What is falling? What do we fall from, on, or into? In what direction is the fall? Is it physical or emotional? At what rate does the fall take place? Each combination of elements creates a unique result. The body and mind react differently in every situation. In an attempt to understand what the mind goes through as a person is falling I have chosen a single event.
Several falls come to mind when I think about my life. For example a year ago I wanted to learn how to skate board. After a few hours I felt confident enough to try a small hill. I slowly approached the hill, concentrating on a visual of myself at a spot in the distance. However, as I picked up speed I started to panic. My body went stiff and I had to force my eyes forward. Soon I was going so fast that the board began to wobble back and forth under my feet. The motion of the board traveled up my body causing me to sway back at forth abruptly in the attempt to keep my balance. I was thinking about how to keep my balance and lost sight of my goal spot in the distance. By this point nothing was going to keep me upright. I glanced down at the pavement, felt the board slip out in front of me like it had suddenly turned into soap, and I fell quickly. I remember the panic I felt as I lost control of my balance. I remember the slow motion feeling as I lost contact with the skate board. My heart pounding, my head throbbing, I couldn’t form a thought. There was a silence or void in my brain the moment I lost control. I panicked but all I could do was focus on the uncomfortable empty tension that paralyzed my whole body. These moments lasted only long enough to leave an impression in my memory. The fall was very fast, in fact I don’t remember hitting the ground. I believe that I was no longer able to think, my body moved to fast for my brain, or if my brain or body was in some way reacting to the fall my conscience self was unaware of it. Once I was able to recover from my brief coma I was face down on the pavement and half way up from pushing myself into a sitting position. My environment was hyper real as if I was seeing things for the first time. I was sitting, wondering what had happened. Soon this energy drained from my body and I could feel the pain coming from cuts and bruises all over myself.
Perhaps my specific fall can be generalized to make a clear statement about what happens when a person falls. As far as I can tell it would go something like this; the mind works through a set of options and attempts to find the right one, when there is no time to assess the situation (like when you fall) the body takes over and reacts without prior intent. There seems to be a difference between a physical fall and an emotional fall. When our bodies fall gravity pulls us down to the floor or bottom. However, there is no gravity or floor when it comes to our emotions. My definition works in both physical and emotional falls, but falling onto the ground is something that usually happens quickly and once it’s over you’re on the road to recovery, whereas emotional falls have no set ground. When the mind feels trapped emotionally there seem to be no option so the fall is continuous. When people doubt themselves and fall emotionally there is no way of knowing where they are going or when it is possible to recover.