Update From the Home Asylum

It’s been a little over ten days since the crack from reality. I’m calmer now. It’s not over. It’s never over. But I’m able to read in the mornings, which is a very good sign. I’m into Yusef Komunyakaa’s collection of poetry, Neon Vernacular, which I highly recommend. Incredible Vietnam War poems, and his syntax sings.

I feel fairly stable, until around three pm, when the unease comes on. That’s much better than last week, when the dread waited for me at dawn. The moment I opened my eyes, it was there, hovering over me. That’s not happening now, though I stay under the blankets a long time before starting the day. And, that’s fine.

I’m calmer now, because the home became the asylum. It’s just that simple. Yesterday, for instance. The internet went down. The new modem wasn’t working. I started hitting my forehead with the base of my palms. David took over, called Spectrum, figured it out for me.

Ours is a fairly tranquil home (when I’m stable, which, most of the time, I am). We like one another’s company. When all four kids are in town, they make sure to have a siblings’ day together, hiking, or dinner and a movie. They love one another. I can’t tell you how great a treasure that is to me.

Michelle has made comfort food all week. She shows her love in hot dishes, chocolate coffee cake. We talk a lot. She’s in Iowa now, celebrating her father’s birthday. That’s good, she needs the break.

I’m able to write. That’s good. That’s very good. Not much, maybe thirty, forty minutes a day, just enough to write this blog post. After that, the words break apart and the mania rises. I know the pattern–a little at a time. If we all follow the plan, I’ll come out of this fine. We all will.

I start classes next week. Mount St. Mary’s University here in L.A. is my second home. My bosses know about my sickness and struggles. They are amazing, they’ve given me two decades of support. The fact that it’s a women’s university, and also run by women, plays into that. Women are much more just than men.

And the students—on Tuesday, we’ll begin a semester-long discussion on literature and creative writing. I could be deep in the butt-hole of The Dark Place, and if you start a conversation with me about poetry or a novel, I’ll crawl out of that ass long enough to hold the liveliest of conversations with you.

I wish to keep writing here, about this illness and the past shadows that made it metastasize. If it gets rough, if focusing on these subjects makes me brittle, I’ll pull back. But, for some reason, I want to do this. I’m not as afraid as I once was. I can’t quite tell you why.



8 responses to “Update From the Home Asylum”

  1. tonyroberts Avatar

    Marcos, keep writing! As one who has bipolar as well, I can testify how therapeutic it is.

    I hope all goes well in school.

  2. Gaile Avatar

    You are a strong person to share your struggles, and a great writer and teacher who inspires countless students in your classroom. Be gentle with yourself in the dark place; the light will come again.

    1. Marcos McPeek Villatoro Avatar
      Marcos McPeek Villatoro

      Thanks so much for those kind words!

  3. Melissa Avatar

    I’ll see you Tuesday!

  4. Renee Moreno Avatar
    Renee Moreno

    Sending my love! You are one of my favorite people in the whole world!

    1. Marcos McPeek Villatoro Avatar
      Marcos McPeek Villatoro

      Oh my goodness, you just made my day!

  5. Kim Askew Avatar
    Kim Askew

    Sending you strength and hope, Marcos. I’ll never forget the care you put into reading my work and Leah’s in our tiny class of two. Your thoughtful responses and encouragement have made me a better writer and a braver person.

    1. Marcos McPeek Villatoro Avatar
      Marcos McPeek Villatoro

      Such a blast from the past, Kim! Wonderful to hear from you, and thanks much for your words. This blog is directed to all my students, past, present & future, so it’s always a delight to hear from them. I hope you’re well.

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