and there’s the sun …

I walked into my apartment mid-afternoon with groceries, the bright sun shining through the sliding glass doors in the living room caught me by surprise. I stopped in my tracks, and braced for the floaty feeling because, in the past, the sun shining brightly into my apartment would send me into dissociative floaty oblivion. Usually, on the weekend, I don’t even arrive back home until well into the evening to prevent myself from losing large swaths of time at home. I stood there, afraid for a bit that it was a mistake to come home so early. Instead, the dissociative floats decided to take a vacation as they were notably absent.

Somehow, I’ve turned a corner. This weekend I did not lose time. I was not glued to my bed upon waking, and the all too familiar foggy and floaty state was not present. I have few answers or clues for the change. About midweek I started making future plans. I can’t recall the last time I’ve done that. The challenges I’ve faced the last few years have narrowed my scope in such a way that I lived moment by moment, hour by hour, and day by day. Such a necessary way of life put future planning out of my line of sight. I didn’t even realize this until I started planning for my future this weekend.

Prior to this weekend, I devoted all of my energy to simply moving from point A to point B, and all along the arduous task of moving between points I would implore my system to keep going just one more day. The effort to continue had to be broken down into discrete steps; otherwise, I likely would have been unable to function at even the minimal level I struggled to produce.

There were a few moments this weekend where I felt the floats wanting to get back into my head. I managed to trudge through them. Why couldn’t I plow through them in the past as I did this weekend? I do not know the answer to that question. What I do know is that I sat on the couch with the sun streaming in, and I remember every moment of it.

Try To Put Yourself Back Together Day

Yesterday, the day after the day where you were most afraid the worst could happen, was Try To Put Yourself Back Together Day. On Try To Put Yourself Back Together Day you wake up, and your body feels like cardboard that will not bend or yield. Somehow, you find a dress and some sandals. And look at that! You even found a cardigan. Hold on a minute … must shower, and so you do, for the bare minimum amount of time to be considered clean. Now you can pull on the dress, fall into the sandals, and pull on the cardigan with a double check to make sure it is not on inside-out. Oh, yes, don’t forget to twist your hair up into a a hair clip.

Mercifully, your day at work is a half day. You get through it, actually it’s a strange godsend to go to work. You love the feeling of semi-normality as you discuss the performance evaluation of an employee with a supervisor. Inside you are internally incredulous. “How is it that I can do this? I look and sound normal, and even get the job done well, but the deepest inside of me is in dissociative hell.”

A few more emails to answer at your desk, and you then head out for the day. You head to a coffee shop to take a final exam online. Done. But then you realize that you have to go home, and you feel yourself start to slip away again. You call your friend, David, and he invites you to come over to his place. He reminds you that you need to eat something, so you stop at the bakery to get half priced baked goods since it’s closing time for them. You get a quiche for yourself, a cinnamon roll for him, and vanilla pound cake just to have on hand.

He saved a George Lopez HBO comedy special for you on his DVR months ago for an occasion just like this. You watch it in that sleepy, drifty mode of yours that feels almost like drunken sleep. In that sleepy state you hear “órale! órale!” from the television screen. It’s George’s forever rallying cry. But, you don’t quite drift off because David has it in his head to show you this week’s episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, which thrills you because, not having HBO, you’ve not had opportunity to ever see it. You drift off as one of your personal heroes, Simone Campbell, of Nuns on the Bus, is on the show. Such sweet serendipity.

You wind up falling asleep there for the night. Somehow the sofa bed is rolled out, and you wake up with sheets and a blanket on you.

The ick of a nasty nonsensical nightmare with a kidnapping, a helmet, and a roaring train wakes you up with a start. David hears you wake up from his bedroom. He comes out to cut up the vanilla pound cake for your breakfast. He serves you seltzer that is at least two years old because he cannot waste anything.

After all these years, you never really paid any attention to his sound system. He starts to explain to you the intricacies of 5.1 surround sound. You ask to listen to some classical music to try out the sound system, and you find a Weber symphony by the London Classical Players. And it sounds pristine. You would have paid admission for that lovely sound. Later on, he further shows off the surround sound by showing you the sound quality with a game of quidditch from the first Harry Potter movie. He tries to convince you that Star Wars is best for the sound system, but Star Wars always bored you.

But when he’s done he is done, and you get the idea that it is time to leave. After all, you did spend the night. You are still in the same clothes from yesterday. You find a hair band, and you put your hair up. You can tell that you are sweaty, and could use a shower, but you are afraid to go home and lose time. Home is such a black hole of lost time for you. You drive to the tea shop, and order a Matcha Green Tea Latte with Coconut Milk, and the paradox of sitting there with that fancy drink in day old sweaty clothes, and a greasy face is a tiny scrap of humor in the eternal struggle to not drift away. Looking out the open window of the tea shop with a slight breeze, you then realize that it’s the next day of Try To Put Yourself Back Together Day.

The Floats

The Floats are plaguing me again, that state where my feet feel leaded down walking/trudging through clouds. Today I was at my favorite tea shop, and I made myself sit right in the middle of the shop where the owners could see me because I could feel myself start to disappear, float away. I thought if I put myself in front of people I would, hopefully, be less likely to space out like a zombie with a thousand yard stare. But, still, there I was, floating away, and I would say to myself, “Stay. Stay here. Don’t go.” Sometimes it would work. Other times I just let myself space out.

Earlier in the week, I had an upsetting interaction with someone. I can’t write about the interaction as I’m afraid to get triggered again. But it catapulted me into another time and place with my mother. I was frightened and my entire body shook violently. My head felt like it had been kicked in, and my chest had the sensation that it was closing in on me. I hate that I have moments like this. I look like a freak, and feel like a freak when moments like this happen.

Is this how it will always be for me? Is the idea of recovery just that … an idea, a concept, a fantasy?

Sometimes I feel so strong, and able, and with it. Times like that, I am actually proud of myself. Then there are times like this, where I wonder what the hell I am trying to do with my life. I wonder why I keep trying in the face of all the difficulties.

I have no real answers to those questions, except perhaps I don’t want to miss out if there is a chance to recover.

I’m sitting in that tea shop spaced out, and this elderly woman with a reddish brown cardigan asks me why I’m not sitting in my usual spot. I almost don’t hear her because I’m spaced out. I’m annoyed at first that she is talking to me. She tells me that some people are in her usual spot, the blue chairs (she loves the blue chairs), and she does not like having to sit elsewhere. Somehow I find my voice, and say, “Oh, yes, I’m a creature of habit too. But I decided to mix it up today and sit out here.” And then we start talking about movies, and the fact that we both love the independent theatre in town. She also reads movie reviews before viewing to make sure the movie is not too upsetting or violent. The movie, Blue Jasmine, made us both teary. She asks me to google author Lynda La Plante for her on my phone. We both love police procedurals on tv. And then the place closes down for the night. I pay for my stuff, and leave. I hear her tell the owners, “I sure liked talking to that girl.” I felt the same way talking to her. And that’s why I keep trying, for those small moments that would otherwise not be possible if I gave up. I wish I could have thanked her for helping me fend off The Floats.