Every morning, for what would have been twelve years if I hadn’t managed to emote my way out of finishing most school-years- I would wake with a mess of fire-breathing dragonflies filling my stomach alongside my bowl of cinnamon toast crunch.
After conducting a few x-rays (I had to drink that nasty chalk-glue mixture called barium *gags*) when I was seven, the doctor said my stomach behavior was caused by stress. I shifted uncomfortably on the paper-lined clinic bed. My mum made some comment to the effect of, “What does a seven-year-old have to be stressed about?”
I experience anxiety solely somatically, which is only to say that my mind is free, blank even, but the rest of me is tense, vibrating more quickly than a body can reasonably cope with. I have decided that what I have come to know as anxiety (and sometimes panic) is actually just bursts of excess energy.
My brain has bouts of similar misbehavior: rapid, random electrical activity resulting in disrupted behavior. Sometimes, I completely lose my grip on my surroundings. I couldn’t name the close friends I’m with or the objects in the room. Sometimes, I lose my visual capacity as well. I have collapsed, convulsed, and ended up strangely far away from where I started. Each of these episodes leaves my senses feeling stripped raw. The filters on my perception are misplaced, or what have you, so I hear and see too much following the more intense seizures.
I also experience temporary sleep paralysis on occasion. My mind wakes before my body, rendering me in somewhere between dreaming and waking, but unable to command my limbs. I have felt trapped in a semi-hallucinatory reality, silently screaming for someone to wake me up. The only way out is to let go, of course.
Because of these brain-related symptoms (as in, these brain-related symptoms are probably linked to behavioral patterns that predispose me to paranoia AND purely as a conscious self-examination of my brain), I believe that A) I am chemically mad and B) my idiosyncrasies are connected somehow. (Look ma, I connect the dots!)
I want to know, Dr. So and So, why these things occur. For all medically measurable purposes, I am a healthy woman in her early twenties who just so happens to experience bouts of reality-crunching anxiety and depression, ranges of seizures and sleep disorders. I even hallucinate cats on occasion. Domestic cats strolling about in my peripheral who, on double-taking, are sometimes still there but only ever to me. THERE MUST be (said the crazy lady glaring into a computer screen in the wee hours when she should be sleeping) a unifying something here. I mean, there must be a relationship and a root cause. I will absolutely put my money on that root cause having very little to do with the brain and everything to do with my gut.
FOOD is MEDICINE.