Romantic Landscape: Going Mad in the Eternal City


“For a minute I even laugh because it all makes so much fucking sense. The dysphoria, the uncontrollable crying, the relapsing and remitting feeling of not being all the way in my body, the horrible nightmares, that odd opiate-dazed sensation, a kind of nauseated, glassy-eyed delirium. It all fits. God, but I’m a throwback. Pharmacological meltdown? Nonsense! I’m a Romantic!”

Originally posted on Longreads Blog:

How terrifying. I’m glad you’re recovering, I write back. I’m at a dinner party in Rome and I think I’m having some kind of breakdown. I’m scared. I’m not sure who I am anymore and I don’t have a concussion to blame it on. Or Percodan. Can you email Percodan?

Sounds like we’re in the same place, he writes back. But listen: I know who you are. You are passionate and joyful. Try not to be scared. That is not your true nature.

It hits me like a slap that if my husband has ever said anything like that to me, I cannot remember it. That in fact his last words to me were along the lines of “You think you’re so put together and you don’t even see yourself. You’re a fucking trainwreck.” And that mine to him were “Thanks. Happy anniversary: enjoy your celibacy.”

I turn…

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