We Do Have Brains: Comments and Letters about Neuroscience, Neurodiversity, and Unidentified Genius

Re:
http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/05/why-neuroscience-cannot-explain-madness/

Oh, to be a bat! To fly through night on membraneous wings, to feel the world in sonar.”

As for concentration camps and famines, shorter lifespans and the measles…oh, did I say measles?

I think I meant hypoxia at birth.

So, here is an issue related to my so-called processing, an issue that contributed to me losing my mind:

I have a difficult time (very, very difficult) with cognitive dissonance, disparity between “what I am told is real” and “what seems really real, based on what I know at this point.”

barnacles

I am absolutely not in support of research with genocidal implications, the language of aberrance and mutation. I am absolutely not in support of viewing of human condition as being simply the product of our neural circuitry and the…chemicals inside us…some sort of disease.

The brain is not an idea, though. It is not a symbol. It is an actual thing inside of our heads which is simply astounding to think about.

“They” are going to do the research and the direction that it takes has the potential to (not to sound alarmist) make or break the human species, and ultimately life on earth as we eventually may know it.

Before I was a radical mental health activist/psychiatric human rights person, I was a sex educator. Before that, I was a librarian and a hardware store clerk. I tend to be pretty objective.

???????????????????????????????

Regarding this quoted musing:

if you will indulge me….does your train of thought lead you to conclude that at the moment of creation of each new potential human there is a joining or inflation of the collective conscious….

I actually do think that when a person is created, a small exchange is made within the collective consciousness. If consciousness involves electricity, and there is evidence that it does…well, heartbeats and brainwaves and the bonds that hold us all together…they come from somewhere.

I feel like I am being pedantic, and I apologize.

???????????????????????????????

Are there potential good directions that neurobiological research could take? Science could finally realize that we are evolving right now, as we speak? We could find out what pharma is really doing to our brains? Some things might be helpful to know more about, some evidence-based data on micronutrients and stress-toxicity might be nice?
Measurements of the way hugs calm the mind? More proof that neuroleptics damage our brains in ways that are (objectively speaking) blasphemous and criminal?

I am really interested in figuring out how concepts of neurodiversity and social/environmental neurodamage fit into the scope of the dialogue within the c/s/x movement?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Relatedly, here’s my latest post/essay/experiment for Mad In America. It’s called So, You Want to Be An Activist.

…and, just for more words worth of earnest fun, here are some excerpts from a letter I recently wrote to Mensa, to begin priming ideas regarding an uprising of unidentified geniuses after coming across some coverage about young Gus Dorman and his primo smarts. I am curious about whether or not Mensa really cares about geniuses.

To Whom It May Concern,

Hello. I hope that this correspondence finds you well. I am writing this evening because I would like to express some concerns about the privileged culture of identified genius and the pathology that is often applied to the atypically bright.

I do hope that you will continue to read this letter.

I am writing this as a mental health professional (a certified peer) and as a graduate student of psychology. However, I am writing this also as a person who, at age 12, was identified as having an IQ of 151 and who was never given the opportunity to explore my unique intelligence or the ways that it affected how I experience and make sense of the world.

I am writing to you because I am concerned that many young people who have anomalous cognitive abilities may be vulnerable to inappropriate and unwarranted psychiatric interventions, particularly if their intelligence is not recognized or supported. I am interested in learning more about any advocacy initiatives that seek to identify atypical intelligence and help young people to navigate and nurture their genius.

My young intelligence was tested as part of a full psychological evaluation, because I was having “problems” in my early adolescence. I now realize that many of my pre-teen struggles were related to grief over a profound family loss, unidentified sensory integration issues, and the fact that I apparently thought differently about the world than my peers, and yet – smart as I was – I did not know this.

Unfortunately, that early psychological evaluation led to a diagnosis of depression, and an assumption of a chemical imbalance. Nobody ever spoke about my intelligence again. Sure, they told me I was “smart.” However, they never seemed to connect that with why I was so sad and angry.

After being placed in an inpatient psychiatric hospital at age 13 and being put on psychiatric medications, I went on to disrupt no fewer than 9 different school placements, ultimately dropping out at age 16. I did, however, get my GED and enrolled in community college courses.

In my senior year at the 4-year university that I attended, I decided to take the GRE, with the hope of attending graduate school. I studied very hard for the math portions of the test. I am not so great at math, though I am passably skilled. I was confident about the language portions of the test, because I knew I that I was good with words. I didn’t think much about the logic and analysis portion of the exam. I knew that schools didn’t look at those scores in the admission process, so I just tried to have fun figuring out who could sit next to whom, if so-and-so couldn’t sit next to somebody, and somebody needed to be seated across from whomever.

I was surprised when I got my test scores back. I had done well enough on the parts that mattered, the language and math, but I had aced the logic and analysis portion of the exam. I got two points shy of a perfect score.

I hadn’t known that I was smart in that way.

That was all about 15 years ago. Since that time, I have been hospitalized 3 times.

I have had 2 children and held several jobs. I have gone through 1 divorce and come off of at least 5 different psychiatric medications. One recent summer, I took thousands of pictures of clouds, measuring their composition and thinking about stories and the shapes of letters.

In 2009, I underwent another psychological evaluation. This time, I made the appointment myself. I needed a psychological evaluation because in the process of divorce the father of my children was making unwarranted custody threats, on the basis of my “mental health” history.

It turns out that Gus Dorman and I have the same IQ. Mine would have tested slightly higher, had I not done one exercise in a way that varied from the directions, but which was more efficient. They were not able to include that section, and so my score was lowered.

I was not crazy when I had that evaluation in 2009, but I did lose my mind when I got the results and saw, very clearly, what had happened within my life.

I do not know if they knew in the late-80s, when I was first tested, that certain distributions of intelligence tend to impact components of experience such as emotion regulation, affective memory, and extreme sensitivity to cognitive dissonance. They seemed to think that my intelligence was something separate from what they termed a “mood disorder.” My mode of processing was not seen as something that really mattered and I was expected to just be like everybody else.

Of course, I couldn’t be like everybody else. I am not like everybody else. I have, however, learned to adapt, for better or for worse.

***

I was lonely and so I structured a theory of universal human consciousness that makes sense to me and helps me to understand a little more about life and death.

You could say that I went through a period of transformative madness, like so many other geniuses have in their path to becoming who they are and doing the work that will define their lives.

The other night, I happened to see the video of the television feature on young Gus Dorman and I laughed a little when I heard that we have the same IQ. I wondered about how the little guy’s brain works, in what ways he might be brightest. I wondered about how he feels things and makes sense of this world that he already understands with a clarity that is difficult for adults to bear, much less children. I thought about my own child, whose IQ and distribution of intelligences is very similar to mine.

It is a very difficult world to be brilliant in.

In the meantime, I am interested in learning about whether anyone in Mensa is working on intelligence awareness in our approach to childhood struggles. I know a lot of geniuses that, misunderstood and poorly framed, were pegged with mental disorders and forcibly treated with drugs that wreck the mind. This, to me, is nothing short of tragic.

I feel like it is vitally important for intelligence to be identified for their unique intelligences and nurtured, because a lot of very smart people get hurt out there and never quite find their place.

The world needs them.

Thank you for your time in reading this. I have not ever written an advocacy letter based on my experience as an unidentified genius.  There is, in most circles, a certain social pressure to not discuss one’s intelligence.

If anyone in your affiliated network is exploring advocacy at the intersection of genius and psychopathology, please feel free to share this correspondence. While I don’t like to see youngsters trotted about as clever novelty, I do feel that there needs to be more awareness and access to resources and practices that offer informed support for the unique challenges of being brilliant.

Thank you again for your time and consideration of this matter. I appreciate, also, the opportunity to share a little bit of my history and experience.

I do hope that this letter will be well-received and understood as genuine.

Sincerely,

myface

.

Is there really anything to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s