walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

What does "I'm not me" mean?

I keep running up against this; I railed about it a few days ago when talking about Illich and the problems I have talking about health care and medicine and so forth. R. was watching a Nova Science Now with a section about white brain damage from concussions with a _really articulate_ young man describing what happened to him after he got a concussion (couldn't do math for a while, etc.). He said he wasn't himself (really). His detailed explanation was fantastically clear and easy to understand.

I was reading the _massive_ followup to Tara Parker-Pope's poorly headlined entry on the Well at NYT about exclusive breastfeeding at 6 month rates. Several women there talked about "wanting their body back" from pregnancy and breastfeeding; some said they had "sacrificed" their body for a year already. I've heard this from other people as well.

I sympathize with the inability to do math: when I've had more than a certain amount of alcohol, I can't do math, either. Frustrating! But I feel like me. I'm just drunk. Another drink, and the room will be spinning. I still feel like me. I just also am going to shortly be worshiping at the porcelain altar. There will be regrets as well. But I feel like me.

When I've had really bad migraines, I've had full-sensory hallucinations: seen things, heard things, _smelled_ things, touched things -- that weren't there. I felt like me. I just was interacting with a very different reality than other people could. When I've taken Sudafed and gotten very, very paranoid, I really had to check behind the door for a murderer (even tho I knew, at the same time, I wasn't going to find anyone there). I encompassed two very different, completely incompatible beliefs about reality -- that I had to _act on_ -- but I felt like me right through the whole thing.

My weight as an adult, due to lack of fitness, depression, pregnancy, breastfeeding, etc., has varied widely -- close to a hundred pounds. I might or might not _like_ how I look (or feel) at any given time, but I feel like me. Not like, that is (or isn't) my body. I am me.

When people say "I don't feel like me" or "I'm not me", is this a verbal shorthand? Is this a term-of-art? Is this like saying, "Fine" in response to, "How are you?" even when you feel like shit -- a small, social lie that conveys the important information needed right now? "Fine" means you'll get through the next few minutes and/or you don't want the other person to get involved in whatever is up with you. Maybe you are fine. Maybe you just need to make it to 5 p.m. and get the hell out of here. Maybe you want them to keep walking so you can jump off the bridge without interruption. There's a wide range to, "Fine," but a big part of that answer is, "Leave me alone."

What does, "I don't feel like me" mean? I don't get it.
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