What Are You Talking About? Communication Processing Issues

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I care about you, truly I do, but could you get to the point please?

One of the most difficult tasks I face daily is engaging in spontaneous conversation. The amount of energy and focus required to follow your words, not get distracted, process your words, understand your meaning and any subtext like sarcasm or body language, then hold onto facts and details from beginning to end of what seems like a never ending onslaught of words…well, it’s nearly torture. I will ask you stupid questions. I will ask you to repeat yourself. I will ask about something you already explained. I will miss key points. I will mix up names or dates. I will get confused on sequencing. I will try to guess your emotional state and lose track of your words again. You will be waiting for a response and I have no idea what you asked me, I’m about a paragraph behind, still processing all of those words, attaching meaning.

I’ve never been an extrovert, but I used to speak fairly eloquently at times, or at least would sound educated and not rude. I used to get tired after attending parties, now I avoid them completely. Attempting to follow multiple conversations is far too taxing on my system. If phone calls need to be made, I either rehearse my lines and write down my facts and questions, or ask my husband to make the call for me rather than find myself in a position of confusion, unable to answer someone’s simple query. I’m not used to feeling slow and stupid. I know this isn’t my fault, but I can’t help wanting to hide it, and feeling ashamed.

Texting is much easier for me, as it allows me to respond with a delay, to process at my own pace. I have been accused of stalling, and some people have read into my delays. They don’t understand. I need time to think. I have to figure out your words, then find my own.

Often while speaking, I can “see” the word I want, but I can’t get to it. I can describe it, but can’t name it. I do this often with my kids, as they understand my deficits and don’t ind playing word games. I used to live in a world of words – roll in them, run and jump and play in them easily. Now they hide from me. I am aware there is a better word for what I am saying or writing, but I can no longer access it. It’s like they all fell down a deep dark well and I can only hear their echoes now.

So I apologize upfront, but if you call me, I am likely not going to answer the phone. I am likely not going to attend the family gathering. I am likely not going to the team picnic. I am likely not going to the kids’ awards ceremonies. I am likely not going to sit in the bleachers at the kids’ baseball games. If I do attend, it will not be for very long. I seem to have about 15 minutes that I can tolerate in a conversation rich environment before my brain overloads and shuts down. It can take me several days to recover from that level of fatigue.

So I am careful. I manage by doing what is absolutely required of me. If I need to take my kids to a doctors appointment on Tuesday, I will not attend something stressful and not mandatory on Monday. Or if I attend, I keep myself at a safe distance so I do not get overwhelmed, engulfed by a crowd, lost in a sea of noise.

http://www.tbicommunity.org/resources/publications/professional_education_social_comm.pdf –

“These cognitive problems can contribute to social communication difficulties:

Attention/Concentration problems can lead to:
Difficulty resisting distraction during conversation
Problems keeping track of what other people are saying
Problems in staying on-topic

Memory problems can lead to:
Repeating oneself when talking
Losing track of the conversation topic
Mixing up instructions or messages

Executive Functioning problems can lead to:
Having trouble starting conversations
Interrupting others
Poorly organized speech
Excessive talking

Impaired Social Cognition can lead to :
Difficulty understanding sarcasm or “getting the joke”
Poor use of feedback from others
Difficulty taking someone else’s perspective “

Brain Games are More than Fun

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You injure your knee and you know you are in for months, possibly years of rehab involving stretching, massaging, and exercising the weak area. It is obvious to others also because you are limping, walking slowly, wearing a brace, using a cane, or have some other visible sign.

What about a brain injury? What does rehab look like? What does an injured brain look like? This of course depends on the extent of damage. I’m talking about a closed brain injury. No apparent bruising, swelling, or twitches. The damage is internal. It causes delays and slow processing. The injured person may appear to be sleepy or grumpy or not interested when in fact trying their hardest to pay attention. I’m guessing though your first thought is not, oh, I wonder if their neurons were damaged. No, more likely you get frustrated, feel rejected, and leave the annoying person.

So what to do? How to exercise sluggish neurons? You need to use those neurons, and to do that, you need to think. Everything you do is processed in different combinations of areas of the brain. If you damaged the area needed for spatial reasoning doing shape puzzles can help get those pathways working by making new connections around the injured areas. You may never recover completely, but with the brains capacity for plasticity it is possible to relearn, and do what you need using uninjured areas. Remarkable really.

All games are good in my opinion, (I may update this if I learn otherwise, but so far every game seems to be helping me) if they require mental stamina, attention, working memory. I use lumosity because I like to see my stats in each area, like memory, speed, attention, language and problem solving. There are many free options out there. I find that some days I can’t play them at all, and I’m never sure why, what is malfunctioning exactly those days, but I have the scores and stats staring at me as proof something is wonkier than usual. I always need a nap after a gaming session, the fatigue sets in and I have no choice, sleep will happen.

I also like welltris, and was so super excited to find it in a browser version. It was my favorite game in high school, so soothing. It’s like Tetris, but the shapes drop down 4 walls not just 1. You can play it for free here – https://classicreload.com/welltris.html

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Another great find was color sudoku. Since a lot of my injured area seems to have affected numbers and math, I was having trouble concentrating on standard sudoku. Apparently, by switching to colors, removing the numbers,  I could use a different area of my brain and focus on the logic instead. I can do them now! You can play a color sudoku game free here – http://www.primarygames.com/puzzles/sudoku/colorsudoku/

I lost all of my math facts recall. I use various games to help me relearn those, I don’t have  a favorite, I use a different one everyday by searching math facts game so I don’t get bored. They are designed for lower elementary students so can hurt my pride a little…but slowly it is working, my recall is gaining speed and accuracy.

I am grateful all of these tools exist for free and all I have to do is google for 30 seconds to find something new to try. I’m not sure if I am actually encouraging new neuron growth or not, but I feel better than doing nothing, less helpless and powerless while I wait for my appointment with the specialist. I figure it can’t hurt, and just might help.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/brain-games-do-they-really/ – “Yes, those computerized brain-training games seem like a cool idea. They are based in large part on clear evidence that living in an enriched environment with lots of mental stimulation produces positive brain changes. And we agree there’s huge potential for tapping into your own neuroplasticity (that is, the brain’s ability to change itself by remodeling nerve cell connections after experience) to enhance mental fitness and prevent age-related memory decline. The well-established benefits of early life education on reducing later risk for dementia has also given much credence to the theory that building a greater cognitive reserve capacity can help the brain compensate for injury—analagous to the concept that more cell phone towers equals fewer dropped calls. Furthermore, several brilliant neuroscientists have, in recent years, served as the designers of the best brain games on the market.

But there’s a crucial catch: most of these early studies were done on rodents. So lost in the brain game buzz is the obvious question: Are these claims true when it comes to human brain performance and aging? Can they really make your brain faster and stronger? Are there really better than the tried-and-true approach: remaining healthy, active, and engaged in the world around you? In other words, are they worth the money?

To date, more than 50 studies have examined the benefits of brain training in humans but only a handful have tested whether or not the benefits persist and transfer over to real life. Results from one of the best studies, published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, is certainly encouraging, however. As Glenn Smith of Mayo Clinic and her colleagues report, cognitively normal older adults who trained their brain were able to improve their auditory information processing speed by about 58 percent (versus 7 percent in controls). In their multi-center IMPACT trial, 487 adults ages 67 to 93 years worked for eight weeks at Posit Science’s Brain Fitness Program, which seeks to improve brain function by stimulating the auditory system. The Posit Science program is premised on the idea that as we get older our brains become less efficient at processing information from the senses (not because of specific hearing or vision loss but because of degenerative changes in the brain’s associative cortex), which then leads to a decline in memory. The control group did a more conventional cognitive learning program that entailed viewing educational videos on art and history. At the end of the study the brain training group also demonstrated more gains on measures of overall cognition and memory than the control group, but the differences were less impressive (4 percent versus 2 percent improvement). Forty-eight percent of people in the active training group (versus 40 percent of controls) also reported positive changes in their daily life such as greater self-confidence, better recall of shopping lists and attending to conversations in noisy settings. “

I personally think it matters more that you are actively thinking, and enjoying it. I happen to enjoy PC games. Someone else might do better with card games. Just like exercise, it won’t work if you don’t put in the hours. I like leveling up and seeing my trends across time.

Migraine and Seizure Spectrum

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It seems that everything in the brain once properly researched is found to exist on a spectrum of connection rather than unrelated events or disorders. As someone with a disordered brain, this is not surprising to me whatsoever. I read through lists of overlapping symptoms. My neurologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, and a few others involved in studying and healing my brain are never 100% sure of my diagnosis, like to change my diagnosis and treatment plan often.

What is obvious – something is wrong with my neurons. It affects every part of my body and my life. I have migraines – do I also have seizures? I take anti-seizure meds to control for both. I have never had a complete grand mal drop to floor tonic clonic type of experience. I have had bouts of vision loss, confusion, garbled hearing and speech, limb weakness and shaking. They call this migraine aura because it lasts too long to be seizure activity.

It seems unclear now to researchers though, that perhaps a seizure could occur DURING a migraine. Triggered by the unbalanced electrical activity and intense pain and stress chemicals. Hmmm. I have had sudden waves of intensity of something, sparks of more misery during the hours of already intense migraine misery. I think it is possible. No one has an EEG on me while my head is packed in ice, while I’m lying on my bathroom floor in a 12 hour vomiting cycle, trying to pull what feels like an ice pick out of my brain, writhing around, barely conscious, unable to speak, my heart racing, going from ice cold to sweating buckets, my breathing fast and shallow. I’m afraid I will die while simultaneously somewhat wishing I will die to end this suffering.

http://news.psu.edu/story/332549/2014/10/30/research/link-seen-between-seizures-and-migraines-brain – “Seizures and migraines have always been considered separate physiological events in the brain, but now a team of engineers and neuroscientists looking at the brain from a physics viewpoint discovered a link between these and related phenomena.

Scientists believed these two brain events were separate phenomena because they outwardly affect people very differently. Seizures are marked by electrical hyperactivity, but migraine auras — based on an underlying process called spreading depression — are marked by a silencing of electrical activity in part of the brain. Also, seizures spread rapidly, while migraines propagate slowly.

… “We know that some people get both seizures and migraines,” said Schiff. “Certainly, the same brain cells produce these different events and we now have increasing numbers of examples of where single gene mutations can produce the presence of both seizure and migraines in the same patients and families. So, in retrospect, the link was obvious — but we did not understand it.”

… “What they found was completely unexpected. Adding basic conservation principles to the older models immediately demonstrated that spikes, seizures and spreading depression were all part of a spectrum of nerve cell behavior. It appeared that decades of observations of different phenomena in the brain could share a common underlying link.

“We have found within a single model of the biophysics of neuronal membranes that we can account for a broad range of experimental observations, from spikes to seizures and spreading depression,” the researchers report in a recent issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. “We are particularly struck by the apparent unification possible between the dynamics of seizures and spreading depression.””

Sometimes I want to buy my own EEG and try to capture events at home. But I also know that some partial seizures can be so brief and deep inside the brain that they may be nearly impossible to detect. All I have are my odd sensations and actions, memory loss, confusion, my family asking what is wrong.

I don’t know exactly what is wrong. What are my neurons doing today?

 

Sensory Overload – Leave Me Alone

My neurons get overwhelmed and overloaded easily, much more quickly than most people. I have lost my ability to filter and tune out the world around me, so information is absorbed and attempted to be processed all at once. What does this mean? If I am in a crowded room – I hear every voice equally, every shuffle and squirm, every cough and sneeze and mumble. I smell everything, oh man do I smell it. Ease up on the cologne, hair spray, and perfumes, it makes me sick. Then add in every cough drop, mint, chewing gum, body odor, bad breath, yup people are smelly. Ok, that’s two only 2 senses and I’m already nauseous and overwhelmed. Crowds tend to bump into each other, I get touched, nudged, surrounded and my skin crawls and tries to shrink and disappear with each assault. My vision may start out clear, but most indoor settings use awful fluorescent lights with a tone and flicker that causes me physical pain. I start to squint. My vision blurs, gets noise and static like an old TV. If they flash or strobe any lights I’m a goner, even closing my eyes doesn’t work as I can still sense the changes through my closed lids.

Confusion sets in. I can no longer read, comprehend the words I see or hear. All the faces around me suddenly look ominous and distorted. My heart races, I start sweating, feel a choking feeling as I struggle to breathe. Yup – Panic is taking hold. I know to start breathing exercises, get myself to a quieter location, try some grounding to give my poor tired neurons a break. But at this point, all I can do is damage control, because the stress sequence has already started. My brain is overloaded and I need to rest. I have run out of processing capacity, like trying to run Photoshop on my old computer, just too much data coming through – a crash is inevitable.

http://www.braininjury-explanation.com/consequences/invisible-consequences/overstimulation-flooding – “In over stimulation feelings of panic can prevail upon the brain-injured. The person may be sweating, have tremors, can be vomiting, and thinking is difficult.
These are the basic reactions of the body to survive in a situation that is perceived as very dangerous. It is also called the fight or flight response. One person is going to flee from the overstimulation of the noise or stimulus of the moment. The other person faints. Most of them cannot think anymore or are very upset first.

The basic emotion of fear and the ensuing responses are generated and directed by the amygdala. The amygdala is part of the oldest part of the brains, the limbic system. This system is a kind of emotional sentry. All that matters is survival. If there is danger, immediately adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol are released into the body to flight, fight or freeze.”

I appear to be withdrawn, isolated and antisocial now. I avoid crowded places. Truth is I never enjoyed them but I could manage before. Now it is torture. I don’t think this is depression and anxiety, or fears causing me to stay home, not exactly. I do fear the overload response, it absolutely horrible. Imagine if lights, sounds and smells caused you pain, not just discomfort. Imagine if you could not make sense of what people were saying to you? You see them asking you something, but can’t hear their voice above everyone else’s, or if you do, the words seem foreign. Then you can’t remember who they are, or why you are there. Confusion sets in with totality. When processing stops – it stops. It is really super scary to be walking up to the counter to order a sandwich one moment, and the next find everyone staring at you, grabbing at you, saying things you don’t understand.

After some peace and rest, I always come back online, and with practice I am learning not to get myself to a state of total confusion. But there is always this nagging, underlying fear – what is I lose my mind forever? What if I stay like that one day?

I don’t feel like I am recovering or healing. I feel like I have been stuck here for years. Like I made some progress initially, but then it stopped. And that also terrifies me. Is this as good as it gets? This is not my brain.big-bang-422305_1920.jpg

How Social is Your Brain

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Do you join in or prefer to stay home alone? Does your brain have something to do with these preferences? Why do some people easily relate to others, have charm and charisma, tons of empathy, make and keep friends easily? Why do others remain alone? How much do we need to interact with other people to stay healthy? Is it really a preference or are these behaviors born out of fear and anxiety?

I don’t have these answers.

People are fascinating to me. And often annoying, predictable, overwhelming. Although I blog, I do not have a facebook or twitter or instagram or any other social media account. I found them boring, just like small talk and chit chat and parties and hanging out. I care about people. I have a high level of empathy and ability to feel for others. If you tell me your pet died, I will likely tear up. If I see a hundred people posting complaints on facebook, I get overwhelmed quickly. If  I see another meme or picture of your lunch or cat, I might scream out of frustration. I don’t get it. Whatever. You do what entertains you. I’ll stick to reading scientific journals to entertain me.

If I see you at the grocery store, I am not likely to stop and chat. I am not likely to even recognize you out of context. If you are my kid’s teacher, I will only recognize you in the classroom where you belong. I am there to get my groceries and get back home. I am not trying to be rude. I just don’t enjoy the stressful, strained conversation, of “how are you”, “I am fine, you?” “nice weather today” “yes” “sooo” “welll” “ok have a good day”…We aren’t friends, we don’t have to pretend, and we both are here to pick up toilet paper and ground beef and get home before the ice cream melts.

I’ve never enjoyed small talk. Public speaking? Yes. I love getting up on stage and performing, giving a speech or lecture. I understand most people list this as one of their greatest fears, but for me, mingling at a party or running into an acquaintance causes much more anxiety. Why? Is my brain different?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2588649/ – “Social behavior depends critically on context and intention, a sensitivity that arises from the rich interplay between controlled and automatic processing of social information, and a modulation long emphasized within social psychology (Todorov et al. 2006). One way of viewing such modulations is to think of an initial feed-forward sweep of social information processing that is rapid and automatic, followed by cycles of additional processing that are biased by the first, but modulated by top-down effects that may incorporate controlled processing and conscious intent (Cunningham & Zelazo 2007). There are numerous examples at all levels of processing showing how contextual information modulates, or even gates, social information processing. At the sensory perceptual level, information about faces is processed differently depending on context. Thus, a surprised face can be interpreted as looking afraid or looking happy, depending on a preceding sentence (Kim et al. 2004). Afraid and angry faces are interpreted differently depending on whether their gaze is direct or averted (Adams & Kleck 2003). Some context modulates what we counterfactually expect might happen. Thus, in the example of social norm compliance, brain structures associated with strong emotions are activated only when the subject knows that punishment is possible, not when it is known to be impossible (Spitzer et al. 2007). An important and common finding (often utilized as a control condition in imaging studies) is that knowing that a particular event or outcome was intentionally caused by another person leads to a different interpretation than knowing that the event was unintentional or was caused by a computer. Thus, in the case of the negative emotions and anterior cingulate activation induced by social exclusion, this obtains only when the subject is convinced that other people are volitionally excluding him or her, not when the “exclusion” is explained as a technical malfunction of some sort (Eisenberger et al. 2003). What we know about people from their past behavior provides an important context that modulates our responses to, and actions toward, others. In studies of empathy, it was found that our perception of other people’s fairness (from their behavior in an economic game) modulated how much empathy was felt when they were observed to be given painful electric shock, an effect that correlated with activation of the insula (Singer et al. 2006).

Emotional responses can be modulated not only by context, but also volitionally by reinterpreting a situation, or indeed solely by willful control. This is effortful, develops relatively late in childhood and adolescence, and depends on the prefrontal cortex (Ochsner & Gross 2005). Although it is somewhat simplistic, one useful heuristic is that more anterior regions within prefrontal cortex can exert cognitive control over successively posterior regions (Koechlin et al. 2003), an idea consistent with the role of frontal polar cortex (Brodmann’s area 10, the most-anterior part of the brain) in overriding ongoing processing to explore new options in nonstationary environments (Daw et al. 2006). Interestingly, as we reviewed above, frontal polar cortex also appears to be a region that has expanded the most in human evolution (Semendeferi et al. 2001), and it is a region activated when we need to explicitly represent another person’s mind as distinct from our own or the state of the world (Amodio & Frith 2006). Such a role may be critical to social communication, cooperation, and deception, and it may be unique to humans (Saxe 2006).”

Social and emotional responses are too complex to give any answers. My history shaped me, as well as my brain structure. I know I am socially different than most people I meet. I am not sure what drives these differences and if it is worth changing them. I used to try and force myself to be more social, thinking it was unhealthy for me to be alone so much. But these days I am thinking it was unhealthy to force myself to fit into some notion of a social norm that works for others. I’ll look more at this later from the introvert perspective and personality point of view rather than the ‘there’s something wrong with my brain’ point of view. Needs more discussion for sure to see what a healthy spectrum of human differences can cover.

Scrambled Hippocampus – Doubting Yourself

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Memory loss is not entertaining (like you see on tv dramas) or glamorous or straightforward. It is not complete nor does it make sense. It is confusing and frustrating. My memory is scrambled, fuzzy, blurry. It has holes. Some things from the past have slipped away forever I think. Some events now fail to make it into my memory, or make it in such a temporary, non-distinct, or out of order way that I am left doubting myself daily.

I used to have an iron clad, nearly photographic memory. It allowed me to capture info and details and excel at staying organized, taking tests, being efficient. I can no longer rely on my brain. Instead I have lists, calendars, notes, spreadsheets, alarms. I keep my phone with me and enter everything there to sound alarms throughout the day, for picking up my kids to taking my meds. Some days I set a reminder to take a shower if too many days have passed with me forgetting this basic task. I pin EVERYTHING up on a large bulletin board in the hallway, so that I only have one place to look for things, and it is always out in my face as a visual reminder. Sometimes I stare at this board endlessly, double checking my calendars and alarms, convinced I have overlooked something, that nagging feeling always with me.

I keep discovering the scrambles and holes. I will find myself in photos with people I don’t recognize, places I swear I have never been. People will reminisce about something and laugh about a shared event, and I have no reaction, because it doesn’t feel like I was there, but they all say I was. It is an odd, twilight zone sort of feeling, and it happens daily. I suppose I have gotten used to it and accepted it now, as part of my new normal.

Memory is a complex job. You need to pay attention, then each sense and emotion gets filed away, along with the visuals and dialogues. Some memories are more emotional, some are more about language, some are more routine. The hippocampus is involved with all of them, along with several other parts of the brain depending on the event being processed and recalled.

http://www.human-memory.net/processes_storage.html – “Since the early neurological work of Karl Lashley and Wilder Penfield in the 1950s and 1960s, it has become clear that long-term memories are not stored in just one part of the brain, but are widely distributed throughout the cortex. After consolidation, long-term memories are stored throughout the brain as groups of neurons that are primed to fire together in the same pattern that created the original experience, and each component of a memory is stored in the brain area that initiated it (e.g. groups of neurons in the visual cortex store a sight, neurons in the amygdala store the associated emotion, etc). Indeed, it seems that they may even be encoded redundantly, several times, in various parts of the cortex, so that, if one engram (or memory trace) is wiped out, there are duplicates, or alternative pathways, elsewhere, through which the memory may still be retrieved.

Therefore, contrary to the popular notion, memories are not stored in our brains like books on library shelves, but must be actively reconstructed from elements scattered throughout various areas of the brain by the encoding process. Memory storage is therefore an ongoing process of reclassification resulting from continuous changes in our neural pathways, and parallel processing of information in our brains.

The indications are that, in the absence of disorders due to trauma or neurological disease, the human brain has the capacity to store almost unlimited amounts of information indefinitely. Forgetting, therefore, is more likely to be result from incorrectly or incompletely encoded memories, and/or problems with the recall/retrieval process. It is a common experience that we may try to remember something one time and fail, but then remember that same item later. The information is therefore clearly still there in storage, but there may have been some kind of a mismatch between retrieval cues and the original encoding of the information. “

I often have issues with time and sequencing, almost like my brain time travels and suffers a paradox. I actually hold two thoughts that don’t make sense at once, and it now takes embarrassingly long to notice. An example, one day I remembered my daughter asking me to call and invite her Grandma to her school recital. So I reminded my husband to do this. He looked confused, because, not only had we already invited her, but we had all attended the recital last week. He tells me she already had her final recital and that we all went. My mind is blank, and searching for a memory. He starts describing the event and details of that day. As he tells me more and more, I start to form a fuzzy memory, and then I think I recall it for myself. I ask him to confirm the conversations, where we sat, the songs we heard, etc. I can still recall going to this event now. I have no idea why it slipped my mind, how an entire evening had escaped me and my brain looped back to the previous week. But this is not uncommon for me now. I have to work to keep my memories intact or risk getting lost in the swirl of confusion. Did I misplace that memory? Were the neurons not firing properly the day of the event or the day of the forgotten memory – or both?

It is exhausting. It is hard work. Every day.

Finding the neuro-muse


Creativity is complicated, and something I used to take for granted. I used to find words easily, play and craft them into stories, poems, 

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/306611.php-“The default network, also referred to as the imagination network, is used to construct dynamic mental simulations. Situated deep in the prefrontal cortex and temporal lobe, with connections to parts of the parietal cortex, it builds pictures based on previous experiences and imagines alternative scenarios and events” … “Some studies have linked a reduction in latent inhibition to psychosis. However, a study using high-IQ individuals found that those with lower latent inhibition scores were more likely to be creative.

The authors wonder whether an innate propensity to be open to experience might play a role in creativity. Simply put, people who are less likely to classify an object or a sound as “irrelevant” are at an advantage when it comes to producing creative, original content.” … Some scientists have linked the strength of alpha waves to levels of creativity. One study measured EEG alpha waves while participants solved verbal problems. Individuals were asked to come up with as many original solutions as possible. The results showed that the most creative solutions were accompanied by measurable increases in alpha power.”
I’ve always been highly sensitive, aware of my surroundings, easily overwhelmed. I still am, but now the creative component is missing. Am I failing to produce alpha waves? Did I lose too much executive function to tune out, daydream, and instead use all my processing power for everyday functions now? Did I lose too many pathways to make the connections I used to? Did I lose too much working memory to process it all at once?

All I know, is I can recall having a rich inner world that is now silent. I used to compose drawings, write poems while driving, sketch during meetings, invent new products, design, create. Now my empty pages remain as empty as I feel. Will my creativity return? No one knows. But you better believe I’ll never give up looking for it. I’m so hopeful my new neurologists, scheduled later this summer, will have more answers for me.

I want to be me again.