Paul, the apostle Paul, is sometimes rumored to have had temporal lobe issues. I came across this bit of information a while back and I suppose I should have been triggered or annoyed about it or something, but instead I just thought, awesome! I now share something in common with the apostle Paul. How cool is that?
No, I don’t have a temporal lobe problem and I doubt Paul did either, but I have been heavily scrutinized a few times in my life for my alleged mental health problems.
As a kid I grew up among atheists and rather defiantly insisted on talking to God and seeing angels. Obviously this is not good in the atheist world and signifies some sort of issue, likely a chemical imbalance. Unfortunately the secular world of mental health care, also tends to frown on the spiritual aspects of well, spirituality, so I got to count backwards and stare at ink blots and have blood work. Sadly, they could find nothing really wrong with me.
Later, when I went on to live with my dad, the system stepped into this custody battle between my mother and my father and actually lost me in the Land of Broken Toys, where kids go when our case numbers get transposed or misplaced. To justify their funding we all must have an ailment of some sort, so I got to stare at ink blots again and have brain scans and try to explain to frowning professionals that I’m really not crazy….it’s just that there’s this whole other world on the other side of the veil and it’s awesome and there are angels singing and everything….so “chronically maladjusted” was the diagnosis. That’s what happens to people who walk IN the world but aren’t quite OF the world, if you know what I mean.
Being a good and faithful Christian who completely and unconditionally trusts God at all times (that’s a bit of self depreciating humor, by the way) I actually had a couple of recent close encounters with Him that were just disturbing enough to send me fleeing towards medical care for a complete check up. Good news, I apparently still do not have a temporal lobe issue, a brain tumor, a history of strokes, or any other sort of physical issue. I could well be insane however, they can’t really see that on any sort of scan.
It’s somewhat amusing, I’ve spent my entire life trying to avoid somebody else’s diagnoses of crazy, ironically something that has truly been projected onto to me by some genuinely crazy people. I am not alone there.
On another blog I said, “crazy doesn’t mean mentally ill or having a chemical imbalance, it flat out means I have the right to dismiss everything you say because I don’t like what you’re saying.”
That’s it in a nutshell. The chemical condition of somebody’s brain is completely irrelevant. We call people crazy because we are uncomfortable with their perception of reality and we want an excuse to dismiss it.
Insanitybytes is not really a name I made up to bemoan mental illness, but rather to celebrate and honor all of those who have been labeled crazy or damaged or mentally ill, as if that now means you have the right to dismiss anything we have to say, to treat us as second class citizens, or to project your own issues onto us.
When one has a close encounter with God, it really is a bit like getting poked in the brain, but whether or not Paul had temporal lobe issues is actually not even relevant to the fact that there was truth, beauty, and wisdom in his words.