Friday, July 20, 2012

Step 3

Me again. I always attempt a bit of a routine when I find myself buzzing at a frequency higher than I can control. Pray. Drive. Blog. Sleep.

Which is silly, cause there's nothing to say.

When I was in seventh grade, I qualified for a three-week academic summer camp at Davidson College. The course I chose was Mysteries of Human Consciousness. Man, if a degree existed by that exact title, I'd have it by now. Anyway. We watched this video that detailed two cases of abnormal neurological chemical levels, but I can't remember the chemicals. In one case, the patient could find no other explanation for his lack of emotional recognition of his parents than to claim that they'd been abducted by aliens. He was so devoid of love and affection for them that he had to wonder if they were them at all. Something to do with serotonin or dopamine, perhaps. His parents were distraught, unable to convince their son that they were exactly who they'd always been. In the second case, the patient could find no explanation for his overblown care and concern for every single living thing other than to claim that he was God. Heightened levels of the same chemicals caused him to imagine ownership and compassion for every single plant, animal, and person. He was exhausted.

Of all the things I learned during that program, which was the up-to-then best experience of my life, it's this video I recall most often. I have drawn upon it when I wonder what tangible things, if any, cause my crippling sense of hyperawareness. I tire of the mind. I believe in it as I do the soul, but it's like treating a high blood pressure patient for heartbreak. Similar catalysts may intersect to produce similar symptoms, but if what you're doing isn't working, it's time to consider other diagnoses.

I have a regular customer with Tourette's whom I see almost daily. His audible and visible compulsions make people uncomfortable. He tries to control them but is rarely successful. What most seem to see as poor self-judgment of his capacity to handle social situations, I see as courage. Sure, there's a point at which he should be mindful of his effect on other people, but I think that's exactly what he is. The internal plea he makes to himself to be normal is broadcast in the brief eye contact he musters in place of verbal responses to how-are-yous and have-a-good-days.

I've never been close to someone with Tourette's, so I have no explicit justification for my defense of this man outside of my attempt at compassion and kindness. But it unnerves me terribly to imagine how I would process visible manifestations of my mental grievances. Sometimes I wish I were forced to, if only to release a valve in what feels like a pressurized cocoon. Sometimes I feel closer to that man than I do to anyone else all day. Which is fine, considering that growing close to anyone feels like cocoon implosion.

Step 2 found me accelerating up a hill earlier tonight, and as I looked down to check my speed, the needle jumped almost imperceptibly from 45 to 50mph. Not gradually. Instantly. The discrepancy between what I felt in my constant acceleration and what I saw in the instant result... I can't explain it. Incongruencies send in-that-state me over the edge. My attempt to literally shake off the anxiety battled my ability to stay in my lane. The latter won, to be clear. Nothing to see here, folks.

Well. Looks like there was some to say, after all. Goodnight forreal. Step 4 beckons.

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