Original article posted by arylaina:

I, too, have experienced bodily betrayal when faced with stress. I spent a good portion of last summer having violent seizures. At first, I thought it was some sort of allergy (I was doing repair work in an old, smelly house), but they kept getting worse and worse, until finally I wound up in the emergency room. The doctor identified them as pseudoseizures.

There was nothing wrong with me physically. I was projecting my mental anguish onto my physical body. The scary part was that I thought I was doing okay, mentally. I thought I’d dealt with the pain of a recent messy breakup, and all sorts of other stress and disillusionment, and repression after repression, and was moving on up. But I was wrong; I was only beginning to slide down, and it took a lot of heavy, uncontrollable twitching and nights of sobbing for me to realize that I needed to stop, breathe, and work on the problem.

So I worked on it. And I worked on it. And I’m still working on it. I’ve spent most of this school year in some sort of daze, trying to deal with things that have happened and keep happening. Anger bordering on blind rage at people that don’t really deserve it; or maybe they do, but I was hurting myself more than them. Getting so mad and so upset that I can’t even see, or hear anything other than a buzzing in my ears as, once again, my head starts twitching back and forth like a primitive robot with a wire loose and I’ve got a painful knot at the base of my neck when it’s all over.

I clung to people that don’t have anything to cling to. I looked in all the wrong places for help and satisfaction (on different levels) and something to cure the loneliness I constantly felt, something to stop up the black hole gradually draining my very soul. I thought physical intimacy was a good pain reliever, and sometimes it worked. Sometimes I felt uplifted, like I could fly. But other times it only tore the hole wider and speeded my descent. Had it been with someone who actually cared beyond the moment maybe it wouldn’t have gone that way. Depression and anxiety have been my most steady companions.

The seizures didn’t stop once they were identified, either. I knew exactly what I was doing. I brought them on myself. Even sitting here, right now, if I wanted, I could have a seizure. They’re scary to watch, scary to experience, and apparently also bizarrely attractive (as stated by none other than the infamous Rodney).

I’ve used them as a coping mechanism. And I’ve finally realized that maybe that’s okay. Yes, it’s not quite normal, but it really does relieve the pressure inside my head. And hey, in my opinion, it’s better than causing property damage, breaking your hand against a wall, or cutting yourself where you think no one will see. I haven’t done any substance abuse, I just sit quietly in my room or the bathroom, and violently shake until I think I can face people again.

And it’s tapering off. Long conversations late at night with a wonderful friend who was willing to abandon whatever she was doing (including sleeping) when I needed to talk have made me realize that I really am okay. The only thing really standing in my way is my inability to let things go. I hold everything in, I horde my pain, it’s all mine, look how terrible I am, look how much I screw things up, here, let me find another example, I know I’ve got one somewhere. But I’m going to stop now; I don’t need that. All I needed was to just let it out, talk about things, learn that what I’m feeling may not be the best course, but that it’s okay to be on it while I look for a better one.

I found a better course. I’m starting to just take things as they are, people as they are, situations that I can’t control as they are. I wish I could remember who said this, I think it was from “Anais Nin,” it was quoted in a Charles De Lint short story, and I hope I’ve got it right—“People don’t behave the way they should; they behave the way they do.” I’ve learned to live with that, finally. That doesn’t just apply to other people, either. That applies to me. Sometimes I just can’t really help myself, and I’ve got enough self-preservation built in that the things I do are never going to be seriously harmful, just really silly. That’s okay. I’ll make a great fictional character. Or possibly several—I have a lot of personality.

So now that I have finally figured out what’s going on inside me, it’s time to pay attention to the outside. I’m leaving Cedar City. I’ve had some wonderful times here, with some great people I’ll remember all my life and possibly after, who will be fictionalized again and again in my writing because they’re just not believable outside of a story.

But it’s time to go. Things are dying. It’s autumn, and I want to leave before the trees die and the world turns gray. The group is splintering—ask just about anyone. I’ve reached my own personal spring, and it’s time to migrate. I’ve applied to the University of Utah, and with any luck I’ll not only get accepted, I’ll receive a scholarship. Off to study film instead of news broadcasting. Off to a big city where they actually have vintage clothing stores. And libraries, mmmm. And hopefully, off to a new adventure with all sorts of new people to meet that will be just as crazy as the ones down here, and will become just as dear to me.

When I actually get various letters from the U. I’ll do some sort of grand goodbye, though it’s not like I’m leaving the virtual village. I treasure you all. I will never forget my one magical year (even though I’ve been here two).

Post script—I had to leave the computer lab in the Centrum right after that last sentence. I intended to submit this from the library, and was walking toward the Rotunda when I heard all this singing! A choir class was in the loft area, surround sound, singing something quite pretty. There was a piano in the center by the statue, and everyone had just stopped what they were doing, and listened. It was so weird, and so surreal, and so utterly memorable. It was about as unexpected as the sky suddenly turning chartreuse. I sat down on the steps and just stared. Wow.

Orginal comments:


Nickname: Chellee
Re: Betrayal is part of our nature
Hey, I’m in that choir! I’m glad you like it. Singing in the Rotunda is really interesting. The acoustics do really weird things. Anyway, good day!

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