I opened my eyes and reached for the phone. 7:30. I’d been turning and tossing for the past hour, but I couldn’t get past the grogginess to pull myself out of bed. My entire body was sore, as if I had worked out, but I’ve been avoiding the gym lately.
I don’t remember what information junk I had for breakfast, but surely it was the equivalent of cheerios.
—“Is this any better than Instagram?” I thought, —“no, this is worse”.
So I unglued myself of the covers and prepared for the day.
—“How funny, this feels exactly as when I had a day job: I don’t really want to be doing this, but by now it has become a habit: breakfast, shower, the library. I’m not sure if I should be proud or ashamed of myself”, I thought.
I was ready with 15 minutes to spare, and I saw the black little notebook where I used to journal. “I might as well practice my handwriting”, I thought. I wrote a pair of pages and then left for the library.
—“Something is different, I sense it”, I thought as I walked. “My inner voice is very loud”.
The gypsy lady who sleeps on the street said good morning to me, and I didn’t answer, or even notice, I realised it some meters ahead. I always answer greetings. Something is surely amiss today.
I sat down and put myself to work. Something inside me was protesting, and I found myself staring blankly at the screen. I forgot what I was doing several times. I didn’t have internet, otherwise I would have mindlessly browsed during the morning.
So many days in deep focus, and suddenly it’s gone! But I can’t even pinpoint to a reason! Yes, I was exhausted yesterday, but this feels like being thrown back into my former state without notice! I will never finish this project if this voice in my head is speaking all the time.
So I went outside, and found a bench in the sun. I closed my eyes, and focused on the breath. My eyes were darting from one side to the other, making saccadic movements. Can’t stop them for more than a couple of seconds. Where is my mind going? It’s a chorus of voices, indistinct chattering. I try several times holding my eyes static, without success. “This is interesting” I thought, “now it’s more curiosity than frustration”.
This is the state in which I’ve been for the past five years, but the sudden regression makes the difference quite striking. But I am not the state, I don’t need to shake myself out of this, as I would have tried to do in the past, this is how I woke up today and I welcome the loud voice. But perhaps a nap might reset the state.
I came home and laid down. The voice in the head draws energies from the body, tensing it up, so it was difficult to relax. The most minimum noise was startling me. Usually I’m a deep sleeper. I focused on the breath again “oh, it’s easier to accomplish laying down in a dark room… shut up! no you shut up!” and this went on for a couple of minutes. I surfed the line between sleeping and waking states for some time, and I could clearly how the voice in the head was drawing energies not only from the body, but from other areas of the mind. I would begin hallucinating visuals and they would cease when the voice narrated them.
There was a brief period of sleep, and I remember a very short but significant dream: I was in a school auditorium listening to a talk. When the event finished, the host instructed us to leave by the emergency door, but to be careful because it had been raining hard, and there might be a lot of water coming down the stairs. I exited the auditorium and sure enough, there was water cascading down the stairs. It was only a flight of stairs and it looked easy, but when I tried going up the water would push my feet back. I tried once again by holding the rail: not possible. So I just stood there, waiting for the water to calm down so that I could go up the stairs.
After lunch I went back to the library to code, this time with a little more patience and compassion, taking on easier tasks, and things went better. I had to take a dump, and I saw a book of Roberto Bolaño on the bookshelf, “Oh, I’ve been meaning to read him since a long time ago” and so I put it under my arm, hoping that the librarians wouldn’t notice me smuggling it into the bathroom. It’s been years perhaps since I’ve read non-fiction, and I recognized the narrator as the same voice in my head. “Ah, perhaps this voice needs a creative outlet” I thought. “Ok, I’ll let you write today’s work log” and with this it grew quiet, and I was able to enjoy a couple of hours of uninterrupted work.