||[Oct. 20th, 2010|11:25 pm]
Been doing a fair bit of thinking, lately.|
I'm not what I was.
And, over the longer term...that still hurts.
What's changed is that over the shorter term - a single year, say?
It's become a good thing.
It's...saying it's been a rough few years is entirely understating things.
If you've been through something like this, you may have an idea what I mean.
If you haven't...I'm not sure you can.
Literally. Before all the trouble hit, I certainly wouldn't have been able to.
I'm not just talking about stress and Murphy pulling overtime and the septic tank hitting the turbines - though that certainly didn't help.
If that had been all, it would have been unpleasant, true enough, but I've pulled through that kind of thing before.
I'm talking about having to watch your mind break with you still in it.
I'm still not completely sure how to describe it.
Probably because some of the first things that got fried - I think - were my memory and capacity for introspection. My ability to analyze, period.
The part of me that dealt in words.
And the part of my mind that understood what meaning was.
This...it is not easy to explain the magnitude of this. We don't normally notice the complex, intricate interconnections that form the basis of everything we think we know about the universe. I'd heard before that pain and unpleasantness are two separate sensations, but that we never normally realize that because we always feel them together, so it doesn't occur to us that it could be different; pain is really just a sensation like touch, or warmth, except always accompanied by that overlay of [do not want] that we only feel with heat and cold and pressure when they get too intense, like the unpleasantness that accompanies nausea without needing pain to be there too. I'd heard that, but it wasn't until all the linkages and certainties shattered that I really got that it was true, once I started getting only individual fragments suddenly not connected to what they always had been before.
How to explain what it's like for meaning to...not be?
For nothing to be certain?
It's almost like the game you learn in elementary school, where you read or say a word so many times in a row that it loses all meaning.
Except that it's for everything.
You don't realize how your entire world is made up of basic certainties until they suddenly aren't.
Something like the direction of up is obvious, right? Or gravity?
Except, what do up and down mean? What does meaning mean? Where are the boundaries between concepts - what is a boundary? What is a limit?
These questions might seem nonsensical if this hasn't happened to you. You might not be able to imagine those questions not having an automatic answer, not register your own mind following the connection from the word to the concept that is the answer so fast you don't even realize it is an answer and not a basic tenet of the universe that's just there.
How to explain what it's like to not be able to link concepts to labels, because you can't determine what or where the concepts are? You can't even grasp what a label is, let alone the difference between the two.
I've loved reading all my life. Back before everything started going to hell, I considered being fairly good with words part of what I did. I helped proofread and beta and bat around word choice for fun.
What this was like, for me...it was like there had been a shelf of words, behind my shoulder, in a layout I had known so well that I could reach for whatever I needed without looking, just knew where to grab, so fast I didn't even register it as a process at all. It just happened. I needed a word, and then I would have it.
What it was like, to reach back...and have nothing meet my grasp. The shelves were empty.
It wasn't until two months ago that I regained the use of the word 'articulate.'
...it's been a very long couple of years.
The most fun part?
I could not begin to COMPREHEND this at the time, much less - ha - articulate it. I did not understand what was going on. I wasn't sure there was anything going on. I just felt that something was terribly wrong - at those times I wasn't floundering in a haze of 'of course nothing's wrong, I'm just not trying hard enough.'
I still slide back into the latter mindset sometimes, that nothing ever was wrong, that I'm making a big deal out of nothing. It's so hard to remember, so maybe it never happened at all?
Of course, I now tend to realize that when there really isn't anything wrong, you don't even feel any urge to curl up in a corner of a closet until the silent roaring whirling whiteout blanking your mind goes away.
Funny, but that wasn't actually at all obvious at the time.
I did try to explain some of this, but when your ability to analyze is shot and you don't have the words to put it into...this does not go well.
So I got to limp through and do my best to perform as though nothing was wrong while everything internally was possibly the most wrong it had ever been in my life.
...I think I've mentioned it was a rough several years.
But 2010 has, as I had hoped, been better. There've been...incidents that've pushed the needle on the metaphorical gauge right back down into the red, sometimes all the way to the bottom edge, threatening to dip lower. But overall?
The fact that I'm coherent enough to compose this and even try to analyze some of what happened without the mere attempt to remember some of the mindset sending me into literal dizzying vertigo really says quite a lot about how much I have managed to recover.
I'm not back to what I was. But...maybe some of the shattered bits have, slowly, started to recrystallize. Maybe new branches are starting to reach toward the space where half the old trunk was torn off.
...And maybe if I'm lucky, further recovery will eventually help me stop dropping uncontrollably into metaphor every other sentence. Or at least start labeling it better.
- - - - -
Quote of the Day: "Well, not that he should. Have you ever tried to butter a piece of bread with a bastard sword?"