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Being Very Slowly Possessed

May 19, 2011

When I was writing Getting the Mercury Out, there was one aspect of it that I found very challenging. It was very hard to actually pin down in words the experience of being mercury poisoned. An illness where one of the symptoms is “a sense of impending doom” is not your ordinary everyday cold.

I didn’t feel like myself while I was sick. I mean this in a very literal way. I felt like I was losing my normal identity, it was being pushed out by the mercury.

But what did that actually feel like?

I’ve heard a phrase used a lot around mercury issues: It’s the mercury talking. As in, I’m sorry, sweetie, I didn’t mean it–it was the mercury talking. That has always resonated for me. Mercury felt like it was literally moving in and taking up space in my head.

And who was this mercury character, anyway?

Mercury is so nebulous, so little recognized, it’s hard to put a face to it. So many times, when I grasped for words to describe it, the only way I could truly articulate what was happening was to resort to cheesy sci-fi plots.

“I’m in a bubble that’s making me age faster than everyone else!”

“I’m being possessed. But very slowly!”

I thought these images were silly at first, that I should keep them to myself, but having shared them with others and written about them in my book, I see that they’re very effective.

For people who haven’t experienced it, they might sound super-weird. But for those living through it, there is instant recognition — Yes, that’s what it’s like, that’s what I’m living through too.

I know it’s impossible to fully capture on paper the mercury experience, but I’m glad I got a little of it framed in the pages of my book. It helps that now there’s somewhere people can turn to see a sketch of this elusive alien character called Mercury.

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