It is a vignette. It starts out slow – you never notice it coming. It creeps into your days, casting a shadow on your time with loved ones and pulling you away from work. It is what you submit to when you run into yet another toilet cubicle, hands shaking and legs wobbly; it is what crunches you up inside and crumples you to the floor, fingers weakly scratching at the door, desperate to maintain a semblance of control. It seizes up your muscles, sending your body into convulsions and spasms, until you finally manage to get your hands wrapped around your body strong enough to contain the shocks. Because that’s what they are. Shocks. And by the time you notice, it’s too late. Confronting them would mean going back to that dark place you believed you left behind. The place where another world existed, but only in your mind. That world was cold and empty, and no one else was there. Just you. A glass prison within yourself that you carried for what seemed like a never ending agony. And after a while, it didn’t feel wrong, or different, or anything at all. It became the new normal. When you were there, it was a heightened yet numbed sense of the world you had – people were louder, yet you could never hear what they were saying; food was bland, yet you were always hungry. But most painfully, you craved understanding yet despised help. You could see the pity and confusion in their eyes.
The fear was always there. Fear of leaving the bed, fear of leaving the house, fear of looking people in the eye, fear of flagging down the fucking bus that you take every-fucking-day. But most importantly – the fear of exposure. The fear was there. Always there. It was like living at the top of a rollercoaster, just as it tipped over to drop. It was like watching a movie at its quiet part, when you know something’s going to happen but you didn’t know what or where or why. Always on edge. And, God, it’s tiring. It’s exhausting. But to everyone else you’re just tired. How many ways can you say you’re tired, without it being the new normal? How many ways can you explain how many different kinds of tired you are at any given time? Would you even want to explain? Or is it just too… tiring.
The other world is seductive, its pull too strong to resist before you feel yourself being sucked in. Like it was a black hole. Your mind would be racing, your body sucked bone dry from the energy needed to just exist, and your thoughts just… gone. Empty. Silent. How could I express what it feels like to have your brain feel like it was bursting out of your skull, and yet not have a single coherent thought pass through your head? How? How? How?
I don’t want help. This isn’t new to me, and change is just… not a good idea. It’s strange and I know it sounds insane, but I’m so afraid. So, so afraid. Everything I have right now is hard won. I’ve fought hard, so hard, to get to this place where everything is kind of just balancing delicately and it is so hard to keep things from falling off the plate but I’m managing, I think, barely, but I think I am, and I don’t want to lose it. The only way to keep it is to keep going but I don’t know if I can keep doing that, even, and I don’t know what to do anymore…
The vignette… is back. The colours are fading.