Saturday, November 22, 2008


I love little accent marks. When we had just moved from Germany, it drove me NUTS to see things like the city of Düsseldorf written as "Duesseldorf" - "Cologne" instead of Köln. And words/expression like déjà vu just look way cooler with all the umlauts and eszelts.

Well, that's what they're called in German - déjà vu is French, so I have no idea what they are called there. Anyone wanna tell me?

But this post isn't about language misuse, it's about the experience of déjà vu. I think everyone feels that fleeting "I've done this before" or "That person is going to say such-and-such" and then it comes out that way.

Sometimes I get a little bit more. Well, actually, I usually get a WHOLE lot more.

When trying to describe what happens, I've compared it to a incredibly high-speed movie inside of my head, that gets set off by a sound or word - sometimes a smell - that, once it starts, I have no control over. It's not a hallucination in the true sense of the word - I know it's just happening inside my head, and I still can perceive what's happening around me - but it's as if seeing through an extremely heavy, thick glass. 'Reality' is dimmed, it's hard to touch or feel or talk, and the movie is dominating my world.

Normally (if the word 'normal' can be applied to something that is SOO abnormal) it lasts about 30 - 45 seconds, and people around me, when asked, don't think I've done anything outside my norm (which, if you knew me, allows for a whole lot of crazy things).

For years, I tried to gain control over this - to stop it and/or lessen it. But this just seems to make it worse. So I've learned to sense when one might be coming on, and if I move quickly enough (literally - I usually dash to another room or outside) I can prevent it from beginning. But once it starts - can't do anything at all.

And the movie script, I guess you would call it, doesn't ever change. The moment that began it becomes that opening sequence - then, almost always, the movie at an impossible speed begins and covers the same material it always have. The next time it is set off, that opening moment is the next in line after whatever started it this time.

Is any of this making any sense? It's like madness occurring occasionally. I'll go months without it, and usually about 24 hours after some stressful event (fight with my husband, harsh words exchanged, overworking and/or under sleeping) it clicks in.

The feeling I am left with is like a very thin, very used washcloth, frayed on all sides, being wrung out from the bucket of dirty water with bleach' I just want to lay done someplace quiet and dark and be still for the next 46 days.

To the best of my memory, this never happened until after my head-injury in 1976. I know that I do have brain-damage on the right side, and it could be related to that.

Okay - anyone out there like to talk about their bouts of insanity? Floor is now open for comments - possible referrals and medications may be offered, but invitations to be on Oprah and The Tonight Show need to be handled on a first come, first served basis.