THE HUMAN BRAIN AS FILING CABINET
I spend a great deal of time dithering on to myself about how honest I want to be on my blog and, also, how self-absorbed my writing might seem or even be. But, it is my blog. And, I figure that anyone who might be reading it can always just stop reading if so inclined. I “blog” for me. Of course, one can’t help but think of a possible audience. Still. This blog is my record of me — but it is not a journal in that there are things about myself, my life and those in it which are too personal to publish on the world wide web.
That said, I find it somehow therapeutic to write some of what I am going through down — and, quite often, a reader contacts me with helpful ideas or opinions that give me a sort of strength which was lacking prior to my writing. Self-induced pop psychology.
I’ve been trying to process some rather disturbing information shared with me and my Life Love, Mr. B — by my therapist with back-up support of my previous therapist. The information was overpowering to me. It still is.
I don’t know that I believe it.
Can this really be true?
Can this really be me?
What sort of new world of crazy just fell into my lap?
Shit. This can’t be true?
I think I am still processing the information. Accessing wether or not this is a concept I even believe to exist. Accessing what it really means and, should it be true, does it really apply to me? And, if it is true and does apply to me how do I move forward?
Right now, I am trying to let go of the whole “label” thing. Why must the name of something matter? And, does being labeled something really mean anything other that what it is? A label does not define us. I am gay. …But, in human terms, it is not the most important aspect of who I am. Tho, it most definitely has formed who I am and how I respond to the world — and to the unfairness of the world. …and the absurdity that the country to which I was born is supposedly a place where all people are created equally and have the same opportunities and rights. This is absurd because it simply IS NOT TRUE. No. To have full equal rights and equal opportunity you better hope that you are a white, fully hair headed, male who was lucky enough to be born into money. Oh, and your chances of having the best opportunities will be increased if you are 6 foot or over and gifted at sport. If you are a woman, a person of color, not hetrosexual or of the middle or lower classes — forget it. If you fall into one or more of those categories — your chance at equal rights, opportunities and respect in general are more than cut in half. Welcome to the world — specifically in this case — to the United States of America.
Anyway, I digress. Labels do not define us. And, in my case right now — I’m not sure a name/label for the psychological issues I’m fighting really matter. What matters — I think — is the drive to fight through it. Find a way to first live with and through it and get to a place where it is no longer an issue in my life. …To a place where I can march back into the den of inequality and lack of opportunity vs. just sitting at the beach feeling afraid. Yes. That is what and where I should apply focus.
I’ve an exceptional and caring therapist, a loving husband, loving friends and family — all of whom are pushing and supporting me as I work through this mess. The name of the cause is of no concern. I think. Maybe.
I’ve been told to think of my mind as a file cabinet. An onion analogy was first attempted but I find it more than a little challenging to compare any aspect of my life to a vegetable or fruit. But this concept of my brain as a filing cabinet seems to make a bit of sense to me.
So, for my purposes of processing — the brain is made up of “files” called memories and emotions. When something happens to me it causes an emotion. The problem I have (in its most simple form) is that many of my emotional files are currently mis-filed with certain memories from childhood.
So, let’s say, someone yells at me — my brain should automatically select an appropriate emotion — which is somehow related to one of the memory files but not on a filing conscious level. That emotion is then sent into action in a manner appropriate to the situation. Currently, if someone were to yell at me my mind might scramble to a file filled with the emotion more appropriate to 5 year old and directly tied to something horrible that happened when I was 5 years of age. Because the files have never been sorted correctly — when my brain sends the files into action — the resulting response is not appropriate to my 43 year old situation. The messages are getting received but coming out in a rather fucked way because somewhere in my file cabinet I am still stuck in the 70′s when I was child.
SO – my brain files need to be pulled out, dusted off, re-evaluated and then re-sorted so that the brain can select what is needed and file away the past as just that. …the past. No longer going on, but valid. And, the emotions that I might have needed to express/feel at that time were just too much for a 5 year old filing cabinet to hold. So, the cabinet sorted the files in a way to protect my psyche. Now, years later — that disorganization is causing some very serious and disabling challenges.
It doesn’t matter what my shrink wants to call them. Or if what the issue is called or debated within the psychiatric community. …what matters is how I function and that I get on with my life before I wake up to discover I need a walker to get to the can.
So, taking a deep breath — I am attempting to sort out or through the worrying diagnosis name and just sort out these files in the cabinet I’ve been told is my brain.
It doesn’t really make sense to me yet. I’m still fighting against it. I think. I don’t want to fight against a concept. I really don’t. However, I am struggling not to fight against it. I am struggling to grasp all the meanings and get past a label that horrifies me to the core.
At any rate, I do hope there is sufficient budget to color code my files. I find that much easier when dealing with office work. Perhaps it will also assist in the re-sorting of my life.