When I was younger, mostly between the ages of 17 and 21, I would experience fugue states. I would be consciously in a moment, and then I would be consciously aware but it would be some time later. Like, I would blink, but 20 minutes would pass. This would happen while I was driving, mainly on the highway, and it would scare the shit out of me. One minute I’d have looked at a sign that said 66 or 42 miles to home, and then suddenly I’d be passing a semi with a sign that said 23 miles to home. I used to joke that if I was really crazy, I’d think I’d been abducted by aliens.
I, of course, do not think it was aliens. What we’re talking about here, is forms of dissociation. I hadn’t thought about the driving incidences in probably over a decade, but I was kind of dealing with a derealization/depersonalization episode today, and I guess it triggered the memory.
I hate dissociation. It was the worst between 17 and 21, but it still happens, mostly when the weather is bad. (It’s more like Weather Affective Disorder, than Seasonal Affective Disorder.) It’s really annoying when I’m in a good mood, to begin with. Like today. I was in a really good mood, super happy. Things have been going well at home. My relationship is much better than it has been. I’ve been happy since Friday. I go and tell Irene about my tax conversation with LB and his funny, ridiculous comment. Then I went and sat down at my desk and just kind of stared at everything, because I couldn’t understand why I had just been so excited and happy and talkative. It didn’t even feel real. It felt like I had exited some play and now that my part was over I had no idea what I was actually supposed to be feeling. The longer the rainy day went on, the more I had to keep telling myself that everything was good, everything was good, brighter days are coming, because my general pervasive sense was that I wasn’t somewhere I belonged. At work, at home, in life, in general. My head felt all stuffed with fog and cotton and heavy breathing. I would watch my hands doing things or feel my face smiling, but I felt these were just things happening to me, not acts of my own orchestration.
Dissociation makes me very, very, extremely, uncomfortable. I don’t really like to dwell on it. There’s things…things from that time period of 17 to 21, that I still have no explanation for and that I’ve had to put away in order to move forward with myself, because I can’t think about them without starting to dissociate just to get away from the lack of closure and the horror of not-knowing. It was probably, mentally and emotionally and physically, the hardest time of my life. Between the dissociation, the ocd, the anxiety, the eating disorder, the self-injury, the fugue states, the insomnia, the anger, the depression, the suicide attempts, and the stress, I was a walking disaster.
This kind of became a dark post. I just wanted to write about the fugue states while driving, because it pushed as a strong memory that had surfaced, and because of the dissociation I had felt all day, despite knowing that everything was actually pretty awesome right now. It’s this part of a mental illness, the lack of control, the inability to stop my brain from screwing up, or screwing with, whatever is going on, that terrifies me.
Irene did send me something funny about that one time though:
I’ve been considering asking my doctor to up my Buproprion dose, but I’m fairly resistant to that…just as I was fairly (highly) resistant to going on medications at all, at first. C’est la vie.
Have a good night.