Let’s take a minute and just breathe. I need to. Pulse. Breathe. Pulse. Pulse. This one is a heavy one for me. I’m asking you to breathe with me, because I need to do it, and some times things are easier as a team. Okay. Here we go.
When I was younger, I’d some times wake up not being sure where I was. If I slept in the bed a different way than I usually did, I wouldn’t know where I was. Or if it was darker than normal. Or lighter. or too hot. or too cold. Many factors, or no factors, could contribute to my confusion. “I’m in my bed at mom and dad’s. No. Grammy and grandpa’s. no. Nana and papa’s. No. Wait. Am I in a bed?” I mostly kept this information to myself. It didn’t seem like the sort of thing one’s supposed to share, so mostly, I didn’t.
Eventually, I’d figure out where I was, and my mind would settle.
Last year, it happened on a grander scale. I may have written about it. I don’t remember, which would make sense. Last year one day, I needed to go to Walgreens. There’s not a Walgreens in my neighborhood; I’m fully aware of that. I was fully aware then. Nonetheless, I drove in a circle for over half an hour looking for something I knew didn’t exist. I drove and drove. I let Erica know what was going on in my head. It seemed like someone should know, in case I got lost. Which was possible. I knew I was thinking of the Walgreens near my apartment in Indy, but I drove and I drove. Finally, I ended up at a Walmart, because all roads lead there. I wandered and kept Erica apprised of my actions. Then something worse happened. At the time I was still working at yogurt, and I ran into one of my kids from work. I saw her a few times a week. I knew her. I knew I knew her. I stared and stared and couldn’t think of her name or who she was or why I knew her. I only knew that I was supposed to. I followed her around the store, because it’s what you do when you’re at a store and you run into someone you know. I bet. She left, and I made my way home. I think I bought things. I don’t know why I did that. What I needed was at Walgreens.
The year wore on. Alice increased and decreased. Monday Alice was bad. My brain was bad. Then yesterday happened. I woke up and had no idea where I was. Then, I did something stupid, I guess. I listened to the Arnold Schwarzenegger episode of Nerdist Podcast. That’s what I think ultimately broke my brain. Outside of thinking how amazing his goal oriented drive was, my brain also kept thinking it was about 1990. It was not. I assure, yesterday morning it was not 1990. Not 1988. Not 1992. Yesterday morning it was as 2014 as it is now.
I went to work. “It’ll go away,” I kept assuring myself. “It always goes away.” The day went on. “What day is it?” I stood up twice to say something to Justin. Justin my boss from Indy. He no longer works on the other side of my cube wall, because I no longer work for Justin. I slid my chair back at least once to call over to Devin and show him something. Devin doesn’t work in Indy anymore either. We don’t work together. We haven’t for a couple of years. I went to Target with my mom and was convinced I was at my Target in Indy. “I should stop by that Marshall’s on the way home before it’s gone forever.” It is gone forever. Moreover, I don’t have a car, AND driving to Indy to a Marshall’s would be so inconvenient.
I walked home fine, waging my war against the wind. I could see exactly where I was. I knew my exact position on the planet when I got home, and still the feeling grew. I explained what was happening again to Erica and to Rachel and concluded that perhaps a walk would clear my head. Then I instantly changed my mind because I knew I’d get lost. I went to Henry’s. I sat quietly by myself and wrote in my journal to Joel, forcing myself to try to explain it.
A few pages later I wrote thing. (it’s important to remember that Brian is what I call my brain)
“It’s broken. I thought it was just Alice, but this isn’t Alice. Something is wrong with Brian. Something is wrong with Hayley, and Hayley means me.
It won’t rest. It won’t settle. Make it stop. I don’t even know how to explain it to you. It hurts. It genuinely hurts my head. But it also feels like when a limb goes to sleep. All tingles and pain.”
I wrote myself directions home in my journal to Joel. I wrote directions to walk four blocks. i called Jared back. He picked me up.
Eventually I fell asleep, but there’s no knowing when it will happen again.
I only know that when I woke up today, I knew where I was, but wasn’t convinced that I didn’t simply dream an entire horrible Tuesday.