Clouded Thinking

This is day three of clouded thinking. I am not a happy camper.

I just took a U.S. Capitols test, and my speed is markedly slower than last week.

I am petrified that this change will be permanent.

On Boating, Mirrors, and Victory

Today was another day of feeling dizzy and off. The odd sensations of floating/boating haven’t ceased. I felt like I was paddling a canoe through first period. Second period, I floated around in an inner tube. Third, I spent in a row boat. By forth, I left for a very long sail for Nantucket with lots of breaks for dead man floats. I haven’t yet returned, and as of right now, it doesn’t appear that a return ticket was booked.

So by the time I got home, I was done. Really, really, really, really done. But rather than letting myself slid over into freak out mode, I decided to get creative. Whenever I get freaked out by side effects, I have a panic attack, and that panic attack is almost always the result of disassociation. To fix that I parked myself in front of the huge mirror on the wall at the foot of the stairs. I could sit on the stairs and see my whole body and behind me. That way I would know that it was me. I grabbed some yellow rice and chicken from the fridge, made popcorn, and poured myself some juice into this awesome cup that I made when I was five.


I have two observations about this mug. One: I clearly have excellent potential to become an artist and Two: I have never been good at accurately depicting my body.

Then, I turned on my iPod and just sat there and watched myself eat. I still felt like was the model of buoyancy and that I was gaining pounds by the mouthful, but I wasn’t panicking. I was just sitting there, eating food and waiting it all out. It’s the first time a long time that coping skills have been an hundred percent effective in the face of side effects. Maybe it was my Rainy Tuesday playlist or yellow rice that did it, but I’d like to think that it was me, that I did something entirely right for once, and that I can overcome my challenges all by myself.

Victories like that one twenty minutes ago are never as loud as my failures (Crying in English, crying at lunch, crying in French, etc.). Mostly, they go unrecognized. I write them off as flukes and tell no one or the people around me don’t notice. But I am going to tell you, whoever is reading this blog, about this one. I’m going to make sure that you know about it. And in doing that, I am going to make sure that I am not going to let it slip by the wayside either. I’ll build on what just happened today. I’ll force it to become a pattern. I’ll make it so that I never panic about side effects again. I will. Just watch me.

On a completely unrelated note, I have suddenly been forced into the position of hand-washing police in my house because people around here apparently haven’t passed pre-school health.

Ella the Tennis Ball Cannon

Today, I went to my psychiatrist. We talked about adding a new medication, I learned that I had to eat food when I take my Geodon, and then I got compared to a tennis ball cannon.

It went something like this:

I started talking about how I was concerned that because I’m on so much medication, my brain doesn’t fully belong to me anymore, that I’m being controlled by chemicals that I swallow twice a day.

So she said, “Ella–gee, I don’t know how to phrase this–you’re like one of those machines that shoots tennis balls. You know, one of the machines that you use when you’re practicing whacking the ball back over the net.”

“Yes?” I said, wondering where on earth she was going with it.

“You were born with your brain going like this,” she mimes tennis balls flying out of a machine really, really quickly, “and most people’s brains are moving like this,” she mimes tennis balls moving at a reasonable space.

I nod and remind myself that it creeps people out when you look them straight in the eye for too long.

“You’re a high end machine, the super deluxe model, but frequently you move so quickly that your battery runs out or you need oil or lubricant. That’s what the medication is.”

I’m envisioning one of these babies:

“But you’re the one of the best machines out there. It’s like how a fancy Mercedes needs a lot of upkeep.”¬†She continues to talk about how smart and good at things I am, it’s just that I need some help, and that I’m lucky that I’m not one of these:

So everybody, as of today I am now an official tennis ball launcher/shooter/thing that requires a lot of work. Very expensive work. Work that you need really good insurance to help pay for. But I’m excellent at preparing athletes for the French Open.

Sock Performances

I haven’t exactly had a rockin’ MLK weekend. In fact, the only things that I have gotten done are printing out twelve scholarly articles on Kate Chopin and Toni Morrison and interviewing my mother and father about the 1980s for my Totally Awesome 80s elective class. (Great name, no?)

On Sunday, I forgot to take my medication, and by four p.m., I “kept forgetting my hands” (how I weirdly described it at the time). I’d look at them, and the fact that I was in control of them was mind-boggling. I also had the funny sensation that I was hovering above my head and slightly to the left. Needless to say, I wasn’t acting normally. At dinnertime, I decided that I had to show my father that I had discovered how to put on socks on each foot simultaneously. Now, that would be a cute party trick for a five-year-old, but for a seventeen-year-old like me, it’s more than slightly strange. The repeat performances and the rolling around on the floor were the icing on the cake. Thankfully, I realized why I was doing it at around ten thirty, sent Audrey a series of strange text messages (Example: “Everything tastes like turnips. Yeah. No more turnips.”), and climbed into bed.

Today, I slept until two, didn’t eat anything until four, had a panic attack walking up the street to Tal’s, and tried to avoid eating dinner by sitting in the corner of the dining room with my hands over my eyes. My sense of reality has still been more than slightly distorted, and I have been hiding in my turtle shell. And, once again, I’ve discovered that there is strange amount of comfort in lying in bed, rocking back and forth, and telling yourself, “It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay.”

Tomorrow’s battle will be to return to school. I’m not feeling up to it now, but I have a tray of cupcakes to deliver. And cupcake duties always trump anxiety.