Dead Time: Notes From My Diary

Spaces separating passages signify a long break in writing due to being pulled back into a fatigue-fog, with pen held poised ready to begin again as soon as function returned.

Thursday Night

Searching for words, glorious words, at midnight, in bed. With fizzing feet, and aching… everything, and a blood-heavy belly. Hunting for words. For a story to tell. A story that doesn’t dwell too heavily on broken brains, but on the joy of life. Without sounding too sanctimonious I think I have tapped into something that eludes most. There is such an endless bounty of beauty and possibility, you just need to be quiet for long enough to find it.

If only those with healthy bodies knew what power they possessed. Sometimes it frustrates me to witness such squandering, such complaining. Open your eyes, look around you, happiness is yours for the taking – can’t you feel it pulsing through you?! Seize it and run, you fools.

Words float without context, lost and alone in the fog of my mind, barely holding onto meaning they become little more than sounds.

I cannot work in these conditions.

Friday Morning

My legs are nearing boiling point, by which I mean they are burning and bubbling. Each muscle fibre twists and contorts, the flesh of them vibrates. I am paralysis-tired (a term I have just coined), devoid of the energy even to twitch I have lain immobile for hours, staring blankly into the middle distance. My day has not even begun and I am already, as always, starting with a deficit.

My life is full of this dead time. Every morning, and every afternoon, I find myself stuck in a kind of conscious coma. Unable to move, barely able to think, and yet not “tired” so I cannot even pass through the void by falling into the sweet escape of sleep.

A few words and I am being pulled from within, my mind shrouded in darkness. I attempted to resist too soon, my stubbornness once again failing me.

I am trying to learn how to resist the persistent bubbling urge to find a way of making this dead time more ‘productive’. To fight it, or to fill it regardless. Even something fairly passive, like listening to an audiobook, is too much for this broken brain of mine and often sends me spiralling deeper into the pit.

Shall I paint you a picture? Days-old pyjama bottoms, yesterday’s Pilates t-shirt, and my husband’s fleece. I am lightly scented with stale sweat and unwashed flesh, unbrushed hair hangs from the remainder of last night’s bun and unmasked by make-up my unwell-ness is plain to see. This is the secret me. The invisible me. It is the truth of my reality that makes me long for a private garden of our own – somewhere I could go to feel the breeze and watch the birds in all of my glorious disgustingness. Instead I open the bedroom window wide and remain hidden from the world outside, ashamed.

Later, this afternoon or this evening, or tomorrow perhaps, I will muster enough surplus energy to shower. A simple task that most people take for granted, but that seems almost insurmountable for me right now.

But I do not pity my life, for in this dead time there are other secrets too.

Lacking the ability to think comes with a release from the trappings of the mind, an opportunity to simply bear witness to so many moments that would otherwise pass unnoticed. A magpie chasing a blackbird, a squirrel searching for fallen seeds, a rat poking their head up from the drain to suss out the commotion. There is a whole world orbiting the tree outside my bedroom window – who needs Attenborough? There is so much life here.

When you are forced to be so still for so long, your roots grow deep and strong. You become entwined with the world around you, happy in the knowledge that this, this, is your place in the vastness of the universe. All else melts away. I am at once safe, and rooted, and intrinsically connected to the wild energy of the world – an energy that feels palpable within me as I write.

I do not yet know how to explain this contentment to those who are still pre-occupied with self-important busyness. But then again, that’s not my responsibility.

Here’s to the dead time; my blessing and my curse.

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