This sentence is going to give you a headache.

No, not “headache.” More of a head burn. Throbbing. Pounding. Pulsing. Hammering. Something that’s tempting to describe as pain, but actually slows down your brain’s ability to process stuff.

Let’s cut to the chase: your brain just swelled up, puffing and expanding, until it slammed up against the inside of your skull. Somehow your brain got a virus, and haplessly attacked itself in a doomed attempt of self-defense. You got to the emergency room where your veins were pumped full of acyclovier – a drug not unlike heroin – an intense, cooling chemical that reduced the swelling.

You might not know exactly how you got sick. You might not ever know. You might get sick again.

Just getting through the words on this page – something that used to be so easy – piecing the words together so they make sense, is now such a struggle that you don’t see how you can ever go back to the way you were. In fact, the act of reading is perhaps the hardest thing you can now attempt – the perfect storm of challenges for your new brain. To read is to block out all the noises in the room and concentrate on one thing, one voice. You must be able to keep the characters, plot twists, and setting in your short term memory, as the story builds upon itself.

Not to mention the headache.

As hard as it may be to read these words, know that it is worth it. All the things you learned about reading in grade school, whether you remember that chapter in your life yet or not, are as true today as they will ever be. Words will connect you to other people who went through what you are going through, and you will feel less lonely and less afraid.

It is through reading and books that you will figure out who you now are.

This is not “normal” you. This is a “new” you. And while not necessarily an improvement, it is what we must now live with. You can perceiver. You will get better.

This book is for you.


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