Serrated teeth in the brain. Tissue melting, oozing like wax, reforming into monstrous masses of indeterminate shape. Painful stalactites that join forces to torment me into complete and final submission.

The wind growls as it rolls in through the fog. I flinch, though I can imagine no greater cross than I already bear. It’s the magnitude of it, perhaps. The implied cosmic grandeur. But it stops short of blasting me, and instead approaches with measured caution.

It circles around me, picking up rotten leaves as it goes, creating a costume for itself so that it might take form. Costume is the only form, it whispers. The calmness of that soft voice – its unexpected cradling – placates my searing mind.

In its new form the wind is something akin to a mother bear rising from hibernation. I, therapist, it says. Gently, so gently, it uses makeshift paws [pores] to massage my temples. Brace yourself.


Something begins to dislodge, like a tooth wriggling free of the jaw. The pain sharpens then concedes to a tingling, hopeful ache. I raise my hand to touch the wound, and for the first time I feel what it is that ails me. I feel the bear trap.

Startled and retching, I stagger. Clutch my [snapped] mind. My mind, which I thought perfectly true, perfectly loving and my only ally, has been keeping things from me. It has split itself in two so that I have one clean half – blind to the trap, blind to what laid it – and one truthful half, abandoned and screaming.

The wind, still dressed as a creature, strengthens now. It surrounds me, grasps the trap, and pulls. And all at once, it’s out. Where there was – for 30 years – rusted metal and infection, now there is only a river of blood and tears. Relief and clarity. Understanding.

The bear dissolves, its work done, and blows away on the wind.


I’m walking in black doc martens with my hands in the pockets of a long, wool coat. My head is freshly shaven, my gait is uneven. I look more like my kin than ever before, and yet I’m completely at peace with it. The dark side has begun to thaw. In myself I see my death, and I see what has been hidden from me by the power of its own will. Mort, my tormentor, my protector, my friend.

Header Image by Mahdi Bafande via Unsplash

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