Why My Brain Sucks

I figured out why my brain churns out ideas for writing and art at inconvenient times, when I can’t actually devote time to making my ideas a reality. Besides the underlying fear I wrote about here.

See, automatic activities that occupy my brain without requiring excessive thought, such as driving, getting ready for work, and even working itself (since my job is torturously mind-numbing) actually free up part of it to think about ideas. The paradox is that I then have no ability to sit down for hours and convert my ideas to reality, because I’m too busy doing these mindless activities. This is why I peck away at my tiny phone keyboard on my lunch break, or at stoplights, or in the midst of other activities in a furious attempt to quickly record my ideas before they flee from my brain forever.

I think it’s also my mind’s attempt to capture my thoughts before I subconsciously sabotage myself with those underlying fears in whatever form it takes – whether it be procrastination, lack of motivation, or the lack of ability to think of creative ideas when I actually do have free time. So, when that neurotic, underachieving part of me is occupied with mindless tasks, the creative part of me that’s driven to fulfill its potential says “Okay, she’s busy now. Lets inundate her with ideas before she blocks them again.” Because it knows that another aspect of me – the compulsive, perfectionist, detail-oriented side – won’t be able to let it go, and will pull into a store parking lot on the way to work to type out a thought before it’s gone forever. (Forever?! OMG, NO!!!)

Meanwhile, yet another aspect of my brain is watching all of this impartially, the casual observer of my life who has no power and is just along for the ride.

This makes it seem like my subconscious mind is in a battle with itself, unbeknownst to me most of the time. Which is kind of creepy. Like my underlying mental processes are more in control of me than I realize, in some kind of host/parasite relationship, or like I’m some kind of automaton – a slave to my own programming. Which is interesting to ponder, but also makes me shudder a little and ask the various parts of my warring brain, my own internal contradictions, “What’s going on? This is ridiculous. Can’t we all just work together, here?”

If the parts of my brain were forced to answer back, the creative part would say, “Of course! We all just want to be happy and creatively fulfilled in life! Isn’t that why we’re here to begin with?”, all idealistic and exuberant and starry-eyed and shit.

The procrastinator/perfectionist/scared asshole would then say, “No! We can’t do anything with ourselves, because then we’ll find out how awful we are, and so will everyone else! Moreover, we can’t handle being happy or successful, because what will we worry and obsess about then? OMG, we’ll die!”

Another part of me, my main personality supposedly in charge of all this madness now must try to gain control of these warring aspects of myself. Like a mother forced to wrangle two toddlers who try to run in opposite directions in the grocery store parking lot. Or intervene when the one always tries to trip the other, and shrugs when she falls on her face and cries. Then says, “I told you you’d fail. I don’t know why you even tried.” I’ll have to pull that one aside and say, “She only failed because YOU tripped her. Go sit in time out for the afternoon.” But it will be too late because the enthusiastic, creative one who tripped and fell will then be physically and emotionally wounded, rendered unable to do anything good for the rest if the day, even with the instigator out of the way. So the instigator still gets to sabotage things and gain attention, even if she’s out of the picture. What a little bitch.

Then I would turn to the observer side of me and say, “Thanks for making me aware of this situation, but do you think next time you could maybe do so a little sooner, or try to address the situation yourself? Stop sitting on the sofa of life eating Cheetos for once.”

And it would reply, “But this is prime reality TV right here, and I’ve got a front row seat. Remember, there was once a time when I didn’t tell you shit. Be nice to me, or see how quickly I can return to silent mode.” Then it would remind me of its role as an observer, and gently suggest that I take better control of these various aspects of myself. “If you want me to do it, I’m going to need a bigger paycheck and a more impressive title. I won’t hold my breath.”

Then I would apologize and walk away with my tail between my legs, vowing to do better next time.

Yes, these contradictory, warring parts of my brain resemble petulant children, even the conscious part which I consider the main aspect of my personality, the one supposedly in charge. No wonder I have problems.

Misadventures with Nasal Spray

I’ve had intermittent facial pain for the past 4 years, approximately. It mostly affects my left side, and can involve my nose, sinuses, teeth, jaw, eye, and ear. I have sought medical advice on numerous occasions. Here’s what I’ve been told at my various appointments, in pretty much this order:

“It’s probably allergies. Try this nasal spray.”
“It could be a tooth infection. Go visit a dentist.”
“I don’t see anything wrong with your teeth. Follow up with your doctor.”
“It could be allergies. Try this nasal spray.”

The pain and irritation comes and goes. I’d pursue an accurate diagnosis more frequently, but I hate going to doctors. My faith in the medical system was completely destroyed by years of visiting countless doctors who either dismissed my issues or couldn’t help at all. Therefore, it’s a rare occasion that I actually seek their help anymore – usually I have to be in somewhat bad shape to decide to brave their offices again. Not to mention, floxing gave me a higher than normal tolerance for physical discomfort by forcing me to endure illness and pain for several years with no help whatsoever. So, I tend to live with bothersome symptoms for long periods of time, hoping they’ll just go away eventually. Smart, huh? Yeah, I think so, too.

Anyway, one reason doctors haven’t been able to help is because all they seem to do is speculate rather than identify the root cause of the problem. Then they prescribe drugs to mask symptoms. But as weeks and months drag on, I inevitably forget these details and end up in an exam room again at some point.

This time, though, when my discomfort flared again I remembered the results from all the visits of the past, especially the “It’s probably allergies. Try this nasal spray” thing. So, I decided to try some nasal spray before heading to the doctor again. Luckily, I have amassed a small collection of little-used physician samples over the years, and so I happened to have two such sprays to choose from. I picked Nasonex, mostly because it was in arms reach the moment it occurred to me. Bonus: it wasn’t even expired.

Because my chemical sensitivities have improved so drastically from the first 2 years I was sick, I tend to forget I’m still very sensitive to drugs of all varieties. (I take them only rarely.) So, when I decided to squirt one spray into my affected nostril, I was surprised by the side effects that ensued in the coming hours.

First, I began to feel crappy. Yes, that’s a vague description, but it was a noticeable contrast from the previous two days of feeling relatively good. In addition, within a couple of hours I began to get joint and tendon pain, nausea, mild peripheral neuropathy of the itchy/crawly variety, muscle twitching, nausea, stomachache, and jitteriness.

I thought, “Oh no, am I coming down with the flu?” Then I thought, “Wait a minute…surely it can’t be from that ONE SQUIRT of nasal spray in my one nostril, can it?” So I googled “Nasonex Side Effects”.

The answer? Yes. Every single one of my sudden symptoms could, in fact, be related to that single spray of Nasonex. Well, except for the peripheral neuropathy, I think. Most medications tend to flare that no matter what – just another gift from Cipro that keeps on fucking giving.

But anyway…I’m going to share some gems I stumbled across in my google searches, just to illustrate how ridiculous life with sensitivities really is.

Some of my symptoms fall under the “normal side effects” category. That’s fine. I understand that even healthy people get side effects from medications.

Some of them, however, fall into different categories. “Flu-like symptoms” falls into the “call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects” category. Oh really? No, thanks. That’s a quick route to a “paranoia” notation in my medical chart.

Now, jitteriness was another story. I didn’t see it mentioned on mainstream websites, so I decided to do another google search: “Nasonex jitters”. Of course, I got several hits. It must be a known but rare effect. Whatever. It happens. I am certainly no stranger to the concept of rare side effects. What struck me as beyond ridiculous, however, was this statement:

“Usually seen in women aged 50-59, who have been taking the medication for 2-5 years.” Uh…okay.

My search for “Nasonex twitching” yielded similar anecdotal evidence of this side effect, including:

“Muscle twitching is found among people who take Nasonex, especially for people who are female, 60+ old, have been taking the drug for 1 – 6 months…”

What? People, I’m 37. And let me remind you that I used ONE SQUIRT of that shit. One squirt, one time. I mean, really? What the actual fuck? I haven’t been taking it for a month, let alone 2-5 years. In fact, it had only been 2 hours. But my body, in its infinite, distorted wisdom, said “Ooh, 2 whole hours?! Break out the fucked up side effects – 2 hours is just too long to be on that drug!”

Suddenly I’m remembering AGAIN why I still have so many samples from the doctor’s office, and another reason why I always put off appointments: because I can’t tolerate the bullshit drugs they always want me to try. So, I guess it’s possible my face/eye/tooth/jaw pain is from allergies, but I can’t tolerate the medication long enough to test this theory.

I swear, the level of insanity involved in the aftermath of floxing is staggering, even to an old-timer like me. (By old-timer, I’m referring to my veteran floxie status of 6.5 years.) You’d think I’d be used to this sort of thing by now, but I’m fucking not. THIS SHIT IS RIDICULOUS.

Oh, and for the record, I have no idea if the Nasonex even helped. The pain and discomfort in my face lessened after a while, but it seems to do that randomly when I don’t take anything for it. So who the fuck knows?

I’m just going to end this post here. I have other ailments that have evaded diagnosis, but I’ll save elaboration for another time. Here’s a little teaser, though: be on the lookout for a post entitled “Misadventures with my Ass”, or some such thing. That’s sure to be a fun one. (BTW, get your heads out of the gutter – I’m referring to medical issues only!) I’ve got to gather the courage to talk about my ass woes publicly, though. It might take a while. Or, it might not happen at all. We shall see. Hopefully none of my ailments will eventually result in someone saying “Oops, we thought you had allergies or minor digestive issues, but it’s actually stage IV cancer. Sorry!” Because that would totally suck.

And I’m not making light of cancer in the least, BTW. It’s actually been a fear of mine for quite some time, to receive one of the worst diagnoses possible after years of medical mysteries.  So, that probably means it will happen someday.

Until then…stay tuned for more misadventures with ailments and modern medicine! Good times! Gooooood times.