Things hurt now, in a new way, the likes of which I’ve never experienced. I go out night-walking with headphones, careful to avoid the train tracks, and sometimes I try to decipher what this pain is. I want to understand it, and to be able to explain it. The closest I can come is that I have the sensation that I am being skinned. I feel as if someone is peeling the skin off of my body, over and over again, starting at the chest.
It hurts, is what I’m trying to say.
I cry now, which is strange, because there were so many years when I was incapable of tears.
I can’t pinpoint why this is happening. Sometimes I speculate that maybe it is because my son is all grown up, or because I watched a person die, or because situations from which I ran are finally catching up with me.
But it seems just as likely that there is not a reason. It seems just as likely that it is simply because I inhabit a human body, and that some amount of pain and suffering are that body’s due.
If that’s true then I really ought to just relax, let the floods come, see what grows after the water recedes.
But just in case, I go back to the doctor, who has me take a series of tests. The tests are multiple choice, but none of the answers match me. I tell her this.
“Just go for the closest approximation you can,” she tells me.
I sigh. Wonder if I’m allowed to nap here.
Later, when the results are tallied, the doctor lets me know some of my responses point towards my being suicidal.
“No, no, that’s wrong,” I tell her. “I’m not suicidal.”
She does that thing psych doctors sometimes do. You know the one? Where they just sit there, impassive and unresponsive, to see what you’ll say next. I always admire it. I could never pull that off.
“I’m really not,” I reassure her. “It’s not that I want to die; it’s just that I’m not really into being alive.”
I laugh at the mess of my words, at how I walked right into it. Even the doctor smiles courteously.
But there really is a difference.
At least I think there is.
In the end, she puts me on a new drug. No big surprise. And I take it, and it makes me jittery as hell.
“How’s your week going?” the executive director peaks into my office to ask, and it startles me so badly that papers erupt around me and my pencil goes flying into the window pane.
“Was that for real or just theatrical?” he asks, amused.
The question makes me smile. I like the idea that I’d be enough of a character to pull off a stunt like that.
I like the idea of myself with zest.
Thing is, it’s not that far off. I know that at my best, that’s the woman I am.
I’ve no idea why I’m so tortured right now. Like I said, maybe it doesn’t matter.
So seeing as I can’t beat it, I’ve decided to adopt the belief that the pain is just a new me, deep down inside, clawing at the walls behind which I’m trapped, trying to get out.
I’ve decided to endure it, in order to find my way into the sunlight again.