My last post was probably the hardest thing I’ve admitted here so far. When you start to tell people that you’re seeing things or feeling things that aren’t there, it’s natural for people to start to really question your sanity, what little I have left of it, anyway. Where do you cross the line from receiving understanding to trepidation from those around you? I’m terrified that I will lose touch with reality at some point. And worse, what if I don’t even realize it’s happening? What if I become so detached from what I know is real that I’m unable to separate truth from fiction? I’m afraid that sooner or later, I am going to lose my mind, and with it, the remaining family and friends who have stuck by me so far.
Someone I love very much asked me yesterday, after reading one of my recent entries here, whether I’d ever had any violent thoughts about them. The question hit me like a punch to the gut. I know it’s a reasonable question to ask of someone who’s just told you they have, at times, violent intrusive thoughts. I can’t fault them that. It’s an entirely reasonable concern. The answer was no, by the way. To be honest, a lot of them are centered around harm I might do to myself. But when I heard the question, I just had this realization hit me, like ‘What in god’s name must people think when they read that?’ Do they all wonder that? Do they believe I have the capacity to hurt them now they know these secrets I’ve been keeping? Have I changed in their eyes? Have I become some kind of monster that you wouldn’t want to be around or let your kids near? All these fears are the reasons I kept the thoughts inside for so long. I couldn’t even share them with a Psychiatrist for the first year or so they started occurring. When I finally did, I half expected they would lock me in a padded cell, away from other humans because they deemed me to be dangerous. Worse yet, the more I think about other people’s opinions of me, the more loathsome and repugnant I become to myself. In turn, the paranoia escalates and my belief that people can see any part of themselves in my journey dissipates and fractures. I feel like I’m closing in on being ‘them’, the ‘other’. The kind of person you’d avoid in the street. Someone you go from empathising with, to sympathising for.
I’ve been uncomfortable in my body for a long time, but I’ve always known my mind was sound. I might have even bordered on insightful or intelligent at one period in my life, but now I feel this growing discomfort and distrust in my own faculties. When I speak, the words sometimes escape me. The other day I had to sit in front of the keyboard for ten minutes while my brain processed the word I was searching for. The word, for interests sake, was ‘obligation’, but I just kept thinking “It’s that thing that you have, when you have to do something… C’mon Prue, you know it…” I raced through all the letters of the alphabet trying to find the right sound on my tongue, but still it escaped me as I passed through O without familiarity or connection at all. It’s even harder when I’m speaking. Often the words are jumbled in their order or completely without context at all. I don’t know if it’s the medication, but either way, I know I’m slipping. I can feel it.
Being betrayed by your own mind is a bitter and ruthless pain and it aches inside my lungs like grief. I suppose that’s what it is, really. Grieving the loss of knowing with certainty, of perspicacity, of control, of the life you once thought you’d have. It is a strain I have never felt before, even though I’ve been doing this ‘mental illness’ for more than half my life now. I feel like I’m mourning the absence of jurisdiction over my own mind.
Vale Prue’s Sanity.
We knew thee well.
No flowers by request.