MERCURY AND THE SELF
Updated: Jan 8
This is a piece I wrote about what a strange phenomenon it is to observe your personality change. I have been dealing with mercury in my body and brain probably since I was 8 years old. Now it's pretty much gone and it has been a very enlightening experience.
Anatta, dukkha and anicca are foundational concepts of Buddhism. Anicca means “Impermanence” and refers to the fact that nothing in this universe can be counted on to not be in constant change. Dukkha is sometimes translated as “suffering” but refers more accurately to the sense of dissatisfaction and unease that is so universal in human experience. Anatta, or “non self” is a bit difficult to grasp.
Joseph Goldstein explained annatta at a meditation retreat I attended. He called our attention to the constellations hanging in the night sky. The big dipper, for instance, is not a real object but rather a configuration of stars billions of light years apart. The “big dipper” exists as a concept, an idea that we have cobbled together in our mind. In the same way, he explained, the “self” is a configuration of thoughts and emotions, of “mental objects,” that have coalesced to form the concept of a permanent thing.
And how does this relate to mercury poisoning? Mercury poisoning causes hundreds of different symptoms. Most of these symptoms are physical, but there are many psychological ones, too. Wikipedia, in its description of “erethism mercurialis,” or mad hatters disease lists the following: irritability, low self-confidence, depression, apathy, shyness and timidity. A person with chronic mercury poisoning can have a persona that incorporates these characteristics and think that this personality is a permanent thing and just who he or she is.
The process of chelation removes mercury from the body. When done properly, it is a slow process, but as the treatment proceeds, the mercury caused attributes, which the person considered part of their personality, slowly drop away. A shy person, will discover to their surprise that they now have self-confidence. A person with chronic anxiety will realize that they no longer worry all the time. It is one thing to have physical symptoms go away, but to have aspects of what one considered their personality go away is quite astounding and illuminating.
When mercury is chelated out of the brain and body systems it does not mean that we will no longer be subject to “old age, sickness and death,” but minus the anxiety, minus the depression, and minus the various distressing chronic health problems, the body and mind can relax into “ease of wellbeing.”.
I once asked Andy Cutler what percentage of a psychiatrist friend’s customers he thought had mercury poisoning. His answer was 90%. I do not wish to say that psychotherapy is useless and everybody should just chelate. Trauma is real and years of patterns that are caused by purely physiological reasons can set up thought habits that may need to be untangled. But it is hard to work on your psychological health when dragged down by a poison that causes personality changes.