Each time my doctor uses it I want to hold her down and make her smell my elderly father's paint-peeling, kitten-killing, shoe funk, until she agrees to never use those hideous words again. Yes, I do think it's healthy to add a little humour to your torture techniques.
Of the many, many, oh so many, years of Statistics, Statistical Methods, Research Methods, or Mind Numbing Useless Number Crap Techniques, classes that are forced upon you if you decide stupidly to undertake a psychology career (sounded like a good idea at the time), the one thing I remember clearly is the concept of Face Validity. Does a test look like what it is supposed to measure? For me the term 'simple faint' is not up to the task. It reminds me of the Black Knight's scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail
(BLACK KNIGHT: 'Tis but a scratch. ARTHUR: A scratch? Your arm's off! BLACK KNIGHT: No, it isn't. ARTHUR: Well, what's that then? BLACK KNIGHT: I've had worse).
But I am aware that I could potentially be over-reacting thanks to my irrational hatred. I think that I may actually benefit from a reality check from those with more than 3 brain cells. I may also benefit from a Xanax, yet another bottle of sav blanc and years of therapy, but that is for another post. So I thought I'd try and capture what a little of what a 'simple faint' feels like for the uninitiated. Let me know.
It begins with a whisper. Soft, unintelligible words. A shiver runs down my spine and my body tingles. Something is wrong. The whisper becomes a murmur. Troubled voices mingled together. A persistent rising hum suffuses my body. I try to shake it off but it is is determined, it will not be stopped. A sense of danger, intangible, threatening, swirls in shadows on the edge of my vision. My mind begins racing, struggling to try an make sense of the insensible. It has begun.
A faint sheen of sweat springs up all over my body and I begin to tremble. The world loses cohesion for a split second, reality rips and tumbles. Then, just as suddenly, I am slammed sharply into focus. Lights are brighter, sounds piece my ears, razor sharp and deafening. I struggle to breathe, to collect myself. Suddenly the world dims. Images are moving, distorted, bloated, shrinking. The world appears as seen though the bottom of a drinking glass. Arctic gusts and Saharan heat war for control, moving through my body. My senses cry out unable to find equilibrium. Waves of nausea hit and the world is turned upside down once more. My face tingles as I feel my blood retreat deep within me. A primal drive to preserve the heart and internal organs by sacrificing the extremities. It cannot be overridden.
My mind races and the murmur becomes a roar. I struggle to focus. To will my body to stillness. To quite the growing storm within. The world is slipping from my grasp. I am trapped in a clammy embrace from which I cannot escape. I try to speak but cannot form words. Meaningless sounds fall from my lips. Anaesthetised muscles refuse to coordinate. My tongue is thick, my mouth dry. I disparately try to stop the vomit rising in my throat. Wave upon wave of nausea crash upon me as I struggle to reclaim control.
Time no longer has meaning.
I am caught in a maelstrom of my body's own tormented design. The world tilts and rocks, I am thrown against the walls of my house. Afloat on an invisible rocking boat. I am buffeted by winds no one else feels. The real world dissolves. With each step my muscles begin to lose cohesion and strength fails. My body loses its grip on the corporeal and becomes a thing of mist and fog. I am caught in a waterfall, deafened by the torrent that surrounds me. I cannot make out the voices beyond the storm. Fragments of words pierce the roar. Safety in the form of my couch retreats from my outstretched hand. Receding into the distance that I can no longer traverse. Invisible hands hold me, pulling me towards the ground. The carpet beneath my feet turns to quicksand and I am caught. I sink down, melting into the ground beneath me. I can no longer resist, the world is lost.
Darkness closes over me.
Sound. Soft and muted. Incomprehensible at first, meaning slowly returns. The hum of the lights. A bird calling outside the window. Voices in the street. A faint light appears. I struggle to focus through the tea stained water before me. Distant at first. Then as if recognises my rising awareness it rushes closer and closer slamming me back into reality.
My body aches. My head pounds. The carpet beneath my cheek feels rough, prickly against my stressed skin. All encompassing exhaustion resonates throughout my body. I groan as I strain to raise my head. My head spins as I manage to sit up, my body proped against the wall.
I struggle to rise. First to my knees and finally to my feet. I stumble unsteadily to the couch, now but a few steps from me. I slump onto the soft cushions. Eyes close and I breath slowly. Weakness suffuses my body. Sleep slowly takes over. No strength is left to fight off it's comforting arms. Peace.
So on that note, I bid you adieu fair readers and leave you with another classic Monty Python moment. The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog:
(Tim the Enchanter: That's no ordinary rabbit! That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!).