A world of sensory input hurtling at you. An overload of experiences, bombardment by the environment. Filter your perceptions, categorize and divide and conquer. Organize information so as not to be overwhelmed...all well and good.

As time goes on, grow accustomed to a certain group of stimuli, and when you find that there are aspects of reality that fall too far outside your own self-maintained universe, you fall back on the familiar. There is safety in order.

"I will be alright if I can just get up, do what I have to do, and come home and manage my daily affairs. If my routine is maintained, then I can cope."

It grows, though, as time passes. Chaos looms; you stave it off through ritual.

"Everything will be alright, if I can just wash the dishes and clean the kitchen. I will keep this room in order, I will fight off entropy in this microcosm."

The illusion of control. Control your self, your room, your house, your day, and thusly control your life and that monster they still dare to call reality. That is not reality; reality is what you can place both hands on and move from one location to another.

The compulsions stem from fear. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: ease your anxiety, lightswitch, on-off-on-off-on-off. Tap the doorknob.

Would you like to know how to retain your sanity? I will tell you. Watch the same movie, read the same book, listen to the same song, visit the same place, at certain points in time, repeatedly. Re-arrange your furniture, again. Pace, in the dark. Ingest harmful substances. Never sleep. Starve yourself. Draw long red lines with a kitchen knife along your skin. Deprive yourself of things, overindulge in something, stay away, be constantly involved, lock yourself away and don't speak to people for days.

Your habits are your blinders and your armor. Your compulsions are your last line of defense.

Anything to maintain what you would hope was your equilibrium. Anything to shut the world out, to keep it at bay, to distance yourself from all those things that you cannot subjugate.

I am not crazy, this is how I deal.

We stare blankly at the same computer screens that we spent all of yesterday staring at.

We sit in class, or at work, or around our family without taking any of it all in, without realizing just how lucky we are to have it.

We stick to schedules because we fear what will happen if we don't.

We keep life in the monotone until one day we need to just feel alive. At that point we run across the freeway. Or breakup with the love of our lives.

We change our diets because to us that could make all the difference.

We do our very best to keep the love that we have for people hidden, because we'd rather not know if it's unrequited.

We take drugs in a vain attempt to connect with something.

We spend so much time trying to chase happiness that we can't even recognize that we already have it.

Going off into the night;
riding my bike
and telling myself it isn't that cold.

Grabbing my keys and
heading out.
Driving on mountain roads too fast.

Lighting a match
and watching it burn.
Blowing it out just before it starts to hurt.

Sleeping for 12 hours a day.
Reading for 12 hours a day.
Eating once.

Telling myself everything is okay.

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