One of the things I have noticed about my brain that I think I'm only now able to explain is that there seem to be fuzzy edges surrounding my intentions to think. For example, it is easy for me to decide to file something or make a folder for a file. It's clearly defined and not problematic, so I can do that with no trouble. It is the same with showering, dressing, and putting on makeup, for instance. However, when I decide to work on a research project or prep for my college classes that I teach, I find it extremely difficult to sharply and clearly focus on the assignments at hand. When I sit at my computer to write or develop something, my brain feels fuzzy and unclear. It is almost like I don't even know how to do it, or like it is too complex of a task for my brain to focus on, in and of itself.
I realize I'm still not defining this well, but for now, that is the best way I can describe what happens when I need to work on something that is difficult and complex. If something takes many steps to do to complete it, and if many of those steps have to be thought over in advance, my brain does not seem to have the capacity to do it without a great deal of effort, which leads to paralysis and feelings of incompetence and not feeling confident in my abilities. Thus the cycle continues and the anxiety builds. I think dread is a common emotion for people with learning disabilities.
I was talking with an ADD student the other day, and she informed me how difficult it is for her to concentrate and stay focused on a task, especially when it comes to reading or studying. I so totally understand this dilemma because it is the challenging work we do that makes the ADD/ADHD most manifest. If it is something easy and, perhaps, even something we thoroughly enjoy, it is much easier to do. Yet it seems that at some point in our lives, what is easy now, must have been challenging at an earlier time, and we worked through those challenges, which allowed them to become easier tasks to perform. I can only hope that the more I continue to work through my difficulties with reading, writing, performing research, etc. that they will become easier and more enjoyable tasks. Additionally, I have to believe that the more I creep and crawl, particularly, my brain will sharpen and those fuzzy edges surrounding complex, abstract work will become something of the past. I so desperately want and need for my brain to have sharp edges surrounding my thinking.
If anyone reading my blog experiences similar issues that I discuss, please share those experiences with me. I imagine there are much better ways to explain what goes on with a disorganized brain, and I'd love to hear from others how you might describe the process and feelings that go along with a disorganized brain.
Although it has been about a month since I've blogged, I have not stopped creeping and crawling. It's amazing this newfound quiet space in my brain. I still can't describe it well, but it is making a huge difference in my life. I used to have major issues with obsessive thinking. In fact, I think it was a way to keep much of the additional stimuli from sinking in. So, for instance, I would count to 18 or 20 over and over and over again, or I would say the word "OK" over and over and over and over again for hours at at a time. I tried telling a doctor once that I didn't think anymore, and he looked at me like I'd truly lost my mind, so I said "never mind" and never mentioned that to anyone again. But I seriously had stopped thinking about real things, and I let these obsessive thoughts take over, for years. As a child, I grew up in a highly dysfunctional environment with lots of psychological and emotional abuse, so this obsessive thinking probably began as a way to cope with that, but it became a major problem in my life. The crawling aspect of Brain Highways has helped to calm that obsessive thinking in immeasurable ways.
The other major changes that have occurred with the creeping and crawling are still underway. For example, my anxiety is practically gone. I feel calm most of the time, and I'm enjoying reading and writing again. I'm still nervous about my writing; I don't feel that it is very good, but at least I'm doing more of it. I'm also continuing to retain what I read more than I had been able to in the past. It's amazing the knowledge I feel I'm gaining, which I was unable to do for so long. The other phenomenal change is that my chronic pain has all but disappeared. My head still has a lot of soreness and pain, especially around the temples, jaw, and base of skull, but the pain in my neck, back, shoulders, and hips has mostly dissipated.
For Brain Highways to completely re-organize my brain, I need to log somewhere between 150-300 hours (and I'm really hoping for closer to 150). I've logged around 40 hours so far. I should be closer to 50, but life has gotten in the way on a few occasions - conference presentations, travel, and such.