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Monday, May 20, 2013

The curious case of the cat in the night

Last night my migraine was so bad that I vomited, felt excessively dizzy and hot, and decided to put myself to bed early, 9:30 or thereabouts.

Yesterday being one of the few warm days this year, and my own body temperature reaching that point between 'blood boiling' and 'face exploding', I hesitated before shutting the first-floor kitchen window.

I thought: 'perhaps I shall just put it to; a little cool air may do me some good'.

But then a voice from deeper, further, a voice born of instinct or God, spoke like a wise elder across my thoughts. "Shut the window; something could get in. Could climb on that roof and get in." I was obedient to that voice, shut and secured the window, although in all my nine years living there, nothing has come in, except whatever creature Monty The Cat has deemed acceptable as a half-alive/dead/alive-and-exceptionally-affronted offering. But Monty The Cat was curled up in whiskering contentment on my bed.

We both slept. Until there was a scratching, a tapping at the kitchen window. Because of my migraine, I dozed fitfully, so the noise woke me immediately. It happened again; the cat, too, with his extraordinary sense, looked immediately at the kitchen, bounded noiselessly onto the counter and peered at the garden visible neath the four inches of gap between blind and sill.

Ears forward, tail twitching, he had reached there in a second; my bumbling humanity, tho almost as silently, reached it in four seconds. Nothing was there; the security lights were on downstairs and in the alley to the side, but there was no sign of a fleeing tail or crouching tigger, hidden fox. No sound from outside nor shaking of a tree to indicate the flight of the culprit.

I am sure it was no more than a large bird, or cat or, at an outside chance, a fox - but this is the first time that any animal other than monty has attempted to come in. Mindful of the voice of warning I had heeded, I thought how auspicious it was that I had listened to that voice, even though it had been contrary to my desires.   I glanced at the kitchen clock, which is digitally linked to the correct GMT. It was by then a few seconds after midnight. The scratch, heard by both MTC and myself, happened at midnight exactly. Curious, eh?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Falling into herself: the Mermaid chronicles her descent into a strange mental world

1) A tendency to forgetfulness
This has started to bug me. Every now and then, I am so overheated in my head with thinking about this and that and the other, that something will steam up and I will mislay my keys or forget my phone or someone's name will completely evaporate.

But until recently, these have been few and far between, incidents that were notable for their infrequency, not their frequency. Just three weeks ago, I left my phone at home three times in the space of five days. I regularly forget people's birthdays, things I have to do, where I am going and what I am meant to be doing. I have started emails and forgotten two whom I am writing.

Thing is, I write lists. Copious lists. I have electronic and paper based diaries. I always keep memos of what I need to do and things to remember. But I have been forgetting to look at these.

2) A glaringly long-term memory
Simultaneously, my long-term memory has been sending me flashbacks from the past that have startled me with their glaring intensity. Scenes like a snapshot of my young life have flickered before my waking mind, vivid, suddenly.

I will remember a poem, a line from a book, a sensation of my first taste of olives, a scent of cleaning fluid, the first thing I heard a boy - who later became known to us as 'Big Will' - say at university on the occasion of the first dinner the first night at Tetley Hall ("Flipping hell, look at all the birds"). I will suddenly recall the lyrics to a song long dormant in my neural recesses.

It concerns me that I can remember the distant past and forget the immediate, the just-gone moments.

3) Easy distraction
I will be in the middle of a conversation at work or church or in a professional context and, without realising it, I have somehow gotten the stranger down a complete side road, a leafy avenue of conversation that has nothing to do with corporate bonds or the problems with pensions liberation.

We end up discussing ticks on dogs, the smell of autumn rain, my childhood terror of ceilings that prompted me to cling onto the nearest wall and refuse to let go.

Or I go online to check on someone's job title. I end up on twitter, then flick to a flickr page, then onto a facebook group and so on and so on until I realise I am reading a Daily Mash article about Kim Kardashian's shoes and I have no idea how I got there, or what I was doing at the point of my distraction.

I do not know how I manage to get any stories written or articles produced or the desk managed.

4) Denial and displacement
I know my wedding dress does not quite fit me. I am a little to big for it. I am getting married in 80 days' time. I am ostensibly dieting, I convince myself I am dieting. I am not. I am eating carbs - more and more carbs. I am drinking coffee and getting to bed late and waking up late and drinking coffee and eating carbs and sugar and cakes, all the while knowing that this is not helping but perpetuating the cycle.

But get this - I am still convinced that I am on a diet. I feel that I have hypnotised myself into believing that I am losing weight, that I am on a diet. I cannot believe that my 'little snacks' are anything more than a one-off, any more than I am convinced that my increasing forgetfulness is a series of 'one-offs'.

I am also convinced that when I do eat - it is other people's fault. I am out with them, or being led astray, or coerced into eating what they put in front of me. It is everyone's fault but my own. Except nobody has force-fed me anything. This is all my own doing.

5) The fog
All this above has helped to create a fog. I am walking from day to day in a fog. I am unclear about where I am going, what I am doing - what I am SUPPOSED to be doing, who I am and what did I do with the thingy that I need for the wotsit? You know, the doo-dad that goes in the thing? The who what dowotta now?

Sigh. I am not myself. I am in invisible cotton wool. I have been cocooned in mental bubble wrap, perhaps to protect me against the inevitable pain that will come with the house sale and the house move and the wedding and the honeymoon and the lifechange that is all happening within the next three months.

My fear is that when all this change is done, when all the fog has cleared, will I be the same afterwards? Will I still feel mentally dazed and confused? Has the process of madness commenced already - am I falling into myself? I have met and mentored so many people whose process into a state of duality has started with this dizzying whirl of mental, physical, emotional activity. I am genuinely worried that this will happen to me, and this is why I am writing this blog again, starting once more to collate my thoughts and compose myself. The mermaid is looking for herself and wants to find her.