Hypervigilance, Insomnia, and Other Reasons I Hate My Brain

Updated: Aug 29, 2018


I REALLY hate my brain…

So many people tell me how they would love to visit my brain. They wish they could travel into it and see how it works, the ideas the float around in it, just spend some time there or even live there. (THOSE poor idiots..) I would not find that advisable.


To put it in perspective, let’s say that a normal brain is like a house. Depending on the resident, it could be fully organized and clean, or it could even be a little messy and unkempt. My brain would be like walking into a house on an episode of Hoarders.


No, I’m being dead ass serious.


There are a lot of reasons for the super mess that is my brain. Probably one of the main ones is hypervigilance.


(Oooh.. big word)


Hypervigilance is described as: an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviors whose purpose is to detect activity. (This time we thank Wikipedia.com!)


Okay, so the thing with mental health is that sometimes things are kinda the same as something else and kinda different. The true definition of hypervigilance as Wikipedia (and Dictionary.com) is more of a physical thing. I think of it as someone who has been in a combat zone, and if they hear a balloon pop or something, suddenly they have some sort of flashback and think that they are under attack. Or someone who has been attacked, being completely weary of being out in public, afraid it will happen again. PTSD can often play out physically like that. But, PTSD is truly related to mental health. Sometimes, hypervigilance is not played out as black and white as a definition.


I do have PTSD. (I learned this late in life, it would have explained so much when I was younger.) My PTSD is not from a war or anything, but from a combination of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. My war was fought in the places I was supposed to be the safest as a kid. That’s my cross to bear, it’s not a reason to go, “aww, how sad...” (Please don’t do that, I hate that.) I often say that I was raised in chaos. That’s pretty much the most one will get out of me, because to speak about my childhood in detail is to probably put other people on blast. Everyone makes mistakes, when you are a kid around adults (not just parents, but adults in general) who make mistakes, you often get caught in the crosshairs. It is what it is. That’s not the point here.


Now, before I continue with hypervigilance, I must also bring up another emotional issue I have. I am an empath. An empath is primarily used I science fiction unfortunately, but it is a real thing. It is: a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual. (That time it was dictionary.com)


Being an empath means that you don’t always have control over your own emotional state, especially when you’re around someone you care about. It means that I could literally win a multi-million-dollar lottery, but if I’m around someone I love who is going through a very sad or angry time, my mood would reflect what theyare feeling instead of the good news I just got.

Sociopaths can often mimic an empath. Sociopaths generally cannot feel emotion and tend mimic and pretend to feel emotions for their own agenda. I cannot tell you how many times I have wishedI was a sociopath, but sadly both my wife and my therapist have made it quite clear that I do not fit the criteria of a sociopath. (Damnit)


Okay, so if one is born an empath, and also is brought up in a chaotic environment; one tends to try to do everything possible to plan for or anticipate things happening based off of the feelings and desires of others. If you throw in a dash of PTSD, you get someone with a serious case of mental hypervigilance.


(whew)


It means that I try to plan for every outcome of anything thing going on, and I try to have a backup plan to that plan, and a backup to that back up plan. It means that my mind is consistently analyzing everything under the sun; be it personally, professionally, someone ELSE’S personally/professionally, emotionally, monetary, blah blah blah.


It’s actually no wonder I’ve been suicidal for much of my life…. It’s fucking EXHAUSTING.

What this means is that when I’m conscious, my brain is going like 100mph. Sometimes, it goes so fast that if you asked me what I was thinking, I could honestly look at you and say, “I have no fucking idea.” It’s not that I’m NOT thinking, it’s just that the thoughts are going so freaking fast, I can’t verbalize what all they are.


Because of the constant thinking, I have insomnia. I cannot sleep unless my mind is dulled with alcohol, sleeping pills (or in my case, usually both) That’s all well and good when I go to bed, but the problem is, I’m now of the age where I cannot sleep a full night without having to get up to pee. While it should be that my body does this action on its own, without the help of my brain, because my brain feels like it’s invited to EVERY single party, once I get up, it’s all: “Hey B! So, remember that chapter you were working on? It would be dope if you…” or “Today you said something REALLY stupid in a meeting today. I didn’t think to tell you this afternoon, but now that I have you…” This then translates to me returning to bed, my bladder lighter, but my thoughts heavier. Once I get up to pee, any sleep obtained the remainder of the night is HARDLY restful. It’s more my brain chatting away, and I’m internally screaming, “SHUT UP! I GOTTA GET UP AT 5:30!”


Needless to say, I’m ALWAYS exhausted.


On top of ALL that, my mind really hates me. By my calculation, I have a good 15 voices in my head at any given time. I don’t know who the douchebag in the back is, but he is the one who is ALWAYS telling me that I’m an idiot for doing things or trying things. I mean, I could be on a high, and here he come: “You know you’re gonna fail right? Since when as ANYTHING worked out for you? You’re wasting your time, no one wants to hear what you have to say. You’re just screaming into the void.”


See? Douchebag…


All the reasons above is why I absolutely HATE my brain…. But alas… I’m stuck with it, so I will continue to try navigate the minefield and remember the words of my favorite animated persona…


“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”


PS. I posted this while somewhat tipsy, without reading through it again... Don't judge me, this is a safe space...

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