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Last night my husband and I were playing cards and listening to a classic rock station. As we sat rearranging our hands for a new game, the Pink Floyd song, Comfortably Numb began to play. As much as I love Pink Floyd, I was only half listening. I had a good hand and I was thinking of ways to maximize the cards I was holding.

“That’s your song,” my husband said as he shifted cards in his hand.

“My song? What do you mean?” I asked him.

I didn’t remember this one very well. It was from their album The Wall. My favorite album was Wish You Were Here. I went through biofeedback training in my twenties to deal with my out-of-control migraines. Music was part of the process, and that was the album I used. The process became so ingrained in my head that to this day, my body starts to relax and I feel peaceful when I hear the opening chords of Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

“That’s your song,” my husband repeated. “Listen to the words.”

The lyrics described someone talking to another person going through some kind of psychological event. The more I listened, the more I knew just what my husband meant. It describes an individual emotionally and physically distanced from others. Someone who sees things out of the corner of the eye, who knows others are talking, but cannot hear their words, someone who feels numb.

I experienced the things described in the song when my epilepsy began to accelerate, moving from what some people would think as mere eccentricities to the level of the deeply disturbed. My husband was unable to reach me. I can still remember times when I felt like I was encased in something and unable to connect with him or other members of my family. I would look at him and he at me as if we were looking through soundproof glass. I knew I wasn’t making a lot of sense. I knew I wasn’t saying what was in my thoughts or even in my heart, but somehow I couldn’t. I had momentarily forgotten how. My seizures were robbing me of my closeness with others, as well as my self-awareness.

I felt so alone. I felt as if I would die from this disconnect.

But I didn’t die. I got better. My husband and my family continued to try to reach me, to rebuild the connection. The glass is gone these days and I don’t feel numb. I still see things out of the corner of my eye, but that doesn’t worry me. What I know from that experience is that I never want to be numb again.

While others may not feel or see the connection between my experiences and the story of the song, I want to point out here that art, in its purest sense, allows the viewer/listener/watcher to participate, to relate. Finding something that you relate to on a deep level, that describes to you the experiences you feel with your illness, is a gift. Cherish it.

Comfortably Numb
(Gilmour, Waters)

Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone at home?
Come on, now,
I hear you’re feeling down.
Well I can ease your pain
Get you on your feet again.
I’ll need some information first.
Just the basic facts.
Can you show me where it hurts?

There is no pain you are receding.
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying.
When I was a child I had a fever.
My hands felt just like two balloons.
Now I’ve got that feeling once again.
I can’t explain, you would not understand.
This is not how I am.
I have become comfortably numb.

Just a little pinprick.
There’ll be no more aaaaaaaaah!
But you may feel a little sick.
Can you stand up?
I do believe it’s working, good.
That’ll keep you going through the show.
Come on, it’s time to go.

There is no pain you are receding.
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying.
When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone.
I cannot put my finger on it now.
The child is grown,
The dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb.