Marios's Reviews > The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness

The Center Cannot Hold by Elyn R. Saks
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Jul 05, 12

Read from June 30 to July 05, 2012

"And then something odd happens. My awareness (of myself, of him, of the room, of the physical reality around and beyond us) instantly grows fuzzy. Or wobbly. I think I am dissolving. I feel -my mind feels- like a sand castle with all the sand sliding away in the receding surf. What's happening to me? This is scary, please let it be over! I think maybe if I stand very still and quiet, it will stop.

This experience is much harder, and weirder, to describe than extreme fear or terror. Most people know what it is like to be seriously afraid. If they haven't felt it themselves, they 've at least seen a movie, or read a book, or talked to frightened friend -they can at least imagine it. But explaining what I 've come to call "disorganisation" is a different challenge altogether. Consiousness gradually loses its coherence. One's center gives away. The center cannot hold. The "me" becomes a haze, and the solid center from which one experiences reality breaks up like a bad radio signal. There is no longer a sturdy vantage point from which to look out, take things in, assess what's happening. No core holds things together, providing the lens through which to see the world, to make judgments and comprehend risk. Random moments of time follow one another. Sights, sounds, thoughts, and feelings don't go together. No organising principle takes successive moments in time and puts them together in a coherent way from which sense can be made. And it's all taking place in slow motion."
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