I can has a mind

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.

22 thoughts on “I can has a mind

  1. Good luck! Brain chemistry is a wacky, wacky world and it’s impossible to view the changes from the inside, but the rest of the world will often just answer “different” or “better” when you’ve asked _how_ you’ve changed.

    I hope you find and get to dwell in the internal place you’re looking for. (for which you are looking sound jackassed of me)

  2. Perhaps you need a mindless holiday or brainless factory job to get your old functioning mind back.
    Hope this new found sanity is not short lived.

  3. Kirsten,

    I’m glad you’re starting to get on top of things.

    Losing faith in one’s faculties is universal. I have a journal from my early twenties where I wrote down in the first few pages “I’m losing my mind.” I felt it to be true then, and I feared it enough to write it down.

    Since then, I seem to have accepted losing my mind as a part of normal decrepitude, and just let nature have its rough way with my noggin.

    Hopefully, it’ll be a long time before I really notice.


  4. Kim – Thanks, and yeah, there’s such a thing as too much grammar. I can usually tell how I’ve changed, though — which possibly says that I think about myself far too much!

    Colin – I’m not gonna let it be short lived. Just not.

    Andrew – If this is universal, I don’t know how the universe copes. Or maybe it doesn’t. Maybe the whole universe is in therapy, and we’re all just what it’s talking about on the couch.

  5. Hmm, beginning to think the rss feeds on LJ are still wonky, because I didn’t see this post either…

    I think almost everyone sucks at meditation unless they’ve had years and years of consistent practice. (I’ve only had years of very inconsistent practice, so I still suck.) Your question – “what happens next” – well, nothing. XD; The whole feelings-of-bliss-and-universal-consciousness thing happens sometimes, and it’s nice, but it’s not the point. (And I suspect if you go looking for those feelings, you don’t experience them as often, but I have no solid data there, so I could be wrong.) The point is just sitting there and being and cultivating awareness. Practice for wakeful living, I guess.

    (And here’s hoping you’re still feeling better!)

  6. Something is wonky on my end, too, because I’m not getting email notification of comments anymore.

    Practice for wakeful living still seems like a good reason to meditate. (Atm I’m meditating at night with the aim of getting a longer, better night’s sleep…which might also lead to more literally wakeful living.)

    I’ve heard that constistency is the key, and I’ve also been very inconsistent — with a tendency to just go head-tripping rather than meditate for real. :-/

    And thanks! I’m now up to nearly 3 weeks of better.

  7. Lots of people don’t get their email notifications these days. It’s a perpetual problem with LJ. I miss some now and then, but mostly I’ve avoided it – which is a good thing, because having a paid account and all, I’d probably flame someone’s face off if that happened to me.

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