I wrote this post a couple of nights ago, but when I hit publish, it published only a blank page with this very same title, “The Sense”. I rushed to find my text, hoping to discover it at least under “Revisions”, but there was nothing there. I was a bit angry, a bit sad, a bit disappointed, a bit desperate because it does take a lot of effort for someone like me to perform even a simple every day task, let alone write a long post in a language that is foreign to me, a post which eventually vanishes into thin air. Later I asked myself if it was fate, maybe I shouldn’t have published that unhappy post at all in the first place. I realized how much my mood varies and how much it improved by the following morning. Right now I contemplate on how symbolic it was of the WordPress to publish just a blank page entitled “The Sense” instead of my text, it was actually a much simpler way to perfectly convey the feelings of the sense missing from my life than shaping those feelings into some long post. 🙂 I wanted to drop it completely, but as this was meant to be a diary of my thoughts on various feelings, things that I read or heard somewhere, things that happen or don’t happen, I’ll try to reconstruct it the best I can. It was written on the day after Easter, in a pretty gloomy state of mind:
This is the period of Easter holidays, time when most people who celebrate it share joy, happiness, warm wishes and enjoy colorful and cheerful family reunions. I used to be among such people. At present, holidays usually serve as a reminder that many of my seemingly healed wounds are still open and that pain burst and flows out of them like some giant waterfall. During one episode of Dr. House I got familiar with the Kubler-Ross model that represents five emotional stages humans experience while dealing with a loss of some kind. At first there is denial, followed by anger which is then replaced by bargaining, which ends in depression that eventually leads us towards acceptance of what happened. However, this is not a one-way process – once you reach acceptance, sometimes it happens that you can regress to any of the previous stages, or even all the way back to denial and start the battle all over again. I thought I accepted my losses, at least some of them… but that same, familiar, stinging pain never fails to remind me that I’m still miles away from the real acceptance. Tonight I’m stuck with depression, and a bit of that eternal anger at my invisible enemy, panic disorder.
I watched TV. It was pure automatism, I didn’t seek fun, consolation or oblivion, I was just sitting there with the TV switched on when the movie started. It was “Bridges of Madison County”, movie that I had already watched 3 or 4 times before, always in different periods of my life. The diversity of these occasions always shed some new, previously undiscovered light on the same content, and tonight was not different in that matter at all. This time I focused on the scene when Francesca (Meryl Streep) recalls a hot afternoon in her native town of Bari in Italy, when she sat in a cafe across the railway station after shopping, with many bags around her feet, young, happy and full of dreams.
I had an almost instant flashback of one of my special afternoons in Rome – it was a hot and wonderful summer day and I was standing with hands full of colorful shopping bags somewhere halfway down Via del Corso, waiting for my ex boyfriend to come and pick me up. Among those bags there was one very special to me, a Disney store bag with a Stitch toy inside. I always loved cartoons and I grew fond of this little devilish alien and the famous phrase which he gave his best to remember by heart: “Ohana means family, and family means that no one gets left behind.” I remember waving to my ex with Stitch in my hands, with a smile shining from my face. We laughed and hugged each other, radiating happiness miles around us.
Francesca’s dreams never came true, just like mine. I was left behind, and even though Stitch is still with me, he lies forgotten in a corner of my small Serbian living room, covered with dust. Dust covers pretty much everything in my life, everything that I ever was or planned to become. Ironically enough, I wasn’t left behind because of my panic disorder as I was in a complete remission at the time, I was simply not wanted any more. That is one of a very few things I can’t blame anxiety for, but I’m not sure if that should give me any sort of relief. Everything else was pretty much eaten up and erased by panic. I dreamt to live in Italy, to have some nice small job there, to have a partner beside me and children of my own. Children to whom I could tell so many things about me, children who would remember me, how I lived and what I liked, children to whom I could some day leave my very own special box with some meaningful memories that marked my life. Francesca’s initial dreams didn’t come true, but she accomplished something else in her life. My dreams on the contrary vanished leaving me with nothing in my bare hands.
I lost Italy, which is for me much more than just a dream of some fancy, better life. I graduated in Italian language and literature and Italy was my profession and something even more than that, which is hard to explain with words – it was a sense of identity, inspiration, source of inner joy, even though I’m not Italian. Agoraphobia destroyed my profession and my identity and deprived me of any further trips to this special country. Today, I virtually have no job and no real income of my own, I’m single and childless. Speaking of acceptance, I accepted some of the things that happened to me. I can accept that was rejected and left behind by someone who was my own “once in a lifetime bond”. I could probably even accept the fact that I have no job and that I fully depend on my parents’ income, maybe I could even go that far to somehow accept my loneliness, ONLY IF IT WEREN’T FOR PANIC DISORDER. Yes. I would feel much better if it all were somehow my own personal fault, because that way I would have some chance to change it and hopefully reverse some damage. This way, I don’t stand a chance. If I were like most people, I could go out of my house without problems every single day and find probably even a pretty decent job, I could go out regularly and meet someone else, fall in love, maybe even have a child. Maybe I would have to give up on Italy and accept a smaller and more modest version of my dreams, but I would have… a life. What I have now instead is life reduced to its very basics, covered with layers of mental fog, total lack of energy and motivation, pain, fear and dread. I’m still too young to live only of my memories because I didn’t have enough time to make enough of them. I’m still too young to live only through words and images of others, in what I see on my screen or from the windows of my apartment. Yet I fell more than 1,000 years old. I would accept to be left with nothing till the end of my days, if I could trade it for moving freely along this planet, enjoying sunshine and long walks I used to love so much. It’s so damn hard to live in fear 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s really hard to survive holidays, because they remind me of how much tradition I could pass on to somebody who would stay here after me, things that I learnt from my family which are seemingly bound to die with me one day.
I struggle a lot every single moment, in spite of everything. I struggle, but holidays make me question the sense of this struggle. Everybody needs sense in this life in order to go on. A reason to wake up every morning. Perhaps that reason is to see and spend time with your loved ones, to work, study, to help somebody, enjoy something, reach your goals, fulfill your dreams. I have no more goals or dreams. The majority of things that come into my mind has to be crossed out and dismissed as unfit for prison-like life circumstances. I can only pray that my parents and my two little dogs that are still with me live as long as possible, because they are the only sense of my life and my only tangible support.