since, has fallen short. I've had moments which have come close, but there is always this idea that true euphoria lies right on the border of death, that you don't truly know you are alive, until you truly know you're going to die.

It dominated life ever after. The high points have been those sought after moments of euphoria, seeking to push closer and closer, nearer to that line, the liberating brink between life and death, the Ultimate High.

It's not been so much a Death Wish, as just a lack of concern, an indifference, sort of 'Well if I go, I go.'
Generally. You just don't care. And in a way, it's a strength, because people can tell. Death doesn't scare you.

I've only really started to move away from thinking like that recently. Started to feel that life in itself, could be beautiful.

I suppose things have started to emerge in life which kind of make you at least think of putting this high chasing on the back burner.
After all, I've got a blog to write, and that can't really happen if I'm engaged in playing Russian Roulette with chemicals.

And I want to see D's child at least take his first steps.
And a couple of other things.

I think I've actually spent about ten years trying hard to die one way or another without realising it, and it didn't quite pan out (Oh, they lie when they say smoking kills as well. Fifteen years of it! I want my money back!)

I think I'm almost getting reconciled to this life business.
Slowly :)

I think some of the people are worth sticking around for.

And I think I've still got things I need to do.
And to do them, I need to stay alive and keep posting.


Anonymous said...

That euphoria, it's artificial, why spend your life chasing after something that isn't real?

Getting high, should remain recreational, it shouldn't become a life purpose.

Anonymous said...

Interesting point.

Firstly, what makes it less real than any other feeling? It uses the same chemicals that make you tick, that's why it works- only it's under your control, not exterior circumstances. Won't let you down.

And secondly, it isn't my life purpose now. Just for a long time I didn't have one. About ten years in fact.

Let's just say it was an interesting journey :)

Anonymous said...

The perhaps the word empty would have been more accurate?

It is a soulless euphoria, not brought about by any kind of spirituality, happiness or awakening; but by a little white tablet.

In away, it can perhaps be likened to a casual sexual encounter. A purely physical act, a moment's breathlessness and the inevitable high of orgasm.

But then it's over.

And what are you left with? Nothing - save for the dire craving to feel that way again. There's no one there to hold you, to reassure you, you're on your own.

Left with your own melancholy, only you feel it sharper than before.

So no, not artificial, but not real either.

Anonymous said...

Crushed, don't you worry about the influence on vulnerable people you might be having here?

Anonymous said...

> Oh, they lie when they say smoking kills as well. Fifteen years of it! I want my money back!)

LOL! They didn't say how quick! I thought they meant a slow, tortuous death ;-)

I agree with oestrebunny; reading the post at first made me want to try triple dosing; and then there's the thought - it's just a feeling, an illusion. just the neurotransmitters feeding onto the pleasure points of the brain (or something like that; we learnt a bit about it, with the illustration of an experiment where there's this rat that gets high every time he presses a button that triggers that part of his brain, so he keeps pressing it, and forgets all about the real world, and dies cos he doesn't eat).

I'm not afraid of death either. It's a rest. With life, there are responsibilities, and a mission to carry to completion, as long as one can (so death is escapism, but taking the easy way out is cowardice, so we can't opt for death, but have to take it as it comes)...

> And I want to see D's child at least take his first steps.
Yup, that's good. Be a good godfather :-)

Anonymous said...

Oesrebunny- Empty?
At the worst phases, maybe.

I actually gave it up at 22, when my career got going. Me and Claire moved in together, I stopped everything.

Weekends became about trips to Wilko and Kidderminster carpets. A canalside was as exciting as it got. And I settled, but I wasn't happy. It felt like a lie. And when Claire had the abortion, it just really set me into thinking everything was a lie.

My life just became about God's Kitchen every Friday. Pills, coke, casual sex. And yes, staggering up Green Lane home to my flat at 6AM and sitting in the living room, brooding.

And no, it wasn't really a happy life, no.
And you know where it led me in the end.

Of course I want something more than that. Partly what blogging gives me of course, but also I've come to terms with the demons that drove me as well.

I think I've only just stopped thinking my entire life has to be some kind of nihilist gesture.

'There's no one there to hold you, to reassure you, you're on your own.'
Thanks for reminding me :)

Welshcakes- I'm not glorifying it. It's just a mindset I've long been stuck in.

Not a good one, I'll admit.

But I AM moving away from it.

Death will always come too soon, I think. Life isn't a dress rehearsal.

Eve- I think they do. Some of the packets now read 'Smoking may cause a slow and painful death'. Charming thought for first thing in the morning.

Hoe do you distinguish between real and false feeling? They all amount to much the same. One could say it's ALL an illusion.

But I agree, yes, everything has it's purpose.

I'm well looking forward to seeing D's child. It's the coesest I 'll get to my own family, but I'm dead chuffed!

Anonymous said...

Well I'm glad to hear you are moving away from this very destructive phase in your life. I guess I don't really understand it myself but it seems to go against your ideal that if you were to die young it would be for a cause instead of just a pointless waste of a life with so much potential.

Death as the ultimate high would only have that meaning if you believed you were going to a better place and you say you don't believe in an afterlife. In that case you have to make your life here worthwhile, so time to get on with it.

Anonymous said...

You've been deleting posts I see. I just went to read your other one and it is not there, well it is of course in the reader. So follow your own advice, make your life count.

Anonymous said...

Its all or nothing with you isn't it Mr I? I for one am happy to settle with a nice bit of buttered toast being the ultimate high...

Anonymous said...

jmb- I suppose it was a long destructive phase.

Yes, dieing in a blaze of glory was an ideal, but reality proved more humdrum and depressing. I think for most of my twenties I just felt life had nothing at all to offer, except partying. There was nothing to aim for otherwise.

I remember writing a poem once, years ago, basically about chemical highs, entitled 'The Keys to Paradise'. I don't remember much, except the final couplet;
'All your hopes I know are lies
I have the keys to paradise'

I think the last two years have been a journey upward. I've got a good life now, in many ways. And this blog has kind of given me real hope again, definitely.
For a very long time, I've just felt like an observer of life. At last, I actually feel I'm IN IT.

Yes, I didn't like it, though it did inspire this one. I'll let you into a secret, since you read it. The image I used, was of Sir Galahad. Now the incident I described in this post, was significant to me, because of how I saw it.
Galahad looks into the Grail and sees God, actually sees him. He then turns to Percival and Bors, and announces he is to die, which of course, he must. No one can see the face of God and live.

To me, this incident touched that nerve, especially back then, when I was still quite conventionally religous, rathr than the slightly more eclectic theology I've moved to now.

I thought the post was poor, but those who read it thought it was OK, so maybe I should have kept it. I don't know.

Mutley- That's me. I'll never be a pipe and slippers person.
Crumpets are nice though, with lots of butter. Utterly Butterly is what I get.

I've stopped it for the most part Mutley, for good reasons.

I've got thre things in my life that are more than enough. Good career, good friends, and this. What more do I want? :)

Anonymous said...

But I agree, yes, everything has it's purpose.

Yes everything happens for a reason, the challenge is to learn from it!

Anonymous said...

Simple fact is, the person you were DID die that day.

Most likely you felt like a shell of a person for months if not years later, and you are just now beginning to find yourself again. (Resurrect??)

I think that the urge for oblivion hits everyone at that age in one way or another. In many (many) ways, the person I was at that age died a long time ago, and I'm NOT the same person now.

But that's ok, I accept his death, and I accept that I, subconsciously, was trying to kill him along the way (without realising it). I suspect you are having the same mental conflicts now.

So let him die in a blaze of glory, but don't let him take your body too. You may feel like your soul has died and you are just a shell left in a body for a while (maybe a long while) but, I think, that's the price we have to pay if we want to grow wise and truly enlightened.

Look at the great minds and leaders of history. Invariably, you'll find a point in their life where they had a sudden enlightenment after near tragedy. you have a chioce, to sacrifice your spirit for the greater good, or to give up and succomb to the light.

Anonymous said...

That's true resurrection in my eyes.

Anonymous said...

David- Oh, definitely, I became a different person completely. My whole ethos changed. It was the culmination of a process.
Several things had happened in twelve short months.

During the 1997 election, I'd been fairly serious about politics. The result completely shocked me, not what happened, but the scale. I guess it was only then I started really thinking about politics. On the one hand, was trying to figure out how the people had fallen for a charlatan like Blair, but als accepting that so much of Tory values aren't really that nice. Then there was losing the only love of my life.

I just become a thoroughly hardened, bitter cynic, and decided from now on, I'd pay up front to feel good. That way, you know what your happiness costs.

It took me a long time for that cynicism to develop into something new. Out of that cynicism, came a desire to see how things really work, stripped of faith and ideology.
And out of that came a genuine desire to find a REAL way to REALLY change things positively.

But I think I only really started to feel genuinely alive again over the last year.

Alive as in, you feel that you CAN make progress, you don't have to be the living dead.

It's waking up one day, and realising you have something to fight for.

Anonymous said...

You mentioned something a few posts ago about not having to like the Tories to vote for them. So true.

For a long time I did feel this strange mental anguish every time I ticked that box that I couldnt quite put my finger on. But that's it.

I'm not a Tory, never have been, but I'm always labelled as one. To the point where I almost started to believe it ... (but not quite).

It's simply the fact that I have NO other credible alternative, the bad points of Labour greatly outweigh the bad points of the Tories. So I put up with it.

But I'm not a Tory. I dont particularly like the party and what it stands for.. but that's ok.. because I can recognise it now.

Sometimes democracy doesnt work, but it's better than the alternatives.

Anonymous said...

David- It's post-ideological world. We're a little too sophisticated now for slogan based idealism.

I think most of our generation, though we can't all quite see why, get the point. Most of my friends vote Tory, and I do.

I joined originally as a teenager, because of Blair. I was doing my A levels and we were studying the Nazis. I saw a few of speeches, and I thought then- as I still think- he'd studied Hitler's speeches. They sounded the same. same phrases the lot.

To me, then, it was simple. Freedom against totalitarianism. So I put up with the everything unpleasant in Conservative party thought, for that reason alone.

They're just as bad in many ways, in fact they hide their blatant crypt-fascism badly, but maybe that's a good thing. at least you know what you get.

I think I really got the point when I finally got Marx point.

Fact is, Capitalism will be here till it goes. You can't wish it away, you can't topple it, just one day it will evolve into something else.

So it's like choosing between two rival companies to build your aeroplanes. The ones who show blueprints for concorde, and the ones who show you plans to make faster than lightspeed spaceships.

The fact is the Tories are better at running Capitalist systems. And that is what we live under, which is why generally, they DO it better. They're trying. They know what game they're playing.

The SYSTEM is rotten to the core, of course it is, any system that ends up with David Cameron being our best shot, has to be dire, but hey, it's the way it goes.