The term ‘Chicken Brain’ describes my past, present and hopeful future mindstate.
Fourteen years ago I was raped by someone I loved. The effect this has had on the function of my mind has been truly enormous. There has been denial, anger, fear, loss, confusion and crippling depression. And all this time a heavy secret that sits just behind my eyes and mouth during every day and in every interaction. This makes me so socially anxious it’s sometimes hard to even get out of bed. I often still spend whole days there.
I’ve tried counselling and CBT, meditation, mindfulness, drinking, not drinking, drugs, shopping, walking for miles and miles, moving house endlessly through three different countries (at one point to the end of the inhabited world), and hiding on a regularly moving narrowboat for six years (there are many modern day hermits on the canals of Britain!). In fact, I’ve tried pretty much everything. In other words, I’ve been running around like the proverbial headless chicken. There have been three things that have given me comfort over the years; sharing my secret with close family and friends (this a recent phenomenon), reading both fiction and non-fiction about the human condition, and writing (thank you Julia Cameron for the great gift of morning pages).
I’ve come a long way from the black years of suicidal longing and literally banging my head against a wall (I’m now terrified this activity might contribute to Alzheimer’s but more about that later!). I feel that I’m almost out of the fog but there seems to be a final impediment to my liberation from this long ago crime. It’s like I’ve come across one of those strips of metal bumps in a supermarket carpark that won’t let you take a trolley any further. Now the trolleys are building up into an unsightly tangle of metal again. This blog will trace my latest endeavour to cure my traumatised brain. I’m going to share my life with some hens and record the trials and triumphs of this expedition into mental health treatment through the medium of chickens. Hopefully I will arrive at a much more positive interpretation of a Chicken Brain – one whose mind has been soothed by chickens.