I read an article today about the moment that Terry Pratchett realised he was “dead” (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/feb/03/terry-pratchett-docudrama-author-dead-alzheimers) and it made me think of the moment I realised I had lost my mind.
I remember it clearly. I had lost my mind many months before but this was the moment that it became the only clear thing in my addled mind – I was insane.
I was walking home from work. I wonder now how I managed to work and do a demanding job at the height of my madness when now, much calmer and indifferent, I struggle to do a simple role suffering only part time hours, but every day I somehow got to work at 11 in the morning and walked home at some time between 8 and 9 at night. I was crossing over the main road, having just passed the school where the kid killed a teacher with a crossbow. My thoughts, as always, were everywhere and nowhere all at once, spinning around. Random thoughts whizzing in and out and around, coming and going at will, but not at my will. Tears were gathering in my throat (it was always a battle to get home and shut in my room before they made their way to and out of my eyes), my heart was racing and the sick heaviness in my stomach twisted and turned sluggishly. I could not focus on anything. I could not even keep track of the thoughts that bombarded me.
And that’s when I knew, I remember clearly standing, waiting for the lights to change and, as the pedestrian green lit up, stepping into the road and thinking – my first clear thought of the walk, possibly of the day – I have lost my mind. It’s gone. This is what it feels like.
And I understood the expression completely.
I have regained my mind now. On most days it is mine. I am not always in control of it. The negativity invades more than I would like, it can still shock and surprise me and leave me reeling in a second, it can still be sluggish and stubborn but it is found now. It is mine.
But I remember what it was like to know my mind was gone. I remember the helplessness and the hopelessness and somewhere in the back of my found mind, I fear losing track of it again.