#1904

I feel like I’m going crazy. Literally.

Over the last two years, I’ve frequently felt like my own brain is gaslighting me. At work, I miss red flags that I specifically looked for; I calculate budget numbers but then can’t figure out how I came to those totals the next day; I forget tasks or duties I’ve never had trouble remembering before; I swear I started a project but then find no evidence in my files; my completed documents are riddled with obvious mistakes I thought I checked or corrected; emails I have a vivid memory of reading were never sent to me. I’ve even run two red lights – not because I wasn’t paying attention, but because I could have sworn that the light was green. Every day, I feel tripped up by false or missing memories, by basic math that makes no sense, by this frustrating “Past Elyssa” who keeps fucking everything up for the present me. Sometimes I find her mistakes the next day, when I can fix them before my boss notices, but other times I don’t find her mistakes until months later, when a tiny issue becomes a monster. I find myself apologizing over and over and over again, promising I’m a hard worker, dedicated, detail-oriented, that I’m not who Past Elyssa makes me out to be. But what if I am?

For two years now, I’ve felt like I can’t trust my own mind. This paranoia leads me to second-guessing everything I do. I double and triple-check information I’ve long had memorized; I have shadow systems for everything I might possibly need to track or remember; I leave myself sticky notes for the most obvious of tasks. I read and reread emails and documents before I send them, and I check my math however I can. But it’s not enough. Things still slip through at an alarming rate. And it scares me. It scares me because this isn’t who I am. I am detail-oriented. I am good at remembering deadlines and tasks. I am able to complete complex tasks. Yes, I’m bad at math, but I’m not usually this bad. I’m not usually inept.

When the brain weirdness first started, it had a definite cause. I had just gone on Topamax, a medication well known for reducing the user’s cognitive functions. And boy, did it slow down my brain. I was like a different person at work: forgetful, prone to missing obvious mistakes, and overall just slower at grasping even simple tasks. When I forgot to take another important medication for an entire week, I finally went off the Topamax. I assumed the side-effects would linger for a while, which they did… and did… and did… and do. I still feel like I’m on the Topamax, though I was only on it for a couple months and I’ve now been off it for over a year. At this point, whatever I’m experiencing simply can’t be caused by the medication. My doctor has suggested my migraines (for which I was taking the Topamax, ironically) might be causing my forgetfulness and decreased cognitive function. This is a good theory, but I don’t buy it 100%. This stuff just seems to happen too often to be the result of a migraine.

So what is it, then? None of my other medications cause such side-effects, and they’re all meds I’ve taken for years without issue. My diet and general health are good, so it’s not my body trying to run at half-capacity. The issues happen no matter what my mood, so it’s not anxiety or depression related. I don’t fit any of the other symptoms of adult onset ADD. I don’t love my job, but I’m dedicated and focused, so it’s not just that my brain is checked out. Plus, that doesn’t explain the times I’ve run red lights.

I feel crazy. That isn’t me co-opting an often misused word – I truly feel like I can’t always fully trust my mind or my perception of reality. These things have happened too often for me to just laugh off. Now every time I find a weird mistake or have a memory that apparently didn’t happen, I feel myself unravel a little more. It’s a creepy, frustrating, scary feeling. I don’t like being a bad employee. I don’t like being unreliable. I don’t like putting myself in danger by accident, or questioning even bland, innocuous memories. I already deal with anxiety, depression, and invasive thoughts; I really need my brain to otherwise work okay. If something’s wrong, I want to know so I can treat it with therapy or medication or whatever will work. It’s the not knowing, the not being able to act on a problem, that’s eating away at me.
[ I feel like this sounds really dramatic, and maybe I’m overreacting, but I’m going to make myself post it. Blurhg, brain bad. ]

#1903

I used to wonder, late at night when I wandered between streetlights and shadows on a chilly, quiet campus, what it would be like to sing with you. Listening to the songs that conjured your spirit, if not your presence, I wondered which part you would take; would your voice be higher than mine, light and lilting, or would it reach even deeper notes than I could? I’d sit on cold stone steps and imagine you huddled against me, us sharing scant body warmth as we watched our voices drift away in ghostly breaths of melody. You were for so many years a siren calling to me from third-hand sources, and I the lost sailor traveling sightless in the hopes of finding you at the end of my journey. What I did not know I heard in this music was my willingness to break upon the rocks, should that be my only way to glimpse you. The lyrics did not speak this immutable truth; the notes did not spell it on their staves; yet I absorbed it nonetheless. Thus when you did finally find me, I came to you as the sailor longing to wreck, as the tower maiden eager to jump, as the innocent girl who wanted never to find her way home from Wonderland. And you? You remained as I had imagined you: the siren calling, calling, calling in the dark for the only one who could hear her voice. Now I know exactly what our voices sound like blended together, and all the words in the world can’t describe such beauty.

#1902

incorporeal

[in-kawr-pawr-ee-uh l, -pohr-]

adjective
1. Not corporeal or material; insubstantial.
2. Of, relating to, or characteristic of nonmaterial beings.

Ghosts are incorporeal. Incorporeal means no hands to hold, no fingers to clutch, no mouth to bite and swallow. Incorporeal means ghosts cannot have or keep. Give back, then, the songs you took from me. Give back the books, the movies, the places and people and names. Ghosts are not allowed to lay claim to the corporeal; only the living can, and I am so very much alive. I grow more alive by the day, while you grow deader and deader. I bet you’ve already forgotten what it feels like to be made of flesh and blood, sensation and experience, haven’t you? What a pity. All those wonderful things you’re trying to hold onto are wasted on your scrap of weightless soul – so why don’t you give them back to someone who can fully appreciate their worth?

#1898

By the end of the dream I am an old woman, still walking proud and tall in this place of smaller beings, but wrinkled and tired nonetheless. As the suns set, I watch the children of our peoples’ union dart between the mud houses in play. They are growing up in a world where they are the minority, little half-breeds of two alien races, but here they are treated like the blessings they are. Back home, two universes away in a place to which we can never return, they would be hated and mistreated. Those of us who remain from the first colony remember the way hate’s seeds spread so easily through our species; that we did not bear them in our own hearts was why each of us were chosen for the worldjump.

Evening cools the hot, dry air of this desert planet, and the flattened dirt road retains just enough warmth to soothe my bare feet. I take a moment to pause and stare up at the sky, at the familiar constellations and circling moons that once felt so foreign and frightening. Now, they are a comfort. I think of those of us who have perished on this planet; do they look down on me, one of the very last, from their home in the heavens? Tears well in my eyes. I wish you were here, I plead to the beloved who was taken too early to witness this planet’s miracles. I wish you could see what we’ve created… I wish you could have known our children. I sink to my knees, weeping, my tears darkening the ground like the rain which never falls here. I miss you! I cry. I miss you so much, darling! You should be here; you should have shared all of our joys! I love this place. I love these creatures who have shown us a different way of living. But love does not replace the ones of my own species who are gone and never to return. I am one of the last. And my time is short.

#1897

[ I don’t have any writing for you today, so here’s some geeky info on my characters (and myself, there on the end). Enjoy! ]

Category Tanim Daren Mage The Scribe
Sexual Orientation Asexual?? Asexual Asexual Asexual
Romantic Orientation Homoromantic Aromantic Aromantic Queer
Astrological Sign Cancer Scorpio Aries Leo
Element Water Earth Fire Earth
Sin Lust Sloth Pride Sloth
Virtue Charity Patience Diligence Temperance
D&D Alignment Chaotic good Neutral Chaotic neutral Neutral good
D&D Class Fighter Rogue Mage Mage
Assassin’s Creed Templar Assassin Assassin Assassin
Hogwarts House Gryffindor Slytherin Slytherin Ravenclaw
Pokémon Team Fire Ghost/Dark Ice/Electric Eevee evolutions
Bender Element Fire Water (blood) Fire (lightning) Water

Attention South Puget Sound Queer Folk!

There are a lot of queer meetups in the Puget Sound, but most of them are in big cities like Seattle and Olympia. I want to create a casual queer group that meets in the Kitsap/Gig Harbor area for the folks around here who don’t want to or can’t drive that far**. I envision this meetup as being very casual and maybe focusing on sharing queer media (books, movies, TV shows, music, etc), doing fun activities, and being a general safe space for local queer folk. Also, if we meet at my house, you can rub my cat’s amazing tummy.

This will be a group for anyone on the queer spectrum (no gatekeeping allowed!) and their partners/family/whomever. The socially awkward and/or neurodivergent are especially welcome, as are people of all faiths, nationalities, etc.

You can find us by searching “Gig Harbor/Kitsap Queer Club” on Facebook; the group is closed but if you send a request to join, I’ll add you ASAP. We may grow big enough to warrant a Meetup.com group or something beyond Facebook, but I’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. We’re at 9 members already, though!

**Tacoma folks, you are more than welcome too; I’ll try to make up the bridge toll in snacks or something. :)