I have read articles that suggest that having a psychotic episode damages the brain. I have read other articles that suggest that it is antipsychotic medications that damage the brain. Either way, it seems to be true that people with schizophrenia (I don’t know if it is all people with the disease or just some) lose brain mass over time.
My husband teases me about the way my brain works. He says, “You don’t even see that pile of laundry, you just walk right over it.”
He has said that same thing many times over the last six or seven years, and I have always laughed, because I hate doing laundry, and I really do see the pile, I just choose not to do anything about it.
This past weekend, my computer was acting funny, and I thought the video card was going out, so I switched over to write on my husband’s laptop. The only time I have used the laptop is when we are on vacation. I saved all the work I was doing to the desktop of the laptop.
When my husband got home I asked him to help me switch my work from the desktop to the N drive on our home network so the work would be protected and backed up. My husband asked, “Why didn’t you save it to the N drive to begin with?”
The truth is, I never thought of it. I have only used the laptop when we were away from home and the N drive was unavailable. It didn’t even occur to me that at home, the laptop was connected to the N drive.
My husband laughed and said, “You never make those connections.”
It was the first time I truly understood what he has been saying about how my brain works. I don’t make connections.
My husband gave me several other examples, and I was stunned. He said, “You really never see the big picture.”
I had to agree. I don’t.
I know as I age some of my symptoms of schizophrenia get worse, and some seem to get a little better, but I never thought there was a possibility that I had lost some brain functioning.
I tried to remember how I solved problems as a young woman. I tried to remember how I solved problems before my last major episode. I couldn’t think of any supporting or negating evidence about my lost gray matter.
During job interviews, the interviewers have frequently asked, “Are you a big picture sort of person?” I am fairly confident I would always say yes, and that I didn’t get lost in the details, but saw an overall view of the work and the role each person played.
Now, if I was asked the same question, in order to be honest, I would have to say, “No. I don’t see the big picture. I focus on details.”
But the truth is I don’t really think my brain works that way either. I’m not sure I focus on details.
I try to tell myself this is why I don’t like reading too much about schizophrenia, the news is rarely good.
And in this case, I think I have lost something, probably something important, but I can’t seem to place exactly what it is.