Conversations with my brain

"Listen, brain - I need you to be normal tomorrow - please, I really need to be normal. I've got work to do tonight and it has to still make sense when I have to show it to other people. Ok?"

"Ok, sure. Of course it does depend on whether I wake up when you tell me to though. You know I can't just switch myself off and on at your beck and call. I need to ease myself in to the day gently, especially because your stupid nerve compression wakes me up in the night. Plus there's those 'mood stabilisers' or whatever they are. Let me tell you lady, they have no business getting involved. If I want to sleep, I will. If you drug me I'll just make you feel sick in retaliation." 

"Seriously brain - the lift is still broken and I'm on my own tonight so I can't drug you anyway - I have to be up at 6am to get ready (make my face look less like a clown did my makeup) and try and convince a toddler to walk down 8 flights of stairs in under 20 minutes, when one of my hands is already buggered from carrying the buggy down this morning. Breakfast at nursery finishes at 8.30am and I have to spend at least ten minutes prizing him off my leg so I can get to work before 9am. Just try and act normal, please?"

"But what's in it for me? Where are the nice warming emotions you promised me? It's been nothing but want want want for the last 20 years. You know I'm still 16, but yet you try to force me to be a grown up. You want to drive cars, impress important people and be responsible for a child; I don't have the right qualifications for any of that - you're bloody useless at that stuff. And well you know it."

"Yes brain, I realise it's tough for you to be expected to function like a grown up when you've got stuck at 16, but haven't we practised this enough by now? How are those new neural pathways shaping up, huh? I know you can do a pretty convincing performance of being 34 now - sometimes I could swear people actually think I know what I'm talking about. Just try doing that?"

"I don't know what you mean. Everybody expects you to fail anyway, what's the difference?"

"The difference is, brain, that right now things are actually not a total mess. I'm not living in chaos - and I know that makes you jumpy, but it's time to stop fucking around now. It's not just you and me anymore. This is what we talked about, remember? In DBT? I'm giving you a full day a week to learn all this stuff. It's not easy for me either. You try explaining to your boss that you need a day off every week for 18 weeks so you can stay un-mental. It's not like saying you've got cancer so you need chemotherapy - you can't just do a scan to show you're all fixed. People will forever think you're incapable, no matter how much you prove yourself. They don't even think they're doing it most of the time. The mind's not like a kidney, you can't get a decent one transplanted in."

"God, always so melodramatic aren't you?! What's your problem, eh? It's not like I haven't warned you before - you always push it a step too far. Disaster follows you around like a bad smell, and yet you want me to act normal! None of this is my fault, and it's about time you acknowledged that."

"Alright alright - I get that - you got damaged. It wasn't your fault. And then you got damaged some more. So you thought that was the normal way of things, am I right? You didn't get taught about the emotional stuff, so you got stuck. And now you don't want to be normal because damaged is all you know how to be. But I need you to try - please brain - just try and work with me here?"

"You used to be good at stuff at school; remember that time when we got 100% in a SATS test? We were a team then. That's where I want to be."

"Brain, it's been almost 20 years since we left school! Nobody cares about SATS anymore - they care about me doing my job!"

"But I want to stay in the past, with all the things that make me feel safe. Where your mum used to put lavender oil under your pillow when you were ill and you felt like you mattered."

"I know brain. I miss her more and more every day, and sometimes I can't even remember what her voice sounded like. But now it's my turn to do what she couldn't do for me and break the cycle for the next generation. He deserves to get a shot at a normal life. I need you to function tomorrow. I need to be able to think straight without all the noise."

"Yeah, I guess so. I am trying. I didn't really mean to get stuck - I just didn't get what I needed."

"I know brain. I understand why. But I need you to work when I ask you to, so I can keep working and prove that we can be a team again. I know it's not going to be easy but we can do it."

"Ok. I won't promise anything, but I'll try. All these drugs make me feel weird."

"I know and I'm sorry. All of this is for your own good - just trust me, ok?"

"That chair looks weird."

"Shut up. The chair is fine."

"I just saw a spider."


"What if you die during the night?"

"For christ's sake brain....!"


"Goodnight brain - 6am, ok?"

"We'll see..."


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