, by Eve LaPlante - this is the first time I've ever sat down with little bits of paper as bookmarks and a pencil to circle pertinent passages.
No editorializing for now, just the quotes; I'll elaborate tomorrow in sickhippo
Hippocrates: The Sacred Disease
, a treastise on epilepsy. Must acquire.
Re: Van Gogh:
p6: From then on, he alternated between periods of near madness and highly productive calm... as he saw it, whatever was destroying him also fueled his painting.
p7: Explaining his motivation to paint in a letter to Theo, Vincent wrote, "Work distracts me, and I must
have some distraction; or rather work keeps me in control, so I don't deny myself it... I miss
yje work more than it tires me."
p10: ...explosive temper, his extreme dependence on other people, his lack of interest in sex, his "morbid hyperreligiousity", and his compulsion to wrote and draw.
p18: This time the woman reported a deja vu experience - "a tiny flash of familiarity" - and also "the feeling that I knew everything that was going to happen in the near future."
p29: Patients with TLE, he asserted, share "a tendency to increased and extensive" drawing or "writing often of a cosmic or philosophical nature", even when they are not seizing. He called this tendency "hypergraphia", and he speculated that it results from ongoing overstimulation of temporal-lobe tissues by the abnormal electrical activity generated by an epileptic scar. This overstimulation, he thought, enhances the tissues' normal functions of emotion and memory, causing patients to feel experiences unusually deeply, to imbue those experiences with religious or moral significance, and to record them compulsively in drawing or writing.
p30: A compulsive writer of songs, poems, and aphorisms... who also kept a diary, explained, "Once I start writing, I can't stop."
p32: On the one hand, his TLE patients were unusually clingy and dependent, friendly to a fault. They prolonged interactions and conversations beyond the norm...Gastaut...called the trait "hypersociability"...
p34: Geschwind syndrome: hypergraphia, hyperreligiousity, hypersociability, aggression, and altered sexuality.
p35: The doctors hypothesized that the cause of these traits is not seizures but the underlying brain scar, which causes "hyperconnectivity", or too many and too rapid connections in the emotional part of the brain, producing what Geschwind called "an excessive investment of the environment" with emotional significance. As a result, "external stimuli begin to take on great importance", which leads to "increased concern with philosophical, religious, and cosmic matters" and the desire to record experiences "at great length and in highly charged language".
p35: Jackson had noted that TLE patients often had a distinct personality, being quick to anger and unusually interested in religion.
p36: "When this tragic disease is visited upon a man of genius, he is able to extract from it a depth of understanding." Seizures and a general "deepening of emotional response" gave Dostoevsky "a shortcut to apprehension of a depth of emotion not readily available... It enabled him to see some of the most primitive and powerful sources of human behavior... It was abnormal but it still made him feel deeply an aspect of human response that is essential to a literary artist."
[transcribe p.39-40 re: intensification of already-present emotional tendencies.]
p.50, physical causes: the boy's temperature rose dramatically... encephalitis...
p51: or an unpleasant light-headedness that, typical of TLE, is difficult for him to put into words.
[transcribe p55-56, Jill's seizure.]
p62: intermittent gastrointestinal pain, intense emotions, spatial disorientation, and forgetfulness. p64: ovarian cysts...
p67: the psychosis seen with TLE is not true schizophrenia but rather "schizophreniform", or schizophreniclike, because the patient, unlike a schizophrenic, maintains "strong affect" and "a high level of interpersonal functioning".
p68: During a conversation, Jill may fall silent for twenty seconds, return to normal consciousness, then say, vaguely, "I'm sorry, did you ask me something?"... Stationary objects, such as a chair or a table, sometimes appear to shrink or to expand, common seizure states that are known, respectively, as micropsia and macropsia.
[p69-70, Alice in Wonderland; 71-72, Carroll's extreme hypergraphia.]
p75: She experienced agonizing waves of dread, similar to Jill's panic attacks, in which she felt certain that "something very bad is going to happen to me."
p75: The numerous antipsychotic drugs, such as Mellaril and Thorazine, and antidepressants that the doctors gave her in the 1960s had no beneficial effect, and actually intensified her seizures. This is a common reaction of TLE patients to these drugs, and it is now considered a clue that a patient has epilepsy rather than a psychiatric disease.
p79: another trait of Gerschwind's syndrome...Gloria's extreme compassion toward those in trouble...
p81: ...unlike most TLE patients in that "she doesn't take a moment to think of the consequences before she yields to strong impulses...her extreme personality is thus the result of overstiulation of her temporolimbic structures and of reduced inhibition in her frontal lobes. Not only is her emotional volume turned up, but also the mechanism that screens her emotions is out of order. The result is Geschwind's syndrome enhanced.
p88: With the left hemisphere depressed, most people are unable to move their right side, recall a list of numbers, speak, or read.
Done typing for now, for today.
Yes, bold emphasis
mine, as a fuck-you to those who've believed I should drug myself up on happy pills and scoffed when I said that not only did they not work for me, but they put me in a terrifying state inside my head, unable to connect thoughts, unable to reach out and speak... which is how I described my seizures to my neurologist, in part. Rule #1: Shadesong is always right.