In November 2012 I traveled to Israel on a spiritual quest. My close friend Jet came to see me off from Newark. Jet and I had been on and off friends/lovers/friends/enemies - rinse and repeat - for a couple of years. Relationships are not easy with an ASCA, so I admit to being 50% of the problem. The same is true for my failed marriage and the wake of destructive relationships I left trailing behind me before that. The nature of this friendship with Jet is pertinent because the dissociative button is often easily pushed by someone approaching intimate closeness.
Jet and I got into an argument in the middle of EWR. A series of no-fault events had left us stranded for the night with no place to sleep and me with an international departure in the morning. Jet blamed me for the incident and proceeded to explain the nature and extent of his anger in this crowded public place. I was feeling very upset at being blamed for something that was not my fault. And then it happened. I began my typical dissociation tailspin with one exception this time. The Watcher remained conscious, nonjudgmental (because the rest of me is constantly judging myself all the time), and secretly documented everything that happened for later mental retrieval. This is how it goes:
- First I lose my hearing. I can see people's mouths moving, but everything is muffled. I can't talk either. I usually don't have anything to say because my brain is short-circuiting, but even if I did it is like the muscles that surround my lips are frozen.
- Next my arms feel heavy like lead. I distinctly remember sitting at the airport, laptop open, wanting to google hotels but I literally could not mobilize the muscles in my left arm up to the keyboard. It simply wouldn't move so I just sat there staring at it. Arms completely stuck at my sides, meanwhile The Watcher's running script documented the words 'like rigor mortis.'
- Next the heaviness from my arms moves into my chest, and then my whole body goes numb. I feel myself exit through my head; it sort of feels like the top of my head coming off. This is not like the near-death experiences I've read where people talk about being able to see themselves from above. It is difficult to explain; it's more like being behind and slightly above myself, though not exaggeratedly so like hovering around the ceiling. I'm close to my body, I'm just not in it.
- Then I stop breathing. I did not know I was a breath holder until The Watcher revealed this to me. This part is actually quite scary. While watching myself from above/behind I begin to fear that I will suffocate. My journal entry for this reads "I honestly don't know how oxygen is getting into my blood because there is no air passing in or out of my body. If indeed I am breathing I cannot feel it at all, no matter how hard I try." I remain in this breathless state for some unknown period of time until something zaps me back in. Then I either go through the round of ears-arms-numb-breathless state again or stay in and move on to the next tortuous state.