I'm sitting at my desk, using Twitter. I'm in my shortie polka dot nightgown. I need to take a shower. "Classic Rock" is on MusicChoice on television. The Doors's "The End" starts.
As soon as I hear
the first chords, I am frozen in place. Inside my head, there's a simultaneous
clunk and "oh, shit". I have my right hand on the mouse, my arm is
leaning on the desk. My legs are slightly drawn up, resting on my toes,
at angles to each other. My left hand...rests lightly on the keyboard
I.Can't.Move.Anything. My eyes cannot look away from the
monitor. I'm hyperaware of my body as the song plays, the pressure on
my left arm, my hand resting on the mouse, my toes. Nothing moves. I
try to move my eyes, which usually snaps me out of it. It doesn't
work. I move my head--YES! But instead of getting up, I slump
sideways, face down, on my desk, my arms hanging at my sides, my legs
still in the same position.
Jim Morrison sings. My blonde hair
is a curtain around my head. I'm staring at edges of paper. The desk,
once my dad's, smells like pencils. My entire world is here, my nose
pushed into the desk. I try to lift my head. I can feel muscles and
vertebrae strain, but nothing happens. The top of my head clenches, but
nothing happens. "It's not a stroke," I tell myself "I'm still
breathing." Long deep breaths. I move my jaw and tongue. I try to
speak. I can't, beyond small noises. I try to move my right arm. The
whole world has become my body. Which cannot move. My legs and feet
might as well not exist, although they are getting sore from being in
the same rigid position. I forcibly relax all of my muscles but it
That fucking song is still playing. It's 15 minutes long. I have to turn it off.
If I manage to somehow get out of this chair, will I fall on the floor
and stay there? Jeff can't find me like this. I have to move. If it
kills me, I will move. I pull my head up against what's pushing it
down. I move my head back and forth. My right arm moves, my legs
move. I use my right arm to push myself up, hanging onto the desk.
Holding on to the furniture, I make my way to the coffee table, pick up
the remote and turn off the tv.
I sit down, hard, on the couch,
hyperventilating, heart pounding. My teeth chatter. I can't control
myself. I dial my sister on my cel, and she talks me down. I had
a series of these incidents in 2005, which is when I went to the
epilepsy ward at Columbia Presbyterian. They thought I might have
progressive temporal lobe epilepsy. I don't. These episodes are
emotional, I know that. My body once again in service to my mind.
I talk to my sister, I still can't walk straight, but my relationship to
the physical universe is changing back to normal. She's the one who
uses the word "hyperaware." I lie back and my bed and realize I'm in a
large room, the blue ceiling above me, everything seems far away but
this is how it's supposed to feel.
My heart is still hammering. I
take a shower, balancing against the wall. That damn handicap bar
still hasn't been installed. I dress.
I sit to write this down before I forget.