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Flashes

I'm terrified, and it shows. I don't need to have to wake up in the middle of the night, afraid of the ringing in my ears, to feel the night will swallow me whole. Lately, even daytime has gotten to me. Since April 1, I've constantly been seeing flashes at night and throughout the day. I went to the ophthalmologist - twice: the first time when the ENT referred me, very suddenly, and the second time, six days after my first visit, when the flashes became more regular. Both times, the ophthalmologist said my retinae were fine. In other words: it's not my eyes that are messy.


I can see flashes anywhere. In my entryway, in my kitchen, in my bedroom, when my eyes are open or when they're closed. The flashes are short and intrusive, like lightning. My head doesn't hurt after they appear. I don't lose my sight either. They just come and go, and it's really up to only my courage that I'll be able, or not, to proceed with the day.


Some reading I've been doing say that the flashes are annoying and frightening, but they are not debilitating and not a source for grave concern. They could be part of ocular migraines or the vitreous' change in shape, which is a natural part of ageing, with an offset sometimes earlier for people with myopia.


I sometimes wish my head would ache, so that I could be confident about an ocular migraine.


My myopia is mild.


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Today was a rainy day. I usually like thunder - its roar is among my favorite sounds in the world; I'd take a dose of thunder chime anytime - but today I liked thunder even more because whenever it came after a flash, I got to know that my mind wasn't going crazy. I got to be un-scared. I needed to wait a few seconds, of course, between the flash and the roar. The worst was when the roar didn't come. Or when lightning was in the room, crossing in slightly curvaceous, but mostly horizontal ways, as if it wanted to trace the shape of my eyelids.


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I haven't gone to bed at eight-something in a while. I used to, habitually. I used to want to close my eyes by eight-forty-five. Nowadays, I've noticed that I procrastinate closing my eyes. I don't want to face the reality of having flashes with my eyes closed.


This week I might have slept an average of eight hours a day. For me, that's not that much. I normally take nine or ten hours. I usually like my shut-eye. I liked when the day came to an end, and when I had the ability to make it end. I found the blackness of shut-eye peaceful, concerting, promising. It was an agreement between me and the next day that I'd be able to make it.


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I love being outside because the expanse of my surroundings helps me forget my interiority. We took a walk after dinner today and my daughter say her first dalmatian. Thinking about the Disney cartoon and this dog that seemed a replica of something she'd seen on screen, she smiled so widely that I had to crouch down and level my face with hers to appreciate it. I wanted to be so near to the smile that I could feel it coming into me. I wanted to inhale and absorb it. I noted all of it: the eyes' radiance, the wrinkled cheeks, the stare on the dog that said it was the most fascinating thing she was seeing. When was the last time I smiled like that? Why did I not do that naturally, too? It was a dalmatian!


I've passed the day gloomily. I walked past my husband in narrow hallways at home as if he didn't exist. I went to wherever I was going, got the stuff I was looking for, and walked back, maybe walking by him again or maybe not. I can't recall.


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I want to go to bed early. I've been meditating every few days. Sometimes I feel like I need to silence my mind before sleep. There was one particular session that made me realize and observe how much fear I was in. If I take away the word and sensation, "fear," away from my body, I'd have so much space to fill in.


Right now, it feels like it's in every limb. Like if I hang my arms to my sides, I'd be able to feel the fear trickling from my elbows to my fingertips.


There are a few things that usually help in times like this: Adelene's movement therapy, Magali's or Krishna's yoga class, or Emma's jazz dance class. All are closed because of COVID-19. This period is the test of my strength without guidance, my "true strength." I find that I have much less than I want to have. I am barely strong. I used to be stronger.


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From my West-facing window, I'm looking at the world outside. The world of persisting. There are many taxis still lined up, waiting for passengers. This evening, taxis curved around the corner, waiting for passengers who, I think, never came.

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©2019 by Thammika Songkaeo.