What would brain illness look like

Look Mommy! Look at my note!


crinkledShe pulled out a crumpled treasure.


It was a white paper. Blank. I paused with the, “I’m very interested,” and, “I’m a good Mom to whom you want to divulge your innermost thoughts and secrets to,” expressions on my face. I am you know. All that. Sniff.

Another mystery maker, handy, said,

Where’s your pen?!

She was getting agitated. I did not get it. I was less of a P.I. than she had hoped. She had a non-P.I. mom. Just great.

A third wheel rolled in and stuttered out,

You need the pen, Mommy! You need it! You need the light!

I noted the multiple exclamation points hovering about and knew the sand in the glass was almost out. Communication needed to be received or my three secret agents were going to increase their level of effort. Be warned.

I am an emotions-Jedi after-all. I sense these things. The Force is strong in me, still, young Padawans.

Then, there it was. Under the blue penlight, shown the hidden messages.

No. I do not remember them. Just the sense of them. And…

And, I thought it was a super illustration of how brain illness is there but not generally seen.

I am sure this was disconcerting to my investigative kids, who had dreamed I would do what they wanted with my life and thoughts. I wish they would just let me be me! (Flipping hair.)

Brain illness does not get as much air time as cancer. It is not as obvious as a withered hand. Nor a rash. Nor a big outcropping of plantar warts seeded across the soles of our feet – brain illness is not.

Brain illness does not engender connection easily because not everyone has the Force in them. Not everyone is a Jedi like you and I. It does not have the advantage to connection as a name tag illness. Brain illness does not wear itself on our visage like an invitation to others to embrace us in shared experience.

Where is the Light?

Right. In us. We are the light. We are what brings awareness to this secretive suffering. We are secret agent Jedis. Yes. Exclamation point. Exclamation point. Exclamation point.

Questions: What would brain illness look like if it was visible?

How has brain illness become more of a shared experience? How can it?

Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip: Share your experience.

19 thoughts on “What would brain illness look like

  1. Saying this all arises in the brain,
    Assumes that our knowing is mystically ordained
    When we say that only the mind can understand this pain
    Leaves out the biggest part of us that carries the strain

    We think we can heal it by dealing with it in the rational,
    With pharmacologic intervention and lots of psycho-babble.
    This thinking is myopic and leaves outs so much
    This dis-ease is historical and responds better to touch.

    When we start to see that it is in the intuition
    Where the solution will come from
    It’ll leave us without that compulsion
    That keeps us needing and needing.

    Because when we say that this is in the brain
    We close ourself off to the real cause of the pain.

    I am ill because of wounds, wounds deep to the self
    That cant be treated from the outside
    By taking something off of a shelf.

    I know not your answer,
    I don’t understand mine
    I trust that this journey of crying and walking
    Will lead me to the place of silence
    Where everything just is,
    and I am truly and really being.

  2. Based on my experience working with people with brain illness, if it would be visible, it would look like the inside of some their houses: cluttered…. disorganized…. papers scattered everywhere… food going bad in the fridge… smoke from cigarettes making everything look foggy and smelly… and dark. When I enter the houses of many of these patients, I see what their illnesses would look like.

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