Because I can speak and interact normally*, most people assume that I have made a complete recovery… but the exhaustion endures (hands or knees shake at times) and very often there is a fog to be pierced through to interact with others.
The best way to express this is to say that my eyeballs don’t feel completely aligned with my eye sockets. I can look but am I looking, am I seeing?
Taking a warm shower or sitting in a hot-tub seem to help this discomfort – this simple trick provided my first sense of relief from feeling utterly “out of it.”
Similarly, if I move my head upward/downward or sideways too fast, everything spins around me. Doctors and rehab personnel have called this symptom a vestibular issue and tried in vain to manipulate my inner ear crystals.
Earlier I have brought up my sense that much of life seem to be populated by “stuff” (as if I were floating in the intergalatic space described in the classic film “The Powers of Ten” [a link]).
There is also my persistent way of being disconnected from the (mundane) busyness of regular life.
As a doctor remarked astutely:
just to be there, present interacting with eyes, ears and one’s body and mind, IS a lot of work.
Normal sound and visual stimulation, even in their more quiet forms, are plenty to process. Handling the intensity of a sunny day with the wind bristling through the leaves, or an excited crowd, is too much.
I used to value the distanciation/alienation (“Verfremdung” in German) that Brecht had advised for his epic theater. I had looked for it in theater, film and art.
Now I live with this distance on a daily basis. Even if I decried fluff in past writing, now fluff surrounds me everywhere (cf. Resnais’s film mentioned earlier).
And so, the small, the quiet, are much more appealing… I am reminded of this “Auto-Interview” by Primo Levi which I had always appreciated:
… we must be cautious about delegating to others our judgment and our will. Since it is difficult to distinguish true prophets from false, it is as well to regard all prophets with suspicion. It is better to renounce revealed truths, even if they exalt us by their simplicity and their splendor, or if we find them convenient because we can acquire them gratis.
It is better to content oneself with other more modest and less exciting truths, those one acquires painfully, little by little and without shortcuts, with study, discussion and reasoning, those that can be verified and demonstrated.
*more about that later