Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Way My Brain Works

It's kind of like on endless loop, I'm discovering.

Prime example for you guys:

I have a presentation and paper due this week in my psychology class.  It's the easiest thing: find three case studies about your disorder of choice, summarize the abstracts in a paper due Tuesday, and create two to three slides to present to the class on Tuesday.  Easy peasy.

So naturally, I've been putting it off.  The truth is, it didn't seem that pressing until now.  I thought about it.  I decided how I wanted it to go down.  My disorder of choice - anxiety - has tons of stuff out there; I casually went down that aisle of the bookstore yesterday just for fun.  Basically, I have it under control.

My brain didn't agree and it let me know.

I had this dream about school last night.  It wasn't a happy dream, like the one I had Thursday night wehre the nice side of school was emphasised.  Oh no.  This was one where I was trying to give my presentation in front of the class and completely and totally failed at it.  My notes were messy, my slides were wrong, and the teacher ended up asking me to sit down and shut up.  I woke up nearly panicky.

That is how my brain works.

So today I did my presentation homework for Tuesday.  It took me just over an hour.  I think my brain and unconciousness just doesn't like the idea of me slacking off.  Bombing my last presentation didn't help either.  And the truth is, I suffer from my own anxiety problems.

See, readers, that's part of why I chose the topic of anxiety to explore further.  Depression was too dark for where I've been; I see enough of OCD when my sister methodically makes sure everything is in even numbers.  Eating disorders scare me.  Multiple personalities bother me.

But anxiety I can handle.  I'm already dealing with my own so much better.  When I first started school, I had to be at class an hour before it started.  I had this fear that I would be late or that I would get lost in the school; my palms would sometimes sweat.  I didn't stack my classes really close together because I wasn't sure I would be able to switch classes quickly enough.

Now, most of my classes are within fifteen minute incriments with a break halfway through my day.  I can get to class as late as ten minutes before hand without feeling panicky.  Granted, if I'm late I won't go and I still get nervous when instructors run over.  But it's a lot better than it was and in effect, I'm feeling a lot better health wise than I used to.

It is interesting to see studies on anxiety.  One I found that I really like and did my slides on is about yoga.  Apparently yoga helps your body create more GABA, which is an acid that helps lower the feelings of depression and anxiety.  I have a book of yoga moves around somewhere; I think I might start doing them again.

Prayer has also helped me a lot.  I know I probably sound like some pious prick, but I can assure you that's not the case.  It's just one of those things that I've found to help me calm down - it's like having a conversation with someone who's always listening and always interesting.  It forces me to slow down, too, and actually see the forest, not just the tree.

Knitting is also a good controller for me.  It gives me something to do with my hands that's productive.  I find that while I'm knitting, I can sort out what I'm feeling and compartmentalize it a bit.  It's helpful as long as I don't over analyze; that's never a good thing to do.  And making something - a sweater, a hat, a scarf, etc. - is really satisfying, too.

But anyway.  Back to where we started here.  My brain is weird, and so I have to appease it so that I can sleep without having endless nightmares about things like school or my old job (oh yeah, I still dream about Bagel Hell when I'm stressed...).  It is a cycle.

Off to the next thing, I suppose.

Until we meet again.


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