This morning, like many others, I battled with the blanket of dissociation that smothered me:
The world is foggy; the air thick and heavy. My body is weighed down, every movement a challenge – and yet I’m simultaneously light as a feather. Floating. Bobbing. Aimless. Automated and dazed. My head isn’t part of my body and my brain cannot seem to connect to my legs. I am moving but my body doesn’t belong to me. I feel as though I am looking through somebody else’s eye sockets into an alternate reality – but not my own, no… certainly not my own.
I barely even exist: what am I? who am I? how did it get to this point? I cannot make the links between my body, my mind and what lies beyond. I’m having an existential crisis.
My eyes are glazed over and vacant; they stare, piercing the air, but they do not see what lies before them. Colours fade into each other, overlapping and blurring. It takes an extortionate amount of effort to focus my vision effectively. Sounds too are muffled, and though I can hear noise, I cannot compute what it is they are saying. I lose track half way through a sentence, or cannot remember if I am being asked a question or merely given a statement. My own words take longer to evolve and when eventually I manage to utter them, I don’t recognise my voice. (I laughed earlier and almost turned around to find the source because the sound seemed so foreign and unrelated to me.)
The world is in slow-motion and time ceases to be an accurate measure of my “reality”. How long have I been here? Where has the day gone? Each moment moves so painfully slowly and yet the morning seems to have disappeared from my memory. It’s all blank. There is nothing here. I have no substance. There is nothing to me. I can barely lift my body let alone remember what it is I am doing.
Now that the feeling has passed it is a great relief of course, although I am left once again perplexed. And exhausted. Every time I sink into that familiar trance-like state I become so trapped within myself and it’s hard to have faith that the fog will ever lift. It’s been pretty bad the last few days; probably half of my waking hours have been spent feeling dissociated, disorientated or “out of it” at best. To be honest I’m unsure as to the recent trigger(s), although my therapist reckons it may have something to do with all the transitions and losses I’ve experienced lately and my inability to simply *be* with these feelings. If a sensitive system becomes overwhelmed it may simply go into shut down.
Dissociating, although deeply frustrating and oftentimes incredibly scary, also serves this purpose: I don’t have to feel a morsel of my usual (often excruciating) emotional pain when I’m in that sort of mentality. It is an avoidance coping mechanism, and one which my body seems to have perfected over the years.
However dissociation can also be debilitating for me, and just as my pain leads me to question the purpose of my existence, so does the dissociation. When in this state I often ask myself the question: “What’s the point in me being alive if I feel so dead inside?”
I’m working hard with my therapist to try and combat or at least manage whatever is going on within my system during these moments. For the time being, when it does inevitably recur, I have to hold onto the evidence I have that it can and will pass eventually. It’s only when I lose sight of the transient nature of my internal states that I become more vulnerable to giving up the fight.
Luckily I’m not going anywhere for now. I may be fed up, but I’m still fighting, still trudging, still finding my way through the mist.