I usually feel pretty dumb. I felt quite stupid for a few years – I suppose three or more. Mostly in work initially. Now everywhere. It started with work because I didn’t enjoy my work anymore. I was a good solid programmer in the early days. I liked what I did, caught onto things quickly, had good ideas, and was a good communicator. I generally impressed my bosses without sucking up, but by genuinely liking what I did, getting on with them, and doing what had to be done. As time went by, I enjoyed my work less and less. As the work became more arduous, I found it more tedious. The nerdier team-mates (no judgement at all), who relished learning new technology excelled, while I became stagnant. I liked doing what I did, had no desire to do anything else, and then became bored. I wanted to do something else, not more of what I did, or further myself in I.T. I still understood new concepts mostly as quick others, but as time went by and my interest continued to wane, I fell further behind, and found the tecnological knowlodge gap, widen to a point where intelligence could not cover anymore.

A couple of years ago, in my most recent company, I shifted roles and started working more with people. I always worked better with people, and less in a lone role. I much preferred the day-to-day role, and felt I did better at it. I felt I was doing something worthwhile for me, and for my company. Give and take. Sadly due to illness I lost my position and now have no job. I feel there is no way I can go back into I.T. (a) because I do not want to, and (b) I backed myself into a corner of having ten years experience without having ten years worth of knowledge. I would like to go into a role similar to that which I have towards the end, but have no idea how I would break into that field and earn anything near what I was at the end.

I used to be fascinated in politics. Irish politics, which transferred to U.S. politics, and world politics. I don’t know when that changed. Was it when my drinking was at it’s worst? Was it when I became jaded with life in general? With the world? I know it was after Barack Obama came onto the Presidential scene. I think it was before Donald Trump became nominee for The Republican Party. In some ways I am ashamed of myself for turning away when it was most important for me to stand tall and oppose. I did not. I did remember, like most decent Americans going to bed on the evening of November 8, 2016 safe in the knowledge that America had elected its first female President. Right on the back of its first Black President. How amazing, how beautiful, how wonderful. I remember waking on November 9, 2016. My Facebook app was open from the night before. Normally on such a prolific morning I would have opened a news app or web site first. There was no need. The first several posts I read did not mention either of the candidates name. I did not need to see them. All I saw, post after post, was “What the fuck?” “America is screwed.” “I’m moving to Europe.” “I’m embarassed to be American.” “How did this happen?” over and over and over. I started crying before I saw the names Clinton and Trump. I could not believe it. As a nation we had proved ourselves as unintelligent. Americans truly have that reputation abroad, and well “sure neighbors, yes we’re dumb.”

For me it’s changed completely now. I used to be so witty. I still am to a pretty big extent. I’ve still got it by most standards, but it was the one thing I had above everything. Now, it’s not something that’s going to win me any prizes, but it was a measurable thing of my wit and therefor intelligent or cognition. So even though it’s only slipped a little, it’s a sign of something for me. When I feel dulled in any way, it sucks. It’s something I had, and I no longer have. You know what. It’s slipped a lot.

In the run up to my mental illness crash during 2016, my memory and alleged intelligence took a nose-dive. What I had become embarrassed and unsure of already, now I ‘knew’ to be holes in my being. How could I maintain my me in front of people who knew me, and how would I be taken seriously as a person in the real world from now on. That is how I still feel. I am a recovering alcoholic (not really admitting it at the moment). I have been on a rollercoaster of severe mental illness for 18 months. I have been unemployed for about the same amount of time. I am virtually unemployable in the educated world. I have ten years experience and nowhere to go. I used to be able to hold my own in a room of diplomats, in a foreign language. I remember going out after a Christmas party in the house of the Consul of Ireland to the U.S. I spent the rest of the evening speaking broken French to other guests and feeling more than adequate. Now that seems like a hundred years a billion brain cells away. Last week my psychiatrist reminded me that all five of my psych meds have an effect on cognition and memory. Also the underlying depression has an effect on both. Basically, that’s to be expected hun. Tough shit Paddy. He really wants to pull back on some of them, but any time we do, things start to go downhill pretty quickly.

In conclusion Your Intelligency, I is dumb, I is sorry but that is how I feel. It used to be different. I used to feel different, but mostly I feel like that. Maybe in the future I will feel intelligent again. Maybe I will be intelligent again. Maybe I will remember again. Maybe I will have a full remission from my mental illness. I can hardly fathom the thought right now, but I suppose I have to hope I will. It’s not that long ago since I was med free. Maybe I can be there again. Or maybe my fall was so dramatic and near-fatal that I’ll be on meds for life. Maybe it doesn’t mater. Maybe living is the best I can hope for. So when Mr. Cat says “I cannot brain today” I concur. Most days someone talks and me I have to think long and hard at what they said. Ask them to repeat what they said, often a few times, process if I can, then come up with a formulated answer, if I can, and repeat over and over through the day. Often the moment has past before I have gotten to where I need to, to respond. The kids ask me things and I’ve no idea what they’re talking about. We’re all used to it now. We work around me. I ask my husband to remember things for me. We both know I can’t remember anything. If I have to put important documents, money, forms, etc. away, I tell him where I put them. If I’m in charge I won’t find them for weeks. Now that is not a measure of intelligence, but it sure feels like it when you’re already coming from behind.

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