This is part of my Other Authors series, where I share dissociated voices written by a number of different novelists.
Today I’m sharing my thoughts on The Trick Is To Keep Breathing by Janice Galloway.
Joy, the protagonist in The Trick Is To Keep Breathing, doesn’t seem to connect with other people and we learn a lot about her from her interaction with inanimate objects – such as her need to interact with a can of soup which leads to the delusion that she doesn’t need food.
“The next thing I knew, I’d pushed my hand right inside the can. The semi-solid mush seethed and slumped over the sides. […] I was learning something as I stared at what I was doing; the most obvious thing yet it had never dawned on me till I stood here, bug-eyed at the sink, congealing soup up to my wrists. I didn’t need to eat.”
Joy also talks about being outside of her own body. It’s not clear whether she is talking literally – as in she is having an out-of-body experience – or if she is talking mentally, as in dissociation
“I watch myself from the corner of the room sitting in the armchair, at the foot of the stairwell.” and “The nice thing is that I need not be present when I am working. I can be outside myself, watching from the corner of the room.”
Joy goes on a rather slow and very personal journey of recovery – and one that’s definitely worth reading.