As they say, of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most. Or anyway, a properly functioning brain.
I love my brain, despite all the trouble it’s given me. For many years I thought it was the only measure of my worth, the only thing about me that made me special, the only thing that I could truly rely on.
I reveled in learning, in thinking, in reading, in questioning, in contemplating, in discovering. My body was not dependable; my brain was.
Little did I know the biochemical pitfalls that were waiting for me. Little did I know that my brain was ill. Disordered. Unbalanced. At the very least, uncooperative.
For instance, my brain decided other people were always pointing and laughing at me. Sometimes they were, of course, but that paranoia became my baseline assumption. (Shrinks call that “ideas of reference.” I just called it life.)
My brain played back for me every socially awkward or embarrassing thing I ever did, either randomly or at the worst possible moments.
My brain made me cry at the stupidest times – at an upbeat sitcom theme song, when someone mentioned foreign travel, when opening boxes from the garage, when thinking about my college years or birthday parties. Whenever I was confronted with how damaged I am.
My brain had irrational thoughts. Bad thoughts. Cutting. Worse. You know what I mean.
Eventually my brain refused to let me live any kind of a normal life – go out, talk to people, care for my house or my pets or myself, or even read, once the greatest joy of my life, the thing my brain and I best liked to do together.
But my brain also worked just well enough to send me looking for the help I needed. I’ve gotten back parts of who I was and what my mind was. And for that, I’m grateful. Even with it disorderly and uncooperative, it’s still the best part of me.