Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Four Words

I have to put this down in writing before I forget about it.

There's a lot of backstory to this post that I'm not going to delve into, so possibly it won't make much sense to anyone but myself. How that would be different from most of my posts, I'm not sure. If you want to keep reading, you're welcome as always. Just know that this one is mostly for me so I can keep it straight in my head.

I went to bed in a very strange place last night.

Well, no.

I mean, not like in a Dumpster or an abandoned condom factory or anything like that. I mean in a strange place emotionally and physically.

I had crossed a line with someone I care about very deeply, and in return I got neither anger nor rejection - which I totally deserved and probably could have shrugged off - but sadness and quiet disappointment. Which sort of broke something inside me.

And this person said four words to me that I'm not going to repeat here. But they were said with so much concern and gentleness that they clung to me all day, like a steady wind that won't stop blowing no matter which way you turn. Eventually you just have to turn your face to the wind and meet it head-on or you'll never get through to the place where it's calm.

Those words were still echoing in my head when I went to bed.

I thought I was tired. I was definitely sober (for once), so maybe I just got the two mixed up. And of course I felt sort of broken. Whatever the reason, I couldn't sleep. So I lay there in the dark, thinking about the future I wanted, wondering if it were too late to get there, and worrying about what might happen if I didn't make it.

That last part, especially.

Gradually I came to feel as if I were drifting in an undefinable place between awake and sleep. I observed myself falling into the long, slow breathing pattern of a sleeping person - but that person couldn't be me, because I was awake and making a running commentary in my head about how this other person was falling asleep.

Occasionally I think I really did sleep for short periods, because I would have a vague snippet of a dream and then wake up, commenting on the sleeping person and the dream she just had.

This weird pattern of narrating my own sleep-state from a place of wakefulness continued for several hours, punctuated by creepy silent musings about whether any of this meant I was dying and whether it was too late to keep myself from dying if that's what it was. In turn, those thoughts produced waves of anxiety. But again, it was more like an anxiety-dream, where you can't run fast enough or fly high enough to escape whatever is chasing you, but the feelings never overwhelm you because nothing in a dream is ever sharply defined enough to feel entirely real.

I should also mention that when I was commenting to myself about what was happening to me, in my head I was seeing and hearing Benedict Cumberbatch. Which should have tipped me off as to the extent of tangible reality I was experiencing, but of course at the time it did not. If Benedict Cumberbatch was that interested in my breathing, he could bloody well narrate.

In time the sleeping-me/wakeful-me entity merged into something like true sleep, in which I had unremarkable, silly dreams where I was alternately away at school, trying to impress my boss, and wondering if I could navigate a flooded alley without my car floating away.

I woke up feeling immensely hung over. How unfair that the beginning of alcohol withdrawal feels so much like the crud that made you refrain from drinking to begin with. Hair of the dog, my ass.

Hair. Dog. Ass. It all goes together.

There's a lot of fear in my life right now, a lot of uncertainty. Also a tremendous amount of love and support, if I don't let the fear and uncertainty crush them. The negative feelings are dangerous, but they're also fragile, and since they're part of me, that makes me fragile and vulnerable to whatever happens to them. The bad feelings need to be protected almost as much as they must be protected against. It's as if the two parts of me need to look out for each other, or we'll never get through this whole.

Maybe that's what last night was all about.


  1. I can't comment on your experience per se, because obviously that's your subjective and personal experience. However,I can tell you about what happened to me after my girlfriend of seven years dumped me. I lay awake for hours, crying sometimes, sometimes just hovering between darkness and sleep, and on two occasions I came (fully) awake terrified. One time I couldn't breathe (later I found out this was a dissociation between my automated breathing and my cerebral cortex: I was breathing, only just not aware of it). Another time I couldn't open my eyes. I was not sure if I were awake or sleeping, or on the borderline, but I was completely unable to open my eyes. These are the things that happen to a lot of people in difficult emotional circumstances; you might want to check out my old friend "Katy Anders" who posts on the Lesbians In My Soup blog.

    With all my best regards.

  2. Ah, dreams. I don't know science, but they can really do a number on you. I remember a really vivid, angry dream I had at a critical time in my college years, and I told my mother about it. She wrote me a note about it that really helped me understand it, and my situation clearly. I still have the note, because it's still relevant.

    Take care of yourself, no matter how scary it feels.



You're thinking it, you may as well type it. The only comments you'll regret are the ones you don't leave. Also, replies to threads make puppies grow big and strong.