Sunday, August 11, 2013

Pero yo ya no soy yo

"You're the spitting image of my daughter."

My mom said this to me today.

Her latest displays of confusion seem to have escalated to a bizarre form of paranoia in which I am not me. Or, rather, there is another girl who wants/is pretending to be me.

A couple days ago I thought that this might be the beginnings of prosopagnosia, a disorder I learned about during undergrad. (My psych degree isn't totally worthless!) It basically means "face amnesia." The person cannot recognize faces that were once familiar. Over the last 48 hours, though, her ramblings have sounded more paranoid than confused. Today she called my grandfather over and gave him a box of baby photos. She thought that they weren't safe in our home since this girl is around trying to become her daughter.

So, today, for the second day in a row, we went to my grandparents' home and they confirmed for her that I am, actually, her child. She relaxed and seemed put at ease. She trusted them, which means she recognizes them, so my new Dr. Google diagnosis? Capgras delusion, which does actually make more sense. (Make sense? It's been a long time since my life made sense).

The Capgras patient feels that someone close to them (a family member, spouse, etc) has been replaced by an impostor. They might be a "spitting image," but the feeling is off. And feeling is the key word. Capras, it seems, has less to do with face recognition and more to do with emotional signification.

After a little online digging it seems that last week's confusion, that we owned a second house, or that this home isn't ours, might be related. Ohhhh, what I wouldn't give for a second house to escape to while my doppleganger takes care of my mother!

We see her psychiatrist tomorrow. Though brilliant and surely capable, so far he hasn't wowed me. Any Joe on the street can adjust dosages. I'm expecting some serious wow-ing.

The only pleasant, though creepily coincidental, thing to come of this is that I am reminded of a Federico Garcia Lorca poem I memorized ages ago. I can't remember all of it anymore, but my two favorite lines? I can remember those easily:

"pero yo ya no soy yo,
ni mi casa es ya mi casa."

The words feel beautiful when quietly recited. Their translation:

"but I am no longer I,
and my house is no longer mine."

Weird, right?

(Here is a bilingual site with the entire poem, though I prefer the above translation by Kirkland and Maurer in the Collected Poems published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

Image: John Baldessari's "Woman with Pillow," 2003.

No comments:

Post a Comment