Friday, October 30, 2009

My Little Bit of Relevance

I've alluded to my accident: hit by a car, put into a coma, lost motor and cognitive functions, and resided in hospital for weeks. In all, my outcomes were the "best case scenario." All potential brain damage was not permanent. Still, those weeks I couldn't talk; couldn't walk; couldn't see the second, less obvious answer to questions posed by my speech therapist, seemed infinite at the time.

That knowledge that I used to be smart, that I used to be able to play the piano, plagued me as I tried to play Für Elise on a keyboard in the lounge area. I knew the melody, I knew the keys, but my fingers were unable to play. I knew something wasn't right, but I lacked the ability to think about it, comprehend it. At the time, I didn't become depressed about my diminished intelligence or piano skills. I took it in a very matter-of-fact manner: "Hmm," I'd thought. "How interesting."

Even now, as I reflect, I think, "How interesting." I often think about that singular purpose I'd had and the fact that I don't really have anything analogous, today. But it remains a resource, an experience I'll keep with me for the next great battle.

An article today in the New York Times discussed Kierkegaard and despair vs. depression. The article suggests that with advances in science and medicine, we are apt to offer medicine as a fix for anything other than happiness; that we assume feelings of melancholy or despair can be remedied by therapy:
And in an age when all psychic life is being understood in terms of neurotransmitters, the art of introspection has become passé.
As someone who, again, embraces the melancholy, I related to the article. I can think and rationalize my way out of "despair," but depression is a much harder rat to kill. I'm lucky in that I haven't had to kill that rat in years.

Went back to five after five tonight, after missing a week for Australia(!), and I find that my tolerance has decreased (that, or the fact that I skipped food at two of the stations but still drank the wine). Oh well. Sleep will cure that...

Edited 11/01 to clarify a couple things...

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