When she first started losing her mind the signs had been subtle. In fact she hadn't even noticed until the day in the movie theater. The moment when the lights dimmed and her heart started to race. She knew, KNEW, that something horrible was going to happen. That it would be like that crazy guy in Colorado that busted in to the theater and shot everyone. She could feel it coming. And she knew it was going to come from the right side. Was it the guy sitting two rows behind her? She tried to calm down. To talk herself out of the panic. After all there was no way she could know something like that, right? But what if it was true? How many times did you read stories like that? The people who didn't get on planes because of a bad feeling and then the plane crashed. But how many times did people not get on planes and nothing happened? Or got on them anyway and nothing happened?
So she stayed. She gripped her hands and tried to keep from screaming as a large group of late arrivals filled the theater. She lost track of how many people were sitting to her right. And when the couple at the end of the row got up and moved a few seats closer to her she had to hold on the arm rest to keep from running from the theater. But nothing happened. And the feeling passed once the movie started and she could focus on the screen. It was just a mild panic attack. Not pleasant. Not something she ever wanted to experience again, but not that big of a deal. Not really.
That's what she told herself that night as she was trying to fall asleep. Trying to forget the feeling of absolute panic that had washed over her. The sweaty palms and the racing heart. And the knowledge that there had been no reason for those feelings. They had just come. Uninvited. But it wasn't a big deal. Not really.
That's also what she told herself when her husband asked her about her day and she couldn't remember what she had done. She knew there had to be something. She couldn't have spent 8 hours doing nothing right? She knew she had done something. The laundry was done, the clothes put away. She was showered and dressed. Her workout clothes damp with sweat. So she had done those things. Why didn't she know what else she had done? And why was she looking for clues as to her day's activities instead of having memory of them? Everyone forgot things right? But to forget everything? That couldn't be normal.
She stopped trying to remember. When he would ask she would say "nothing" she had done nothing that day. It was easier than trying to remember what had been done. He would fill things in on his own. The tank is filled up, so you got gas. There are eggs and milk in the refrigerator so you went to the grocery store. And she would laugh it off, well yes, she had done something but nothing really different or worth talking about. And while she was laughing she was grasping for even the smallest memory of the store. When had she gone? Why couldn't she remember doing it?
But it wasn't all the time. Some days were normal days. She cleaned house, she ran errands, she made lists of things to do. She remembered these things. And so she discounted the other days as just busy brain. Overtired. She had had one cold after another that fall so really it was probably all just because she was sick and tired right? Not a big deal. Not really.
When she went to the doctor for her yearly checkup she was asked if there were any changes to her health. She lied and said no. Because there weren't, not really. Her weight was the same. Her vitals still good. Low blood pressure, good pulse rate. Healthy lungs. Everything in the blood work was normal. She did say her PMS had gotten worse, she was a little moodier than normal. Her doctor listened and suggested St. John's Wort. It would help. Just take it the week before. She didn't want to get on the prescription drugs. They were much stronger and really not necessary.
Because losing her mind wasn't a big deal. Not really.
When she sat in the middle of her living room floor and cried. Cried over...what was it she was crying about? She couldn't remember. She just knew she was on the floor sobbing like her heart was broken. When that happened she thought, now I have to tell someone. This is not normal. But it passed. She was fine later. And when her husband asked what she had done today she answered, "nothing."
"Where do you think it goes?" she asked one night.
"When you lose your mind. Where do you think it goes?"
Her husband had laughed. Because it was the odd sort of joke she would make.
"Hawaii? I think that's where mine would want to go."
She smiled. If he could laugh about it then it wasn't a big deal, right? Not really....