From a very young age I’ve had these moments, these experiences, which are difficult to describe, difficult to understand. Looking back now I can find words and make sentences describing what happened, but back then I was so scared, so confused.
Even back then I used to think a lot, I used to think about things bigger than myself, greater than I could hold. I guess some kids just ask big questions earlier than others, I don’t know.
There are so many moments I can remember.
When I was around 6, I was sitting in the living room with my family: mum, dad, my brother and sister. We were eating ice-cream and the room was dark. They were talking and I sat there enjoying my ice-cream and out of nowhere these thoughts popped into my mind – it was like there was an escalator in my brain and one by one the thoughts came to the top and they just stayed there, piling up. I’m eating this ice-cream now, but will I be able to eat this ice-cream after I die? Will I be able to sit here after I die? Where will I go when I die? Where am I now? Will I be able to eat? Will I be able to hold this ice-cream? Will I be able to hear my parents? Will I be able to see? If I was not here where would I be? If I was not born where would I be? If I was not born what would I be? What if I didn’t exist? Where am I? Who am I? If I was not me then who would I be?
As I thought of each question I felt like I was sinking, sinking and sinking into the sofa. I zoned out and couldn’t hear my parents speaking or wasn’t focusing on them talking, I felt numb, I felt like I was disappearing, vanishing, like I was there but I wasn’t there. I was so scared. But I couldn’t say anything, I couldn’t get up, I couldn’t turn my head – The light in the room was coming from the window so many areas were dark. I sat there staring at a spot with light on the right side and just ate my ice-cream.
When I was younger than that, one night I was watching power rangers with my cousin at his house. I was sitting on the sofa with a blanket. Just a normal night. The room was so quiet, the house was so quiet, we weren’t talking just listening to the tv. And suddenly these thoughts came to me – what if we were the only people on earth? What if everyone else vanished? What if no one else existed? What would we do? What if I was alone? What if I was the only person in the world? My throat felt so dry and my heart was beating so fast. I was too scared to get up, I was scared to leave the room and find no one outside, I was scared of going into the kitchen and mum not being there. There were so many possibilities, so many things to fear, so many things I didn’t know, so many things I could not fathom. I was just helpless and scared.
And in those moments I can’t fight, I don’t know against what but I just can’t fight. I can’t fight the thoughts, I can’t fight the emotions, I just sink into it and they overflow. I just sit and somehow hold on, I need this moment to pass, I just need to get through this moment.
These types of thoughts continued. When I was about 7 there was a period of time when I questioned everyone around me. I thought what if my mum is not my mum and my dad is not my dad and my brother is not my brother and my sister is not my sister? What if they are only pretending to be my family? What if they are not real? What if they are my imagination? What if they are not human? What if they are alien? What if they are really just pretending? What do they want from me? Why are they pretending? But I acted normal, I had to act normal, they are my family, they are all I know… but what if? These what ifs stayed with me.
Back then when my dad came home from work and we heard the door, me and my siblings would run to the door and hug and kiss dad and sit with him.
For a really long while, after dad came home from work I would sit with him and when I hugged him I would put my hand under his chin and pull it to see if he was wearing a mask. To see if he was really my dad. I love him so much but I was so scared. And of course there was no mask, but still I just had to check again the next day and again and again. I’d still have a smile on my face and act natural while having all these doubts take over. I don’t know how I did it. I don’t know how I got through all that in silence. It may seem silly, it may seem like a joke, but those fears were so real to me. And I have little sisters who are my world, if they felt a fraction of that fear especially at such a young age it would absolutely break my heart, so when I think about myself back then, I just wonder who that little girl was and how she stayed so quiet whilst being so scared.
I’ve posted here about my ocd before. There have been many instances throughout my childhood where I had to say and act out ritualistic things. It made me feel like I was crazy, mad, mental, like I was not normal, like I was not human, like I was an alien. It made me confused and helpless, like I was not in control of myself. I feel like certain traits I have now and certain things about my personality stem from these experiences and things in my subconscious. I have forgotten many things, and many intricate details, but I remember how I felt in those moments. Even now it scares me when my mind takes me back. I fear the thoughts, but I also fear how they made me feel.
There have been many moments where I feel like I was floating. Whether I was sitting down, standing up, walking, whether I was at home or at school, a park or a street, I’ve had these moments where I feel like I was sinking, my legs go numb and soon it reaches up to my arms, hands, shoulders, ears, head, like my heart is beating ever so fast and hard while its turning to mush. Like I’m here but I’m not here, like I’m floating. These are the words I could find to describe it, I guess you would only know how it feels if you’ve experienced it yourself.
As I grew up I noticed that there have been many moments and I always use the phrase ‘I can feel my feet firmly on the ground’ in these moments. I felt happy, or satisfied, or whole, I felt okay, I felt strong. Moments with my friends and family, moments where I feel like I am really there, I am part of what is happening now, I’m here. And then I started thinking what does it even mean to feel my feet firmly on the ground, why do I use these words to describe how I feel… I wondered and I wondered. I think it’s because the way I felt in these moments with my feet firmly on the ground were the opposite of how I felt when I was floating.