What If I Didn’t Have A Brain?

If you’re one of the roughly 1.5 billion people with a missing or damaged brain, then chances are one of these will be the first thing you’re confronted with during a crisis.

When my brain was damaged and I developed epilepsy, I was faced with a very real life experience. I would suddenly have seizures, sometimes five a minute, every six minutes for the first two weeks. I would come out for hours only to find myself in the same position, unable to see, smell, speak, or experience the physical world. But it didn’t seem like anyone was going to help me. So I was forced to find my own way forward. It’s one thing to have a problem with a disability. It’s another thing to have a brain problem. Now, if I have a stroke, I need to be hospitalized to recover in two weeks or I am dead, so I can’t get the same level attention that I needed without a hospital bed. There’s a lot that doesn’t make any sense. So the answer is not to be surprised, but rather to start asking questions and trying to understand why I am so different from the rest of the world. If you can’t solve your own problems you can look to help those around you. There’s no one else but you to help each other, to solve problems. That’s what I love about life.

You Have Multiple Brain Tumors

The reality is there are a lot of brain disorders. There’s a lot that can’t be diagnosed at the first sight. In addition to your physical disability and cognitive impairment there may be a mild cognitive impairment, a problem at the speech, language, or language development level, or there could be a combination of both. You could also have a traumatic brain injury , if it’s minor and does not cause a loss of function. Most brain disorders are temporary issues and most people improve without intervention. If you’re a teen or an adult with a mild brain impairment, you may still have normal day-to-day functioning. But you should check with your health care provider as you age and your condition may worsen. This process is more important for people with more severe brain deficits.

The Mental Health Industry Is Expanding

So now we have a mental health field that is booming. In the mid-2000s, I was in awe of people like Dr. Drew touting the healing possibilities of meditation and psychotherapy. But I’ve been around a very long time now and can’t remember anyone using the term “depression.” My brain thinks it has depression. But it does not. The word “depression” is just a marketing gimmick and nothing more. While many people may have a problem with their thoughts and thoughts are a part of the brain, it’s not like one’s thoughts are contagious.

Today’s advertising campaigns portray mental illness with a different message. Most of these ads are about how the problem is a “disease” or “disorder” and, as a result, the solution will be to “recover” or “get over it.” Often these ads have the impression that the mental challenges can be cured by talking to a mental health professional. This is how mental health professionals view the problem, so I will address the marketing angle of these ads in a moment.

I can remember back in the 1990s as my first book was out, and magazines used to give their best sellers awards. The mental health industry decided to come out on top of the best sellers list by creating a new industry award called the “Mental Health Star.” Now this award is for a person or profession who has made a substantial change in their life and has proven it, whether through a book, a movie, or a television series. The Mental Health Star is supposed to show the power of the mind because, for some reason, the mental health industry wanted to show that their products will work for all, regardless of ability to control one’s thoughts and emotions. But this award really does not help either person with a mental illness or their loved ones. It’s no surprise that the industry has created the award because it allows marketers to make even more money off that message.

Don’t Be Afraid To Talk About Depression

The stigma is still high. It’s still a shameful thing for people with a mental health disorder to talk about and people are still not willing to hear about depression. Now I see mental health professionals saying things like, “But you can get over it. That’s not depression.”