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It's all a bit much

It's all a bit much

The sun is a brilliant white. It's too much, like the long nights in someone's flat in Peckham (or similar) where someone would catch a curtain with their elbow and daylight would aggressively fling itself in, cold water over our allnighting, juddering jaws and crystal-stained lips. 

Too much, close it, avoid the morning. The world. 

But that was a lifetime ago. And this is today. But the sun still brings a short sharp shock of reality. 

My glasses have a yellow filter on them which the optician successfully upsold me when I had a panic about my deteriorating eyesight last year: "It'll protect your eyes from the computer screen." She disapproved of the pair I bought, saying those were women's glasses. €500 made her see sense though. 

With them, everything looks jaundiced, or even sepia with a bit of imagination. Take them off and the colours brill again. Even indoors, which can be a little gloomy due to its light-avoidant design (to keep the sun, and therefore the heat, out). We are all vampires in here, or we would be at least, were it not for all the garlic. 

It wasn't always like this

When my vision first went into decline, I found myself disassociating in public. Everything seemed so unreal. It was like watching an old television: all smudged, blurred, almost as if the image was trying too hard to be real. I remember taking wild risks on my bicycle: it's not a real car, that isn't really a curb, this blood is just a capsule.... 

I once allowed a car to turn across me and landed on its back door. If the sun was a short sharp shock then this was some sort of adrenaline whiplash. As I lay on the floor screaming the C word at the driver, who got out to remind me I should be grateful he'd stopped, it still felt a little distant. Abstract. 

Have you ever felt pain in a dream? Have you ever bled, or noticed a suddenly jaunty limb? Is pain only in our world, or do our alternate dimension stunt doubles get sore and ache too? Someone should really ask. 

Without any sort of visual support, life adopts a grainy hue. It seems to fade out of definition. I have to keep reminding myself that this is genuine, that I am alive and the current moment is happening. I always struggled with the intersection between the past and the future. The present is terrifying. What relationship does it have with what I can see anyway? 

Someone once told me that your eyes send an upside down image to your brain, which flips it over. I clung onto this morsel when my eyes first went double. The ophthalmologist optimistically spoke of me adapting, somehow forgetting everything was twinned. Like those Lars Von Trier films where an entire village drama is played out in a bare studio, with the houses represented by markings on the floor, and you forget it all, so invested you are in the story. You haven't seen any? Well you should. 

In the end, they gave me Botox. Yes, for the wrinkles, yes, of course, very good. They injected into a muscle right next to my right eye to make them both equally lazy. They warned me that initially the right eye would move too far over, and I would need to wait a couple of weeks for the effect of the injection to start to fade so it can slowly move back. Kinda like the tortoise overtaking the hare who falls asleep. 

I looked at everyone skewiff for about three months. My head was constantly cocked. Noone knew if I was talking to them or their neighbour. Apparently it still is a little off-balance. It's a strategy you've come up with, says the new ophthalmologist. My strabismus had reduced to the stage where I could correct it myself by looking sympathetic. 

In some sort of psycho-corporal pathetic fallacy, I became kinder, a better listener. I lost interest in my laddish male friends and spent more time around women. I cried more often and constantly felt overwhelmed by the mere weight of existence. Sometimes it was all just too much. So many things, all happening at once. People trying their best, and others not trying at all, with most people somewhere in the middle. What a pain in the arse. 

I started to tune out of life a little. What else is on? This is too heavy for my mood right now. I'm hungry. Or am I just bored? 

It's all a bit much.

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About the author


37, Spain, Relapsing Remitting, diagnosed September 2018.