I’m asked, not long ago, if I still have ‘doona days’, just over two years after the fact…do I still have days where I can’t face the world, and need to curl up and hide?
When I open my mouth to answer, I’m amazed to hear myself reply “Some days…” and that be truth, or close to it. A few months ago my answer might well have been “every day” and, sadly, that would have been truth too.
Not that they’re so much ‘doona days’, in the essence of staying in bed and crying as though my heart was broken, blinds closed and dark and sleeping away painful hours in a warm, tepid darkness. That idea is so deliciously tempting… I think that’s why I don’t do it. One day spent in bed like that, wallowing in my own self pity… that would undoubtedly lead to more.
And it’s entirely possible that could lead to never, ever grappling myself from beneath my sheets again.
But I still have so many days where I’m… not really here. And, ironically, I feel them much more keenly now that I have some kind of happiness in place again, because they occur with less frequency. I can pick one or two bad days within a row of good days, rather than the other way around.
But bad days are dank and cold and stagnant water littered with the worst of human existence. Bad days are steamroller flat, the only way to deal with the screaming trauma within to freeze everything, to stop feeling anything at all.
And then watch from a distance while it hurts.
It feels like watching a dog eat at itself, gnaw at it’s own wound until it removes an entire foot. And there’s nothing the conscious me– nor anyone around me– can do. Because bitches in such frenzied agony… they bite.
It’s on bad days that the trauma symptoms burn my skin, my soul. The simplest things (a NutriGrain box, printed with the CPR chart, it sits there for days looking at me from stoop father cupboard until I have to get rid of it, it has to go… the sensation of purple skin, of blood trickling from a locked jaw… it becomes far too intense to bare) set me off, force that already terrified five year old in my mind to become hysterical, convulsive, so panicked she can barely breath through her screaming.
And on bad days– days like today– I’m taken back to those first few days. There’s the same sense of not being real, of this not being real– not so much a dream as another universe, an alternate dimension. I find myself paying alarming, exquisite attention to my own body parts– my feet, my hands, my face in the mirror. I watch my fingers clip pegs onto wet washing spread across the clothesline of my sunny, leafy backyard; and time stops, the world pauses spinning for a moment.
I look back at my life, the last two years, the last five years, the last ten, the last thirty… and I wonder when I began dreaming. I wonder when I was locked up, sedated. I wonder when this coma started, how much life I’ve lost, will I remember what is surely a very normal existence, once I return to it…?
Because this can’t be me, this can’t possibly be real. Some days I’m sure of that… How could this happen to someone, really? Someone normal, like me? It has to be a dream, a placebo, spread out on the spider-web of someone else’s psychosis.
Some days, clearly, I am losing my f*cking mind.
I guess this is called ‘coping’, because I’m doing it. I’m told it’s ‘healthy’– the evidence, the hypothesis, is in the results.
I’m getting better, from what I can tell. The ‘doona days’– probably more aptly titled the ‘losing my mind’ days– they are happening less and less.