When I wake up in the morning, for a brief moment I am in a state of neutrality, where I don’t remember my dreams, I don’t remember the nagging thoughts of the previous evening, and I am not yet aware of the new nagging thoughts of the new day. It’s literally only a moment, and then the weight of the day sets in and any reprieve I did have is gone. I’ve tried to stay in that blissfully unaware and neutral place but I am never able to hold on to it, and just when I think I can sustain it, it vanishes as if it were never there in the first place. It’s like trying to nail jell-o to the wall.
Once the day starts, or rather, my day starts, I’m not even out of bed before I feel the enormity of what’s before me. And it doesn’t have to be a day filled with plans and errands and appointments, it could be just getting up to go to the bathroom, or to get a drink, or to take my meds, or to eat breakfast. And it feels like, as I even sit up in bed, that I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. It takes everything in me to just sit up. I feel as though I am weighted down by lead. But I know I need to get up because I need to use the bathroom, or I need to take my medications, it’s just that my body is not cooperating. It’s too heavy from the world and all the lead.
It’s not technically a physical issue because I am able to sit up and get up and walk to wherever but somehow it feels like I have lead feet and lead legs, and my body is weighed down by bags hanging over my shoulders filled with lead. It’s a torturous feeling, and I look down at my feet and my legs and wonder how I will find the strength to stand and move. Somehow, after a time, I do manage to stand; part of it is the biological urge to go to the bathroom and part of it is finding whatever I need to inside to finally move me, whatever that is.
When I am finally standing though I feel dizzy and unsteady. Like my body is somehow tainted and struggling with some unknown entity that keeps me from feeling normal. I try to move but I feel too heavy and confused. I feel as though I am trying to move through tar with my lead body while carrying bags filled with lead. It’s a scary feeling to be able to feel every inch of your body at ten times it’s current weight, and not have the strength to move it. Each step feels like it takes forever, and if I am lucky, by the time I do finally make it to the bathroom and start my morning routine I will start to feel lighter. Like piece by piece the lead is coming off me. But there are days where it doesn’t.
There are days where I feel like the lead is with me every step of the way. I’d like to say it’s the just waking up fog and lethargy but when the heavy feeling is still there one, and two, and three hours later, sometimes even longer, I know it’s not from just trying to wake up. I don’t know what causes it, and I couldn’t tell you if there’s any rhyme or reason to it because it feels like it hits me out of nowhere for no apparent reason. Sometimes it’s every day, and sometimes several weeks will go by and I won’t feel it.
All I know is that it’s a dreaded, torturous, heavy feeling. To get around my home is like moving through molasses and if I have to go outside I find myself having to calculate every step I take. I move slowly and with a purpose otherwise I might not move at all. The little things like the curb or an uneven sidewalk, is enough to throw me into a panic because I’m not sure if I can make it. And that just stuns me when I think of that. Do I have enough strength in me to step up (or down) the curb of a sidewalk? Imagine that. Do I have enough strength in me to lift my foot just a few inches from the ground? Do I have enough strength in me to make sure my first foot reaches the curb? Do I have enough strength for my other foot to follow? Do I have enough strength in me for my whole body to make it that far? Will my body hold? Will my body give out? And if there are actual steps or a staircase I am daunted by the task before me as if I’ve just been asked to scale Mount Everest.
When I am walking I will literally eye each step of the sidewalk or pathway before me and wonder if I could just stop and lay down here, right where I am, no matter where it is. I don’t care if it’s a snow bank, or if it’s raining, or even if it’s icy, I just feel like anywhere along my path I could lay down because I just might collapse at any second. It’s an odd feeling to know the stretch of a walkway and the greenery attached to it, not because of its landscaping, but because I have recently scrutinized its capability to act as my ready made resting place.
In the fall, all the piles of leaves that could easily be re-purposed as pillows or blankets for when I may fall under the weight of my world. In the winter, the snow that looks like it could cushion my fall and cocoon me. In the spring, the mud that could shape itself around me. And in the summer, the grass that could act as my fresh-smelling bed.
It’s a paralyzingly feeling, and there are days where I can honestly say that I have no idea how I found the strength to even get out of bed or how I managed to make it home because there were several times I was sure I wouldn’t. I was sure I would collapse on the sidewalk and curl up on the lawn. I was sure that that curb would become my pillow, and those leaves would become my blanket. I was sure that this snow bank would become my own little igloo. I was sure the weight of my world would crush me and bury me right where I was standing.
However it happens I wish that it didn’t. Because it’s exhausting. It’s exhausting to see the hallway to your bathroom as a corridor that stretches for miles and miles. It’s exhausting to get dressed when it feels like bags of lead are tied to your arms and legs. It’s exhausting to see the 5 minute walk to the bus stop as a year long trek to the other side of the world. When the day before you feels like just the slightest nudge too far and it will crush you, it’s exhausting.
I try, every time, to “walk it off”, hoping that it is only a temporary feeling, but it sticks around more than it doesn’t. So I am forced to do what I can to make it through the day with a lead body. It’s gotten bad enough a few times that I’ve just cancelled whatever plans I did have, and stayed home in bed, periodically testing my body to see if it’s still carrying the weight of the world.
I hope one day not to be found on the side of the road or under a pile of snow because I just couldn’t go any further. I hope that I will always somehow find a way to make it home. I have briefly wondered on a few occasions if it would be a bad idea to crawl home, or roll myself home, but I’m pretty sure that would cause a lot of unwanted attention, and most likely intervention by the proper authorities so I’m holding out that I will make it home as vertical as possible.
I also hope to one day find a way to nail the jello to the wall and stay in my oblivious state where things are good, and nothing can hurt me, and I don’t carry the weight of everything inside me. Because it is a heavy load, and I really don’t need any extra weight, thanks.