...from what I gather -- THIS is the human brain

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. 07-01b

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?
Can it?

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.

November 16, 2009. Tags: , , , , , . Uncategorized.


  1. brand new woo replied:

    Hi Matty! I love that analogy of a filing cabinet. All the best to you in sorting those files. I’m sure we’ve all got some filing work to do. I bet your filing cabinet has sparkles and glitter on the outside, with cool stickers decorating the sides, and lined with crushed velvet inside when you open it. Hugs.

  2. Urspo replied:

    a nice aspect of your metaphor is you can pick and choose what goes in and out of your filing cabinet. Discard things no longer needed.

  3. matty03 replied:

    Alan! Yes, I plan to decorate appropriately as soon as I can find my glue stick!

    Urspo! …I hope so. Tho, at the moment I’m still looking for the key which will let me into the file cabinet. I hear the crucial files are in the top drawer. …it seems to be somewhat sealed for now and it is an old 1970’s model. But, it is orange!

  4. anita replied:

    Hey Matty, The upside is that filing cabinet worked when it was really, desperately needed by a little boy with way too much horror and evil to tolerate. It enabled you to reach your adult stage–Sane, Loving and a Beautiful Person altogether. Now, the cabinet is old and the files are overflowing so it occasionally dumps out a few for you to do something about–and that is exactly what you are doing. So sorry you are having to go through the process…but thanking the powers that be that you are here to do it. No matter what labels they pin to your vest, you are still you. Unblievably intelligent and talented. Labels can’t change that you have already arrived. with Love and Admiration for you. Anita

  5. Dumbledore’s Pensieve: Fiction or Reality? « The Official Harvard Brain Blog replied:

    […] decades. Yet, this instantaneous form of recall is very often unexpected as well as involuntary. A number of comparisons have informally been drawn between the human brain and an indefinitely large filing cabinet, but a […]

  6. Angela replied:

    I am suffering right now from panic attacks on a level I have never experienced before, and so I reached out and am currently getting help. When I was asked to describe what I was feeling all I could say was “I feel like I can not get the file cabinet in my brain open”

    So, of course this day in age, I google… Can’t get the file cabinet to my brain open. And WA-LA, this. I enjoyed the read, thank you.

  7. matty03 replied:

    Hi Angela,

    I’m sorry you’re experiencing such severe panic attacks. And, I’m so glad you’ve reached out for help. The help is there.

    Panic attacks can be caused by so many things.

    Hope this part of my struggle in my journey can help you know that you’re not alone in feeling this way.

    I’ve not blogged in a while. I should probably blog an update about where things are at with me soon. My panic attacks are diminishing but other issues are surfacing which are far more alien to me. Still hard to articulate.

    Hang in there.


  8. Indira Haslip replied:

    filing cabinets that are made from solid steel are the best in my opinion because they last very long and they provide more security compared to wooden filing cabinets. `’,..

    Have a great day!

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