Wednesday, June 23, 2010

just a defective brain or simply insane?

My first experience with mental decease was Sheila -- a girl I went out with on and off for about two years about two decades ago. She was loud and weird, fun and crazy, annoying and sweet. She was the classic New Yorker, but she had a medical condition that made her a bit weirder than most people in NYC.

The chemistry in her brain was a bit off (much more than mine at the time) and she scared me several times with her black-outs. She'd pass out and then wake up not knowing where she was (as hitting the reset button on a computer and wiping out its memory and all temporary files). There are parts of her life that she could never recall and maybe still can't. Not taking her medications only made her condition worse and especially dangerous at times.

I'm glad I was with her when she had some of these episodes as I made sure that she was fine. Maybe this is the reason why her mother liked me. She knew or at least felt that her only child was safe.

One day, I wasn't with her when she blacked out. She called me some time after. She didn't remember me at all. It was weird to be a stranger to a person who had known me very well. Months of her life were simply gone. Some time later, she had rebuilt her memories and infatuation (no better word to describe her often obsessive and addictive behavior) with me from her diary and friends especially.

We continued dating on and off for a little while. Some time later we stopped seeing each other. Ever since I've wondered about her mental health. I wish we could meet and talk, perhaps laugh and be friends, but I can't recall her surname.

Of course, after such a long time, my memory if these events might be wrong. Yet that brief moment of my life that we shared helped me understand and survive mental illness.

Nowadays I know many people with mental problems including myself. As a matter of fact, I never thought then that meeting her could actually save my life -- understanding that I must take medication every day just to live like "normal" person one more day.

* Sheila, if you ever read this, contact me via Twitter (@project05952381) or any way you want. Maybe we can be friends again. By the way, you'd know whose words these are just by reading this.