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My Broke Brain October 3, 2009

Posted by Kimmothy in Moods, Whatever.

Things are pretty swell right now. I love this time of year and somehow that seems to spill over into all areas of my life, making me just happier in general. Which of course lends itself to that chain reaction thing that good energy seems to produce and all that.

But. There always has to be a but, right?

My last appointment with the brain doctor. I was talking to her about the fact I’m doing pretty good but for some reason the occasional panic attack has started rearing its annoying head again. She’s fine with prescribing me Xanax if I need it and I told her I’m feeling like I’d like to have it again, maybe if nothing more than a security device. If you can’t admit that to your therapist that, who can you tell, right? And her thing was, sure but what do you think is causing the anxiety. Well honey, that’s what I’m paying YOU the big bucks for – if I knew THAT, I’d pay MYSELF to talk to myself for an hour. Hey, that’s not actually a bad idea.

No lady – YOUR job is to help me figure this out. When things are fucked up, I’m stressed, but I deal with it. I’m used to it, whether it be money problems, fertility issues, dealing with my mother, dealing with work stress – whatever. I know how to exist fairly comfortably while in a minor state of panic. However when things are going WELL, oh boy, look out. That’s when I’m freaked out the most. The waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop syndrome. So in other words…I am unable to relax when I’m HAPPY, only when I’m NOT happy? That is fucked on so many levels. That is not how I want to live. And Xanax or no, I don’t think there’s a medication to fix that. It’s not exactly just simply anxiety and it’s not depression. It’s as simple as having migraines or pooping issues or erectile dysfunction. Being worried about things I can’t control or what may or may not happen in the future is I think, a category completely unto itself.

The doctor had some advice on dealing with the anxiety portion – write in a journal whenever it happens: where I am, what’s going on, what time of day it is, etc. Thinking that maybe if I record it for awhile we’ll be able to see a pattern developing and then maybe see if there’s a certain trigger for them. And pop a pill if it gets too bad. But the vague neurotic worrywart stuff? She didn’t really have much of an answer for that, except to try and re-train my brain to turn my thoughts around whenever it’s happening – that, and Tantric yoga. (Whenever I hear that word, I can’t help but think of Sting and his poor wife) (“Tantric,” not “yoga”). She knows me better than to suggest meditation – me, try to NOT have a thought in my head for an extended period of time? Ha! I’m a bad enough Jew and/or Christian; I’d make a terrible Buddhist.

My brain – it’s always been my worst enemy. I’ve known it for awhile. I know it’s why I have a little too much of a fondness for substances that take the edge off of things and make them nice and blurry and far away. Because besides sleeping, I never get a break from THINKING. The thoughts, they DO NOT STOP. And for a long time I maybe didn’t manage to stop them, but I was certainly successful with slowing them down a great deal. And man, the blessed relief that was.

Of course that caused all sorts of other problems – way, way bigger problems. Because unfortunately I found the perfect thing that clicked with me; the thing that made everything a little brighter, so much more optimistic, so much easier to deal with and temporary and artificial as it was, I took happiness in any form I could get it. I have an alcoholic for a parent, so you’d think I would’ve maybe seen the red flag and been a little more careful, but no, not me. Well, I take that back. But red flags are the easiest flags to ignore.

But those days are over. For two years now I’ve had to rely on almost nothing but my own self to deal with the Unpleasant Thoughts. And while I know I’ve made a lot of progress, I still think I have a long way to go. I used to say I wish I was dumb(er), because dumb people are always happy. They don’t know any better because they’re never burdened with any complicated thoughts and hey, lucky them. But that’s not really how I want to be either – is there anyone really who wishes they knew less? I don’t think so.

Finding happiness. Hard as hell, but a goal worth pursuing.



1. crisitunity - October 3, 2009

If your therapist hadn’t said it first, I wouldn’t have said it so as not to cause a string of rolled eyes as long as the list of people who read your blog…but yoga may help. What you describe is pretty much exactly how I felt all the time until I started a serious yoga practice. I still feel like this sometimes – right now I’m swinging into a phase of it, and I have no one to prescribe me Xanax – but the yoga, it do help.

Also, the thoughts never stop even if you have a regular meditation practice. The best I’ve ever done is to get them to slow down, and to stop thinking it’s a failure.

Kimmothy - October 4, 2009

I know how exercise always gives me a little happiness burst and I’ve always WANTED to start yoga but it’s the stupid shyness that keeps me from starting. Gotta get over that because I know it’s silly. I have the phone number of the teacher she recommended now and I’m going to call this week to see what’s up.

Whiskeymarie - October 4, 2009

You’ll get over your yoga shyness once you take a class and someone farts in it. As long as you’re not the farter, then there’s no reason to be nervous.

Kimmothy - October 5, 2009

GREAT, WM – something else to worry about! I am a big farter.

crisitunity - October 6, 2009

If you weren’t four states away, I’d offer to give you free private lessons until you get over that shyness. Just try to remember that everyone else in class had a first class too. EVERYONE. ELSE.

Also, re: farting…it happens. Not saying it’s not embarrassing and that I’ve never gotten the giggles when it’s happened, but there’s nothing for it.

2. SMurF - October 3, 2009

My brain doesn’t stop very often either.

But there is something to the retraining the brain. There is a study that was successful, it showed that people who have Obsessive-Compulsive Psychiatric disorder could retrain their brains at least as well as medication.

The experiment was that every time the thought came through to touch the cabinet 5 times or else, you told yourself that it wasn’t true, it was just your brain trying to trick you. After 6 months of work, the brain scans showed just as much improvement as the people on 6 months of medication.

Not as silver bullet as such, but a ray of hope. I try to keep that in mind, when I begin to believe how terrible, stupid, ugly, whatever I am, that it’s just my brain tricking me. It’s begun to work a little. Still need the medication, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Kimmothy - October 4, 2009

My therapist said basically the same thing – that we create our own realities in our heads and I do believe that. I’m willing to try it, in any case. Thanks for sharing that.

3. Swistle - October 3, 2009

I read part of the first chapter of a Cognitive-Behavior Therapy for Dummies book, and as such am an expert. I sure wish I could get myself to read MORE of that book, because the part I DID read sure helped with stuff.

Kimmothy - October 4, 2009

I’ll be putting that on my library reserve list now – thanks.

4. Heather - October 4, 2009

I’m not sure anyone completely gets a break from thinking. I don’t know anyone with that gift. I wish I did, then we could interview them and find out how they do it. It would be nice sometimes, I do agree. Ignorance IS bliss, but it’s just not an option for smart cookies like you.

Kimmothy - October 5, 2009

I know a few people who aren’t very burdened by their thoughts, let’s put it that way. Of course they’re not burdened by them because of the reasons I stated above so I know that’s not the answer. I’d just be happy to find a happy medium somewhere.

5. Taoist Biker - October 5, 2009

Damn. The Blogger Blues Flu strikes another? Everybody whose brain is NOT their enemy, raise their hand…Yeah. My hand’s not up, either. :\

As I told Laura a week or two ago, we’re all staggering in the same direction, so we can each feel free to lean on the other when we stumble. Even if we never get where we’re going, the way forward doesn’t feel so lonely this way.

(And thanks for the book recommendation, Swistle, I’ll have to check on that one myself!)

Kimmothy - October 5, 2009

Wow, it must be something in the air. I am very thankful for my friends, both bloggie and the ones I know in person. I know I would’ve gone cuckoo for cocoa puffs a long time ago if it weren’t for my friends.

6. Shari - October 6, 2009

Ok, there seems to be something going on with your blog. Am I the only one that see it? Now for my prescription. You know I had one coming, right? I also recommend yoga. I would look for one labeled Hatha yoga. It should involve simple stretching and breathing and probably have some sort of seated meditation. I know you are a bit resistant to meditation, but this will be the perfect intro as it will be very relaxing and focus on breathing and you won’t have to worry about thinking, just breathing. Just breathe. If you go to a beginner’s class, everyone will be a beginner so there is nothing to be shy about. The beginner’s mind is exactly where you want to be. That’s where all the “Buddhists” are trying to get to. I think you will really enjoy a yoga class and you’ll be surprised by how great you feel afterwards. The focus is on breathing, not what everyone else is doing. Also, think on this little tidbit for the wordsmith in you… look at how close the words meditation and medication are…C….see?

And for my book recommendation, look up Ho’oponopono…It is an ancient Hawaiian practice that basically involves focusing on 4 phrases for healing…Thank you, I love you, Please Forgive Me, and I’m Sorry. Whenever I feel freaked, I go immediately to Thank you. Even if in the moment, you can’t think of anything to be thankful for, just repeat Thank you, thank you, thank you and it makes me feel better in no time. Also, I sometimes I will just write it over and over…I know you love to push your pen, so this might help. I think it is totally possible to Re-train your brain. Soon it will be easier to think a good thought rather than a bad one. If I wanted to play Lucy and hang my “The Doctor is IN” sign….I would say…we both have very negative mothers. And that didn’t just start when we became aware of it. So imagine us a little baby birds, being fed regurgiated negative spew our whole lives, that can’t help but taint the way we look at things. But DON’T WORRY there is a better way and congrats on taking steps toward it.

Kimmothy - October 6, 2009

This is why I need to spend a days’ long retreat with you and Sister. Maybe weeks’ long.
Thank you.
And I’m not sure what’s going on with the blog – what are you seeing?

7. Shari - October 6, 2009

The blog is all better now. It just wasn’t showing any graphix. The moon is back. And I am up for a retreat also….we could all probably use a little Roadtrip Therapy (no one steal that, it’s copyrighted!)

I hope you find a good yoga group in the meantime. One other thing, at least for your first experience…don’t go to a gym type environment, look for a studio or indie practice somewhere. Namaste!

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