I passed out in grad school. Was standing in the middle of a crowded room near the middle of my first year, pressed against my labmates, all of us watching a demonstration on a small computer screen. I didn’t feel well when I arrived – was overtired, headachy, hungry. So, standing there, I noticed this roaring in my ears.
Strange, I thought, shaking my head a bit and watching the room tilt crazily around me. As blackness started to fill my vision from the outside in, I remember thinking – shocked – I think I’m going to pass out!
Fearful of being embarrassed, I pushed my way out of the room, found myself in the doorway, and stared at the professor, a man I adored though I was only halfway through his class. He was talking to the TA, who happened to be my crush, and I looked at said crush, confused. His face went worried instantly and he reached for me. I shook my head, said his name, and passed out.
Momentarily, I regained consciousness as I was being carried down the hall between the two men – professor and TA.
“Sit down. Head between your knees.” Professor said.
“No. I’ll throw up. I’m OK.” I said, thinking already about how interesting that experience was. The roaring in my ears, the dizziness, the loss of vision until I just checked out for a minute. Fascinating. Unpleasant, certainly, but on another level, pretty darn cool.
I sat in the chair for several minutes while Professor demanded TA get “all those big guys” out of the room.
“They’re taking up all the oxygen. Not enough left to keep the rest of you conscious, apparently.” He said, patting my hand before leaving to get me a glass of water. I told him I didn’t want it, but he insisted, wanting to feel useful.
He returned with a sopping paper towel, holding it toward me. I looked at him, wondering if I was still unconscious and having the strangest dream, then back to the paper towel as it dripped a puddle on the white tiled floor.
“I couldn’t find a cup.” He said, then handed me the paper towel as my crush raised his eyebrows, smiled, then went to throw it away for me.
I thought of it today not because it’s my favorite story starring that particular professor – a man who is brilliant at accomplishing his goals with whatever materials he can find (I was getting the water – cup or no) – but because I’m going through a rather miserable day today and though I wish desperately I was done with it, I find it interesting on an abstract level.
A relationship that I was in ended today. It should have done so months ago, and I’ve been making steps in this direction for some time, but to have it officially over – on a rather sour note, actually – is absolutely devastating. The only thing I can compare it to in my experience is when someone dies. That miserable helpless feeling. Thinking of all the songs, movies, books that will remind you of that person and how painful it will be when those memories are triggered. The constant pain of knowing something really sad happened. Wanting to fix it – do something to make everything all better – but knowing there’s nothing left to do. No more contact. No more changes. We're done.
What I find interesting is the severity of my reaction. This shouldn’t have been a big deal – in these difficult to define, online, never having even met things, it seems like I’d be smart and mature enough to just let go. Handle myself with a bit of dignity.
[Deleted a couple paragraphs that were decidedly undignified and shared too much information.]
The point is that I’m sick. Nauseated. Food seems revolting, and coming up on 30 hours since I’ve had anything, I’m a bit surprised I can’t get hungry. Despite Tylenol PM and zero coffee, I have been twitchy with energy all day. Cleaned my bathrooms for hours. Took Chienne on an incredibly brisk walk around the neighborhood in the heat of mid-morning. Came home sweating and trembling, but returned to the bathroom that wasn’t yet spotless. Tried to nap, but much like last night, I found myself popping up because I couldn’t stand myself enough to be still.
I got shrill and furious, though I’ve since calmed down. I’ve cried multiple times, and my head throbs incessantly. I don’t know what to do with myself. Can’t work, don’t care about blogs, flip through channels constantly because nothing can hold my interest, threw a romance novel down in disgust because that’s not likely to happen for me. I loved him, I realized. And I lost him, though it was unquestionably for the best. We weren’t right together. If we’d been together, we both would have been unhappy.
But, well, wow. This hurts.
I’ve had relationships before. One of them pretty serious. But none that have worked their way so firmly into my heart, mind and fantasies that the loss of them cripples me. And so I always viewed people in the midst of break-ups as a bit pathetic. I would certainly handle it better, I thought. He clearly wasn’t right for her. Didn’t love her. She’s better off without him and seems to realize it. So what in the world is with all the dramatic gestures? She’s tremendously silly.
Yet so am I. I feel like I’m watching myself, wanting to whisper, “Um, what’s the deal? Are you OK? This is fine – pull yourself together a bit. I’m embarrassed for you.” And I’m fascinated. I can’t come up with enough words to indicate how awful this is, and I’m eager to move past it and be happy again. But how interesting are the physical symptoms. The restless thoughts, the lack of appetite, insomnia, shaking from pain, avoiding phone calls only to cry when I finally answer them. It turns out that this process does really suck. I feel fortunate to have avoided it thus far, but can’t imagine going through it again.
Unnamed Friend (who has a blog – I’m not making her up) is coming tomorrow to keep me company. I talked to my parents and Dad quickly handed the phone back to Mom when I lost it and started to cry. When she asked what happened, I told her. And when she said, “He’s not for you.” I was comforted.
“You’re right.” I said. “The alternative to this is continuing to hold on to the wrong person. This is good...
“But it hurts, Mom.”
So she soothed and now she’ll worry, but I’ll be OK. I’m trying to work my way through it, endure the pain so I can feel better later, know more, prepare for a relationship that might never happen. But I finally get it – why people suffer so greatly at times when they lose someone they thought was wonderful. Even the knowledge that it was wrong, there has to be someone better, there are all kinds of blessings in my life doesn’t make much difference. Prayer helps, but the pain is still waiting. Friends and family are invaluable, but I’m sitting here alone for now.
Now I understand. The horrible misery. I feel badly for judging people rather harshly in their own moments of pain – I just didn’t comprehend the magnitude of it. How very out of control the process is.
My question is this: How do you make yourself try again when failing is so absolutely awful? Perhaps I’ll figure it out. Maybe I won’t. But for now, I’m sick. Exhausted but can’t sleep. Sad with no way to get out of it. I’m in a bad place, folks. I really hope it breaks soon because interesting or not, it’s getting old already.