Me and My Brain

Brains confuse me.

I mean, they’re great. But I don’t understand how they work. I’ve studied them to a certain extent in relation to how they handle language, but that’s just one tip of one iceberg in a world full of Titanic-sinking lumps of frozen water.

They’re extraordinary and mind-boggling and scary. They control us, and we control them, but we also have no idea just how powerful they can be sometimes.

I get on with my brain most of the time. I’m kinda thankful for it, because it makes sure I carry on breathing and living and thinking and doing the things I like to do.

It lets me sing and fail at dancing and concoct recipes from a countertop full of random ingredients that shouldn’t really go together. It helps me think up presents for people and create art projects in my brain that will likely not translate well in the real world, but it’s the planning that I enjoy the most. It lets me laugh and love and surprise myself with things I remember and things I forget.

It also makes me obsessively try and learn the last 4 digits of every car’s reg plate I pass. It sometimes forces me to count my steps in 10s. Lists become a necessity in my daily life when I feel like I’m not completely in control. It convinces me I’m a burden and too difficult for people to want to spend time with me. It tricks me into believing that I have done something to upset people, unrelentingly convincing me until I’m suffocated by the guilt and I feel their frustration hang tangibly in the air, even though it doesn’t exist to them. Every so often it lets my imagination run so wild I struggle to leave my flat for fear that some unknown thing will happen to me and it will be bad.

My brain is a fickle friend. It’s always there with me, but I can’t always trust if it’s working with me or against me.

I have lots of good days. To read the above you’d think I was mostly unhappy and a bit crazy. Crazy, yes, but not unhappy.

I feel happiness the majority of the time. And joy. And love. I am able to appreciate the little things and have a heart so full it feels like it could burst.

But when I’m not feeling those things, when I am sad and low and scared, I get frustrated.

See, my brain doesn’t just cloud my judgement and pull wool over my eyes. I am kind of aware that I’m being tricked. I just don’t have the power or energy to fight it. Sometimes it’s so overwhelming, I am completely convinced that I am being rational in my beliefs and that person really doesn’t want to spend time with me because I know in my heart of hearts that I am being annoying.

My brain is an extraordinary thing. Even when it’s working against me, I’m in awe of it. I am aware but not aware, I believe but I’m incredulous. How can one small organ have so much control? How do I regain it? Maybe I don’t. Maybe that’s the way everyone’s brains work. Or even just some people’s brains. But how will we know that until we start talking about it?

How can we learn about what’s okay and when to ask for help if no one will talk about their personal boundaries and breaking points?

Talking is a gift my brain allows me. It’s a gift I want to use to help myself and anyone else who needs it – reassurance that brains are the weirdest, most frustrating, most brilliant things we could ever have. And we can still get angry with them for tricking us and tripping us up and upsetting us.

We can get pissed off that we still have to sleep with the duvet over our shoulders and no limbs hanging off the mattress because it’s so good at convincing us that monsters live under the bed even though we’re too old to believe in ghost stories.

Because where would you rather they lived? Under the bed? Or in your own head?

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