Section one: collaging
I probably can’t blame this year’s first United States Presidential debate entirely for my dissociative episode, but something about listening to two elderly men discuss the future clearly wasn’t working for my mental well-being. I was sitting there, on the couch in my living room, watching the debate with my roommates, when the voices of the candidates and my roommates all talking over one another started piling up in my head.
As I was trying not to worry too much about the existence of my future, my country, and our planet, a terrible fear that I wasn’t real started to creep into my brain.
The debate ended, and I tried to act normal. I started to realize that most normal activities were contributing to my panic — listening to music was overwhelming, and conversation was confusing.
For the next several days, it felt like my brain had walked right out of the back of my head, leaving my body to fend for itself. Specifically, according to the various websites I consulted during this period, I was experiencing something pretty akin to “derealization and depersonalization.” My brain felt disconnected from my body, and my body felt disconnected from the world.
So, I did what any quasi-sane person would do.
Over the past year, I had started collecting The Varsity’s newspapers by accident, picking them up on campus, and then never getting rid of them, despite their ephemeral nature. I spread out all of these newspapers, and I started chopping them up. I had been thinking about collaging them for a while, but at that time, it seemed like one of the only things I could do.