INTUNE book cover

INTUNE: Labyrinth

I am inside my head. There is nothing but dark, it is like a maze and I am trying to escape but I go round in circles. I do not panic as I know this place well having visitied it since I was nine years old. I hate this place. Sometimes I take a wrong turn and move further into the maze. I crash around blindly for what seems like an age. Sometimes my flailing arms locate a new passage to follow. Or occasionally the moon rises high enough through the trees to light my way before a cloud comes over and covers the moon again.
I move slowly in a direction as if feeling along a floor looking for the hidden switch for the giant red arrow to appear above me with flashing lights that spell out the words THIS WAY.
The width of the maze gets narrower. I feel a weight on my shoulders, making my journey more difficult and taking my energy from me, until sometimes I need to just lie down and sleep.
I have 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 remember passages I’ve read before. 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, attack me and throw me like a doll. It shreds the pages of my guide books. Any resistance to the predator takes all my energy.
I have several pillars that act to push the narrow maze apart and give me relief from the constant pressure. My first pillar is my computer, it allows me to write. Writing gives me hope of finding the light switch but occasionally the lack of light makes it difficult to type. My second pillar are my pills; they don’t help me find the light, they give me strength to keep searching. 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 but even when her arms are tired she still tries to help.
Sometimes the red light flickers on, briefly but never bright enough to illuminate the whole of the passage. 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 better equipment but this money runs out.
Sometimes when I 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 pathway that before long the counsellor guide has to dash off and help some-one else who has fallen. They only have enough time to repair the damage from my latest fall and never take me closer to the way out. They do an amazing job, but they don’t have the resources because of the sheer number of people who need help.
While some help others who refuse. They have the knowledge to show me the way out but they are very picky.
I carry a pile of paper that with the right spark could lluminate the whole of my world and create a beacon by which others can see by. It is a beautiful pile of paper I know will burn brightly enough to light these passages but the directors sit in their big offices at the top of ivory towers and refuse to give me a spark. I hammer 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 gloomy corridor I see other people carrying two, three or four piles of papers. One of their piles of paper is already burning 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.
Occasionally I meet people who may be able to get me into the director’s office but they are only being nice but 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