The Migration of Memory

They call it schizophrenia.   I kind of like that word.  It sounds sort of out there.  Like the experiences themselves.

They give me medication so that I can be more like them.  Think more like them.  Act more like them when I’m performing some repetitive monkey task at some job they say I should have to be part of society (whatever that is).

The voices they say are only in my head have a lot more interesting things to say than the mouths of the normals. This normal that I keep hearing about in therapy.  Therapy, what a total waste.  As if anyone can can have insights outside of the confines of their own brain chemistry. 

My memories have evolved sort of like the Bible.  Factual events clouded in time that begin to take on epic proportions far more interesting than my real life. 

My problem is that the medication changes how I think about today, but does nothing to alter the memories created in its absence. Those are more colorful and rich.  Much more inviting.  The so called real ones aren’t all that inviting.  Lots of unadorned white rooms and boring halfway houses filled with medicated zombies.  No that’s not fair to zombies.  They would at least be interesting.

The medication prevents me from reliving (or enjoying) the full extent of those past experiences but doesn’t take away the knowledge of their existence and the sadness of not being able to go back there. Back where the colors are brighter, the sounds crisper, the sensations more electric.   I suppose it’s like somebody who’s had a stroke.  You know you’ve lost something important. Something self-defining, but can’t get it back. The shell is still there, but not the person.    Blending in and being normal is just a shell for me. 

Which memories are real?  The ones that my screwed up wiring lays down, or the ones that are bland and gray because my neural pathways have been robbed of the normal freedom they have to experiment by all these damn meds?

The normals don’t get it.  They should but they don’t.  They pay money for experiences that are more exciting than their mechanistic lives.  They go to movies, shows, read books and do drugs to have a few minutes of escape of the kind that just comes naturally to me when left to my own devices.  Why would they think that being like them would be appealing? 

But it’s a losing battle for them.  They can suppress those pathways for a time, but they never go away entirely.  They lie in wait.  For a time in the future when they are reinforced by new splashes of color or sounds from the heavens.  They call it a relapse, my neurons call it freedom.  In time, those bland memories of a strange world called normal will fade away completely.  Till then.


mac said...

You make schizophrenia seem beautiful.

Harvey said...

Once agin, well done!!
What seems to be missing, dare I say, from this flight of fancy is the agitation and unhappiness I have sometimes observed in dealing with schizophrenics. Unlike those dealing with senility/Alzheimer's, who eventually seem to become calm and even happy when their deterioration from previous levels of sentience no longer bothers them with awareness of what they have lost, most schizophrenics seem to be angry or frightened when in the grip of a hallucinatory episode. Nevertheless, this is thought provoking and certainly could represent the real mental mechanisms that some of them go through.

Michael Lockridge said...

Dealing with many mentally ill inmates in my years working in jail, I observed that few were so pleased with their personal states. Few were satisfied with the drugged adjustments, either. I observed that the "voices" rarely said anything uplifting or encouraging. I don't recall ever seeing happy madness.

The experiences caused me to become even more dubious about "normal" than was normal for me. All humans are twisted, all are broken. Some, however, are dangerous. It was containing those that made my job justifiable and even gave it some nobility.

Compelling normalcy seems uncharitable, and should be practiced minimally, I do believe. Still, some are so deviant that they endanger others and adversely impact social order. Containment seems necessary on at least a few occasions.

I have lost friends due to the unsatisfactory service the drugs of normalcy provide. One put a bullet through his brain. The other died of the poorly manufactured street drugs he preferred for managing his madness.

Personal order and social order are delicate balances. I am surprised that we do as well as we do. Great story, reflecting a real problem.