Tim Rogers the talented lead singer of You Am I ( just google his song Heavy heart) admitted recently he was prone to anxiety attacks. The exquisitely beautiful voice of Megan Washington is manouvered past someone who otherwise stutters. As a child, I suffered; we were a family of refugees, and none of the problems of resettlement had been resolved by the time of my early years; at that age of course you are too young and unformed to mentally shape the objects that oppress; you only endure the horrible symptoms: the nightmares and bed-wetting, at school the bullying. As a teenager I began to suffer panic attacks; certain public situations, ironically, mostly in church during Sunday mass, I would suddenly freeze,
At university, I smoked marijuana joints with my contemporaries, partly because everyone did it; underlying that, the need to relax the mind. Of course, there masturbation, and at other times yoga and mediation played their part. I think the neural pathways take several attempts to learn to respond to the stimuli of THC; suddenly I was being swept away by that tide of intoxication: Lucie in the Sky with Diamonds; people I’ve smoked with have described my level of intoxication at that of the severity and depth of LSD.
Suddenly, it all started to go wrong; I would be sitting on a beanbag, then the brain would go into a spin. The freeze would would become a tussle of logic for what seemed like ages. I experienced the same sensations when I ingested LSD. My mates seemed embarrassed at my discomfort or maybe uninterested? Recently, someone suggested a grounding technique: see 5 things, say 4 words, hear 3 things, smell 2 things, taste 1 thing. I may have missed one of the factors? Had I known of this scenario, I think things would have been better. I think i have to admit it amounts to neural re-wiring. Art making, meditation, having sex should all be seen as positive contributors to mental health.
Back in 2010 I began to experience symptoms of epilepsy; my neurologist later described them as partial epilepsy; they occurred regularly, weekly in fact. I would start with a sensation of impending doom, then nausea would overwhelm me and then vomiting. In 2013 I had my first complete episode of epilepsy, which most appallingly involved a feeling of the mental slate having been wiped clean; I literally did not know who or where I was, or what had just happened. Luckily, my friend, who over time has become my carer, called the ambulance. Since 2013, this neural situation has involved severe spinal convulsions and bed-wetting, an unpleasant re-visiting of my childhood.
For a year now, I have been episode free. Personally I think the entire situation was precipitated by my cardiac operation in 2001 (aortic valve replacement) and my need to ingest blood thinners. My cardiologist warned me that they interacted badly with green vegetables and their Vitamin K; however, as he said, he was not a dietitian. Clearly, I misunderstood his instructions and removed green vegetables entirely from my diet. This is the by-product of today’s medical system and its specialisation, as my university lecturer described it, knowing nothing about everything, and everything about near nothing.
What I look forward to is a situation where Australia allows people access to medical marijuana; in my situation, I have spent ingesting THC, the helpful ingredients as well as the intoxicating ones. Clearly, we need more work on techniques of neural re-wiring, seeing that as a real therapy, instead of the lone, blanketing effect of medication. One sensible medical practitioner recently said he saw “deep meditation” as a very real therapy; that’s a step in the right direction.