Yesterday, and it’s fine with a cool nor-westerly carrying bunches of cloud out towards the sea. I’ve spent most of the morning in bed and decide I want to get out and amongst that weather. The best option is Mount Ainslie; the track starts not far from our flat; it’s steep enough to be good exercise; and the view from the top will be sweet I figure – cloud patterns over the sprawling land.
About halfway up the track, and puffing heavily, I have one of my ‘memory spells’ – a sense of deja vu and then my memories aren’t my own. Or they are, but they’re not of things that happened. I think they come from dreams. It’s not an overpowering sensation: my conscious mind knows the memories aren’t real, even as my sub-conscious keeps sending them up out of the depths of wherever. It’s not an overpowering sensation: I can function while it’s happening – can hold down conversations. It’s not an overpowering sensation: but it’s troubling. Troubling to be deceived by my mind like that. Also, while the spell is occurring, my own real world memory becomes thoroughly patchy. I could hold a conversation with you, but I probably won’t remember what you said.
Generally, the spells have been less frequent over the last month or so, although they’d been particularly prevalent last week – a response to being tired. So I wasn’t happy to discover I was having one as I walked. But I kept walking, and waited to weather it out.
Except this spell didn’t go – or it went but then came back and went again. Waves of clarity and uncertainty which lasted for the next couple of hours. Only slowly ebbing away in the late afternoon.
No calamity. Like I said I could still function. But frightening at the time: what was happening? why were the rules of unwell being changed? would the spell ever stop? had I forgotten something important?
I don’t want to bang on about this side-effect of the surgery that saved my life. But it’s hard not to fixate on it. Memories, I’ve discovered, however, imperfect, are like maps. Tracing paths from where you were to where you are. And, in doing this, giving you a sense of where you’re going. Lose them and you’re lost. Or that’s how it feels for me – for the conscious planning part of my brain – that struggles on in their intermittent absence.
And maybe that’s the heart of the problem. Of my worry. Simply that being lost is unnerving – especially when it’s within yourself.
Anyhow, I’m feeling much better today – albeit tired. Off home to rest.