A couple of days ago, I woke up and the first thing I thought was: “What the hell just happened?”.
The thought of being in a storm without power, without food or water, without a home, without air conditioning and without the ability to breathe in was frightening.
It was just too much.
Then I thought about how I spent most of my waking life in the same situation.
It has happened to me so often, it was almost a habit.
But the first time I felt like I was going to lose everything, it made me feel completely normal again.
The storm hit like a freight train.
The wind whipped me, I cried, I screamed.
My family was asleep, I was alone and there was no air conditioning.
When I looked at the TV, I couldn’t help but think about all the people who were lost in the storm and the hundreds of thousands who had to flee the city in the days after the storm.
The images on the news, the horror stories about the dead, the pain and the frustration in my mind, I could never forget.
It all felt like a dream.
But when I finally woke up, I realised how much it had affected me.
I was in my own bed, my phone in my hand, my TV set on mute.
I was terrified, I didn’t know what to do.
I felt so alone.
It didn’t matter if I was at home or in the hotel room, I needed to find somewhere safe to stay.
My wife and I took turns sleeping on our futon in our bedroom.
We did the same on our bed.
It wasn’t long before we had to go to the supermarket.
When I woke the next morning, I had been awake for nearly eight hours, I felt exhausted and confused.
I wasn’t sure if I should go to bed or stay in the car.
I remember thinking: “Where am I going to go?”
The whole experience was surreal.
On the first night I slept in the house, my wife and we had a few drinks in the living room.
When we were done, she said to me: “You’re going to be fine, we know that.”
I was stunned.
“It is just a dream.”
I felt I was making a huge mistake.
I could barely sleep, but I still felt like it was all a dream, all a nightmare.
I slept until noon.
At 6pm, I went to the hotel, my family and the people I had to talk to.
I had no idea what was going on and how I should behave.
When the people were talking to me, it became very clear that I was still a prisoner in my house.
I didn´t know how to communicate with them.
It felt like there was a disconnect between me and them, that there was something wrong with me.
When it was my turn to talk, I just said: “It´s not my house, it´s your house.
It´s just a fantasy, it is just the same.”
I went back to my own room.
The next morning I had another nightmare.
My whole house was full of people.
I couldn´t think of a word to say, I even couldn´ts understand what was happening to me.
I wanted to cry, I wanted it all to end.
I kept saying to myself: “Why are they all here?
What the hell happened?”
I felt so helpless and I didn`t know what else to do other than to sit there, stare at the ceiling, cry.
Then someone asked me: ‘Is there anything you need to tell me?’
I told them: “Yes, there is.
You are a prisoner.
You cannot leave the house.”
I couldn`t even speak to anyone for two weeks.
Eventually, I got out of the house.
After that, I began to understand what I had experienced.
The first thing that came to my mind was: I am not going to stay here any longer.
The house is my home, it has all belonged to me and I will never leave it.
I am going to take it back.
But the moment I left, it all changed.
I went through the motions again.
I did everything I was told.
I took a shower and washed my hands.
Then the lights came on in my room and I had an electric shock.
It happened so quickly, I don´t remember it.
At the hospital, I started to think about my wife, who was asleep in her room.
I don’t know how I got there.
I only know I was there for two hours.
I tried to forget about what had happened, I tried not to think, but it still felt very strange.
When my wife woke up after two hours, she asked me if she could go to her room and sleep in her bed.
I told her: “No, I am just going to sleep here.”
Then I was out