Time is missing. Hours, days. I know events happened. I know I lived them. I can even tell you what I was doing during those hours and days, but I don’t really remember them in any conventional way. I am just drifting with the currents like a balloon with a broken string.
Processing information is difficult. Pages of text may as well be hieroglyphs. I recognize each individual word, but together they mean nothing: “Blue warble victory drop pedestal.” What? I read the sentence again and again, like a little boy trying to focus his toy microscope on a fly’s leg. Eventually the words fall into place: “Bob Walton visited Dr. Pedersen.”
Sleep and insomnia take turns pulling my wagon–up until midnight, awake at three, asleep again by five. So tired, so tired.
Everywhere I go I carry dread and panic with me in a recyclable bag. It’s important to remain environmentally conscious even while falling apart. Bad things are afoot, the end of everything, no way out, nothing but the icy fear that accompanies fight or flight.
How far has the wind carried me? Have I been drifting for a week? A month? A year? But I’m near the end and I just ain’t got the time / And I’m wasted and I can’t find my way home.
I can’t remember when I took myself off of the little pink pills that glued my broken brain together. The last bottle, long expired, has rolled to the back of my desk drawer. I open it and find a single Ambien among the pink pills. Someone gave me that after my mother died and I didn’t sleep for three days. She’s been gone almost four years now. I stopped writing for hire after she died. It seemed so meaningless after witnessing the very moment that she leaped into the proverbial river and floated away. Her dry lips formed words, but only she knew what they were.
I didn’t take the Ambien, and I didn’t finish the last bottle of pink pills. Have I been drifting for four years?
This is how it goes with broken brains, at least with mine. You think you’re fine until you don’t, and then you realize that you are barely functioning. Your balloon pops out of the clouds for a moment and you see all of the unfinished projects, the undone chores, the dark circles around your eyes. You feel tired, heavy, blank, worthless. You realize that most people probably aren’t disappointed when they wake up in the morning.
Pulling yourself out of this muck is like trying to run from danger in a dream. Everything around you is moving at a normal pace. People give you the “why don’t you just run” stare, but you can’t move. Dialing a telephone when your head has short circuited borders on Herculean.
But I did it. I called a doctor, and now I have to wait a few weeks for the little pink pills to build back up in my bloodstream. Maybe then my balloon will settle gently back to Earth and I’ll be able to get some work done.