When I was very young I was prone to fainting spells. I have multiple memories of standing upright one minute, fighting that dizzying wind that fogged out all feeling above my neck, thinking I could do it, feeling the hot and the cold and the pins and needles crawling upward until they blotted out my eyes, then realizing I couldn’t fight it, and—splat—I was down. I don’t know how long I’d stay out. The next thing I invariably remember is being crumpled on the ground, blurry faces inches from mine, asking if I was all right. I fainted in math class. I fainted during a fire drill. I fainted in an ice-cream parlour while visiting my parents’ friends. I fainted in my own bedroom, while putting socks away in my dresser drawer. I fainted in the car.

Fainting didn’t feel like going to sleep. My brain just went dark, stopped. I wasn’t dreaming. The pins-and-needles effect made me think my head had gone numb. It felt like I was taken out of myself for however many seconds, minutes I was out. And in that time, where was I?

In the past year, the feeling has come back. It happened once on the subway. But I escaped the train, found a seat on the platform, and held on until it passed. A few mornings ago I felt a faint coming on. I had just woken up. I sat on the couch. I scrunched my eyes. I waited. And it passed me by.

Before I felt it coming, I’d been thinking something important. It was about something I was writing, I don’t remember what. It was a spark, a moment of high importance, I’m realizing, but I just can’t get back there. Maybe it was the perfect way to fix my novel and my whole world would be different had I known it. Maybe it was just one word. I don’t know. But it makes me wonder… what else have I missed? It’s like a record that’s skipped—one note, or a whole verse, who’s to know?


8 thoughts on “Faint

  1. galvanized December 30, 2006 / 2:57 pm

    Strange and scary! Did you ever look into that it might be some form of narcolepsy. It sounds like it happens when you’re anxious or stressed at times, and I think that’s in keeping with narcoleptic episodes.

    It makes for interesting reading, though! Well articulated!

  2. caveblogem December 30, 2006 / 10:49 pm

    Sounds like narcolepsy to me too, getting really excited about something and then just knocking out. Must be frustrating for you.

  3. yojo December 30, 2006 / 11:48 pm

    I’m worried about you.

  4. courtney December 31, 2006 / 12:20 am

    Maybe it’s some kind of vertigo or low blood pressure or a situational stress reaction? I thought of narcolepsy too, but I have very little knowledge about it. That’s got to be not-fun and as someone above said, frustrating. Sorry you’re going through it–I hope it can be dealt with/things improve.

  5. e December 31, 2006 / 3:19 am

    courtney is right on about the vertigo/blood pressure assessment. it’s a combination of stress, too little sleep, and poor diet. no need to worry folks. no private idaho here. i’ll feed her better in the new year. sugar bad. sugar bad. 😉

  6. jadepark December 31, 2006 / 1:22 pm

    ohno–feeling “lost time” is not a great feeling at all! hope you feel better soon.

  7. nova December 31, 2006 / 1:28 pm

    Thanks, everyone. I knew someone with narcolepsy… she used to fall asleep while driving on the highway! Yikes.

    Maybe next year I will take better care of myself.

    But I love sugar, love it!

  8. Will December 31, 2006 / 1:33 pm

    feh. Everytime I “fainted” I’d check what I was doing.. and it turned out I had passed out drunk. Though I think I once came close to passing out from blood loss…. and I watched Bloodsport three times one night on TNT. While “fainted”. I’ve had a looot of coffee. Less sugar, more pickled beets.

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