Raluca Mihaila

LACTIC ACIDOSIS. The sanity ode

I thought I had it.

But I was wrong again.

Damn it, how I hate being wrong!

I know I am starting to lose it every time I allow myself to miss him. Or anyone, for that matter. And to care. Like I do now.

Well, it’s a good thing I figured it out in time and put a stop to it.

But how could this happen? How could I have fallen so low that I feel longing and craving for the companionship of another, again?

There is something happening with people’s minds that makes everything dilute. I have noticed that, no matter how full of sadness or happiness I might feel one day, in one week’s time it fades away and in no more than a month’s time completely vanishes. Not only that, but I actually ended up asking myself what was wrong with me one month before.

I don’t get it. No, to be precise, I don’t get it yet, because I will soon understand it like I understand everything else. I just need to be patient and have a good plan. I hate it when I have to be patient, but there’s nothing I can do about that. First, what I need to do is to allow my thoughts to visit me, organize them in phrases, write them down and then analyze them in every detail: the rhythm of ideas, the words I use to express what I feel, my temper when I talk about what I go through and the ratio of nouns to verbs. Also, I have to check whether my handwriting is perfectly horizontal, as I tend to write inclined and if so, if I go up or down. The process is long because apart from the psychology behind it, I have to be my own graphologist. But it’s fun. I like self-analysis. I always did. Practice makes perfect, I always say.

Anyhow, the thing is that I never like to miss somebody. I think it makes me weak and vulnerable and more than that, I feel as if I allocate a lot of my time for someone who doesn’t appreciate it enough. Missing somebody is the same as being wrong, because it comes down to poor estimations of emotions and facts and to failing to remain totally indifferent and detached about another person. It is a common error of judgement and is similar to a cognitive bias.

I almost despise myself every time I am wrong, because it’s like I fall ill. The cure for recovering my self-respect is an algorithm which would get me back on track.

My biggest fear in the process is, nevertheless, a possible loss of my lucidity.

But where is my lucidity? What is my lucidity? And what is my individuality made of?

What is real and what exists only in my head?

How can I make the difference between real and fake, how can I measure it and what is the benchmark for my own tangibility? What’s my anchor in this uncontrollable chaos? How do I know for sure that I am dreaming or awake?

A lot of questions like these bump into my head occasionally and the second I start missing another human being becomes one of those typical moments of introspection.

I have developed a kit of several strategies that helped me solve the things I torment myself about, yet none of them is perfect in itself. They have to be built into a master strategy in order to work together. Otherwise the process is pointless.

I came up with such a strategy which proved to be a powerful use in preventing my insanity and my future wrongdoings (missed steps).  It is a nine-step process which I put together over time, based on the imperfections of my mind related to its biggest and fearful enemy: my soul. Although perhaps not now, sooner or later it will make sense to everybody, because love and emotions as we know them will be quieted by the rationale processes that make us evolve in the long run.

 

Step 1. Senses

 

Before thinking of my possibly having gone mad, I check all of my senses to make sure they are functional.

My hearing gets tested through very soft sounds of water falling and gunshots, alternatively.

In order not to become sight impaired, I stare at the sun for two consecutive minutes and then I go in a cellar and stare at the darkness for thirty minutes. It’s funny to see the remains of the sun in the first seconds of obscurity, because they make you realize, once more, that every cell of our body has a memory of its own. Anyway, this is how I train my eyes to focus on the present, to adjust to change and to let go of the past.

For smell I use acetone, nail polish, benzene, graffiti sprays or acrylic paint.  I, sometimes, also use vinegar. The idea is to have my smell awaken, even if sometimes I need a higher dose due to the body’s increasing resilience.

For taste I only use chilly and wasabi. It’s more than enough for my tongue’s promptness.

For the sense of touch, I use a needle to pinch my finger up to the point of blood and I walk on hot stones. Don’t missunderstand me: I never hurt myself. What I do, though, is to keep my body awake and always conscious of its limits. Not at all surprising, through constant exercise the limits expand.

 

Step 2. Absolute reality checks.

 

Absolute reality checks are people whom I know well and who know me well.

I don’t have to like them. They don’t have to like me. We only need to have shared experiences of togetherness by which we learn things about the other.

I call them “reality checks” because I occasionally try to confront them with regards to how I evolved from the last time they saw me. I manipulate the process and I know the perfect ways to disguise myself, so that they wouldn’t spot me using them. I am an honest fraud, like I call it, because I lie to people for a good purpose: to double check my own sanity, which, in the end, favors them as well, so everybody is happy.

 

Step 3. Numbing reality. My diary.

 

My diary is an alternative to my absolute reality checks. It’s like their brother from a different mother, because it is controllable to the extent of actual coding: I encrypted everything that’s written there. I made up my personal dictionary with special symbols and signs that can be either used alone, or in combination to form words and phrases. Its distinctive mark is that once you know the language of the diary, you have to read it on columns and alternatively top-bottom and bottom-up. So one column from top to bottom, one column from bottom to top and so on, and for the next page you start the other way around.

Easy. Especially because this mechanism is, in itself, an antivirus for any bug that might appear in the system.

What the diary does, is to keep my thoughts in order, so as for me to read today what I’ve written the day before and confirm I recall everything.

 

Step 4. Internal ecosystem. Medication

 

I know all there is to know about schizophrenia, paranoia, depression, alter egos, sclerosis, Alzheimer, degenerative diseases, autoimmune disorders, mental breakdowns, obsessive-compulsive disorders related to eating, collecting, lying, stealing, order and all sorts of juicy illnesses that scare people away and make them pray: “God forbid I ever get near a person with that”. Sure, it’s not a pleasant picture, I give them that, but anyone would admit they are nothing if not fascinating.

I like reading about all of them just as I believe the brain is a charming infinite universe. My! The self-sufficiency of doctors to believe that they have the slightest chance to tackle even the size of a toothpick from its greatness! The more I read about the brain and its functionalities, the more I realize that I know less and less about it. How cool is that? It’s like a never ending “Load more” is written all over it. I have even formulated a scientific explanation for this: the zoom-in effect. Imagine you have a retina resolution picture which you want to see in its biggest depths. You zoom-in and the image becomes bigger in the sense that you can see everything in more detail. On the other side, though, you lose the margins and you now face a new frame: a smaller reality seen in bigger depth. You zoom-in once more, and you get an even closer look at the details, but give up a bigger part of the picture by bringing the edges closer. And you can do that for an infinite number of instances. Once you reduce the reality by zooming-in, hence losing the sight of the shore, you gain depth by getting closer to the core. You exchange generality for specificity. It makes sense to believe that by knowing more, you actually know less, as the world and life in general is about seeing the big picture and connecting the dots rather than being an expert in a lonely dot.

Anyway, I mentioned medication. After listing all the diseases dear to me and related to the neurologic system, I made a complete list of the medicines that make up the treatment for each of it. What keeps me sane is reconfirming every day that by not having to take any of the medicine on the list, I am ok.

 

Step 5. Traumas and fears.

 

I have a list of my own fears which I tick every day, just to make sure none of them is gone. I believe that I am who I am because of my fears. They not only keep me alive and safe, but also keep me posted on what’s out there to be concerned about.

 

Step 6. Yield curve of feelings.

 

I listen to my soul every day, while I try to silence the mind. The purpose of this exercise is to nurture a villain. You know what they say, right? “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain”. We need a competitor in order to become better. We need to be challenged in order to grow. We need change in order to start taking note and finetune our edges. The soul is the perfect enemy for my mind, so I try to keep it as healthy as possible by feeding it with emotions. I allow myself to feel and completely merge with the sentiment, so as to know how to train the mind for fighting back. It’s like in politics: you have to know your enemies, that’s why you invite them to lunch.

It’s not an easy process, obviously. It’s probably the hardest of my leads because you need a whole different set of skills for it. What you use for the mind is useless here, so you have to develop a different self to be able to keep the pace of something as volatile as a soul.

 

Step 7. Ostentatious truth. Blood analysis and radiology.

 

I run my tests every two weeks for everything: bacteria, microorganisms, vitamins, minerals, coagulation indexes, lymphatic system, speed of circulation of blood, heart disorders and many more.

As for the rays, I do them all once a month, when I check each and every one of my organs and cavities.

You can never be too safe.

 

Step 8. Delusional kit. Alcohol or hallucinogenic substance.

 

I drink one too many glasses of alcohol every three days in order to see how my thoughts change while drunk, to bring the subconscious into light and to make it a subject of the conscious.

I also monitor my dreams every 48 hours through an AI device I bought from a prototyping lab, thus trying to complete the mind’s puzzle with recordings of my unconscious.

I switch alcohol with hallucinogenic substance every time my liver parameters or pancreatic enzymes are outing the limits of a perfect functioning.

Being drunk or high gives me similar dystopic thoughts of supremacy as one has when impaired by the feeling of conscious power, so I can switch between them as I please.

I also include here chrism, which I use at least two times a year for the same purpose. It works wonders.

 

Step 9. Entropy at work. Numbers.

 

It is my last point which ends the strategy with an odd number of routines. I decided to stick to nine for two reasons: to avoid a tie and also because I consider ten to be a fake convention of completion. If you want to rise above the ones around you, you need to deny their limitative customs and habits and build your own.

I calculate, compute, count and keep the track of everything I do and is being done to me, by transforming it into advanced algebra algorithms. Then I crunch the numbers, decrypt the patterns and find the means by which to overcome normality.

 

And that’s about it.

I call this nine-step strategy my S.A.N.I.T.Y. O.D.E.

I love my life. You have to make sacrifices if you want to perform at your best. You also need to be aware, in full mindful-less and willing to make a change around you.

It’s not for nothing when they say “go the extra mile, it’s never crowded”.

 

I usually receive a monthly report of nine and a half pages from the Interventionists, one for each of the nine steps of my strategy and the last half as a summary which shows numbers, progress, color coding for “bad”, “below average”, “average”, “good”, “better”, “very good”, “perfect”.

Well, after five consecutive years of better than “better” results, in last month’s report I spotted a surprising “below average” result together with some comments which follow.

 

 “The system has shown to have been infected by a delusional disease which has taken the shape of a time lapse pattern. For safety purposes, as of this moment you will enter automatic pilot mode and proceed with the reverse engineering action plan. This means your mind will go backwards in time through your personal history, until it reaches the moment of no apparent fears. To the best of the world’s knowledge, the constant and continuous freeze/fight/flight fear-induced responses end up paralyzing the host. That is the same as saying that the person who has experienced the nervous breakdown or a hurt soul, has reached a point of no return. Last month’s figures showed such a threat within the system. Whenever the basic needs of an infant fail to be met – togetherness, belonging, safety – a powerful defense mechanism kicks in and, if not carefully kept under control, ends up trapping one’s identity. Below average is a symptom for such an invisible and self-sabotaging trap.” 

 

I remember now – damn it! –  that when I was younger, I experienced a similar crisis, although the monthly score was normal. I recall having received some questions from the system which I had to answer within 24 hours and upload them into the biometrical cloud, yet I didn’t. The questions were:

 

Take a minute and revisit your one moment of happiness. How old is your soul?

What is your second biggest fear?

Would you rather capitulate, escape or counterattack?

Define self-love using a verb and a noun.

What is the first thing you would tell your one-year-old self?

How does seeing another human abused make you feel?

 

I could answer them now … but it’s too late. Although I never really believed in expiration dates, there is a point in our lives when “in time” switches to “too late”. On another note though, I wonder how come I didn’t receive a reminder from the Interventionists? The system should have not continued without correcting that step.

Anyway, there is nothing else I can do now, really. I leave everything up to the nine-step strategy I have built to keep me safe.

Oh, actually there is hope. People shouldn’t have to suffer in order to understand. So I have to take a leap of faith.

Because I know everything will be fine.

It always is when you open up. There is no other option.

 

 

“Do you still miss him?”

“Him, who?” the cyborg answered.

“Cut! We’ve got it all on tape this time! We’re done here. Get all the recordings, seal the inside of the hall and let’s go in the centrifugation wing to reboot the cynicism cylinders.”

 

Apart from the fact that this laboratory is untraceable, it is also the extremity of humankind, as the Interventionists saw it. They believe that all invincible systems originate in their weakest spots, the starting points of self-healing. The more you hit vulnerability, the more you can expect it to hit you in the face when “enough is enough”.  

By expanding and by being curious we give meaning to the abstract notion of perfection.

We were never perfect to begin with, but the Interventionists believe it’s up to us to want to be.

 

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Lactic Acidosis -The sanity ode |© 2018 Raluca Mihăilă | All rights reserved. Photo source: Unsplashed.

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