This week, I’ve been in better mental health than I’ve been in for months — maybe years. I took medicine for a condition that you wouldn’t suppose to be remotely related to anxiety, brain fog or obsessive thoughts. But they all cleared up when I took it.
It’s too soon to go into detail, as I need to see how I go this month. The sudden change could have been related to hormones, or to something else. But just for now, I’ve got my mind back.
It’s been a terrible year, really. I’ve been turning up to work, answering emails, being amiable in public, doing contract work, even writing a couple of stories, and continuing to work on The Floating World. But it has all been like diving in murky water, surrounded continually by irrational fears and obsessive anxious thoughts that wouldn’t leave me alone, with physical and mental fatigue increasing and ability to concentrate decreasing, to the point where I was starting to have trouble stringing words into coherent sentences when speaking. Writing has been like pushing a semitrailer uphill.
I was losing my intelligence, reason, self control, judgement and will. I was unable to believe in what I knew to be true, and all too able to believe in ridiculous things. My own mind was a horrible place to be in. My quality of life was sliding fast. The 100 metre drop out the window was starting to look just slightly not unattractive.
But just right now, I’m ok. But also looking around dazed, because the experience of feeling that I was going insane — of irrational fears trumping the rational mind, has shifted — I won’t say shaken, because that sounds negative, and this isn’t necessarily a negative thing — my perception of self and identity.
Was I myself when I was mad? I don’t think so. But am I myself now? Am I this rational mind?
The rational mind, with which we tend to identify, obviously isn’t permanent or unconquerable. It’s a contingent thing. We know we can lose it. But who are we when we lose it? It’s an abstract question, perhaps, until you do start losing it.
Neti, neti, neti — not this, not that, nor that either, say the yogis. But I’ve only looked down. I haven’t learned the art of looking up past the mind. I suck at meditation, I have to admit. I’m too impatient. I’m actually not bad at focusing on breath and letting thoughts come and go, or even not particularly thinking at all, but hum de hum de padme hum, what happens next, baby? How long did you say I’ll have to do this before states of bliss and cosmic consciousness arise?
But hey, if I’ve really cracked what was wrong and I’m not going to be plagued by anxiety etc anymore, I should have more free time (since anxiety is a terrible time devourer). Maybe this is the year to get meditating seriously and see if I can’t get at least a peek through the clouds.
Of course, I’ll probably just get rained on.