An Animated Day
Today (Wednesday) has been quite a trying day, but interesting at least. We were supposed to be at therapy at 9:30 this morning. I found out around 9:00 that the car wouldn’t crank. Luckily, my husband was home and getting ready to go to work at 10:00…so I called my psychiatrist and told her I’d be a half hour late. Obviously I started the day off on a highly stressful note, and that is my greatest trigger, so it really came as no surprise that I had a rough day. Hubby drove us in his car when we left, and he had to stop at the drugstore on the way to work. I waited in the car, and by the time he came back I was no longer in my body. I struggled to pull myself back inside my head, but it was a hopeless battle. I dissociated and don’t remember anything until he’s getting out of the car, and I see that we are at his job, and like a robot I get out of the car and walk around to the driver’s side and get behind the wheel… Hubby kissed me goodbye then disappeared inside but I just sat there in the car with the engine running for a long time. I was trying to figure out how to make the car move. Everything began to physically transform and the inside of the car took on an animated appearance, like a cartoon. I began to operate on auto-pilot. Driving to my doctor’s office was exactly like being in a video game. I don’t know how else to describe it. My hands weren’t really touching the steering wheel; it seemed very far away, much too far for me to reach. I was looking through the windshield and it was unreal, everything was far in the distance and out of focus. I had the distinct feeling, nay knowledge that I was untouchable, unstoppable, impervious to harm. I knew I could not, would not wreck the car or have any sort of accident or run-in with the police. It wasn’t possible, for all of this was just a game. Not real. I don’t know how long it took to get to the psych’s office; everything was in slow motion yet seemed to be flying by very fast at the same time. I don’t understand how that was possible, but that’s how it seemed to us. Once in the parking lot, I just sat in the car for a long time with the air blowing in my face. I pulled the visor down to look in the mirror and was quite upset to see that the reflection looking back at me was wearing bright red lipstick.
I do NOT wear bright lipstick, although we’re aware that some of the K’s do. I unceremoniously wiped it off with the back of my hand, then just stared stupidly at the red streaks coloring my pale skin. Decided I just didn’t care-what difference did it make?-and just left the red lipstick smeared all over my hand. Finally walked into the building but it felt more like I was gliding or floating or something. I couldn’t feel the ground beneath my feet. I made it inside and walked up to the counter and signed my name, but not without some difficulty. I was unable to write in cursive; I had to print my name, and the handwriting was shaky. I had taken 1 mg Xanax while in the car at my husband’s job, and as soon as I sat down in my usual corner chair I took another 1 mg. There were a number of people in the waiting room with me; I’m not sure how many because I kept my head down and wouldn’t look at anyone. I pulled my legs up underneath me and tried to curl up into a ball in my seat… and the waiting started. I was antsy and anxious and very eager to see my psychiatrist, as I’d been under a lot of stress since our last appointment. I got out my notebook and tried to make a list, but just couldn’t focus…I was too distracted by the thought that everyone in the room was staring at me. I kept looking down, or took out my journal and flipped through it, or played with my phone, perhaps even tried to tweet I can’t remember now. I just couldn’t think about anything except how things were in what looked like claymation…3D cartoons of sorts. I was looking around the room in wonder when this guy came in the door… He was younger than K’s body but walked like an elderly person, all hunched over and wobbly and he shuffled across the floor using a crooked wooden can and his jeans were hanging very low around his hips, exposing his striped boxer shorts, and for whatever reason, he scared us. K’s heart began to pound just as soon as she laid eyes on him (even though she never looked directly at him) and of course our luck would have it that he came over and sat down in the chair right beside us. Panic started welling up inside me. My body was turned away from the strange young man, and I was intentionally looking across the room, through the other people, staring at the wall with nothing in my head except the irrational fear I felt of the person to my left. I wasn’t sure I could handle it, and thought briefly about going outside and sitting in the car, but I was terrified my name would be called while I was out and I’d lose my place and have to wait even longer to see the doctor. So we sat there, panicking, in the middle of a childlike environment filled with caricatures of people…and then my name was called. The receptionist walked over to me and asked me to come with her. I was confused but did as I was told; I wondered if we were being scolded for some reason. She walked us out the door and around the building to a back door, while explaining to us that the toilet had overflowed and how sorry she was for the inconvenience. It was bizarre to me, but so was everything right then. Now I’m in the psychiatrist’s office and I’m trying to explain to her how everything feels like a video game…and she asked me if I was a different person. I can remember all these things because we wrote them down in our notebook. We take notes in therapy now and it is really helping us. So she asked me if I was a new K, but I didn’t know the answer to the question. It’s strange to not know who you are. I really can’t even begin to put it into words. You feel lost and empty and…like nothing. I told her I didn’t know for sure who I was at the moment, and that I felt “switchy”. I don’t remember the rest of the session, except for one part: she was telling me how to use a calendar to keep up with time, so that I can remember when things happen. I guess that sounds silly to someone with a normal grasp of time, but to someone who struggles to keep up with what day of the week it is, this is a really big deal. She asked me if something happened this past Sunday or last Sunday, and I didn’t know the difference. I admitted that I never knew when things happened, that I use old text messages as clues to how I spent my time. So she told me to get a calendar and take notes on it, like it was a diary. Write down when I go places, when I do things. She said it’d help me put my lost time together. I intend to try it. I don’t remember the rest of the session, nor do I remember driving home. The rest of the day is scattered and disconnected. I can only recount bits and pieces of it…someone bought McDonald’s fries and K doesn’t eat at McDonald’s anymore, hasn’t in years. I remember we decided that perhaps if we took a nap, that the proper K would be with us whenever we woke up. I might have tweeted about that, I’m not sure. Then there’s a big chunk of time missing, where I’m assuming I was napping. Next thing I know, I’m putting on an act for my mother, and pretending everything is normal as I put her to bed. After that, I found myself hanging out with my husband in our bedroom, and I remember him asking questions like “Which K are you?” and “Are you switching on me?”. Again, I remember because I made notes about all these things. I found the questions intriguing. I don’t remember anything else after that. I think his questions flipped some switch in my brain, and my reality shifted once again. Next thing I know, I’m waking up in bed in my clothes and wearing my glasses. And that’s when I began to write this blog post.