Wednesday morning. And maybe the only thing left that resembles a routine right now is this early morning writing. I haven’t run in nearly a week. I haven’t cooked. Two days ago Leonard jumped down from the bed and hurt his forefoot. So walks have been pared to a minimum. I’m living on lithium, paracetamol, mozzarella cheese, water, and wine. And that probably isn’t a good thing.
I’m napping daily on the couch, one arm thrown around Leonard. And I find myself looking for the next flashing signpost to tell me how to return to “normal”. Where to go to where I will recognize my body and its habits. Every bruise, every stiff muscle, every low-grade fever, and added pound is a surprise. A weird game of “sweat and spin” that brings back memories of elementary school recesses, arms wide, spinning till we drop on the grass and lie there until the earth is still again.
But it’s never really still. I am too sensitive to the world despite the medication. I still feel every uncomfortable bite. In Rhodes, I swam in the ocean and there were small translucent fish whose nibbles stung like mosquito bites. On my calves. thighs. They would swarm and dart away. So many, so elusive, that I began to wonder if it wasn’t my imagination entirely. A few – a single – fish perceived as a school?
Everything in the water is a threat, but am too lethargic to respond. I lie on the couch and the world spins. Hypomania submerged under pressure, not dispersed. A rabbit shaking in the bushes. Still shaking in the bushes.
A distorted response to a colleague slips past the salt fields. A play-doh version of me. Better to stay at home, one arm around Leonard. Cringe is a popular word lately. A kind of aren’t-we-so-adorable/awful word. No one taking themselves too seriously.
But there’s no self-irony in shame.
And there’s no comfortable way around or alongside the word compliance. You just have to stay in the water.