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Authors: Trisha Cull

Tags: #Memoir, #Mental Illness, #Substance Abuse, #Journal

The Death of Small Creatures

BOOK: The Death of Small Creatures
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The Death of Small Creatures

The Death
Small Creatures

Trisha Cull

Nightwood Editions |

Copyright © Trisha Cull, 2015

all rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without prior permission of the publisher or, in the case of photocopying or other reprographic copying, a licence from Access Copyright, the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency,
[email protected]

Nightwood Editions

P.O. Box 1779

Gibsons, BC V0N 1V0


Typography & Cover design:
Carleton Wilson

Cover Image:
Benson Kua

Nightwood Editions acknowledges financial support from the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and from the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council and the Book Publisher's Tax Credit.

This book has been produced on 100% post-consumer recycled, ancient-forest-free paper, processed chlorine-free and printed with vegetable-based dyes.

Printed and bound in Canada.

library and archives canada cataloguing in publication

Cull, Trisha, 1974-, author

The death of small creatures / Trisha Cull.

Issued in print and electronic formats.

ISBN 978-0-88971-307-9 (pbk.).--ISBN 978-0-88971-041-2 (html)

1. Cull, Trisha, 1974- --Mental health. 2. Depressed persons--

Canada--Biography. 3. Bulimia--Patients--Canada--Biography.

I. Title.

RC537.C84 2015 616.85'270092 C2015-901140-X


Caravaggio and Marcello: for sunshine and clover—I dedicate this book to you.


Thank you, my
mother, for your strength, gentleness and grace.

Sandy: for your moonlit porch, basil from your garden, and your open doors.

My family: for your fortitude and the beauty of your frailty.

Dr. P: for your graciousness, wisdom and candour; for allowing me my enchantments.

Anna: for night walks and strange trees that smell of vanilla, though we'll never know why.

Krista: for your willingness to lose our friendship in order to save it.

Caroline: for your force of nature.

Fiona: for being the first to listen.

Dr. W: for going the distance.

Richard: because I love you.

Silas White: for helping me to see the finer details and bigger picture.

Andreas Schroeder: for being the first to make me feel like a real writer.

Also to Richard for baring your soul by allowing me to share your emails, and to Dr. P for the use of your clinical notes.

I love you as the plant that never blooms

but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;

– Pablo Neruda, “Love Sonnet XVII”


October 10, 2008

Saw Dr. Lohrasbe today after a two-week lapse of not seeing her, due to scheduling issues. She had some news for me, not sure what to make of it.

Last week I had an EEG. Electroencephalogram.

Dr. L told me that my first EEG results were abnormal, that they may have found something on my frontal lobe. She has referred me to a neurologist, who will presumably do some tests to determine the neurological significance of this thing that may or may not be on my frontal lobe. I am not especially alarmed. I wonder if I should be. Is it a coincidence that I've been getting pangs of pain in my head lately? She said that had my old doctor continued to increase my dosage of Effexor, I may well have had a seizure.

October 10, 2008 (
second entry of the day

I'm flying right now. This is possibly the highest high of my so-called hypomanias thus far. Whatever it is that first compelled me to seek medical treatment (I was depressed and not sleeping and kind of agoraphobic and utterly gripped with anxiety) is definitely evolving into something more serious. I feel it happening.

Sometimes there is a black hole, this surrealism. How stark and strange the world feels at times. At its worst, you feel like you are going to die. This proclamation of death seems to be very typical when one is in that state of severe depression. It's called impending doom. There's a common thread between people who end up there, or rather
, severely depressed, wherein they all assert this notion of imminent death.

You just know.

I tell my husband, Leigh: “You don't understand. I'm not just sad. I'm sick.”

Everything feels ultra-real right now.

I feel a red metal wheel spinning inside my head. There's that thing I referred to in my last entry, just sitting there in my brain, perhaps. It's like I can see it. It's a little white cloud. It's just a little white cloud.

October 22, 2008

I'm eating and keeping it down again, feeling gluttonous. I have never been a skinny bulimic. I feel the nutrients in my blood too. There's colour in my cheeks. My gut is heavy but I can climb stairs.

I will be starting a part-time job at Royal Roads University, in the library, weekends only. I need to enter back into civilization at some point.

I have another appointment with Dr. L tomorrow morning. I will stay with her until I find someone else. I had a prescription refilled at a walk-in clinic yesterday. The doctor (whom I later saw pull out in a BMW) prescribed more Seroquel and asked, “So this program is working for you then?”

“This program?” I said. “Well no, actually it's not. I'm thinking of getting a new psychiatrist.”

He said, “I wouldn't do that. Good psychiatrists are hard to find in this town.”

For all he knows, my current psychiatrist could be prescribing me crystal meth. He knows nothing about me or my current shrink, so advising me to stay with one shrink because there are apparently so many other inept shrinks is setting the bar pretty low.

“I'll give it some thought,” I said.

I have an appointment with the neurologist on November 4 to determine the medical relevance of the spot on my frontal lobe.

October 24, 2008

I am weary, exhausted. I am the high-pitched ting of a triangle: the inner vertices, that tiny space in which to rest, “the point where the axis of an ellipse intersects a curve.” I resonate within myself, angular, silvery, a tuning fork yearning for a more precise approximation of the note it is destined to equal, but never will. I am the divining rod dowsing for water, the electromagnetic field between the opposing branches of that V.

Negative space is relevant.

I feel my forehead pulled toward the magnetic earth as if there is a metal plate in my head. The depression squeezes my throat, digs in, presses me earthward. I am conjuring a great tumour, but cannot take myself that seriously. I hear Arnold Schwarzenegger saying, “It's nodda tuma.”

Spent hours today and this evening looking for a lost or missing cat, the stray who has for the past four months taken up residence on my sister's porch. We have been feeding him, laying him to bed in a large empty flower box, with blankets and a hot water bottle, while we look for a home for him. We cannot take him inside because my sister already has two cats and a rabbit, and of course I have two rabbits, plus Leigh is allergic to cats. We walked around quiet streets in the darkness, under lamplight, strolling down sidewalks under great red leaves ticking on the undersides of branches, red maples, about to fall from the brittle cusps, the nodes—which have been the supple umbilical for the green summer leaves—now dying.

A perfect autumn night on the island; if only the circumstances were better. We both ached inside, longed for this cat—to find him, to have him come bounding from someone's yard or from under a hedge, for him to find us and stop our aching.

We call him Easy Boy.

I'm hampered by this notion of returning to work, and back in an office, a library. I have to do it, but it feels completely impossible.

Fighting with Leigh. Why do I again feel like a zero in this relationship? Is it just me, my self-esteem issues, or the bipolar, or is there a genuine manipulation going on, Leigh deliberately devaluing me? Or more likely, all of the above?

Sometimes I think I just want to leave him so I can fall in love again, start over, as if it boils down to just wanting to feel that rush again.

BOOK: The Death of Small Creatures
3.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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