January 05, 2005

State of shock

I am, I think, suffering from shock. I am not a doctor, of course, and although I work in a medical library, one of the consequences has been that I have been unable to get into work, hence preventing me from looking it up as easily as I might. I've had it explained to me before now, though, but I can't remember exactly how it went. I am, I think, suffering from shock.

I do remember the first time I suffered from it. I had mowed my mother's front lawn with a rotary blade, and, reaching down to clean the blade with one hand, I accidentally turned it back on with the other. I got away with a chipped thumbnail that was bruised for several weeks, whereas I suppose I could have lost the thumb itself. It wasn't painful as such, but when I had gone inside and checked it out and had time to sit down and start thinking about it, then the shock began. I felt myself panic - perhaps, at the thought of what might have happened - and shook a bit and felt a general inability to just calm down, until I had had a cup of tea with several sugars in it. Which is apparently precisely what you're not supposed to do.

I think the body floods itself with something or other (there must be people better equipped than I to work in a medical library!) which numbs you, in order to prevent a more painful reaction. That would make sense, I suppose. I had some devastating news last night, and as often happens on such occasions, when it had sunk in a little I found myself shuddering as if some force were taking hold of me and saying this isn't happening, this isn't happening. A sort of panic attack.

Not a major one, just one that involved having to lie down on the bed and close my eyes and not be able to do anything for a few hours. As opposed to something involving fits and breathlessness and the possible calling of ambulances. I've had them in the past, during the course of a massive breakdown some six years ago. After a few of them I reneged on all my previous declarations against antidepressants, went straight to the doctor and demanded he supply me with some.

The effect was immediate and striking: the next attack was cut short like a tethered dog trying to outrun the extent of its rope. Swiftly, suddenly, effectively. But not wiped out so much as assimilated - numbed. I wasn't free to go about my business. I was just tranquillised. I had to lie down and wait for it to pass.

Shock seems to have the same effect. Like some sort of natural tranquillising process. That would make sense. It might also explain why my fingers tingle as they might if I had accidentally fallen asleep with my head on my hands, cutting off the circulation. They feel as if something was passing through them, as if somebody had injected me with a tranquillising agent and I was feeling it passing through my body. Well, let is pass. But what worries me is - if this is what is happening, what happens when the shock, the tranquilliser, wears off?


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