When a doctor tells you you have silent migraines, it's like asking someone on the street which way to the station and they say, I think it's that way, and point toward an urban horizon. But they're not sure. My policy is to never follow directions from someone who isn't sure. Keep asking until you find someone who knows, even if it's awkward and insulting to the person that thinks you should probably, maybe, turn left.
Stephen Elliot, via his Rumpus emails
I watched Sophie have a very big seizure yesterday. She was sitting on her bed when it started, as was I. I was reading Eleanor and Park aloud to her, wondering if it was all right to read aloud the words fuck and shit which were sprinkled liberally throughout the first chapter. She's nineteen years old. I skipped over the word retard, flaming off the page. Sophie fell over seizing and I put down the book and said it's ok, Sophie, and then I watched her grimace and jerk, her thin legs and even thinner feet stiff, her toes curled. She made a guttural sound even as I spoke softly and watched her lips turn gray and eyes blink. I looked out the window, at the light falling on the drifting sun mobile that hangs from the silk floss tree. I probably blinked a few times and wondered at my own dissociation even as I dissociated. No one knows what this is like unless they know. When it first started happening, when I asked for direction and got it, I trusted the way. I gave her this drug and that one. I measured sticks of butter and whipped cream with slivers of strawberries, spooned it into her mouth as she paced restlessly around her room, starved. I removed all fragrances and chemicals from the apartment, the direction an Orthodox lady gave us using a pendulum in upstate New York. I removed dairy and added long-chain fatty acids, probiotics before they were called that, walked down paths while being mocked (I know you did, behind my back). I don't remember which year it was when I realized that the person giving directions wasn't sure, but I stopped taking them. If you stop taking directions, you wander. You wander down different paths and up staircases in offices on residential streets. A man with a ridiculous name taps his long fingers together and tells you, Help will not come from a traditional source. It will be natural and near-spiritual in nature. You forget that direction until you remember it. It's a feeling in the pit of yourself, not in an organ. You dissociate from it until you can't any longer, and then you look. You find someone who knows, and that someone is you. It is awkward and insulting to the others when you find the way, but you keep walking it. You give her the oily extract from the plant, a spiritual plant. Sophie only had the one big seizure, and it came after nearly three weeks with none. Go this way, says the sun as it twists in the wind under the silk floss. Keep going this way.