Wednesday, September 13, 2006

9.13.06 Disconnect and Float

Disconnection. If one were to ask what I’ve been experiencing emotionally for the past week or so, this would be my answer. Many have asked, in fact. There is no etiology, no set of identifiable experiences that have culminated in this. It’s just a destination I myself have only realized after, apparently, arriving here. It’s disconnection from all kinds of things: people, past, place, certain emotions, states of being, time-oriented thinking, routines. I don’t know, it feels like it might even be from words, too, in some respect. At this moment, even the words feel strange in my mouth, at my finger tips. New, unfamiliar, foreign. Though I can’t say whether it was from genuine hankering or an unconscious desire to act it all out, I even ordered hot chocolate in the café today instead of coffee. Little and symbolic.

Floating. What I’ve been feeling in the streets, when I’m in public, in a crowd, a line at the store or café, in the bank. It goes along with what I already described above, as if it were the physical accompaniment. From very early on after my diagnosis I felt some degree of disconnect in the streets. I kept seeing people doing their everyday things and it would strike me as totally absurd. How important a certain small occurrence was, the over-earnestness of a certain person, spurts of anger, exuberance to the point of being obnoxious, fronting of every kind, the telling of tall tales, putting the make on someone — every thing I saw looked transparent. If not, then insignificant. Very Buddhist.

Disconnection. Floating. Transparency. Almost from the start I felt the latter, but the floating has been more recent, as if my being is slowly desubstantializing. Where is it going? No, scratch that — sounds too metaphysical or transcendent. But losing one’s solidity is legit, isn’t it? Have you never walked down the street and felt like a specter? Like you look the same, move in the same way, probably even sound the same but you’re one step out or aside. It’s all going on at some different speed. Again I’m kind of stuck describing, just that out there something seems amiss.

So the disconnection is nearly like paranoia, it is a state of intensity where “my thinking,” at least, is different. Or is it really? I won’t go into all the permutations of this. Those who have ears.

Physically I’ve been recouping from the last four weeks of toxic infusions, the pills, all the pharmacological love. In the respect the scale should go a little higher, but as the baser needs are met we become increasingly able to point out everything else that seems out of joint, right? Still, I feel better now as the drugs start to leave my system. So there is a little less on my body and a little more on my mind.

Franky Scale = 6.


Anonymous said...


I'm curious about some of the specifics of your disconnectedness- which emotions or states of being do you feel most disconnected from?

Do you still go to campus sometimes? (I remember that earlier you were still "going to work," sitting in on the committees and the meetings). Do you find all the campus activity (of professors, students, etc.) particularly absurd, or less absurd than the so-called "real world"?

Of course, you don't need to answer these questions- only if the answers are interesting for you to write.

It seems like a kind of cruel irony that as your body is feeling better after getting some of those toxins out your psyche is disconnected. Doesn't seem fair. Or maybe that balance/unbalance is keeping you going for now?

I'm still in denial, and everytime I run into someone on campus who wonders if I know anything about how you are and I say "about the same, I think," I often find myself following with something like, "maybe he can push this thing- death- off longer." I know my wishes don't mean anything, but I keep thinking that you might be that one person in a thousand who lives with this disease- staves it off- for 8 years, 10 years. (Since it's so absurd that you got it in the first place, at 38). Your family must be caught in this balance between hope and grief all the time.

You asked if anyone else has walked down the streets feeling like a specter. Sort of- but I'm sure the feeling was much more mild than yours. I have always enjoyed people but have felt like a socipath a lot of the time. When I was a kid and high school student I often looked at the daily, routine interactions going on around me and felt that they were bizarre- sometimes in a sad way (maybe teenage arrogance there) but mostly just unneccesarily false, affected, and hollow. And I still feel that way sometimes: in the middle of a conversation, just wanting to end it, just feeling my lips move to say some words and thinking something completely unrelated.

I also ordered the wrong thing at restaurants a lot- it drove my parents nuts. They thought I was being indecisive, but really I had thought one thing and said something else...

Bauhaus' hot chocolate is one of my favorites, though. I hope it was at least nourishing.


tossing salads said...

yes bonnie, hope and grief. it makes absolutely no sense to me. i understand how bad this cancer is, i see it always. but i just think that mr. jones is someone it just cant 'get'. its absurd, i know. but his soul, heart, strength, will whatever will make it different. please dear brother, keep fighting the blaughs.

mme x said...

Dearest. The enigma of experience is one thing in print. Another when it becomes the only waking option, somewhere between surreal and hyper-real, somewhere a little askew to understanding, far, far away from caring. Interesting when it is fleeting, perhaps even for an hour, or a day. Perhaps best as aestheticized estrangement, reading or seeing something that fragments experience so new phenomenologies emerge, delicious, unsettling, but only briefly sublime. Impossible to describe when it becomes your day to day. I don't know what this is like for you. I went through something that sounds similar once; being haunted by the present, or as if haunted as if by the present, since the whole analogy depends upon parochial relations of subjects and objects that no longer seemed particularly relevant to me. I felt like routine meaning-systems had become hyper-visible, asymmetric outlines of movements waving and undulating in impossibly elaborate patterns whose overarching significance never became clear. Or perhaps not waving, but drowning.

My heart was very still in that time. Please call if you need someone to ... I guess I don't know how that sentence ends. You fill it in when you want. Just know I will be here whenever that is, calm but not still. Mme x