January was a whirlwind, brutal and destructive. Body spasms and twitches. A brain misfiring and unable to cope. A trauma hangover after finally stepping out of the swirling labyrinth which was my existence for the previous two years.

Biology chaos needing to act out – to pressure test if this ‘safe’ was safe.

February, on the 13th to be precise, I tripped and fell. Bang! Flat on my face. The difference between the vivid recollections of the moments before are tempered by the ‘after’ … clouded fog, distorted glimpses and fragmented thoughts. 

Bombarded by concussion, it is easy now to say ‘what should have happened’. I was in a world of ‘unable’ and ‘I didn’t know and couldn’t tell’. Recovery was a hooded figure forcing me to look down the barrel of untethered isolation. I could not think or remember.

I was hospitalised at Easter. In the days before, there were clues which were invisible to me. Within my body, an infection – a biological cyber attack – was rampant. There was one objective, destroy and kill. 

The increasingly delirious mind understood the impending danger, but sounded confused when asking for help. Close to death, the race was on to defeat the Biology Bitch.

Stagnant days after the summer into the fall, lacking in purpose or emotion … months passed by with the questioning of life – is this it? Are the best days behind me? … hollowed out shadow of a person I used to be. Struggling to reconnect with life, and work. 

Experienced in ‘living with’, clueless in the ‘art of recovery’.

September welcomed autumn and the ‘post fall’ checks. Keeping my imagination firmly in check on the cycle to the neurologist – finding myself in tears, in shock at hearing of ‘an accidental finding’ … more tests were needed. The pendulum swings from “immobilised, fatigued, bewildered” to “focused, occupied, distracted” as the days to each test were counted by.

Late November and it is Results day. Later feeling foolish to have been expecting answers. Limboland – welcome in and take seat while you work out how much energy you have to chase down a new disease; feeling the erosion of fragile self-esteem and increased isolation.

Today: disequilibrium of mind and flickering thoughts. Questioning, absorbing, overpowering. Really, a new health condition? and giving space to consider the what if … it is not a new condition, if there was a misdiagnosis all those years ago. I am not defined my by health, but the experiences have shaped me. 

My sense of self is two-sided: the visible and invisible. What I think I know is distorted by doubt, exhausted from recovery and the physical toll of the year is unrecognisable to me. 

Who is the person I see in the mirror?

Written: 9th December 2023 | Art work: Misfiring (2023) Set of Seven

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