Apologies for being remiss about keeping my blog updated with the most exciting stories about Russia you could hope to find online. All you really need to know is this: Dima ate a burger, therefore the Cold War is over. Also Nashi played a soccer match with Yabloko for the prize of a cow. Soccer. Cow. Burger. International friendship. It’s the circle of … well, something profound. I’m sure of that.
The thing is, I’ve not been well. And by not well, I mean I have these migraines with what appears to be residual optical and brain damage. Though it could just be a sinus infection. No one knows for sure, and the plan is to keep it that way by bouncing me like a pinball between people with medical degrees and people with certificates in administration and people who want my money. If the invisible hand of Capitalism works, I get to find out what is wrong with me. And if I’m one of the chosen ones, I may even receive treatment. Until then, I have prolonged episodes of blurry vision, nausea and vertigo if I look at anything too long. Especially words. There are few demands on the blogger, but being able to read and write are among them. Along with having an inflated ego and anemic social life. Being able to read and write are coincidentally among the few demands of my job. You’d think that after hearing those stories about kids in chocolate factories that I’d come home and not want to read and write. Oh, but you would be wrong! So as you can see (and I cannot), I’ve painted myself into a bit of a corner, and am now at the mercy of the -HORROR- American healthcare industry to get out of it. Hell, in other words.
“But how are your writing this now, poemless?” Instinct, desperation, nose buried in the glare protector, guided by the other invisible hand, that of pharmacopoeia.
“I think I know what is wrong with you, poemless!” Keep it to your damn self. I have enough to worry about without your theories of brain fever and cancer and whatever gruesome ailment your cousin with the exact same symptoms had and would have died from without that emergency medical excursion to Thailand to have an eyeball transplant. Besides, brain fever would be a romantic way to die, like a character in a 19th Century novel. And brain tumours? Pshaw. My brother was diagnosed with one of those, and it turned out to be a brain cyst, which turned out to be treatable with medication, that is, without cracking open his skull. See, you can’t scare me. No more than I can scare myself. Which I am doing just fine without your help. Speaking of romantic ways to die like a character in a 19th Century novel, if I am told I will never write or read again, I’ll have to go out like Anna Karenina, or pray I live near someone with a hatchet and point to make.
Brains are funny things. Well, actually they are gross things. And most people are not funny. But I was watching, nay, listening to a programme on Charlie Rose about the human brain. (Not being able to look at a tv for very long, I’ve begun judging programmes on how they sound. Charlie Rose and Euronews are quite soothing. RT and the World Cup are intolerable.) In this episode, “experts” were discussing brain pathologies. What was fascinating to me was that a few days earlier I’d been having a discussion about the nature of “depression.” It began with my assertion that throwing a puppy at some Hell’s Angels and stealing a bulldozer is a not a symptom of depression. It evolved into people forming camps. The opposing camp asserted that depression means you feel worthless, dead inside, dismissive of the consequences of your actions because the world sucks anyway. My camp asserted that depression doesn’t actually mean you feel worthless, dead inside, dismissive of the consequences of your actions because the world sucks anyway. That this was a sophomoric understanding of human nature. My theory is that if there are not things that hold value, create meaning, give one joy or if one does not have a sense (even if distorted) of self worth and right and wrong, then what does a person have to be depressed about? Besides how can you have acute psychic pain and be numb at the same time? Well, it all made no sense to me. It doesn’t make sense to Kalil Gibran either.
Back to the Charlie Rose show. Every single freaking expert took the position of the opposing camp! Fail! I cannot figure out if this is just one more instance of the status quo being inexplicably uniformed and wrongwrongwrong, which is not uncommon among Charlie Rose guests, who tend to display an oblivion to reality in direct proportion to their intelligence. So maybe this was just one more example of experts getting it wrong. Russia invaded Georgia, Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, regulating oil companies is bad for the economy, depressives have no self-worth or interests. But then I thought, perhaps they are correct. Diagnosis of depression is based on anecdotal evidence, so a lot of people must being showing up at the shrink’s to announce they feel worthless, dead inside, and don’t care about anything. Otherwise those symptoms would not make it into the textbooks. Right? Right? Don’t make me become a conspiracy theorist.
What does this have to do with my failing health? Fear of misdiagnosis, for one. Because I’ve been told I have depression my whole life (though I’ve certainly never described it that way), but I most certainly have never felt worthless, dead inside, uninterested in life, dismissive of the consequences of my actions. Just acute, paralyzing existential pain. Not unlike the migraines I have now, except emotional and intellectual rather than physical. It’s environmental, not some disease I was born with. I don’t need to go into the sources of it (read some Fedya D.) because that is neither here nor there. My point is, whatever the experts are talking about when they are talking about depression – I ain’t got it. What if they get my eye/brain disease wrong too? Fuck. Maybe if I am lucky, I will get a brain transplant and the donor brain with come with more faith-based neuro-synapses.
Oh, I don’t want your sympathy.
Just your eyes.
Your beautiful functioning eyes that I have so cruely subjected to this unseemly confession.