I went to a neuropsychologist for two days worth of tests. It would include an IQ test, puzzles to test my cognitive abilities, word problems to test my verbal skills. On and on, tests and tests. Four hours a day for two days.
How hard could it be?
It was immeasurably difficult. So immeasurably difficult I was ill for a week. The kind of ill where everything is suspended and I’m caught in the panic of knowing that, though everything looks suspended it’s actually still moving.
But I don’t witness any of it; I’m just going to experience this one agonizing moment until I don’t anymore. No, I don’t have any control of it – I’m stuck, possibly for eternity. And, even if it isn’t actually eternity, it’s going to feel like it.
I’ve experienced that momentary eternity hundreds of times, a thousand times. It’s a suspension of everything but panic. Everything is awful, everything is amplified – I hear nothing but the most egregious of terrors, I see everything at once and can only interpret it as nothing. A terrifying, stupefying nothing. My taste buds are assaulted with this slimy, acrid sensation that seems to be eating away at my tongue. And it’s everything at once; it’s nothing but terrifying and, though I’ve spent a lifetime in this state, I’ve never become accustomed to it.
It starts with electricity. Waves of shocks that make the hair on the back of my neck stand straight up. Waves of shocks that make me fear my heart will stop as they make their way down my chest. Waves of shocks that shoot out from my toes and I fear they’re taking something important with them because I’m suddenly nothing but a vacuous container. Then, even the vacuum leaves me, fleeing from my body as I see darkness fill up my vision, and the awful weight of whatever psychosis is assumes control over everything but me.
And then comes the pain, my bones try to wrench free of their entanglements. I would beg them to stay but I’m too busy with the pain. My last conscious thought before everything becomes much too much is I will have aged a hundred years during my suspension and hot tears escape me as I cry “No. No. No” in an attempt to at least hear my own voice over the raucous roar of everything at once.
And I’m there, I’m there – I don’t know how long I’m there. I picture my beard growing down to my knees and turning grey, then white, and finally thinning out to reveal my bare face – a sallow face, twisted from long years of agonizing suspension.
I’m there and suddenly I’m not. I open my eyes and see that everything is just as it was. Kerrinpuppy is concerned and loyal and just wants to lick my face. And I’m comforted by her soft fur as I gently pet her and tell her everything is okay.
Because that’s the truth, everything is okay, everything has always been okay. The suspension arrived, it stayed a little while, and now it’s left and nothing has changed. I catch my breath and feel Kerrin’s tongue on my face; I feel her weight as she settles into my lap, giving my hand a gentle nudge with her nose, asking for scratches, telling me she’s there, telling me she’ll help as I stroke her fur and scratch her ear. And, all is forgotten.
I’ve got another episode under my belt – I’ve survived as I always have, I’ve survived as I always will.
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