I have just had an unexpected but incredible insight into the alternate possibilities that my brain might be capable of or that others might naturally possess.
I recently had to have a heart ablation. This procedure is undertaken in order to correct an irregular heartbeat. It involves the burning or freezing of some of the heart tissue in order to enable it to better maintain a steady rhythm.
To access the heart, via the groin, what’s called an atrial septal puncture has to be made. In some patients this has – for unknown reasons – been linked to changes in the activity of the brain. In my case, I noticed the following:
- I suffered from migraines for three days following my procedure.
- The day after my procedure I struggled to read and write. The individual letters were all mixed up meaning that it was difficult to make sense of them.
- I couldn’t remember basic spellings or names. If I had been asked for my address I would have struggled to remember it.
- I couldn’t concentrate, even struggling to watch television.
- I couldn’t remember where the letters were on a keyboard or even how to input the password to access my phone.
It was all very worrying. I had not been warned about any of this. I wondered whether any permanent damage had been done; I wondered what my future would look like.
I spent a lot of time in bed waiting, hoping for some recovery.
In trying to offset the continuous migraine I lay in the quiet semi-darkness. This is when that other world revealed itself to me. I would look around the room at a kaleidoscope of colours, images and shapes – none of which I had seen before.
Where had they all come from? The room was like a work of art. Everywhere I looked I saw new visualisations. Furniture and fittings changed their appearance; wallpaper changed its design, patterns emerged out of plainness.
Faces, characters, objects – there was so much to look at. It was mesmerizing. It was magical. And the more I looked the more I saw.
I wish I could paint because I would have liked to have captured some of those images. They offered the possibility of creating something unique, of producing a real masterpiece.
I have never been one for the taking of hallucinogenic drugs but I did wonder whether or not what I experienced was akin to having some kind of drug induced high. If it was, then I could now understand why such drugs might become addictive. I wanted to keep looking at these images. I wanted to see what else there was to discover.
It seems that there is a beautiful, unseen world out there that is just waiting to be found.
After three days the migraines ceased and the colourful images disappeared. I don’t know whether this was because my brain either repaired itself or relearnt its old ways of thinking. Nevertheless, normality, reality resumed.
My creative, artistic, imaginary insight was gone.
I am, of course, pleased to have regained my established thought processes and my dependable mental recall and agility but I am also rather disappointed to have lost my insight into this other world.
I would have liked to have explored it more. I wish my migraines had allowed me more opportunity to make sense of it all. I would have liked to know whether any of my other senses had a heightened arousal. In this mental state could I have had a fresh appreciation of music and poetry? Would I have been more able to discern the different flavours and aromas in a bottle of wine? Could I have become a more creative writer?
I also wonder whether it is an ability to access this alternative world that distinguishes those people who have exceptional talents. Is this what separates them from the masses? Is this what makes them different? Is this what makes them special? They have a vision that enables them to see things that others can’t.
Unfortunately, my admission to this other world was only short-lived. But at least I have seen it. I know it’s there. I now know what I’m looking for. I now know what I want to find.