But on "bad brain days", which has been most of them this week, the sand just trickles through my fingers, or even passes through the flesh of my hands entirely.
The evolution of this metaphor was an interesting process. Before I went on ADD medication (four and a half years ago, ish), I had no metaphor for it, because it was just the way things worked. When I went on the medication, suddenly I could feel the shift as the sand became calm, sculptable, workable, I could make sandcastles out of it in my head if I wanted to, it was amazing. Over time I learned the feeling of it, the mental muscle to flex to cause it to funnel smoothly, even when the medication wasn't active, though it took more effort then and stray particles would still escape over the sides.
Being able to remember and reproduce that feeling is a large part of what's gotten me through the last two and a half years without medication (good gods, it's been that long? Longer off of them than I was on them to begin with...). Unfortunately, I've been trying to reproduce it lately and haven't been able to, even though I still remember what it feels like to have a working brain. I can still focus on occasion, of course, but generally only with exterior events (like a deadline!) as a catalyst, and even then it's unreliable.
I could also map the whole thing to my icon for this post, where focusing is actually being able to catch the butterfly. That just doesn't map to the actual feelings in my head quite so well, but at least it's an actual picture.
I'd actually be interested in knowing if this makes sense to anyone else. It's so difficult to put one's mental landscape into words, let alone paint a realistic picture of something no one else has ever seen.