Emotionally Unstable? Thinking Too Much? Is it You or Your Brain?

“But my way of writing is rather to think aloud, and follow my own humours, than much to consider who is listening to me; and, if I stop to consider what is proper to be said to this or that person, I shall soon come to doubt whether any part at all is proper.” –  Thomas de Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater

I get the feeling that I sometimes sound like an emotionally unstable wreck in my posts. Which is a fairly accurate assessment if I do come across that way because when it comes to my writing, I fuel my words with emotion.

I write with more passion when in the grip of passion, and I think it makes for a more interesting read. It definitely makes for a more interesting write as I never know where I’ll end up. My posts meander, and perhaps to others it is all a load of dross, but to me every tangent is connected and is a source of a piece of information, which when put together forms a complete puzzle… well, sometimes there are still pieces missing, but knowing their approximate design and shape helps to locate them.

My mind is a question generator. I never lost that part of my childhood self who is intensely curious and asks a million questions. It drives other people crazy, but it makes my life worth living, so their sanity is a necessary sacrifice to my selfish quest to stay alive and enjoy it. I’m not really joking. However I don’t expect others to answer my questions, it’s just that others never listen to that bit, they hear a question and react to the prompt to provide an answer before they hear the smallprint. Perhaps I should put the smallprint before the question. Even so, the reflex to answer a question is very strong in most people.

Why do you think that is? What’s your favourite colour? Think of that colour and tell me a story about it. Does it trigger a memory? Is that memory pleasant or unpleasant? Do you find yourself thinking of answers to these questions? Are you trying not to think of answers to these questions?

The mind is a fascinating place. What is it? Where does it come from? Why do we think? What are thoughts?

I am enamoured of the concept that most thoughts are simply the way the brain gets oxygen to move around its labyrinth. I love brain studies. I love all the ideas which scientists who study such an intriguing organ come up with. The theory that cravings are how our brain gets us to supply the body with nutrients which it needs to regulate and sustain itself. Chocolate for serotonin, salt for dopamine.

What about emotions, what are they? What use do they have for our intricate system?

And what an intricate system it is! There is a gadget in the Science Museum in London which puts you in charge of keeping your body alive. Not really, but hypothetically. And you only have to survive for one minute. You have to move levers and punch buttons to keep your heart pumping and other essential stuff going. I became obsessed with beating this thing. Keeping myself alive. I do love challenges. I was only in there for a couple of minutes, because there were others who wanted a go, but it felt like hours. I killed myself so many times and within a second each time. Thank goodness the brain doesn’t need my help, it does so much… WOW! Did I really need a gadget to prove that to me? Obviously I did!

What really struck me the most about that experience, which was many years ago and I have no idea if that gadget is still there, is that the mind thinks it is better than the brain. At least mine does. Where does it get such arrogance from? Is the mind not a small part of the brain? Or several small parts scattered around the great pink labyrinth?

Why do we think we know what is best for our bodies, when if we were actually in charge of keeping ourselves alive, we would fail in a second. We try to control our diets, but we don’t really know what we are doing, even if we think we do because we’ve done research. Have you seen how often research contradicts other research!?! One minute we should drink red wine for the good health of our heart, the next minute red wine will kill us if we have just one drop of it!

Then there is all that stuff we do or don’t do because it is going to make us die young, possibly from an excruciatingly painful death, yet what do we do with all the time alive which we have, apart from killing it and wasting it while we are waiting for something. We also do a lot of living in fear of dying. The Carpe Diemists think they have this life thing sussed, but how often do they do things which they don’t really want to do but feel they have do to seize each moment of each day.

The human mind is so… bizarre!

So, we don’t really know what thoughts are, other than what we think they are, but what is thinking that and how do we know it knows. Yes, paradox central! Speaking of paradoxes… what about gender? How does gender affect our minds?

I did one of those tests which determines whether your brain, as in mind, is male or female. I tend to think that I am more masculine in my approach than feminine. The test told me that I was gender balanced. Which means it doesn’t know what sex my brain is. I, on the other hand, think that I was wrong in my previous assessment. I am not masculine at all, I am very feminine. Why the rethink? Mostly an accumulation of data compiled through observation of the communication and emotional styles of men and women.

It occurred to me that women are more cerebral… I can’t actually pronounce that word unless I say each syllable in the style of Count von Count from Sesame Street… about their emotions than men are. WAIT! Wait before you get all knickers in a twist on me. Hear me out, then you can go crazy in the comments. Or bash out a comment, get it out of your system, then hear me out. Or hold it in and then use it as inspiration for a post. Whatever you need to do to satisfy your needs, do it for yourself… because I am not going to do it for you.

What is the main complaint men have about women and women have about men when it comes to communication and emotions?

Men think women talk too much about their emotions. Women think men don’t talk enough about their emotions.

What is talking? Yes, it’s an action, but what kind of action? I see it as a cerebral action, as to talk the mind has to translate everything it wants to discuss into words. Emotions are not in words naturally, they are energies, internal weather, rushes of feeling, chemicals and physical reactions. To talk about them they must be identified, classified, labelled, analysed, and turned into words which in theory describe them. This causes added mix ups as we don’t all use the same emotion-to-words translating system.

My sad may be your angry, my angry may be your bitter, my bitter may be your envy, and so on. We’re using the same word but we mean different things. I know someone who says “I’m hurt” all the time about everything, they either have a limited emotional vocabulary, or it is a catch all for when they are confused about their feelings. I just translate their “I’m hurt” into “I’m feeling sorry for myself and making it your problem”. I’ve become callous with advancing age… or maybe I was always callous, I’m just admitting it to myself and embracing it now. The more aware I am of my mortality, the less I want to generously give it to others, especially when others don’t appreciate it, and just want more, and more is never enough.

Women are considered very adept at communicating their emotions, at least women think they are and have convinced some men of this, or at least they have convinced men that men are not good at it, and they tend to do this most often using words.

Women think about their feelings all the time. They enjoy talking about their emotions, more than they do about many other subjects. They do this as a way to create bonds between other women, to understand and be understood, which can lead to complicating what was a simple matter, and to drive men crazy… not really, but it can drive a man crazy. They want to bond with men the same way they bond with women, and not being able to do so causes them much grief, so they try to force men to bond this way which causes men much grief.

Men do not talk about their feelings, not in the way women do. Men have intense emotions which they often express physically rather than verbally. This is actually a purer expression of emotion, undiluted by thought, it is a rush of something intangible which courses through the body and the body expresses it. Which is why men are such great builders, inventors, artists, creators, chefs, sportsmen, and many other things which need a focused physical dedication to a task with the added intensity of raw emotional energy fuelling the physical action.

Sure, women can do all the physical things, the pursuits and professions which men do and do it well… yes, yes, sometimes even better than men. This isn’t about gender equality or inequality. It’s just a thought, and it’s one which hasn’t matured into an opinion… yet! And it really isn’t about gender, I’m just using gender to understand something about the brain, thoughts and emotions.

Women are great at classifying, labelling, categorising, and sub-categorising emotions. They analyse their feelings, discuss each fluctuation, and create a series of responses to go with each one. Many of the responses are scientific. When a woman is depressed, sad, upset, she may cry. Crying releases stress, our brain knows this and prompts tears in a stressful situation. She may reach for a sugary treat. Low blood sugar can cause irritability, nervousness, feelings of sadness, depression, and something known as exaggerated concerns. Our brain knows this, and stimulates a sweet craving. She may retreat from the world to a dark room, curl up under a blanket, and sleep. Tiredness can trigger emotional sensitivity and confused thinking. Our body restores itself during sleep. That sleep on a problem cure is not unfounded.

I didn’t get enough sleep last night. I am feeling frazzled. If I apply too much thought to any of the emotions which rise up today, and quite a few have, I could turn them into something which they are not. A mental drama of an emotionally volatile kind. All I need is to sleep, then these frazzled nerves will be fine. No drama needed as it is not real, it’s just a tired body and an exhausted mind seeing things which are not there because I am caught between waking and sleeping due to being sleep deprived. Those hallucinations are not weird enough to be unreal, which is what makes them potentially troublesome to myself and others. So, I must remain aware of this potential, and stay detached.

Many of the ways which we use to deal with feelings are the body’s way of getting nutrients which it can use to produce chemicals needed to balance the system. It is prompting us to get the healing we need to restore ourselves. If we think too much, we interfere and can upset the natural healing. If we refuse to give our body the food it is craving, such as sugar, or the sleep it needs, or the stress release method of its choice, then we may aggravate a situation, and create a drama where one does not need to exist.

In fact our tendency to solve emotional issues with food and drink is second nature to us, we don’t even consider what we are doing, we just do it. But is it us thinking this through, or is it our brain directing us to a source of fuel for it to sort itself out, which will sort us out.

And the healing our brain seeks does not always comes through food. Listening to music affects our brainwaves. Watching TV stimulates our neural pathways. Going for a workout changes the chemical composition in our body, flushing out toxins, lowering levels of certain nutrients, triggering release of chemicals, some of which are very euphoric. The brain is a body fixing genius! A holistic therapist extraordinaire!

So, how much of what we feel is us feeling it, how much of what we are thinking is us thinking it, and how much is it due to our brain and its intricate chemical balance and imbalances? Is it you or is it your brain?

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6 thoughts on “Emotionally Unstable? Thinking Too Much? Is it You or Your Brain?

  1. Myself very much from heart!

    My brain is completely fucked up. I read tons and tons of articles over internet. I love everything and I want to be everything. One day I want to be a traveler, a singer, music composer, a lyricist and the other day programmer, manager, immigration lawyer, culture, art, languages, photography what not? What does this mean? Why my mind is so unstable? Why does everything stimulates my brain so much…….? I’m working full time with good pay as Software QA in IT. I don’t know whether I like that job or not. It seems like my mind want to enjoy the whole world know about different stuffs.

    I gained good knowledge in the areas I mentioned but it will be around 10-20% only. I really want to explore everything, but my utmost need is to find what I really like? What I’m good at? Am I suffering with behavioral problems? No I’m absolutely good. I’m really good in my office work, maintains social relationships well, sports, helping others, giving suggestions, speaking about gadgets, divine topics everything. My only problem is my career ahead. I don’t feel my work is challenging. There is no new learning and I’m working on the same thing from last 2 years. It became mundane same repetitive tasks day by day, every day. I need some peace to think what I really want to be.

    Right here my mind starts playing tricks with me. It likes whatever it sees challenging as I told earlier. It wants to be like that but it doesn’t stays for a long time. So what Am I? Freak? Failure? Incompetent? Unsustainable thinking, what is this feeling? I’m depressed, frustrated but happy in some ways like I’m there for my parents and friends supporting them. The only strongest feeling I ever…ever had is to study Masters abroad and work abroad either in US, Canada or Ireland. I don’t know why I want to do but I really think very seriously that this is the only emotion my mind plays over and over like old tape recorder from last 3 years, every day, every night why I’m in my country? Why do I like to go some where? what is over there that is not here? Money? Simply No! I strongly feel it will do good to me. My inner senses are telling me strongly. That’s it!

    While I’m not doing that(going abroad for master’s or job) my mind is unfocused on every other thing it’s changing priorities every now and then. Loosing focus quickly on every other thing and maintain my only focus on going abroad study there work, settle for some years…., making it my top priority. I read in some of the self help blogs and websites to write down what’s in your mind to know what you really want to do and be? I tried it so many times but failed. I don’t what triggered me, after reading your article words are flushing out of my mind like anything before. I’m typing this without even thinking and these are my very feeling floating in this comment. Thank you very much!!! Stay blessed! Will meet some time soon….world is small for right people!

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    1. Thank you very much for sharing 🙂

      Your mind doesn’t sound like it’s ‘unstable’ it’s simply reacting to the stimulus offered by the world, especially the online world which is like being at a big restaurant with an all-you-can-eat giant buffet offering a smorgasbord of delicacies from every country and culture on this planet. It can be overwhelming and confusing.

      You’re not a freak, failure, incompetent, or anything else along those lines – you’re human and experiencing one aspect of what it’s like to be human, especially in this period in history. You have many options available to you, the opportunity to do and be anything you choose – that kind of choice is both heaven and hell all rolled into one, it’s freedom and restriction simultaneously.

      Sometimes the best thing to do when you don’t know what to do is to wait the storm of not-knowing out, see the lack of focus as part of what you need to be at this time. Let all the information be absorbed and processed, then wait and see what sticks after things pass through and out of you. Your mind is flipping through an album of possibilities right now and considering all of them – what you really want to do will be the image which sticks and lasts after all the others pass and fade. You’ll figure things out, but some things take time and patience to figure out.

      You’re not completely unfocused, as you point out in this sentence – “I’m working full time with good pay as Software QA in IT.” – you’re just not sure that you want to spend the rest of your life focused there, in that way. This gives you a stable base from which to explore and consider what comes next.

      Don’t pressure yourself to have it all figured out – you can make decisions and change course at any time – try things out and know that no decision is final even when we think it is.

      There is nothing wrong with you, in fact, everything is right with you – you’re being yourself (that can be bewildering because there’s no other you out there to compare and contrast).

      Best wishes on your adventure through life!

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  2. Both me and my brain…which is always asking questions and trying to piece stuff together. My father would tell me as a young child “you are the most inquisitive child!”. I’m sure that meant “stop asking so many damn questions!”

    “…The more aware I am of my mortality, the less I want to generously give it to others, especially when others don’t appreciate it, and just want more, and more is never enough…”

    OMG yes!!!

    Loved this post!

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      Pluto in the 1st & Scorpio in the 3rd… needs to know what the universe is made of at the deepest level, and doesn’t get why everyone isn’t asking probing questions too and why they don’t want to know the answers to the questions. Also prefers to find the answers to the questions on their own, as other people’s answers may not satisfy, may be an untruth – suspicious scorpion – or may be inaccurate (says Virgo rising) 😉

      Virgo rising sharpens the need to know, to collect information, analyse and understand. Know thyself and you know others, know others and you know thyself.

      And everything is fascinating – Uranus in the 1st! 😉

      I love being older! It may not bring the sort of wisdom it is fabled to bring, but it does bring a certain kind of wisdom – don’t waste your time on others if they don’t get that that time is the essence of your mortal life. It’s precious to you, so treat it with respect (note to self – underlined in red)

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