My brain

I think I’ve got something figured out. This is my own idea, as far as I know. I have never heard anyone else quite say this.

It’s not totally clear to me, so I don’t know how well I can explain my idea.

Those caveats aside, let me begin simply, by saying that stress is what causes my symptoms. Well, that’s obvious, isn’t it?

But I mean those times that are really awful, when I feel suicidal or worthless or otherwise mysteriously miserable. Intense stressors impact the functioning of the areas of the brain responsible for social functioning, for understanding my mind and the minds of others, and for selecting effective responses, and I can’t make sense of or manage my own mind at those times.

Because the feelings can seem so intense (or, just as often, are not felt, but I have some incredibly strong impulse instead), it seems like they must be about something terrible. They aren’t. Not that terrible things haven’t happened. My brain has just developed a sudden coordination problem and cannot manage to calm my emotions, make sense of them, or decide among several courses of action.

That’s really what I have said all along, but without completely grasping it. It is the stress that’s causing this reaction, but the stress is not necessarily causing the emotions I have or the impulses I have. Essentially, it’s causing a decline in my base ability to function in regards to whatever happens to come along in that moment.

I don’t think what i have said is especially illuminating, but thanks for listening.

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2 thoughts on “My brain

  1. Alexandra Roth November 24, 2017 / 6:15 am

    I think it’s important to continuously evaluate and examine our understandings of ourselves. I know my journal expresses the same understandings in slightly different ways over and over. I hope you don’t feel that it is wrong or inadequate for you to do the same. You are working through; we are just listening in. That being said, I really like the way you understood it here.

    This is how I manage sadness sometimes. I try to notice that I’m sad, but not judge it or tell myself it shouldn’t exist. Just to take a different attitude toward what is happening.

    • Ashana M November 24, 2017 / 7:15 am

      I suppose I wrote it and realized the idea had not changed, but it fit in my mind in a more coherent way than it had before, but I can’t actually express that coherence.

      Certain experiences can seem very intense not because they are anything so terrible, but because I have lost an ability to maintain the mental coherence that allows me to make sense of those experiences and choose effective responses.

      That is an element of my life that’s been unspeakable. Because I was not nurtured as a child and because I exposed to very intense stressors parents normally protect their children from, my brain does this periodically, and the fact that it does this is both bothersome and puzzling to people around me and isolating for me. At least that is out there in words, and so it becomes possible to talk about it and think about it and start to figure out what to do about it, instead of desperately trying to conceal it, which is what traumatized people often spend a lot of their lives doing. You end up in this space where you feel you have to choose between believing you are irreparably damaged or working hard to deny your experiences. Talking about it opens up a space to begin to think, “Well, this is how things are. It’s not great, but I think it can be lived with just like other problems can be lived with, and maybe I can begin to figure out how to do that.”

      Yes, I think getting away from the judgment. Judgment has had a purpose (to get you to deny your experiences), but it prevents you from doing anything that might help you regulate the sadness.

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