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.


I’m at the CVS pharmacy where I’ve just placed my prescription refill order. While I wait I start browsing the magazines in the news stand. I lightly touch the magazines with the grand food recipes that are beyond my capability at this point: simple spring salads, easter ham, easy spring slow cooker suppers. Yes, these are easy recipes, recipes for the masses. All I can do is look at them longingly and dream of a day when I will be able to do something simple like throw a few ingredients into a slow cooker for dinner. Before you even get to the point of putting ingredients into a slow cooker you have to have the wherewithal to plan for that, make a list, get yourself to a grocery store, shop, and then come home and put all of those ingredients away.

That same morning I woke up with a splitting headache, and the floaty feeling that glues me to my bed. I roll out to go to the bathroom, and nearly trip over my own legs because I am so wobbly from the floatiness. I tell myself, “It’s Sunday. Don’t lose the day. Get dressed now. Go to the diner. Now. Do it now.” But no, the floatiness takes over, the world fades out, and I fall back into bed again. Somehow I find my phone on the nightstand with one hand by just feeling around for it. I call Doc, get his voicemail and leave a message. After some period of time I can’t quantify, I go in the closet to get some clothes. I find some clothes, and then fall into bed again from the exhaustion and floatiness. I now have clothes. I just have to get out of my pajamas and put them on. The phone rings. It’s Doc. We do the Emotional Freedom Technique together on the phone. I tap the appropriate points on my head, face, hands, and torso while I repeat after him, “Even though, even though I am scared and I don’t know why, I deeply, and completely love and accept myself.” We go through this again and again and again. Finally, I am able to stand without feeling wobbly. I am able to get out of my pajamas, put my clothes on, and gather my things to go to the diner for breakfast. I woke up at 9:05 a.m. It is now 11:15 a.m.

I head to the Okayish, Yet Preferred Diner. There was another diner I used to patronize on Sunday, the High Quality, Yet Gruff Diner. At High Quality they do things like make a Spinach Chicken Kabob Salad with dried cranberries, walnuts, blue cheese, grape tomatoes, and homemade greek dressing. Then there’s the crazily awesome homemade macaroni and cheese where they make their own superb cheese sauce, and it shows. However, at High Quality they do not treat you well if you are a solo diner. Even with empty booths in the diner they will insist you eat at the counter. But at the counter, people line up to pay their bill or pick up their takeout. Inevitably, I have people leaning over me as they wait for their takeout orders. I start to feel floaty when this happens. Having people in my personal space makes me shaky.

At Okayish you have to know what NOT to order. Here’s an easy rule. Never order soup there. I think they come prefab from some company. I once ordered Manhattan Clam Chowder that just seemed off. I ate so little of it they took it off my bill. One other time I thought I would try soup again, and I ordered Matzo Ball Soup. It was a vessel of liquid salt with a tint of yellow and a mediocre Matzo ball in the middle. So, yes, no soup. While we are on the Never Evers, never order any pastries here. I think they keep them in the pastry case to the point that they may be ready for shellacking for permanent keep. And don’t dream of the Buffalo Chicken sandwich. It’s just two frozen chicken fingers fried with some buffalo sauce inside a hamburger bun with a sprinkle of blue cheese. They do better with things they actually cook and prepare themselves, such as omelets, pancakes or waffles. They even know how to make excellent home fries, potatoes perfectly cooked, nicely seasoned with salt and pepper and crispiness here and there throughout.

But, the people who work at Okayish are some of the nicest around. Every time I eat someplace with better food I miss these guys. Just a few weeks ago, I was reading McCarthy’s Bar: A Journey of Discovery in Ireland while dining at Okayish when I started laughing right out loud as I was reading the book. The waitstaff wanted to know what I was reading. One waitress said to me, “I want to laugh too! What book is that?” On a recent Sunday the only available table was a small table wedged between two large tables. It was not an ideal place to be seated. The owner said, “I’m sorry, honey. It’s all I have.” I said that I was just glad to be seated. Then a booth cleared up after I placed my order, and they immediately moved me into the booth. I didn’t even ask to be moved. My favorite waiter, Chris, will tease me if I miss a Sunday, and he’ll say, “Cheating on us with another diner, are you?” One of these days I might be bold enough to say, “I got crazy and actually wanted some great diner food, but I always miss you guys.”

But, that was the morning. The diner outing is past, and now I loiter in the pharmacy wanting a reason to stay longer. I wander the aisles, but I have no need for anything else no matter how hard I look. I’ve already opened every greeting card that plays sound just to have something to do, and for the faint chance that Hoops & Yoyo would cheer me up. There is no need for anything else in this store. The prescription is ready. It’s time to go home.

24 hours later life feels less daunting …

There is no explanation for this. I woke up this morning, and I was able to get out of bed without feeling glued to it. I don’t think I did anything differently to make this happen. I think was able to fall asleep easier because I went on a two mile walk. Today I went on a 3 mile walk, and I’m even better for it. The weather was great, and it didn’t trigger me. What a beautiful thing!

I was going to do some work I brought home, but I decided not to because it’s been such a good day, and I want to enjoy it through and through. Such good days are rare, and I decided to just enjoy it to the very end, and so I did.

It’s so odd to me that today was so different because my life is still the same as it was yesterday. I’m still largely alone, and lonely. I’m still dissociative and over weight and in an apartment that is not as put-away as I would like it to be. All these things are still status quo, but the different thing was my brain today. Today my brain was my friend, and didn’t freak or want the world to end, or some other thing that wouldn’t be a good idea.

Today was a good day. If only I could bottle it for the bad days.