How My Own Brain Humiliated Me

UPDATED:

You may have read on some of my earlier posts, I am a diagnosed, text-book case, Hypervigilant Person. It was caused from childhood trauma I had experienced, and was a symptom of PTSD.

Now, I had never, ever heard the word hyper-vigilant before a year ago, so I was really taken by surprise by the therapist that informed me that my brain was essentially broken, and needed to be fixed. It really almost made my poor broken brain explode, because by its very nature, a hyper-vigilant brain is going to over-analyze any decision ad nauseam anyways. That therapist had quite simply blown my mind.

I thought about copying and pasting the medical definitions and symptoms to try to give my reader an idea of what this all is and what it looks like, yada yada. But, I don’t think that would be an apt glimpse into my brain’s perception of the problem.

Instead, I’ve decided to go with a kind of metaphorical story that is more of what this feels like from inside my broken head. Here it is:

Let’s say that you are born into an obscure family in some obscure little country. And because this little country strictly forbids any kind of nudity ever, you live all of your early childhood never seeing what a naked woman looks like. And your law-abiding mom never sees you naked either. 

Eventually, you go through puberty and lo and behold! you grow three breasts, instead of the standard two. As you have nothing to compare yourself to, you assume all the other women in the world also have three breasts.

Your life goes on looking pretty normal to everyone around you, probably somewhat due to your own ignorance of the problem and the loose-fitting clothing you always wear, until you get married. But your beloved husband, who also has no idea all women don’t have three boobs, thinks you are beautiful. Up until this point, you don’t know that you are a freak of nature. You assume everyone else is pretty much built the same as you.

But, as luck would have it, the doctor that delivers your baby does know this is not the norm, and informs you that you have one more breast than all the other women in the world. You are suddenly dealing with a lot of internal issues about self-image, self-esteem, etc. But you’re making a lot of extra milk. Enough so that you can feed your own baby, and donate the rest to the local orphanage to feed newborns that have lost their mothers. So, even if you are way different, and it is causing you some real self-esteem problems, there is some good coming out of the problem. And you’ve been toting around this extra breast almost your whole life. It is a part of you now.

I know it is kind of over-simplifying a complex problem, but my perception of things are somewhat simplistic.

Note: I would also like to say that I tried to pick a different body part, but there is a surprisingly small amount of parts of our bodies that could be an asset if we had more of….The breast was literally the only one I could come up with….. 

Suddenly, I had a different picture of who I really was, and I was humiliated. Secretly, I had always taken a little pride and self-esteem from my ability to analyze the h*** out of anything. Over the years, I’d developed a reputation as a somewhat wise person, always able to present a matter from several different view-points. I had assumed God had granted me my childhood prayer to be blessed with the gift of wisdom, and even at my worst moments, when I was the furthest from God that I’d ever been, I would try to be careful with that gift as to not have Him take it away from me. I had always perceived it as an answered prayer. To some degree, I thought we Christians had all been given three breasts, to varying levels like the parable of the talents.

Hello, Catherine…welcome back to reality..Haven’t seen you here in years!!!

I sat on that too-soft couch, looking at the therapist in stunned disbelief. I wasn’t wise; my brain was broken. As you can imagine, the session was over. I vaguely remember her trying to teach me a breathing exercise or something, but I had retreated into my broken Brain-Castle and slammed the door.

And you can guarantee Jesus heard all about it on my way home. And for weeks afterward. Actually, more like months. I don’t say I prayed extensively about the matter on bended knee. No. I don’t really pray like that…I talked to Him constantly about the disappointment and dismay I felt that I’d been fooled by my own brain and my own stupid pride. I’d been betrayed and tricked. I looked the fool to myself…which is worse than being a fool to everyone else. You can’t hide from yourself. After that, when my brain would go into Solutions or Die mode, I didn’t feel like I was smart…it was just a sick, twisted reminder that I wasn’t so smart after all.

I didn’t go back to therapy. I’m only now getting over that little ordeal. But, as is His way with me, I’ve come to terms with the whole fiasco of metaphorically having three breasts by approaching the problem from God’s point of view. Maybe God wanted me to have three breasts…In fact, maybe in some strange way, God had given me the gift of wisdom, just not in the way I was expecting or to the degree I had once thought. Is it not still a gift from God, even if it is delivered to you in an unexpected way? And He is quite able to put you right back into your place when you try to take credit for the gift He gave you, or have pride in your talent as if you’d achieved it all by yourself. Jesus certainly got my attention on that little crappy characteristic of mine…And He did it because my pride would have infected every bit of what He was trying to do with the talents He had entrusted to this particular servant.

No. I don’t consider myself wise and accomplished, even secretly to myself anymore. When a pride in something I find I can do starts to seep in, I rush to kill it immediately. I can tell a good story because of my broken little brain, and a genetic gift from my dad, but every day I read other writers’ offerings that have more insight, better styles, more creative ideas, etc., and I am able to see the reality of who I really am. Jesus is what makes me special, and it is Him that people are attracted to. I’m just some girl whose brain is broken…..

After long deliberations, I decided that I am going to leave my exhausted brain alone. On the one hand, sometimes it just won’t shut up, and I get worn out from listening to myself cover scenario after scenario incessantly.

But on the other hand, I never have a problem coming up with some little pearl of wisdom I’ve figured out about life for my kids, or a well-thought out solution to a problem my husband presents to me, or even something to write about in my blog. My symptom has now become a full-fledged characteristic, but this little lesson has shown me not to think I’m the one accomplishing God’s work. He’s just using my weaknesses as He tends to do with all of His servants…

My brain and I are at peace with one another once again.

– Bird

Today, I wrote a post here: anexerciseindiscipline.wordpress.com called Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire. If you’d like to read it, please check it out over there. Thanks again for all of your kind comments!! 

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34 Comments

  1. from reading your postings for awhile now, i always pictured this sweet woman with lots of bouncing energy. your words speak through you and we are allowed to peek through the window and get a glimpse of you. nice story

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    • Thank you for always giving me an encouraging word..You are one of the ones that I refer to when I say that I’ve found other writers with more creative styles. :-) I hope you have a really good day!

      — Bird

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      • thank u bird. although we don’t know each other in person, i find myself being drawn to your words. there is a bond that is forming through our minds

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  2. Oh no! I do this too. But I will continue to think of it as a gift. Not everyone gets to be crazy analytical. Even though like you I wish there was an off switch sometimes.

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    • lol. Welcome, My Fellow Broken-Brain! Still, as afflictions go, this one is better than most, right?

      Thanks for the comment! I haven’t met too many people that are having the same kind of problem, and I really wish I did. I’m curious to know how it affects their lives..Maybe you could write a post..hint, hint!

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  3. You sound pretty wise to me, and our OAA meetings are Monday at 7:00. ;)

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  4. Thanks, Hobbler. I’m going to check them out! I am really curious about this subject…

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    • Hey, Hobbler! I read these before…I laughed at them because they do kind of remind me of me…

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  5. I can sure relate to having my brain humiliate me! Maybe a little different scenario but the feelings are the same, I bet. I am not sure anyone could say a brain is broken…LOL…give me more time to ANALYZE that! :)

    Some things are just a matter of perspective. I always say whether people see me as crazy or courageous is all a matter of perspective! :)

    Thanks for sharing and thank you for following my blog. I’m now following yours. Best to you today & always.

    Blessings, Love & Peace,
    RH

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    • LOL!! So, I can expect you back with a decision on the “broken brain” thing in about a week?? I TOTALLY do the same thing!! :-) Thanks for your comment. I appreciate it!

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      • Glad it made you chuckle, and relate! :) I honestly believe a part of the analyzing is finding out what is true for us despite what others say, we’ve been taught, etc. Best to you! :)

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        • ;-) .. I agree. It wasn’t therapy sessions that helped me find my way out… But, I know several people that it was paramount to their healing. To each his own. Laughter changes how I feel quickly and efficiently…Best medicine in the world. Thanks for the chuckle! Best to you, as well!

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  6. Bird, When I was dealing with the diagnosis of PTSD I’m not sure I ever quite called it a “gift.” But when it came down to looking at blame, the one thing I realized is that God makes the human brain so remarkable we don’t understand it and the brain allowed me to survive. When it came down to it, I wasn’t about to blame Him! He didn’t cause it to break, and I think it saddens Him to see so many broken brains, so I think He gives us a chance to find ways to make it a gift. I have had the opportunity to help others. I can honestly say PTSD has made me who I am–strong and successful, dependable in a crisis. I’m proud of that. I’ve been in therapy three times–for the initial diagnosis, for post-partum depress, and for a recent relapse (actually the hardest to admit)–but if therapy is not for you, I suggest a book I used the first time: Forgiving Our Parents, Forgiving Ourselves.

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    • I understand what you’re saying completely. I sincerely feel that I’ve made peace with myself. When I stopped struggling to change things that simply couldn’t be changed, and stopped focusing on the down sides, that is when I started actually healing. I have panic attacks, bouts with depression, and a thyroid thing going on. Only running straight to God has helped me; therapy, on numerous occasions has almost made me worse, I think. I’ll check out the book you suggest..I would say that I forgave my parents a long time ago. Forgiving isn’t an issue with me…I know who my real enemy is! Thanks for taking the time to reach out — I do appreciate it!

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      • I’m sorry therapy hasn’t worked for you. My first therapist was a member of the same faith so I think that helped. With the post partum I had to be on meds so that was a different ball game. As I tell people it was all about finding normal again because no amount of therapy was ever going to change the fact I do not like babies (I think I posted about this when my daughter asked how come I had two). This current round is going well. I do well until I feel like I’m being kicked when down and this past year was one thing after another and I couldn’t keep my head above water. As for forgiveness, it was eye-opening. I had a lot of anger at many people (I was in my early 20s) but I had to also look at how, now that I was an adult and responsible for my actions, I was behaving otherwise I was going to go down a never-ending spiral that is victim mentality. I had to forgive myself, not for the trauma, not for the broken-brain, but for my adult actions that with time and patience I could learn to change and redirect.

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  7. Snipewife,

    I understand exactly what you’re saying. Self-Forgiveness was the hardest for me. I know exactly what I was ashamed of, and it was hard for me to reconcile myself with…(details for another day). With things like sexual abuse — and with your post-partum — We can feel our true feelings and what we’re told our feelings should be, warring inside our heads and hearts, and the loser is always our self-esteem and self-image.

    When I was freaking out about The Therapy Session, my husband kind of just carelessly righted my world with the statement — ” So, your brain is broken..Who’s isn’t? Did you pick up milk today?”

    If our personalities and characteristics were developed through DNA alone, that would be one thing. But because of so many other contributing factors like environment and perceptions, I guess all of us are a little brain damaged… ;-)

    My actions embarrass me to this day sometimes, and I can usually pinpoint exactly why I chose to do whatever it is I did. But what is life, if it isn’t one big lesson on how to live?

    Thank you for sharing your story with me. It helps me feel connected and understood. I always appreciate those feelings!

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  8. I’m really tired of mental doctors..i have been on so many meds..

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    • Jesusmyjoy,

      I did my research on these “head” meds, and while I understand there are people who need them (we are all designed differently), I am inclined to say that for some of us, they make us feel worse. Yes, they can help us numb out the intense pain and depression, but they also keep us from honestly learning to cope and heal, so we don’t have to experience that any more. In a way, they replace faith in God for some of us Christians.

      Sometimes, just sitting down and addressing your feelings, disappointments, angers, shame…everything that you know is causing you to lose heart, with yourself and with your God, can make a quicker, real road to healing than any antidepressant on the market.

      You asked me to pray for you this morning, and I did.

      Taking into account my very limited information, I would encourage you to spend a little quiet time with yourself. All our problems in this life can be handled, if we are at peace with ourselves…

      I hope you find your grace….

      Bird

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      • i want to be off the meds but fear sets in..thank you so so much, i know God is bigger than this..i just have to shut off my mind and her Him instead of this world..

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  9. I really enjoyed reading your post. I too have a brain that at times will not shut up and let me sleep. What I do is try to sing it to sleep with music or white noise. I also try to make sure it has plenty of positive stimulation during the day so that all those images become creative in some way, such as a new idea or character for a story or the answer to a quandary I have worried over.

    BTW, thank you so much for following my blog, Creative Musings. A lot of what I write comes from dreams creative from things I put into my brain during the day. The two stories I am currently posting sprang into life after I read a Stephen King book. I consider him a wonderful writer who knows how to put images in people’s brains!

    Hope you have a fantastic week!

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    • I’m so sorry about not responding in a timely manner! This was in my spam folder. You’re welcome on following your blog…I too am a Stephen King fan!

      I’ve tried everything on my old brain. In the end, sometimes medication works, and sometimes I just stay up an write. If you can’t fight ‘em, join ‘em!!

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  10. Could I inquire if you may be fine with fee based posts?
    All I’d want is for you to produce material on behalf of me and just a link or reference to my site.
    I could pay you.

    Like

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