Broken Brain Syndrome


Do you remember how in old episodes of Looney Tunes a character would escape from jail and they’d throw the spotlight on the wall, causing them to freeze, eyes wide, arms and legs splayed apart? All day I’ve felt like that goddamn spotlight is following me around, throwing light on my broken brain—and I have to say, I do not like it. All I want to do is stay home and watch Point Break until my eyes bleed. Alas, I can’t, mostly because it is midterm season.

I am having a shit-tacular week, and it’s only Tuesday. I have not one or two, but three midterms this week. And every one of them has been formatted in such a way that absolutely the only way to succeed, at even a mediocre level, is to commit the hundred or so terms for each class to memory, then dump them out of my brain forever the moment the last question has been answered in order to make room for the others. If you don’t do that essential brain-dump once in a while, then it would be an impossible-to-navigate swamp of quotes from early Greek philosophers and ideas on the history of modern materialism. It’s a safe assumption that on any given day, the mental landscape of my brain looks like the scene in Labyrinth where Jennifer Connelly is stuck in the garbage dump with the hobo woman made of trash. My brain is that garbage dump. And the hobo woman. And the garbage.

I digress… but seriously guys, I think my brain is trying to kill me. Depression and anxiety have been a factor in my life for as long as I can remember, but they were both a lot easier to keep in check when I wasn’t in school. Something about being in a room that feels too small, with a gaggle of twenty-year-olds talking about their impending 21st birthdays that makes me feel like an imposter. And it doesn’t help my anxiety that I always somehow choose the seat behind a girl whose hair hangs down her back and onto my desk. And sometimes if she tosses it just right (and she always does), it gets tangled around my coffee straw, which causes me first to recoil with disgust, then to throw the cup away because, you know… forever unclean. Someone please explain to me, why is it that there are girls in every one of my classes with long hair who just cannot leave that shit alone? Whenever I get grossed out by their hair obscuring my notes, I try to remind myself it’s probably just me, and that a normal person wouldn’t find the hair so repulsive or put tiny rolled-up pieces of paper in it. I mean… forget I said that last thing. It’s been suggested that I should be on some sort of medication for anxiety, but I don’t particularly cotton to that idea. There’s no shame in it—but part of me thinks I might miss my anxiety, like an old friend who encourages you to lie around in sweatpants every day and eat Honey Nut Cheerios straight out of the box. Shut up, don’t judge me.

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Zooey Mae has been working as a writer monkey for Synthesis Weekly since 2007. Her favorite things include (but are not limited to), Jeffrey Brown, bubble wrap, Craig Thompson, pillow forts, receiving handwritten letters, and whiskey. She spends her free time stockpiling supplies for the impending robot Apocalypse and avoiding eye contact with strangers.