I had what I kindly refer to as my nervous breakdown when my older daughter was about eighteen months old. When I speak about it now, it’s as if I am referring to an old friend. The fear that was once attached to this time in my life has softened somewhat. Its evanescent, vaporlike memory visits every now and then, like a gentle ghostly reminder. This was not a break with reality, not even an abyss of depression. This was a phantom malady—simply a shattering of my mind. The substance that had once oiled my heart and my brain had somehow evaporated. My logic was elliptical. My circuits were misfiring, and I was almost too fatigued to notice. My vision of the world had been stood on its head. I felt as if I was dying.