Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Having a Brain That Nobody Understands

I'm used to my brain playing tricks on me. When I'm in a depression, it tells me I'm no good at anything, that I'm worthless, that I'll never be successful. When I'm battling anxiety it tells me that nobody likes me, that I can't handle difficult situations. When I'm hypomanic, it convinces me that I have more energy than my body will physically allow, and runs faster than I can process. They can be awful, but I'm used to them. I recognize them.

Then, there are times that my brain feels "normal". I'm finally experiencing thoughts and beliefs that seem so obvious to me, so natural. I'm not experiencing crushing depression, crippling anxiety, jittery hypomania. I'm just... me.  And yet still nobody else understand what's going on in my head. Everyone, including my therapist, suggests that I  change, or at least moderate these, so I suppose they must not be "normal" thinking, and yet I struggle to understand why.  It's a horribly lonely feeling. Not because you're physically alone (though you may be) but because you're isolated.  Picture this: you're standing in a room and a dog walks in. It's clearly a dog. You can even identify the type of dog it is. You say "look at that cute dog," and every single person turns and give you a funny look and says "that's a cat!"  You ask person after person about the dog and everyone tells you it's a cat. Never mind that it's at least two feet tall and 60 lbs. They're convinced it's a cat. No matter how many people you talk to, you're the only person staring at a dog. Yet you absolutely, positively, 100 percent see a dog. In no way can you see a cat.  Now, there is, of course, the option that you're hallucinating or having delusional thoughts. But even that isn't a very comfortable explanation, and if you have no history of it, nor does your condition generally contain anything like that, it's probably not the correct answer. So what is? Why does everyone else see a cat and you alone see a dog? I don't know the answer. Bu that's exactly how it feels for me. Every day.

I don't know if other people feel this way. I don't know if others feel an urgency about certain things that nobody else can fathom. I don't know if people get filled with anxiety, panic, darkness, even anger about pieces of life where others can't understand it. I don't know if anyone else hangs on to plans and timelines, completely lost without them. I don't know if others fail to understand what is so bad about sticking to these plans and timelines when it's at all feasibly possible. But I do. And it's the loneliest feeling in the world, to be isolated when surrounded by people, either physically or emotionally. But if you do feel this way, know that you're not alone. Know that there are others out there, at least one other, who gets what it's like to have a brain nobody understands. To see things a way nobody else sees them, as clear as day. To be horribly frustrated, even angry at times, at living a life full of this. And if you need to, reach out. Because I understand. And even if I don't understand every specific feeling, I won't try to change you (assuming what you are thinking isn't horribly illegal or dangerous to others). Even if everyone else sees a cat and you see a dog and I see a miniature pony, at least neither of us sees a cat, and we can at least commiserate in that. I'll listen, and understand that you, too, live a lonely isolated existence And at least now now, even in just the knowledge of each other, we can be slightly less lonely. 

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