This piece took more time, effort and thought - than any piece I've done so far. From the moment I recognized the Speed Freak behavior of a servo arm randomly moving rapidly about to the completion of the editing of the video of the finished piece almost took over six week. And during those siix plus weeks, several days or even a week would go by when I never left the house in order to work on the piece. There were periods when I went at it for 20 straight hours, getting a few hours of restless sleep while ideas spun in my head, then getting up and doing another 12 hours. I'd notice that I'd be grinding my teeth, clenching my jaw, that my shoulders and neck were tight, minor things would become major irritants and my patience with others was almost non existent. A ringing phone would be a catastrophic interruption to a brilliant idea I had - and lost - because of a phone call. It would be almost midnight when I realized that I hadn't eaten anything in nearly 24 hours.
I was was becoming a speed freak - without the use of speed!
That's when I stopped work on this piece and went visiting friends, having friends over and spending time with my grand kids - a week long Mental Health Break. I could do that.
Speed Freaksdon't get Mental Health Breaks. They've used up all their "straight" friends and family and are trapped in a world of other users - and dealers - a world of users and abusers, predators and prey, a world of survival, not living, a world of avoidance, denial and escape.
Yet even speed freaks have moments of lucidity - when they realize this is no way to live. Some then take their own life to end their misery But some reach out for help - and find - no helping hand - no where to go for help - no way out of their Speed Freak World.
Now many will say - You Made Your Bed, Now Lay In It. JUST QUIT USING DRUGS! Lock 'Em Up And Throw Away The Key.
Well here are some things those folks should know.
There's an area of the brain that weighs risks - Should I Or Shouldn't I. When an idea pops into our heads, it's run through this part of the brain BEFORE being acted on. This part of the brain isn't fully functional until about the age of 20 to 23, which is why kids and teens often do stupid, dangerous things. And even when it IS functional - it can be disabled.
You've heard the phrases Love Struck, Head Over Heels In Love, Love Crazy, Fell In Love? How about Blinded By Love?
What is actually being described is an effect of infatuation - derived from the latin word infatuat -"made foolish", lacking in good sense or judgement. "Love" temporarily changes how the brain works. It significantly reduces - or disables - communication between the "risk evaluation" area of the brain and the rest of the brain. Good judgement, when it comes to The Loved One, gets turned off or powered WAY down - for up to a year or so. There's a very good reason for LONG engagements - time for your "head to clear".
ONE of the things most addictive drugs do is disable the rest of the brain's connection to the "risk evaluation / judgement" part of the brain. Speed disables that connection almost as quickly as Crack Cocaine. And once the disconnect occurs, the drug user is INCAPABLE OF evaluatIing the risk of the consequences of continuing to use the drug. The impulse to use the drug happens - and whatever it takes to take the drug again is pursued - single mindedly - until it is acquired and used. There IS no Jimminy Cricket warning the addict, no LIttle Voice counseling against using the drug. WANT IT - GET IT - USE IT, that's it. NOTHING else matters - not friends, not family, not even self preservation instincts will break the WANT IT - GET IT - USE IT viscous cycle. Once the cylcle begins, only total abstinence - for SIX MONTHS or more - will permit the brain to rewire - to reconnect the Risk Evaluation area of the brain.
Even when the brain IS working normally again - many of the deferred / blocked out effects of the drug abuse come rushing back - the physical effects - tooth aches from long neglect of basic hygiene, joint aches and sore muslces from being overused and abused - AND all the emotional consequences of drug abuse - guilt, sadness, shame, anxiety, hurt, pain. They're all still there - only now they WILL be felt. And without a lot of help to learn how to deal with all that - coping skills - participation in support groups - positive connections with other people and activities - it's RELAPSE TIME - back into The Pit.
This piece is meant to be disturbing - to grab your attention - and make you uncomfortable
I've shown this piece to about 20 people and described the piece to a dozen more. Almost to a person, each had a story about a friend or relative or loved one who had or has a drug problem - and the grief that problem wrought on others who cared about the addict / abuser. And all agreed that it would be far better to make On Demand Drug Rehabilitiation Treatment available - than to send addicts to prison - or have them die - or cause someone else to die.
My hope is that this piece disturbs - and provokes conversation - and perhaps action - to get On Demand Drug Rehabilitation Treatment one day closer to actually being available.
"What you do to the least of Mine - you do to Me." Mathew 25:41-46
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