I wrote this after having a mild dissociative episode recently. It is written in a style that I don't usually use, but I think that it works well for what i am trying to convey. The narrator is basically a projection of me into the situation. Kaz, take notes for that psychology thesis. Adrienne Etienne Houseman ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dissociation Why do we keep trying? There are times when I realize that there are reasons that we broke up every single time, reasons that were valid. But I kept going back to those arms, that one girl. I loved her more than anything, and that love has endured, every single time she broke my heart, I would go back into her arms without a second thought the moment they were opened to me. We loved each other. I still love her, but there isn't anything left to love but a memory. A shadow. She's gone forever this time. She always had issues with depression, self image, all sorts of things, but in the end, she was always the optimist, the happy one. It had been getting worse the past few years though. The two of us, our cycle, it can't have helped. I saw it, I tried to be there, I tried to keep her safe, most of all from her self. I couldn't bear the thought of her not being there, not making it through. I loved her so much that if the only way for her to be happy was with someone else, I would have stepped aside, just been there in the shadows, waiting to catch her, if things went wrong again. I was always the shadow, hers, or someone else's, but mostly hers. If someone disappeared, lost it completely, killed themselves, well people always thought that I would be the one to do that. I've never been stable, never really been happy except for in the safety of those arms. There were things that kept me from losing it completely: school, friends, attractive women... But most things weren't quite real for me. It was easy for me to lose myself, lose the world, when she wasn't there. Looking into her eyes, holding her close, or being held, those were the moments that the world seemed real, solid. But she was the one who broke, the one who fell, and I didn't get there soon enough. I knew that she was troubled, but she was the happy one, the optimist. I never thought that she would be gone forever, and I don't know how to handle it. Cause there's no going back to arms this time, no one to run back to. But I'm still here, even though everything is so distant. I've thought of ending it but I can't, it would be dishonorable. Yeah, that's the only thing that holds me together, some old fashioned idea, some concept that I picked up when I was a little kid, a code of right and wrong. It's not anyone else's, it's my own code, mine, and mine alone. It shares things with others, but it's a grab bag. Killing myself wouldn't be some sort of sin, my religion doesn't think that way, but there are people that it would hurt, it's dishonorable. But the pain wasn't going away, and the voices were there again. The voices were always there I guess, but most of the time they left me alone. Maybe I had just gotten really good at tuning them out. Maybe it was her being there to ground me. Her arms to run to. Her very existence was something that kept them at bay. The voices and I fight. Not often, but they were there, wanting out, wanting to see the world, wanting to take over. They started to get out more and more. I would talk to them more often, sometimes, it was just how I could talk to someone, anyone, and they were always there. I must have lost it completely at some point. I'm starting to come back a little, but I landed here somehow, in the loony bin. I'm not the craziest. They once told me that you can't actually be crazy if you know you are crazy, but I guess they were wrong. I've known all along that I was insane, but I don't hurt people, I don't mess things up, I used to be able to function like an almost normal human, when she was here, I could hold it back. They try to teach me, they try to get me back to my previous state, but they don't understand, she isn't here anymore. She was everything, she was my link to the real world. I didn't entirely realize that I was a person until I met her, and I'm not sure that I am without her here. She was everything. They sent me home eventually. I don't know why, I guess I stopped talking to myself out-loud. People are not bothered if I am not noticeably insane. My friends were tentative at first. They came to visit me, brought me things when I refused to leave the house. The house seemed a little more real than everything else, it was still full of her. Her clothes, her decorations, her jewelry, that scent that she liked so much. When no one was around to hear me, I talked to her now. She didn't talk back, didn't drive me deeper into the insanity, you can be insane even if you know it. Eventually I could leave the house for a little while. I had to have something of her with me for the world to be real though. I wore her clothes when they fit, I wore her jewelry, I even dabbed a little of her perfume on. I started to work again. Work I could do, for the hours while I worked, everything went away, and it was just the problem that I was solving. I bothered the people in my office though. I never talked to them, I never did anything with them. My old friends, I could handle, new people, that was a different matter. Eat, sleep, work. Eat, sleep, work. Is that really life? I still talked to my friends, they cared. But they started drifting away, the ones that weren't as close. Two years after she left forever, I was down to three friends, the only ones who weren't going to be driven away, no matter how unresponsive I was, no matter how much the world had stopped being real. That's when I started seeing her again. The first few times it was in the street, just a glimpse. I would run after her, but I never saw more than a glimpse. Then she would last a little longer. I wondered if I should tell someone, but they might make her disappear. Maybe, I could catch her, ask her why. Each month that passed, she became clearer. And one day, I caught up to her. "Why baby? Why did you leave me?" "It was too much, everything was too much. I was going insane." "Do you know what insane is? Not knowing what is real, not knowing if I am talking to you or my imagination. I'm barely even alive baby, you left, you were my world." "You were always stronger. You can make it." "Not without you baby." "Then follow me." "I can't there are people that it would hurt." My best friend must have been the one who found me. He's the only one who could have carried me home from where I was, sobbing in the rain and pounding on a brick wall. He came every day, he took care of me. He moved in, he brought in money, he made sure I stayed alive. One day, I noticed the laptop. I don't know when he got it and put it in the room. But it had showed up. I stated writing, and writing, and writing. I couldn't stop, the stories poured out of me. At first I was secretive about it. But then I started to show him. He coaxed me to submit the stories. And they got bought, one after another. And I couldn't stop writing. It was all that was really really real.