Tag Archive | hallucination

Music of the Night

Softly, deftly music shall caress you

Hear it, feel it secretly possess you,

Open up your mind,

Let your fantasies unwind

In this darkness that you know you cannot fight,

The darkness of the music of the night.

So often I feel that life and living is simply a run.  It’s a run from the time you’re expelled from a womb to the time when you decay and die.  To get from A to Z you have to run, whether you choose to run towards death or away from it.  The irony is that I am as bad at running as I am at life.  Somewhere, sometime before my brain and heart broke, I couldn’t keep up with life’s pace and I slowed down, then stopped altogether.  Now, whether a hurdle tripped me up or I wasn’t fit enough or I ultimately decided I would not run, I got left behind.  Life, the living and all that encompasses left me behind.  Others who fall and fail and struggle through life, who cannot keep pace with the run of life, are tugged along by the other runners in the race, those who knew them, loved them – who would miss them – and saw them fall.  Nobody saw me fall.  Nobody looked back at me lying in their wake.  Nobody realised I was no longer in the race.  Someone had already won and I had already come last in that instant.  Now, I’m up and I am walking.  I am walking but nothing I, or anyone else, can do now will lessen the distance between myself and those ahead of me who might have knelt down and given succour.  So, when humankind forgets you are part of it and is complicit in your survival or lack of it, to whom or what do you turn so that you can keep walking towards death and find an end to the journey?  What is it that keeps you company on your long, dark, solitary odyssey that your life is to you with a broken brain and a broken heart?  The caress and possession of your mind, heart and body by music, the sweetest and darkest music that lets the burning in your muscles dwindle and is the balm to the crushing weight of the world’s dismissal and apathy of you on your shoulders.  Music is the door from this world where Pippa trudges to Calvary alone, no longer able to run with life, to the sacred world where Lucrezia and Cordelia sing with angels and thrive away from the great race in the night no longer “dark and full of terrors”.

My extended metaphor aside, I want to write about music today, seeing as I’ve been crying (inexplicably, I might add!) through three episodes from season 2 of Glee!  It was nothing in the show particularly that elicited such a visceral response from me but it’s a show that, despite being cliched, unbearably American and full of unrealistic teen drama (even from the adults), is about music and the joys of music healing people and bringing them together with other people, who would have left them behind or never known them and made a difference in their lives.  Can you see how this fits in with my metaphor dragged out above?  Just in case I’ve been too cryptic, I’ll spell it out: it’s a show about people falling, failing and fumbling their way through life but more than that, it’s a TV show about others picking you up and being aware that you matter, especially in the episodes aired in the aftermath of Cory Monteith’s tragic passing.

Anyway, back to music!

The first tunes I remember and the first moments of insurmountable joy I experienced during a melody were those of Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s composition.  I used to adore musicals and Kid’s Week in London was the highlight of my year.  Now, I find them just adaptations of better works and overly sentimental romances, but Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s works still hit a resounding note with me, despite the fact that I listen to them less and less.  Just to give you a rundown, of all his musicals, I have seen (though, even where I haven’t seen the show, I know of the songs, e.g. I have never seen Song and Dance but I have sung Tell Me On a Sunday):

  • Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1968)
    • NB. also my first exposure to Donny Osmond, whom I love also!
  • Jesus Christ Superstar (1970)
    • At Chigwell School, this was one of the shows and I played trumpet in the orchestra
  • Evita (1976)
  • Cats (1981)
  • The Phantom of the Opera (1986)
    • I believe, other than the Joel Schumacher film, I have seen the show in London’s West End over ten times
  • Whistle Down the Wind (1996)
  • Bombay Dreams (2002)
  • Love Never Dies (2010)
    • NB. I saw this twice and the original ending (SPOILERS!) was that Christine dies and Gustave resides with his natural father, the Phantom, after losing his mother and I LOVED THAT!  Then, after a cast change and alteration to the musical, I saw it again and the ending was changed so that Raoul returns after leaving his wife and “son” and the Phantom lets Gustave return to the father he knew rather than stay with the father he knew no and I HATED IT

I have also seen all of the BBC 1 talent show-auditions for Andrew Lloyd-Webber productions and adored them, but I’m getting sidetracked by a delineation of the history of my fanatical following of Lloyd-Webber.  I’ll get back to proper writing now!

For my third form prom, I sang The Music of the Night from The Phantom of the Opera and for the reason that it speaks of how music brings a lonely, scarred, incomplete man love, a vocation and a life, I have never found another song to replace it in my heart.  Those lyrics that opened this article are words I long to sing and love to recall when nothing but music for a while (kudos to any music lovers who get that reference!) can soothe my achy, breaky heart.  (I am on fire with these references!).

The lyrics of the entire song are about transcending out of this banal and brutal world to one where fantasies can come to life and you can be who you are, not who you appear to be.  That is my life, through television, through film, through whatever I can find.  My need is to leave Pippa behind and become someone else who can feel love and give love in a world that is not going to find pitchforks and cages with which to punish me for being ugly, for being evil, for being a monster.  For, that is what you become when you fall and the run of life leaves you behind because no one living, who runs away from death and towards life itself, remembered to look for you or reach for your hand to save you, who are forced to begin the long march to death.  You become a monster and a beast with no salvation other than that you search and yearn for beyond this life and away from this earth that has forsaken you.

reaching-out-300x196LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman



The End of the Beginning

I’m going to do a couple of posts over the next few days centering around specific moments of psychological breakdowns since I have started attending the University of Exeter continuing until the present.  Have no fear of being exposed to every deep, dark and dirty moment from the past three years; I am simply planning to lay out my rock bottom moments, one for each year.  I believe they might be good indicators of how the disorders develop and how I dealt with their consequences with an increasing amount of assistance from various university services.

As Maria teaches in “The Sound of Music”, the beginning is ‘a very good place to start’, so let’s commence by returning to a night during the third term of my Fresher’s year when the world began to seriously spin out of control.

A manifestation – the very worst kind – of my social anxiety is hallucination.  It happens but rarely, however, I challenge you to remain calm when see what you think are real shadows coming out of the darkest places of your rather large studio flat to scare and get you.  On one of my many sleepless nights alone in Birks Grange Village, I started to see things and called Estate Patrol when I fled my flat and sought refuge in the cold night (or it might have been early morning by that point) air.

The amazing and compassionate estate patrol people put me back into my room and stayed at my side, first confiscating my kitchen knives, until another wellbeing services worker came to talk me down and sit with me until dawn.

During the time she sat with me, I managed to self-soothe…eventually and regain my self-control.  She even helped me get back outside as I had not left my flat for a week and that entails only eating Domino’s pizza (imagine how much I was spending) and not being able to face leaving to take my rubbish outside, so also image the state of the place, though to be honest, you may not wish to.

Where some people have brilliant experiences in student halls, I did not.  It was not through any out-of-character behaviour of the people I shared the corridor with, it was more that I did not make a good and sociable first impression and that my room was right at the end of the corridor and not at the door end, which would have been helpful!  It meant that I had to walk the length of the corridor to get out and the other occupants of the first floor preferred to stand or sit in the corridor and socialise.  The sitting was fine though it meant I would stay in my room, but the standing on either side, something I came to call ‘forming the gauntlet’ as I am a fan of C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower series, was petrifying for me.  It felt like I was being constricted and watched by them and I knew they were all friends as they got up to some loud and drunken games during the night most nights of the week, so it was pretty difficult to take for a quiet, isolated girl.

So, you can see just through what I experienced culminating in that night in my first year that not only is depression expensive and results in an incredibly unhealthy way of living but also that with help (and admitting to begin with that you require it!) the cycle of self-loathing, fear and denial can be broken.

Before I wrap this up for today, I would just like to praise the university’s Estate Patrol for rescuing me and knowing how to deal with me properly.  The lady who came to see me was part of the university’s emergency response team, but I don’t recall what division specifically, but whatever category they fall under, they do brilliant and crucial work in and around the campus.  She was the one who told me to get an appointment with the best doctor I’ve ever seen and continue to see at the Student Health Centre and even came with me to my first appointment, so I really do owe every positive step I’ve made since that horrific night to that woman, Estate Patrol and my doctor.

Thank you for reading!

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman