Let’s pretend for a moment that the brain is an organ. Of course that’s a silly proposition, the brain is simply who we are. But indulge me for a moment and pretend.
If the brain were an organ, jesus what a complex mofo it would have to be to house our identities.
Now, if you follow me so far with this silly conceit, you have to accept that, just like any other organ, in some people the brain may not function in an ideal fashion. But for something as complex as an organ that defines out identities, “improper function” is hard to pin down. We accept a wide range of functionality and celebrate individuality. I know some messed-up, awesome people.
If we accept the idea that the brain is an organ, we are forced to accept that the brain might have well-documented weaknesses. After all, all the other organs in our bodies fail in well-documented ways. The most complex and mysterious organ in our bodies will naturally be the root of the most complex and mysterious troubles. We need to stop saying “mental illness” and start saying “brain malfunction”.
Hoo – even using the word malfunction rubs against the grain, even though it describes the situation exactly. I invite all out there to come up with a gentler phrase.
I get depressed now and then. I get the feeling that there’s no point in pushing forward. Shit don’t matter anyway. What I feel is a low. We all have lows. Since we all feel some version of the emotion, it is easier to diminish people who have lows lower than any low you will ever know. “I’ve been there,” you think. “I understand.” And implicitly because you survived your low, anyone else should survive theirs. But you don’t know low. Honestly, I don’t know low either. Not that low. For me, a trip into true organic sadness is something to savor, to milk for the characters it informs in my writing. It is not a song of self-destruction coming from somewhere behind my left ear.
There seems to be a chunk of folks (and insurance companies) that would like to pretend that brain malfunction is some invented discomfort designed to bilk you and me out of our hard-earned money. Insurance companies cover every organ except the most important of all. That, my friends, is bullshit.