Occasionally, I being to wonder if I might actually be a little crazy, or if it is all just in my head… and then I wonder if the two options aren’t one in the same…
I first saw the film “Girl, Interrupted” when I was little. And I loved it. But I have no specific reasoning as to why I loved it. I just did, and so did one of my best friends at the time, Jennifer. I even gave her the movie for her birthday one year, and she was exceedingly delighted. We just loved the film. For whatever reason, it was on my mind this week, and so I watched it today – day seven-ish of my illness-induced infirmity. Today, possible over a decade after the last time I saw the film, I saw something new in it. I watched the extras section on the making of the film, and it had, as I suspected to have been the case, the woman on whose life the film was based. She had written a book about her time in a mental institution in the 1960s, and this director had found the book, turned it into a screenplay (over about two years), and then made the film.
The lead actress, Winona Ryder, spoke of how she wished she’d read the book while she was a teenager, because it had ideas that would have been extremely helpful for her at that time. Having experienced genuine anxiety attacks, she’d had a glimpse of the sort of life the book described (but without the stay in the mental institution). And that’s what really got me thinking today.
They mentioned how so much of what the main character suffered was normal for people, very common, even. And I could relate to her. For certain parts, not at all, but, for others… completely. There are times when I look at myself as a sort of outsider, and I can say, ‘Oh, goodness. Whatever. Get over it. It’s not actually anything real. You’re fine.’ Today, I allowed myself to question myself after that statement. Am I actually fine? Or are you just saying that? Is it because what feels to be wrong just doesn’t make sense? Because I am better than this problem? It kind of felt like a 50/50, really.
So, I forced myself into my 200-dollar vehicle. After a few moments, I started it, and I drove to the store. I drove the wrong way to get there, thinking it was the faster way. And then I couldn’t figure out how I’d gone that way, because I’d known how to get to the store since before I could drive. When I arrived, I drove at an elderly pace through the lot, and eventually halted in a spot. It was the first spot, but I didn’t care and still don’t. For minutes, I sat there, car off. I looked around a little bit, and wondered what was wrong with me. This wasn’t the first time I’d had such an experience. Just recently, my mom had called me as I sat in the Target parking lot, and I was then wondering the same thing. I couldn’t figure out why I was – was it afraid? – afraid to get out and go into the store.
I had driven to the store with two purposes in mind today (as is often the case when in similar situations): to get out of the house and to get food to eat. But I couldn’t figure out what to buy, and I didn’t know how to get from where I was sitting to the successful completion of my errand. And so I sat. I wondered about getting out of my head, because I was clearly stuck in my head…, except that I didn’t have any specific thoughts going through my head at the time. The only thought was about how I should probably get out of my head… but I couldn’t figure out what I’d been doing there, if I had been in my head, because there were no thoughts there. I was just sitting, and I could feel how I was nervous about getting out of the car, but I had no thoughts or words to go with the feeling. It was just a feeling. When it finally hit the point of bordering on tears, I gave a big inhale-exhale and got out.
I went slowly into the store and got myself a basket. I went to the Texas wines to distract myself. (Not like I’d be buying any. You see, the rodeo showcases wines, and I always like to check the Texas ones in the store afterward to compare the wine garden prices to grocery store prices.) It worked. I sent a photo of a 23-dollar bottle to a friend of mine, telling her how it had been $10 for a little cup of it in the wine garden. I’d remembered the wine bottle.
And then I continued onward, found the smoothie thing I’d wanted, along with the noodle things I didn’t really want but felt I needed, because I wasn’t eating enough food otherwise (also part of the weirdness that made it difficult to go to the store in the first place). I even gave myself two bananas and a special water (It’s a fancy, flower-infused water… oooh.). (I worried about the bananas, but I got them anyway, because they are good for me. Even now I worry that I might not eat them.) By the time I passed the Easter candy and had sent various photos to some of my Japanese kids in Japan, I was doing rather well, feeling rather normal and not so shaky on the inside. I played my audiobook on the way home, and it was splendid. I felt very much normal by the time I was getting out of the car at home.
And it makes me wonder yet again if anything is actually wrong with me, or if it’s all in my head… or, of course, if it isn’t just both.
I’ve had this thing around going to the store for quite some time. I don’t remember when it started, but today’s adventure was similar to the others. Oftentimes, I don’t even go to the store if I’m doing it alone. I scrounge for scraps of food, and make the unhealthiest of meals for myself in my desperate attempt to avoid going shopping on my own. If, say, my mom is going, I’ll go along easily. I even enjoy going along most of the time. But going alone is a rarity. I practically beg my mother to stop at the store on her way home some days, just so that I don’t have to go. I do beg her to go with me regularly, and, when she declines, as she is apt to do, I usually end up not going. This applies to restaurants, as well as the grocery store or almost any other store.
To me, this all just sounds like nonsense. Like I’m just being dramatic, and Goodness, get over it. That’s what my brain says to myself all the time. Sometimes it works. Yet this isn’t something that was around for just a little while, and has now disappeared. It actually seems like a genuine problem at times. I’ve actually not eaten multiple meals, because of it. And I’m not talking about only a handful here… doesn’t it just seem, well, crazy?
It certainly seems crazy to me. But I’m not crazy. I know that. This is just exactly the kind of thing they were referencing about the struggles people have in life that, when viewed with a certain perspective, have us viewed as insane, or borderline. If this were all someone knew about me, that person would have a completely different perspective than someone who has met me outside of this little pocket of craziness. And, like the main character in the story, perhaps that first someone would want to put me in a mental facility ‘to rest’ for a while, and the second wouldn’t understand why I kind of agreed that it was okay for me to go.
Anyway… hope that didn’t freak anyone out too much…