Being of an introverted, intuitive, thinking, and perceiving nature I spend a lot of time in my head, going off on tangents influenced by sparks of inspiration in the real world. My day is spent in this spiral, wandering and meandering. It is difficult, VERY difficult to stay focused on the immediate task at hand, but I am a VERY focused person. I just tend to focus on the swirling in my head and the connections it is making in my inner world instead of what is happening in front of me in the outer world. The trick is to corroborate the swirling inner world with what is happening in the outer world. There are methods that help me to do this. Engagement is the key word here. I must be kept ENGAGED in what is happening around me. The two most helpful things in this regard are visual and physical stimuli. I need to see, feel, and interact with the world in front of me to keep my mind fully immersed in the outside world and prevent it from slipping profoundly inside.
There has been speculation by M-Monster on slight autism spectrum with this quirk, but I really think that the definition is so broad, it catches too wide of a scope of people to really be applied in this case. A quirk that is different from other people is not an 'illness', or a 'disfunction'. It is human, it is what makes the brain so awesome. It is a whorl in my snowflake. Etc. My little comic book side project is about this, finding ways to classify all the whorls and dips and scallop types in the little snowflakes of personalities in humans. The futility in it, but also the unity it brings to recognize the uniqueness, and how human it is to be so different. And, mostly, how NOT striving to fall in the center of a bell curve makes you more 'normal' and profoundly human than robots who stifle humanity for comfort and acceptance.
See? There I went again. Ok, back to what I wanted to actually blog about. Trying not to slide down the spiral in the wrong direction here. I have a tendency to slide down the emo slide when I blog and dig, and I have been REALLY working on putting the brakes on that behavior. Not blogging while on the rag helps too. :) Anyyywho.... *tried to climb back up the slide by rereading what I already wrote and get back on track...*
Ah, right, ok. So, some of the other tricks to keeping me engaged, especially when feeling, seeing, and interacting with the topic is not an option, is keeping the material difficult and novel, but not too difficult or too new. This is a really tough one to feel out, even for me. I need these points of connections in the material that I can connect with what I already know and expand on it. If I already know everything and nothing is new, or too little is being added in, I get bored and lose interest. If the topic is beyond what I already know, my eyes glaze over and I stop engaging with the content, I just read the words but don't process them. This is why blogging can be difficult. I have usually already gone over all this stuff in my head, and sitting down to type it out, find that path I just went down, is tedious and never turns out. What actually gets typed and blogged only contains fragments of what I wanted to say, instead going down new, different paths, instead of retracing my steps like I wanted. Never, ever works out that way. I have to think of an idea before I have something to type, but after my mind has worked it out and come to the conclusion it was 'good stuff', it has MOVED ON without me and really refuses to rehash what it already knows! ARGH. Stupid brain. :(
Ok, well, it is refusing to get back on topic, as you can tell, so I will let it slide where it is going and hope I can come back around. Sometimes it works out that way, looping back around to where it started... just taking the scenic path, as always.
People are critical of psychology based personality tests, and the more I look at them and talk to people, the more I think that people who are critical are of resistant personality types. They are resistant in many diverse ways, of course, but there is a common thread of stubbornness and/ or ego involved. They don't like to be 'typed', but then again, neither do I. But my personality is softened greatly by logic and evidence, and because I make connections, when I see them, I keep looking for more, and the more I find, the harder it is to refute or resist. Other people dig their heels in and look for reasons to REFUTE, not connect as I do. I find it kind of funny when people do take one of the most common tests that I always refer to, the Myers-Briggs, tell their results, then go off about how wrong it is and why, without realizing that their personality type SAYS they will react the way they are, trying to poke holes, digging their heels in, or refusing to accept something new. Many times there is usually a personality-based lack of ability to see the connections and think about them abstractly instead of definitively in whatever language the results may have used, which may not be exact in their case but still true if stated another way and still hold the same concepts. If a result is, truly, blatantly wrong, it is because they actually were dishonest on their test, either consciously or subconsciously, both traits of different personality subtypes. They don't actually know themselves very well due to a plethora of possible reasons. This is where you bring in studies in different areas, about people who can't seem to answer honestly about themselves due to a whole 'nother can-o-worms in the psychology of the human mind. Nature and/ or nuture influences can affect the ability of someone to drop an ego and look at themselves inside, naked. Scared, embarrassed, stubborn, ego, a need to please, uncertainty.... so, so many things can contribute to people not being honest with themselves, whether they realize it or not. And many areas of psychology address this. Everyone has this shadow-self (a connection to something I read about last week! yay brain... except we are still off topic... :|) which is a side of the personality that is a true self, and has aspects we don't see or we deny. It comes in many shapes and sizes, and is unique to everyone. As intuitive as I am, and as much time as I spend inside myself, every day I discover new parts of my shadow self and still remain ignorant or in denial of others, both consciously and subconsciously. In some ways, I think I do swapping too, moving things in and out of the shadow... part of how the shadow itself works. Every new piece brought into the light casts a new shadow. Therefore, mine is not a set one, as some may have, but one in constant flux, moving and morphing as I constantly move and morph. I would be interested, of course, to know more about the fluctuations and may look into this further on my own or pick the brain of someone who is more of an expert. This little piece will sit in it's little spot in my brain, to be brought up either dusty or fresh as needed when a connection is found through the outside world or inside.
So... what was I talking about again? Oh, right TANGENTS. Like what I am doing now and why I love parenthesis and people hate how I write. I think it would be more obnoxious to add footnotes to my writing, because I would have footnotes taking up half of what I wrote. NOT going off on tangents is definitely asking too much. :p
Let me try to start where my brain started originally, and hope I find the path along the way.
That is how I think I wanted to start it. I love coffee, and caffeine. It kicks my brain in the ass and gets it running. Sure, it would start it's chugging on it's own eventually, but I risk falling back asleep and I never really get a jolt all day. I am a bit addicted, and find myself needed to ease off every few weeks as it slowly slips into 'too much' (getting close to that point again. It's a pretty consistent cycle for me, so I can see the pattern. Took me many years to learn to see it, cause remember, I am pretty effing oblivious to the real world and just rode the waves I got from it instead of making the connections of what it was doing to me)
I have been trying to stay super conscious of myself while riding the wave, but it is tough because water is fickle and I get lost easily (as you can see), and then burn out/ lose steam and motivation until a new day when I can repeat the cycle. Pretty typical of the stuff. And when I am DONE and tired for the day, it can't stop the crash at the end. All it really can do is front-load my energy, not even it out through the day. So, I am therefore most productive about an hour after my morning intake, when it has settled in my system, and I ride it past the initial frantic peak as it smooths out until my energy is gone for the day. It gives me about 4 hours of being really productive, and 2-4 of more mixed productivity that is super dependent on what I previously spoke of, keeping me focused and engaged. I can actually use up all my day's energy by fighting the spiral early because I need to study or do something dull, but it leads to less productive back-end hours and I succumb to the spiral too easily until I fizzle out and am brain-dead.
So, having figured out my patterns, I now need to catch the CORRECT wave for the day. Because, once I am on it, getting off it and switching waves is very, very hard. It can fuel depression on days, for example, if something crappy happens early or if I wake up with baggage from the previous day. My brain will hop right on that crappy feeling wave and ride it all day. A sudden event that taps into a strong emotion is like a boulder in the way of the wave, splitting it and disrupting it, forcing me off what I was riding and onto this new tangent. I hate that part of myself, how I can be thrown off by emotion. It is like a brain disrupting jolt. I learned a long time ago how to hide how it affects me outwardly, for pure survival... but inside it churns me up completely and fizzes me. I can't focus, I can't let it go, just like the more logical spirals. It is an illogical one, with emotional jet engines attached sending me careening all over the place. Conscious shadow-self I only show in blogs and journals (like forums I rant on).because no one wants to hear it, and it is seen as a weakness that affects real-world interactions negatively. I wish people could appreciate this honesty of self, but in an image-obsessed world, where people stuff themselves in their shadows, showing a part of it, ESPECIALLY a vulnerable, raw part of it, is perceived as a deplorable act of weak character. I struggled to put my finger on this struggle I had, expressing frustration and receiving such negative reaction from people when I do, but have also been making connections recently and figuring out what I am expressing here, why I get negative social interactions unintentionally when I am simply being myself. Emo-self tells me I must be a bad person, because people hate 'bad' people. But that is so childish, subjective, and emotional of a response. I need to reclaim the thought process once the emotional pity-party has burnt itself out (which takes a while sometimes) and apply logic to find answers instead of emotional mewling.
When emotions aren't the disruptive fuck-all order of the day, I basically get to play daily Jeopardy with my brain. It will settle on the few topics it is given with it's caffeine, whether ones I mange to squeeze in at the right time intentionally, or ones influenced by the world around me that struck a chord or made that initial connection for some odd reason, and run with them, making all the connections for the day related to those few topics. Changing completely is a herculean task, and is best accomplished more through transitions, finding connections and nudging over from where I began. The slides, or spirals, always going forward, I just need to select paths to try to nudge and influence it in the direction I want... and I am not always successful (this post, and every other one, as a case in point). But I manage a bit, and I get better at it the more I practice and make effort to remove 'triggers' or things I know will detract me.
I guess this is where I bring in food. I think I have touched on this before. It is a hardcore 'brake' for me. It really puts the brakes on spiraling, adding to the addictive nature of it. It realigns my brain when it is bleeding in all kinds of directions, spinning too fast and getting distracted too quickly for me to keep up or stay focused. It gets really, really, frustrating up there at times, and I get super impatient at it as time crawls while my brain roars uncontrollably. A physical stimuli, that jolt, focuses me and resets it. Though, the problem is, my mind tends to slip again not long after if I don't follow up with engagement. So food is a temporary fix, especially when I am really raging. When I eat, and my brain is enjoying it, it is like it is dedicating most of it's resources to that moment, the here and now, allowing me a 'break' outside of myself. Which I really need often. Other physical stimuli, as the type I mentioned earlier, can have the same effect. If I am kept fully engaged with the world around me, it satisfies the exact same needs as food does. The problem is that food is the easiest, most consistently available solution. 'Exercise', the type that is boring and meaningless, allows my brain to rage and spiral. Some people... most people... find it allows them to relax. It never has for me. It makes the spiraling go faster and out of control, having similar effects as caffeine. It will wake me up, get the brain going. But, if I don't do something with my brain right after it wakes up, it will FIND something to do without me, and I become a helpless passenger on whatever tangent it found and throws me in. And, many times, it will tap into the first emotion that crosses it's path and become a victim to it, making for an extremely unpleasant and stressful exercise session. Therefore, a road bike, for example, is boring and doesn't keep me engaged, I will spiral. Same with treadmills. Hiking or mountain biking, however, requires focus and concentration so I don't hurt myself. Need to stay engaged. I was really into mountain biking for a brief time, but found myself getting bored and my mind spiraling as I did the same trails. Unfortunately, I couldn't mix it up due to a lack of trails at my fairly novice ability level, and the elephant in the room that is my weight that both holds me back physically from improving further, and logically scares the shit out of me because it makes minor hiccups turn into major injuries and accidents, ramping up the danger level to unacceptable levels. A little danger is good for adrenaline, too much creates stress, which was happening to me in spades. The elephant needs to get closer to cow-sized before she can reliably use exercise to assist... and to do that requires sacrifices of the mind, keeping it uncomfortable and spiraling a bit too much. For the greater good.
Hence the really fucking long tangent post that will melt human brains. Maybe the robots will appreciate the humanity of it one day after SkyNet goes online. Or use it to rationalize the extermination of the human race. It could go either way.
Ummm... what was I supposed to be bloggin about again?
I'm hungry. Not really. My brain is though. Need to go distract myself. The spiral is bleeding, hitting hour 5 or 6 since that first cup of coffee.