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I have this metaphor for trying to focus that will probably make no sense to anyone but me. It's like my brain is a chaotic vortex of sand, and the focused thought is when it all gets funnelled into one place at the bottom. The act of focusing is like cupping hands underneath the vortex to channel the sand where I want it to go.

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.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 3rd, 2007 06:41 pm (UTC)
I can tell you my old model, before things changed inside my head. My whole mind was one, very complicated crystal. Lots of little tube-like structures connected together, a bit like tinker-toys in crystal. And it was always just there. However, bits of it would vibrate, and then the resonance would spread out to other bits, activating the parts I wanted. Or, when things didn't go too well, making everything shake badly with dizzying pain. Then when I became ill, it felt like the whole thing shattered... memories scattered, jumbled together, all in shards. And the shards were sharp. They felt sharp. For a while, I could get a thought stuck in my head, the way people normally get songs stuck in their head, just a random thought looping over and over again, and each time it felt cutting and painful. I would get daily migraines from that.

But I put the shards back together again, slowly and painfully, to the point that most of them are in decent places and not quite so sharp-edged anymore that thinking itself hurts.

I have considered picking a new metaphor... but I picked the crystal one long ago, and so much of it felt right (the sense of movement and frequencies that ties so well with much of how I interact with the world and think) and it went so wrong, that I feel a bit like I'm in Ghostbusters... any metaphor I pick, I can see how it can be turned badly against me, and I'm not sure I want to risk choosing my doom.
May. 3rd, 2007 06:45 pm (UTC)
It's not the metaphor I use, but I have some similar ones. I've always had this little mantra (don't know when I came up with it, but it was in childhood/adolescence) -- "the only peace I will ever know is the eye of the hurricane". That's when I'm at the top of my game -- when I'm at the center of a maelstrom and everything comes into focus and balance and still water. (*All* of my personal metaphors involve water.)

(For the record, I have never been formally diagnosed with ADD. Both my father and I appear to have it and self-medicate with caffiene to some extent. Neither of us have any of the hyperactive symptoms, just the ADD ones.)
May. 3rd, 2007 09:08 pm (UTC)
it makes total sense to me...
May. 3rd, 2007 09:28 pm (UTC)
The title of this post made me think of zombie movies.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


firesea: self-portrait
Heather Keith Freeman
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