I’ve never before attempted to apply any degree of description to my unabating dissociation when it does occur, the colors that do flit by my vision though they hardly register, the sounds and fingers of wind that rake cold hands through my hair though I hardly feel a thing, and when I do, I presume it is only a falsity. Until recently, I was unaware that others experienced the similar indications of separation, invisible lines that constricted entry to certain levels of reality, while I’m left to flounder between them; I read a sentence written by a girl with an issue that mirrored mine, and understood that I was not alone, though I didn’t often hear of anyone following this topic in discussion, anyone addressing it in full. You see, chronic depression is not only a mindset that keeps you trapped within itself, rather, allows your mind to wander with no intention of returning to you — dissociation is a symptom, attached indefinitely like any other, an asset when considering the full picture. It lurks on the edges of my vision when I find myself behind any wheel with an unrelenting desperation to keep the vehicle between painted lines, when I elude the doors of an event I’m required to report for an extra moment because I can feel constricting notions of panic within my chest, when I become glassy while conducting an interview and struggle to find words. It’s difficult to explain why I will cancel plans with a consistency I can hardly apply to all other aspects of my life, hard to conjure precisely why I stray from multitudes of eyes as I thread through crowds, all unsuspecting, though I feel the gazes are accusatory all the same. It strikes me as discomforting when I feel the need to look from the gazes of those that have known me for years, for butterflies often invade the pit of my stomach when I connect with a pair of eyes that I wrongly feel can see right through me. The simple suggestion that I may become anxious is enough to allow me to indulge in these very tendencies, abandoning those I made a promise to in order to seek refuge in newly found solace, the cycles both endless and extensive, stretching into areas of time I am unable to foresee. They say to breathe both deeply and slowly, though this act alone becomes strenuous when you can hardly recall how to properly suck air into your lungs, knowing it will be lacking in fulfillment all the same. They say to find a focal point, insignificant as it may be, one that will allow the dreamlike veils to slowly fall away until everything clears, until sunlight can lilt through and your vision no longer feels like a lie you’re telling yourself. They say these things as though they may provide some degree of introspection, though everything remains a dream regardless, while the concept of reality looms darkly at your fingertips.

Dissociation is feeling uncomfortable amid a conversation as your reality feels skewed and your tone feels false in your throat, speaking itself an entity that feels foreign, alien to your tongue. Dissociation is feeling as though you may stumble while you walk a straight line, mirroring all others that swim around you, salmon fighting upstream while you simply follow in their wake as though you have a clue. It is a symptom that in no way trumps others, but provides the most frustration as you crave normalcy, even finding yourself wrongly pining for inklings of the familiar depression, for it would mean you felt grounded in your thoughts. Depression betrays both your emotions and your very reality with imagery that lacks in detail as it blankets your surroundings, providing panic you didn’t require, thoughtless desperation you wish you could shed. The importance of grounding comes alive in these scenarios, even during instances where this action rings with impossibility, even when you feel overtaken by dreamlike anxieties about anxieties; remember it is your reality, whether it feels so, or otherwise. This is something I work on exclusively as I feel my foot hesitating over the break, for regular travelling speeds are blowing my hair back, causing a whisper of anxiety in my blood as I wonder what is preventing me from crashing. I strive to remember that though my mind and body refuse to work in accordance with one another, it doesn’t make me any less real, any less raw; I strain to recall the sheer fact that though my memory doesn’t serve me in cases where I can hardly recollect facts in an accurate sense, I will one day remember the full pictures. I try to recall landmarks and houses and green patches of grass, fragments of blue sky that follow me regardless, grocery stores and street corners that will remind me of what’s truly real, no matter what methods my mind uses to betray me.

Originally published at medium.com