The Frozen Man… Chapter Five, Cognition


“I will not cease from mental fight… Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand.” -William Blake

The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘cognition’ as the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses and the mental activities of thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering. The negative side of this definition is what I felt during the first few years of my treatment for Parkinson’s. It is cognition or lack of it that played a heavy role in my actions and way of thinking at that time and still does today.

Up until now, I have painted a picture of reasoning and understanding what was happening to me. But this is far from true; to write this narrative I had to go back and piece together my thoughts and actions at that time because I wasn’t in full control of my facilities. It seemed as though I were living in a dream and now to remember that dream was of most importance to me.

I shudder at my lack of awareness to judge situations that I take for granted in ordinary daily life. My deficiency in thinking and understanding in a normal way is the scariest part of Parkinson’s for me. I felt like I couldn’t connect the dots in my head to the subject talked about on the outside. My thoughts are trying to find words to reply with and if I found the words, I couldn’t get them out. Then at times I would go blank and forget my thoughts altogether.

This was not a thing of; “well everybody forgets sometimes”… no this was complete; total blackout. This felt like being lost in my mental processes… watching my mind as though it were searching for words in a black hole at the center of my brain where all my abilities to think and answer as a normal human being was being held, hostage. There is a disconnection like you’re on a diving board and ready to dive but you can’t, so you just stay there at the edge not knowing why.

We use language to communicate and the words originate in the mind from our thoughts. With this connection hindered, stress overcomes the spirit and along with this comes anxiety and depression and a dotted line drawn to an inability to sleep and thus more stress. So while my cognition caused a broken link to the outer world, my brain would alternately overload its circuits with a host of myriad considerations or a blank field of nothingness.

I would lie in bed at night, the clock beaming like a lighthouse beacon reading half past three in the morning, the train running on time in the distance as my mind was shuffling thoughts running around in my head, totally consuming my attention. Thoughts from the past would fly by and then anxiety about what I needed to do the next day, now things that didn’t make sense rushed in and then nothing, I would go blank. I didn’t know what was worse; endless mindless thoughts that kept me awake and stressed or the black hole in my brain that scared the hell out of me.

This was my mindset in the year before my diagnoses and after while I was discovering just what was wrong with me and once discovered, the choices left to me as there isn’t a cure.


Image by Pixibay 

Author: JC

I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in October of 2012. These are my writings of life and love after the fall but during a time of deep creativity either because or in spite of my illness... Peace and Love... JC

15 thoughts on “The Frozen Man… Chapter Five, Cognition”

      1. They’re discovering so many uses for old drugs these days. It might be worth a try. Off-label drugs are used widely in treating Alzheimer’s, too.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. My heart goes out to you JC , of all handicaps a cognitive one must be hardest to come to terms with. Your writing here though is very clear and beautiful so I can only surmise it is easier when you can write in your own tempo.
    I do also wonder whether these problems improved once you got appropriate care?
    Wishing you much improvement and a good new year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Miriam, yes ‘ my tempo is slower but I find I’m a better writer when I honor my own pace.

      I wish you and your family a wonderful year ahead.


  2. That had to be terrifying not knowing what was going on, especially the “black hole” of your brain.
    Thank you for sharing your story. When I was young one of my aunts had Parkinson’s, of course I only saw the shaking. This gives me a greater awareness of what she experienced.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it is a state many of us fear. To see it so clearly described, and to read your writing now, will help others who fear this state to think more positively and patiently about that amazing organ, our brain.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: