Mania: Free radicals

Joan Concilio |

Free radicals (are) highly chemically reactive towards other substances, or even towards themselves: Their molecules will often spontaneously dimerize or polymerize if they come in contact with each other. Most radicals are reasonably stable only at very low concentrations in inert media or in (a) vacuum. (Wikipedia)

When I get like this, I want to touch everything.

Walking down the hall. Shoulders bumping, wall – other wall – wall – other wall, the star of my own pinball game.

Outside. The grass. Oh, the grass. Jump. (A bunch.) Sometimes roll in it. This is not good for allergies, but that thought enters and exits my head almost before it finishes.

In the car. Shoulder, knee, hip, any point of contact pressed against the doorframe. Lean as hard as I can. If I were thinking of it, I’m sure I’d be glad the door locks automatically, but that consciousness only happens now, on the other side.

People. They react in a variety of ways – some as if I’m an attracting magnet, others a repelling one. Bumping shoulder pingpong. Standing too close. Desperate need for hugs. I don’t always like to be touched, but now I am the one invading personal space.

I need to feel everything about my surroundings. Rub my face back and forth a dozen times, two dozen, three, on the same blanket I’ve slept with since third-grade Christmas. Feel. All I can do is feel. Everything feels like something. The everyday annoyance of a shirt tag turns into the sensation I can’t bear to stop.

So real.

Most radicals are reasonably stable only at low concentrations, it says. This day, I am highly chemically reactive with my surroundings and myself. Needing to bond, to connect with this world and its humans, stability at all costs, throwing electrons at anything, sometimes stealing them from the closest (not always willing) target.

There is no vacuum to keep this iteration of me stable, so I dissipate, all the parts of everything shot off into space. The touching, the feeling, it’s all about boundaries, holding me in, keeping me terrestrial, hope that I can collect at least an approximation of my parts back after.

The next day, I sleep, but not without medicated assistance. I wake, and the blanket is just a blanket again. Lingering sensations – needing to lean into instead of away from, a glance of fingertips along a chair or a row of books or someone’s arm. The feelings drift away, and though there’s still that tiny part that needs to feel contained, most of me is glad.