My heart keeps me alive, feeding nutrients throughout my body. The geometry and elasticity of my bones and muscles allow me to move. AND MY BRAIN RUNS THE SHOW. I have been thinking, obsessively I might add, about the brain and how its functions remind me of a computer.
Computers come with many different capabilities. Some have the fastest processors available, some have slower ones. Hard drives come in different sizes. Many types of programs and kinds of software are available ranging from highly sophisticated ones to the mundane. Computers get infected with viruses and function poorly until the virus is purged from the machine. Some are used everyday, some rarely with their potential ignored.
I am going to share some flow of consciousness thoughts about why I believe my brain, and possibility others, far exceed the capabilities of any computer on earth by way of questions and opinions.
Where do thoughts come from? What is between each thought? Why can’t we stop thoughts? How do we know something is fun or sad? How does reading a story produce a picture in my mind? How does my brain know what chemicals or responses my organs need to work properly? How can a pill under the tongue travel in seconds and relieve angina? Does my brain determine my choices in friends, foods I like, and my interest in hobbies? Where does my personality come from? How does my brain get poisoned? How do thoughts send me downward or upward mentally and spiritually? Why does sadness turn into depression. Why does happiness and enthusiasm turn into a manic episode? Why doesn’t my right brain work as efficiently as my left or visa versa? Why is one side creative? Am I only suppose to be creative only half of the time?
Enough questions? The answer is the brain is in charge, period. I know of people who have quirks and interests beyond reason who are not mentally ill. I have a son who has at least 300 theme hats, Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld have tons of cars, and a Mr. LeMay here in WA owns over 3000 cars and has a museum where he displays 50 or 60 at a time. I think all of them are sane and without any mental disorder. Well maybe Mr. Seinfeld can get a bit manic at time.
I believe there is not one brain alike in the entire world. We are all alike, just different. I look at my life and how my brain has worked and thank God for it. I am Bipolar. I have been given gifts along with challenges. I have had a panic attack in the past because of memories that pictures brought back into my mind’s eye. I have been given a very acute lens to see the world with. I have realized I have a gift in expressing what I see and think by way of writing. I can ignore my gift or run with it, totally an example of free will.
My actions and non-actions do affect my brain. I was reminded of what makes me happy this week-end. I learned that someone in my past was in an assisted living home. Our paths had not crossed for years. She was in my life for about five years. When I was in my 30’s a few years after my first Bipolar episode she was pulled into a situation where she was asked to speak against me in court. She brought the subject up to my son when he saw her recently. I called her and had a nice chat. Then I wrote her a letter telling her I had no ill feeling about her because of the past incident. I also told her that her testimony had actually helped my case, as had the other two witnesses called who were on the opposing side. The court was more interested in the state of my boys and were not interested in my ex-husbands opinion of me. I told her she had been a positive role model for me when I needed one the most. I felt so happy that I had not only called her but sent her that letter. Lesson here is, happiness for me happens when I reach beyond myself and give someone an emotional hug.
Mental illness is so complicated. But I think my thoughts and actions have a great impact of my mental health and help me keep level a lot of the time. I will continue thinking about all of the questions I presented above, and I am sure many more will be added to the list. I hope many will join in this wonderful forum of sharing their views and thoughts. I have been enriched already by reading stories similar to mine and have gained insight and understanding I did not have before.
My thoughts of late have felt like popcorn kernels, filling with steam ready to pop, and writing my thoughts today felt like all of the kernels have fully popped into white, fluffy popcorn with no old maids. A mind is a terrible thing to waste and I hope I am not wasting mine.
Here is a side note I want to share. Education and research is so important in finding answers to solving mental illness puzzles. Paul Allen, who was co-founder of Microsoft just gave a 4.75 million dollar grant to the Allen Institute For Brain Science to study normal brain cells in mice. The institute is building a public data based with information on brain cells. I hope this gesture adds to needed research in solving the problems involving brain function since it is running the show for us all.