It is unlikely that you devote much time to visualizing the interior of your brain. Not impossible, mind. But improbable.
Picture the brain as a clock.
You were reading/You were on the phone/You were putting your shoes on, and…
time machine go
…then you are inside the clock.
With the gears drifting.
See, the gears are how the thoughts happen. So imagine seeing the gears slide. Imagine pushing them together, trying, trying to get them to connect. Because if they don’t connect, man, you can’t fix this. If you can’t think…
And that’s the thing. You can’t think.
But you can feel your inability to think.
You are quite aware that you have lost the ability to form thoughts.
You know that if you can just get one gear connected to another, you can form a thought. If you can form a thought, you can get out of this.
And the gears are so close… but you can’t push them together. You cannot make them catch on each other. Like opposing magnetic poles. You can’t push them together, and the harder you try, the more impossible it is.
And you would cry, if you remembered what crying was.
Panic. Terror. Frustration. Isolation.
Floating in the gears. Floating in the noise.
You know that you can’t think.
You know that there’s an outside. You were just there. You were just lacing a shoe. You were just talking to your boyfriend. There was a world with other people in it. And internal consistency.
And it’s gone. There was an instantaneous side-step into this.
This isn’t going away.
Is this ever going to go away? Is your brain stuck like this? Why/how did this happen? How did the world fracture? How did you fall through this crack?
Was there ever a real world?
It’s been so long now. Twenty, thirty minutes, like this. You try, and you try – your boyfriend was right there. Can he see that something happened to you? Did you fall down?
Did you die?
Are you dead?
Is this hell?
Is this forever?
it is so quiet in here, sometimes.
Time stretches. And you keep trying. The gears won’t go. They won’t. But you can’t give up. You need to connect them. You need to be able to have a thought. You are capable of just enough to know that. That must be how to get out of here. If there is a way out of here.
If you can just parse a thought, you can free yourself.
How long has this been the entirety of your existence? How long have the features of your world been silence, inability, fear? An hour? A day?
You would scream, if you could remember what screaming was.
The world is blurred, but it’s there. Your bedroom/your living room. The books are there. The boyfriend. But you’re so tired. So goddamn tired. And you don’t understand. So he tucks you into bed, and you have just enough capacity to think, “I’m not dead.
“So I must be losing my mind.”
Before you fall asleep.
It wasn’t an hour. It wasn’t a day.
It was five minutes.
Welcome to epilepsy.
Now that you have epilepsy, this is what to expect.
The gears. The visuals of axons and dendrites, now that you know that this is what’s happening – that you’re having random neural cascades, that you’re having electrical storms in your brain. The noise. Every sense wide open at once – and your consciousness shutting down. Too much input. Too much input. Too much input.
This will happen at random moments for the rest of your life.
And you know this now. You know that it’s a temporal lobe seizure. That you’re not dying or going crazy. That you’ll come back.
But during the seizures themselves – you will not remember.
Sometimes, you won’t remember anything.
Every so often, you’ll just… go sideways. And not know if you’re ever coming home.