INTUNE: Finding the Secret Passage in My House

I am inside my head and there is nothing but dark, it is like a maze and I am trying desperately to escape but I seem to be going round in circles

I do not panic as I know this place really well as I have been visiting it since I was nine years old.

I hate this place as sometimes I take a wrong turn and move further into the maze that is very dark. I stumble and fall. I crash around blindly for what seems like an age.

Just sometimes my flailing arms locate a new passage, a new avenue to follow, a new path to follow. Or occasionally the moon rises high enough through the trees to light my way for a short while before a cloud comes over and covers the moon again.

I begin to slowly move in a direction as if feeling along a floor looking for the hidden switch for the giant red arrow to appear above the maze along with the flashing lights that spell out the words THIS WAY., to simplify my way through this dark maze.

Sometimes it feels like if I go the wrong way the width of the maze gets small and I feel a weight on my shoulders holding me back, making my journey more difficult and taking my energy from me, until sometimes I need to just lie down and sleep for a while.

I have the guide books for how to get out of this place, called Solution Focused brief therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy but sometimes the maze is so dark I can’t read them. Occasionally when my eyes get used to the lack of light, or my energy increases after a short rest, I can read a little or I remember passages that I have read before and I get off the floor and try to carry on.

I know the maze is inhabited by a large vicious predator that will unexpectedly jump out and push me to the ground, it will attack me and throw me like a doll. It shreds the pages of my guide books making them difficult to read, any resistance to the predator or fighting the predator takes all my energy.

I have several pillars that act to push the narrow maze apart and give me some relief from the constant pressure. My first pillar is my computer it allows me to write. Writing gives me hope of actually finding the light switch but occasionally the lack of light make it difficult to type, and the pressure from the narrow path takes my energy. My second pillar is my pills, but they don’t help me find the light they give me strength to keep searching. They are like an energy drink to get me up and running again after a fight with the predator. Then there is my wife Tracey who is always there urging me on, telling me to keep going, she tries to force the maze wide open but she is not sure of the way and even when her arms are tired she still tries to help.

Sometimes the red light flickers on, but this is briefly and never bright enough to illuminate the whole of my passage never enough to make it out easily. This can happen when my mother puts some money in the electricity meter which lights my way, and occasionally I use the money to buy new shoes or better equipment but it is amazing how quickly this money runs out.

Sometimes when I stumble and fall heavily I search and find a guide, they counsel me, nurse my bruised heart and put me on the right path. They also illuminate the way forward but they only ever get me back on my feet. There are so many people that need a new passage like me that before long the counsellor guide has to dash off and help some-one else who has fallen. They only seem to have enough time to repair the damage from my latest fall, they can never take me closer to the way I need to be. They do an amazing job, excuse the pun but they don’t have the energy or the time because of the sheer number of people who need help.

There are others who help me but there are others who refuse to help me, they have the money to pay for the light but they keep it to themselves. They have the knowledge to show me the way out but they are very picky who they help.

I carry with me a pile of paper that with the right spark would not only illuminate the whole of my world but also create a beacon by which a number of people can see by. It is a pile of paper that I know is beautiful and will burn brightly and make enough money to light the passages of many people but the directors sit in their big offices at the top of ivory towers in the heart of London and they refuse to give me a spark to help put light in my passage. I hammer on their doors and shout for them to open the door so I can talk to them, sadly the door can only be opened by an agent. I then go across the corridor to where the agents live but they slam their doors and refuse to open them unless a director has given permission to light my pile of papers. Up along the passage in my gloom I see other people carrying two, three or four piles of papers. One of their piles of paper is already alight providing those people with more than enough light. Their papers are of poor quality but because they are friends with the agents and the directors they know the secret knock so that the doors are never closed to them.

I occasionally meet people along the passage who feel that they may be able to get me into the director’s office but they are only being nice and helpful and they care but they never seem to know the codes to get me inside the doors. Eventually I get tired of knocking on doors that won’t open and go in search of another route.

But with my computer, my pills and my wife supporting me I know that I will find a small spark to light the pile of papers on which to guide me out of the maze.

Peter Conlin