Theo and I are chanting, it’s Saturday night in Melbourne and my lover is teaching me something about the Vedas. He explains that Purusha Suktam in simple English loosely translates as word-by-word. Theo is tender with me as I stumble on “prosodial units of time.”
“Slowly does it”, nodding, whispering, “Yes, that’s it”, each utterance I chant with Theo’s guidance is a word in “near perfect pitch”.
Theo says, “The Indian Vedas are amongst the world’s most ancient sacred texts”. He caresses my cheek gently while guiding me further, “The Avestan Gathas from Iran, the Old Testament and, yours truly..." His warm rosy hands flourishing air parentheses before me, “Greek Lit”.
Theo explains that the four Vedas, Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva, or, mantras are not books in the sense that these other texts are books. These are from an oral tradition. In their truest form these mantras are chanted, spoken, as visual iterations rather than written form.”
It seems like this morning star trail in our three year relationship was only nanoseconds ago.
Despite Theo’s mood swings (volcanic is the word on my tongue tip) I find myself clinging to ecstatic feelings long after the moment has past. This, I fool myself is truly better than seeing the truth as it really is. Three years in, I can cite my own Ptolemy’s Almagest of equally stellar moments in our relationship yet these too have long since extinguished (dead stars).
This evening, Theo is in a state of despair, “besieged” by a common house fly. Three winters of mood swings have attuned me to Theo’s mental state. Theo is in denial. Theo is angry. Theo is morbid: “No help will help”, his daily claim. Tonight this state is one I do not recognise, one I do not understand. He is possessed by the most extraordinary delirium.
He is admitted to hospital. Believing I am his dead father, he utters nonsense, part Greek, part English, part Vedas. He is diagnosed with atypical pneumonia, and in the weeks that follow is gifted a “preliminary diagnosis”: bi-polar disorder.
My lost inner lens sharpening, in-focus. Theo’s’ spending highs, “valleys of despair”, “peaks of rapture”, promiscuous “Odysseys”, Crystal Meth “chorus”, Theo’s verbal eruptions. Eruptions, my word choice, not Theo’s.
Despite this preliminary diagnosis, Theo is deeply entrenched in denial.
The fourth winter drawing nearer now feels unimaginable, impossible. No word embodies the quantum cosmos of future frustration or fatigue I sense.
I join a mental illness support group at ARAFEMI. For three months I attend this group with religious fervour. I feel relief. I don’t feel alone. I sense hope. We share laughter.
My galaxy of despair diminishing, like Antoine de Saint –Exupery’s Little Prince I too inhabit the solid star of mirth, home again. Stinging rose thorns fading now, my heart breathing the fecund scent of roses, chanting parodies (Veruschka Suktam). I am single, content, peaceful, singing, springing.
For more about the ARAFEMI support group.
If you need advice about coping with your situation there are lots of places to get help. Find someone to help you.
24 hour support is available from Lifeline - 13 11 14
Find out more about anxiety and depression – Beyondblue