Friday, January 25, 2013

750 Words #3

I just read a blog post about keeping quiet and listening to the small, typically ignored voices in your head.  While I understand that kind of advice can help some people get in touch with their innermost whatevers, for me, it's an invitation to check myself in to the loony bin. 

I'm not sure how my brain compares to other people's, but I'm betting it's a lot louder than most.  There are a couple of diagnoses I've received that somewhat explain it (ADHD and anxiety, in particular), but I think it's also a quirk of the creative, Type A personality.  We've got busy brains, and it's hard to stop the gears turning.  I already listen too closely to my inner blah blah, and knowing that, I try to filter what's important, what should be ignored.  But it's hard to ignore most of it because everything in my brain is SO DAMN LOUD.  Add external stimuli like images, sounds, tastes, feelings, smells, tinnitus and PTSD and you've got a whopping, neurological mess. 

And to think, I seem like such a "normal" person most of the time.

Here's what writing does for me.  It helps me sort out conflicting thoughts.  It helps me organize, analyze, focus.  Having to write so many words per day breaks tasks down into manageable chunks.  Deadlines help, too, if they are reasonable.  Structure helps.  For example, I write every day, first thing, as I'm having coffee and taking my meds.  If I've had a bad night's sleep, lots of anxiety or excessive stress, you might hear it in my writing. If I've had PTSD related triggers the day before or vivid dreams, you might be able to tell by my choice of topics.  But the writing is my processing and shouldn't be taken as a word-by-word reflection of my brain activity or intentions.  As I indicated yesterday, too many people make assumptions about writers and writing.  They then tack labels on us, like some kind of warning: "caution: explosives."  The only person I've ever exploded on is myself, certainly not a good thing, but not what the expectations might be.

Okay, so now that I've put that out there, I have to add, "I'm fine.  Don't worry.  I've got lots of support etc. etc." because if I don't, someone is going to say, "Oh my God, she's got a lot of stress in her life right now.  Call 911 fast!"  Which leads me to something else I've been thinking about.  I hate when people worry about me.

Let's get this straight.  I'm the one who does the worrying around here, okay?  You don't worry about me because then I will worry that you are worrying and I will have to stop writing or do what I'm trying to do to take care of myself which will make me implode and then you will worry more and you don't want to see what happens next. 

This month, I was there when someone whom I love(d) very much died.  She was a strong woman, so strong in fact, that even though she had family with her during the last hours of her life, she chose to take her final breath alone.  We think it's because she didn't want anyone to see her make that difficult, spiritual, physical transition.

This lady was also someone who didn't want many people around when she was sick.  She didn't want people to see her that way or fuss or worry about her.  We knew her as funny, loving and stoic, and that's how she wanted to be. I respect that because I'm very much the same way.  If I ever get terminally ill and am lying there in pain, morph me up and let me go.  Burn my body and spread the ashes under a purple lilac bush.  Then read my work and look through the gazillion scrapbooks I've made.  But for God's sake, don't worry about me.  It will just make me feel bad.

Here's what you can do now.  Laugh with me.  Talk to me about meaningful things.  Watch stupid movies with me. Give me something helpful to do, a way to channel my hyperactive brain.  Fill my surroundings with healthy food and art and real friends and family who accept me.  Help me shut off my brain for awhile.  And please, don't insist I keep listening to myself.  If you had to listen to my every thought, you'd go mad.  And I don't want that for you or for me.  
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