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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Reset My Brain

21th May 2012

Dear Cassi,

One of the funny thoughts that ran through my head today was that there was a time when people thought that cold could reset the human brain. This was something done to the mentally ill when they could not be controlled. I believe the practice is Russian, but don’t hold me to that as fact.
I’m told that what one did was have a tub full of ice that the patient or victim could be zipped into forcing them to feel the intense cold. This was supposed to work like pulling the plug on your computer when it is miss behaving.
This came to mind because of my own malfunctioning brain that the fact the heat has always been my off switch. On the hottest days I can do nothing but sit with the fan drying my perspiration.
Today, however, I couldn’t tell you why I’ve felt so useless, but my body just felt like it was fevered. What time I didn’t spend in bed I spent in front of the computer goofing off. With the overwhelming workload that still looms ahead of me I need to focus.
I’m doing better, true, but the bits of my home only peak out from the trash and misused equipment. There are times that I sit with the fans passing air over me hoping that the cold I feel from them will reset my brain. It never happens that way but you know what happens if you hope in one hand.

Live every day, little sister

Richard Leland Neal


  1. You know, its interesting commentary. Although, like you, I'm unsure the exact origins of the practice. But know it wasn't so out of place in treating people who sought psychiatric help. In the 1950's when Vivien Leigh was filming Elephant Walk in Ceylon (the film was reshot with Liz Taylor, I believe) Vivien suffered a nervous breakdown and was flown back to England and admitted to a hospital for treatment. Here she was commonly packed in ice and given electroshock treatments to combat her escalating manic depression. And while this story is merely anecdotal, it should be noted that these treatments did not improve her health and in 1960, Sir Laurence Olivier could take no more and ended their 20 year marriage. Such a tragedy. How primitive those attempts to "cure" mental illness was. How misunderstood people who suffered from it were. And yet, while treatment is a little less crude today, I feel its still not as understood as it could be. Someday, generations will look back at us and think our way of handling it was crude and primitive, as well.

    1. It is my experience that education for mental health is horrible. There are a number of major practices that can help but few are put into use. Every now and again I give someone my lecture about anger management and sometimes those I lecture tell me that I changed their life.

      Then we must ask why I was the one to give that lecture rather than their mental health workers? People just have little understanding of those few concepts that will do the most good.