How to Sit Yourself Down When Your Brain Goes Bugfuck

I’ve been bouncing off the walls all week, perhaps longer. I’ve managed to get a lot done lately, but the panic sets in the moment I wonder if I’ve been taking off in the right directions. It’s hard to gauge, especially when the money’s not coming in, seeing as it’s modernity’s primary indication of worth – and even though it’s 100% shit, we’re stuck wading in it. Anyway…

I tend to use this blog for motivational purposes, but it doesn’t always fulfill that need because sometimes my writing gets more personal than I’m comfortable sharing. Since deleting most of my ancient posts on Livejournal, I’ve become more aware of when I shouldn’t be exposing everything that dribbles out of my brain in public.

Friends are a great sounding-board (because they can tell you when you’ve gone stupid) but you can’t rely on anyone to bend their ear every time you need. They have their own lives after all. So I started writing to myself in a conversational tone. Today I went over one I wrote months ago. It was more enlightening than when I first jotted it down, because I could see how far I’d come and how far I still have to go.

I ask myself questions: What am I not doing that I know I should? Why am I not doing it? Am I beating myself up? What’s getting in the way? What goal is most reasonable right now compared to what I think my goals should be? By the time I’m finished, I’ve written up a plan – a realistic one that takes all my weaknesses into account and works with them, rather than drowning myself in unhelpful shame. I looked back on the plan I made months ago, and was relieved to find I’m still on the right track, even though it doesn’t feel that way.

Writing resolves thoughts. Ann Patchett compares it to catching a butterfly – always killing it in the process. It can end up either neatly pinned, a perfect specimen, or a mangled husk. But some thoughts are more like hornets. Swatting them down so they stop buzzing round your head is the goal, because goddamn are they ever annoying. A hornet can also be a useful specimen, examined closely to figure out what itches you, but you have to kill the buggers first. Stabbing them with your pen actually works sometimes.

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Sarah Dimento

The only thing interesting about me is my interest in interesting things – and sometimes I make cool shit.

4 thoughts to “How to Sit Yourself Down When Your Brain Goes Bugfuck”

  1. I do this all the time – writing down what’s bothering me.

    Sometimes I even remember to do it ON PURPOSE and FIRST – before wasting so much time chasing the uninvited thoughts around and spending days, hours, and months dithering before I figure things out.

    I have CFS. I should know by now that I CAN’T figure things out in my head most of the time – the brain is too tired, too random, too lost to do good thinking. I get a couple of hours a day in which things sort of function; the rest of the time you might as well be asking your kitten to figure out your credit card.

    Writing is good. Even typing slows things down. There is a tendency to be more coherent when forming actual sentences and writing them down. It helps me think.

    Now I just wish I could train myself to do it better when my head is all fuzzy.

    1. I know just what you mean, especially how difficult it is to think with a fuzzy head. My vow to write an hour a day doesn’t go so well when, like yesterday, I had a migraine. I ended up with almost 2000 words of barely coherent nonsense.

      That’s one thing I can say about making myself write for that hour though. If my session is terrible because I can’t think straight, I can at least use that time to have another little “talk” with myself.

      1. I have LOTS of talks with myself. There is still, after 65 years, so much stuff to figure out.

        The things that baffle me are the stupid things I persist in doing – where I think I should have learned better by now. I think I’ll dig into WHY I’m doing those things, looking for a long-ago ‘why’ – and see if I can’t get rid of some of them

        It just takes time. Like everything.

        1. Oh my gosh, yes. I think we’re the most hard on ourselves when we know better but keep doing x stupid thing anyway. A big part of that is habit though – we keep doing the same things because we spend most of our days on autopilot. Self talk takes you out of that mode. Of course, a good self talk also includes a plan to do something else instead. I’ve started using reminders for everything because it helps me stay on track even when my willpower is low.

          Also, deleting or setting a task back a few days forces me to confront why I don’t want to do the thing now. Often it’s something legit, like a migraine, but sometimes it’s just because I don’t wanna, which forces me to ask myself why.

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