Thursday, August 07, 2008

A mind undarkening

I always called Ben, “D.” In my last letter, I told him it stood for “darlin’.” “Darlin’” is my name for people towards whom I feel a rare maternal impulse.

Now and then, while he was online with the blog, before his arrest, we exchanged emails, me pleading with to him to believe he was more than the hallucinations, loneliness, anger and dark fantasies, him assuring me in turn, in his matter-of-fact way, (and in exasperation at my thickness I think) that really he was crazy, totally around the proverbial bend, hopeless. I would write back agreeing with the crazy part. But I was never afraid of Ben. And even when Darkmind was at his darkest, I couldn’t forget his self-honesty, his intelligence, his insight and the compassion he claimed not to feel. The curse and the blessing of Venus in Pisces is that, although you see who people are, you hone in on their possibilities. I’m not sorry to have done that.

And now it’s time to update for those of you who might have read him. I guess it was worse than bad after his arrest. He didn’t really plan on making it through the arrest, matter of fact.

But now, he says, he’s glad he did. After months of near catatonia, not eating, getting crazier and crazier, someone in the justice system realized he was truly ill. As Ben says, in his accustomed cryptic tone, he didn’t know what gave him away – the paranoid tics or the 70 pound weight loss.

He hasn’t been sentenced yet. But he’s been diagnosed and the description, when I check it, fits everything he talked about and couldn't get help for... The visual and auditory hallucinations, the paranoia, the horrifying emotional, uncontrollable mood swings, the lack of sleep – the almost autistic disconnection. If his blog was full of hellish visions, it’s because his chemistry moved him into the heart of the neighborhood. He’s getting anti-depressants and anti-psychotics and therapy now. And he’s glad. He’s glad for the help. Me? I’m over the moon about it.

And he’s still Ben. Or maybe he’s finally Ben. He’s funny and cryptic still – unflinchingly honest. But there’s a little soft showing, somehow. And god, that’s so good to see.

The prosecution isn’t going to cut him any slack. Even with three psychiatrists concurring on his condition they won’t accept “diminished capacity.” But he has no violent criminal record, so I’m hoping, hoping. And I’m asking the universe to give him a chance.