I remember as a junior in college, I had a huge breakdown. To date, it was probably in my top five. My symptoms were at their peak – I was having terrifying visual and auditory hallucinations, most of which I still do not discuss, but have not had since. I didn’t sleep for days at a time; I would attempt to rock myself to sleep in the corner of my dorm room, but to no avail. I had unending amounts of energy, but I felt drained – as though someone sapped my soul out of my body through the bottom of my feet. My paranoia was at its peak – mostly due to the hallucinations – I slept with a sharpened knife under my mattress. This scared the shit out of my boyfriend, who after some time, took me to the nearest hospital.
The hospital psychiatrist had been a professor of mine from a freshman course I took on abnormal psychology; I was comforted to see a familiar face in the sterile and intimidating environment. While the doctor looked over the details of my case, I told him “I got a B- in your class.” The look he gave me said enough. There’s no distorting or reading into a look like that. The lowering of the eyebrow, the turned-up lip, the sudden push back of his head. He almost screamed, “How did someone as crazy as you pass my class?”
Seeing that woke something in me. I knew then that my psychiatrist wouldn’t be the last to question my abilities (and he wasn’t), but he shouldn’t have been the first. Knowing solely about the plasticity of the brain should demonstrate how amazing it truly is.
Amazing and terrifying.