You may feel detached from your body or feel as though the world around you is unreal

Something is lying in a bed, a body belonging to no one in particular. The body is meant to be receptive to a name. It is also meant to feel things. The body is designed to sense its surroundings and it is also, apparently, capable of moving. Some have even said the mind and body are connected– 


Between the duvet and the mattress there is an I existing. I must be me; the thing with limbs and leg hair that looks half-heartedly shaven. How odd it is to witness legs protruding from hips, hips protruding from stomach, and stomach disappearing off into chest. My body is awfully long and heavy, and yet I cannot feel it. The only thing I can make sense of is this horizontal state, like I was born to lie down as invisible static. I try to conjure up a gut feeling but all that’s left is sickness; if it is sickness, I must move myself even further into static. My full range of emotions reduces itself until all that remains is a dichotomy. A quiet fluctuation between fearing my physicality or fleeing it.  

Dissociation is one way the mind copes with too much stress, such as during a traumatic event.

Memories of self are sparse this month. I recall everything in isolated fragments. Conversations appear in disjointed words, voices distorted and uncertain of their own reality. I attempt recalling a hug but find that each dissolves before reaching me. I ask my nightmares if this is due to my unloveable body, wondering if my flesh has wilted from scepticism and mistrust. With every dreamscape comes a vision of feet inside three day old socks and unwashed armpits contaminating each oversized t-shirt. Though the mess of me continues existing, I feel nothing towards this physical, pungent state. 

Though I am aware of inhabiting space, as miasma or otherwise, my body is lost on me. I am aware that this can cause problems, like showing up late to work: I fail to materialise any real-world consequences for such an event. In all honesty, I would’ve liked to have come further on by now, but this dreaded state of mind is loyal and tough. Instead of concerning myself with getting up and making breakfast my mind will wander into the garden. I will stuff my face with grass. I will howl until the neighbours are concerned. No shit, I cannot be regarded as a responsible adult, let alone be capable of distracting myself.  I’d rather give my body to my thoughts, so they could stay cooped up inside. 

A haunted house 

With a picket fence

To float around 

And ghost my friends 

And while I worry about blood spilling from wonderful people, I hear my mum telling me how beautiful I am over Skype. I wish I had said how the word ‘angelic’ frightens me and how I want to double check that she is real. Later I retold the anxiety to a voice I didn’t know, the words escaping me before the helpline could ask for my name. When he answered, compassion made me weep and for a moment I prayed to be in tangible pain forever. I realised my blue lips were connected to my disused lungs, my messed up thoughts hanging abominably near my throat. I asked him, petrified– 

Is this what people mean when they say your mind is connected to your body? 

On my own, between the duvet and the mattress, I am using all my strength to recall advice. Before the madness, I must remind myself where I am, what the date is and my name. The bones of this bed are in Oxfordshire and today is a Tuesday. These half-shaven legs belong to ‘Alice’ and they are still capable of moving. I take my thoughts out of the grass slowly, and bring my mind back to focus. There is enough daylight to lift myself to standing. I follow the realest thing I can: a scent of toast, slightly burning. 

My roommate stands with a cup of tea in a rose-pink mug. We chat about the weather and I am comfortably distracted. She tells me about exams and I remember the last few weeks for her must have been packed in with stress and small amounts of sleep. Another day, we hugged and I felt as though I had been helpful for a moment. When my body feels this real I am almost inclined to wonder why we

live so much of our lives

without telling anyone.