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Chasing The American Dream

January 26, 2006

AUTOPILOT OFF

Bizarre. I’ve been trying to describe to myself and to others a unique difference between the old me and the current me. It’s a certain state-of-being most prominent in the mornings. So I’m listening to one of my CDs and, BANG. It suddenly hits me. The song was What I Want by Autopilot Off. It wasn’t the lyrics or the song title; it was the artist that had the light bulb go off in my head.

I’ve told you before how I can be Rain Man and remember practically everything, yet I can’t seem to remember to bring my wallet or remember where I park anymore. This is the struggle with myself that has me wrestling the way I used to be versus the way I’m built now.

I used to be such an organized person. I used to be structured. I used to be able to do things quickly without even thinking. My mind could be on five different things and I could pick each one of them off one-by-one. No sweat. I never forgot anything. It was as if I was on autopilot. You know that feeling?

But I left home and, as you know, things changed drastically for me. 2004 changed me forever and apparently, that old me dude just isn’t coming back. Somewhere between the 2,500-mile drive across the country, leaving my wife and son, putting my dog to sleep, moving to new surroundings, working a new job, traveling 100%, going through a bitter divorce, finding a love and losing her, intense job stress, etc., etc., my autopilot broke.

And unfortunately, all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Was I driven to depression or was I just built without certain brain chemicals? Maybe both? I’ll probably never know the answer, but the after effects remain. Imperfections. It’s all left me without my trusty autopilot and I’m somewhat lost without it.

Mornings for me are literally a blur. I seem to be in hazy fog. My mind is not sharp, my eyes can’t focus, and my brain struggles to remember even the little things. Tsk, tsk. Such a sharp contrast to the former me. Juxtaposition. Hardly a morning goes by where I manage to forget something. I seem to have to try to part that fog and think to myself, “Wearing a belt? Take your pills? Got your phone? Got your wallet? Got your keys? Got your coffee? Got your computer?” And the list goes on. With my autopilot, I used to be able to dash out of the house and not have to think about any of these things. But now that it’s been disabled, I’m forced to rack my memory and painstakingly try to check-off each and everything I need to bring with me. Not only that, but I really have to make an effort to even remember the laundry list of things I’m supposed to bring with me, let alone remember to actually bring them.

Work for the first hour is an extension of this. I’m in foggy pea soup and I’m trying to clear the cobwebs and remember all the things I need to accomplish for the day. Sure I’ve got calendars and task lists but my mental clarity just isn’t there. The fog seems to return around 3 p.m. for an hour or two. It’s all so frustrating.

I’ve also just spent the past four days without said meds. My scrip ran out and I had no refills left. It took me four frustrating days to get it refilled. I was a dizzy, jittery mess yesterday which was day four. Today is recovery day having taken the first dose last night.

Now, I’m totally convinced that this is who I am now and that I’m not getting my autopilot back. I guess the good news is that I’ve recognized it and I’m slowly learning to live with it. And I’m really glad that song came on because now I can explain this strange new me to people. Or perhaps more easily, I can provide them the link to this here post. Hmm, there was something else I wanted to say, but I can’t remember what it was…

7 Comments:

  • Glad you are feeling better. I know there is something you are leaving out/forgetting. Remember working on the book.

    By Blogger Sass, at 11:11 AM, January 26, 2006  

  • I think it's necessary for awhile for our brains to go into this 'mush' and just lead us through the fog without really being completely alert. You've been through SO MUCH and right now, if your brain were fully functioning, it might be too much to handle. So you're mucking through the muck. It's okay. The 'old you' isn't gone, and you'll wake up one day and realize you feel better than you have and you feel sharper again.

    SO GLAD you have your internet back! now maybe it will be COMCASTIC!

    -Amy

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:46 PM, January 26, 2006  

  • Some of us call it perimenopause.

    By Anonymous Barbara, at 2:16 PM, January 26, 2006  

  • Great post Plantation. I totally thought of you today. You must check out www.last.fm and sign up. This isn't self-promotion or anything (I have nothing to do with this music site), but I just know you'll love it, my music-lovin' friend. Check it out and once you sign up, become my friend so I can always see what's playing on your computer!

    By Blogger StephanieKlein, at 2:41 PM, January 26, 2006  

  • I applaud you. It must take a lot of courage and determination to go through all that and come up breathing. You give me hope and encouragement. Thanks :)

    By Blogger catsteevens, at 5:20 PM, January 26, 2006  

  • Thanks everyone for the kind words. *smiles*

    By Blogger Plantation, at 9:10 PM, January 26, 2006  

  • You write great posts, and this one is wonderful! This post reminds me a lot of myself, different situation, same funk. I think in today's world we are so stressed and so overwhelmed that we forget the simplest things. I've been doing this for years and I even sometimes believe the older we get, the worse it becomes, but I've soon come to realize that if I'm going to stress over forgetting things, then I need to prepare ahead of time. I still don't do it, (because I forget), but sometimes I don't care especially if it's not that important.

    Mari

    By Blogger Mari, at 11:36 PM, January 27, 2006  

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