Sunday, 12 May 2013

Continuing Progression of Rewiring

I have said I wouldn't mention it again, haven't I? But an interesting development occurred and I wanted to share it because several people have asked me to and well, I suddenly, for reasons that will hopefully become apparent, have the urge, nay, the compulsion to.

The last few weeks, I have had a kind of relapse of sorts. I had to work on an issue that required a huge amount of intellectual effort for a day or so. Whilst I have regained most of my mental faculties, a few incredibly subtle after effects remain. OR remained? I really can't say and I have become weary of the kind of self-analysis that this kind of checking-for-resumption-of-"normality" entails. Constantly examining every mental process for some kind of comparison with "how it was before" requires first of all an inventory of the mental workshop that one felt existed initially. And then, a regard of the inputs versus outputs to see if they process differs from what one subjectively remembers. It is a tiring and tiresome exercise at the best of times and I am sure many of us do it, especially those of us who are not exactly in the first flush of youth.

Anyway, I was asked by a friend if I would document my subjective experience of the last year. It was a sincere request based upon curiosity of the experience of consciousness we all suspect we share, without being able to be sure about it.
I shall not document it here, but the magnum Opus of the Time of Abject Confusion will be composed elsewhere (and will probably make no sense to anyone, least of all me). Some less fortunate souls I have encountered who also suffered wish to compare notes too and in my own casting about for significance and progress markers, it would have been helpful to have had someone else's experiences to refer to, even thought the condition varies depending on the location, direction and force of the bleed.

The last couple of weeks, since my heavy-intellect day, I have been unhealthily tired. We all know what it feels like to be tired. And I sometimes get the ordinary kind too, as does everyone. But the "Brain Tired" is different. It is like someone hanging weights on the skin of my brain and impeding its agility with this heavy load. It says vociferously "You must sleep now. It is necessary." in the kind imperative directive that is unambiguous and impossible to disobey. Only, it is not always convenient, obviously. You can't just lie down and sleep in the office no matter how understanding management and colleagues might appear to be.
So, several days, I have come back from the office or been working from home and closed my eyes, only to waken two and half hours later. This happened for about ten days, perhaps every other day. In between I did non-demanding tasks like built my lay oven in the garden. And I didn't always need to sleep after.
And it was wretched! I wanted to dance. I was too tired. Acquaintances wanted to engage me in conversation, fatigue lent lead to my lips and weighted my tongue with an invisible tiny anvil. I spent ten minutes one evening trying to remember and then describe and eventually mime the word "envelope".
And then, in Thursday evening, I slept for eleven hours. Eleven hours! Nobody sleeps that long! I haven't slept for that length of time since I left hospital!

And lo! Something has changed! For weeks, I have had no inclination to write. Opportunities for mirthful comments in conversation passed me by as my agility foundered and I had to run along to catch up. Suddenly! There it was back again!

In the shower a few minutes ago, Something happened that hasn't happened for a long long time: A huge and complex analogy arrived in my head, fait-accompli, to  describe quite neatly a pertinent stage in this last year's journey. Lock-stock-and-barrel did it emerge, compelling me with a familiar but lately-missed mania to record it lest it should escape. I ran to the bedroom and hastily dressed such that I could write it down before it evaporated from my leaky cranium.
And I have written something down. I wrote this: This total mass of twaddle and self-indulgent teasing-out of the mess of concepts, thoughts and experiences that gushed into my brain as the Lynx Studly-Masculine shower gel was rinsed from my sparse barnet. Oh, I have so missed these thoughts and their tendency to connect to each other all of their own accord.

Anyway, the idea is this (well, there was more actually but I have written than in a kind of shorthand elsewhere so I don't forget it):
The tiredness happens after a mental challenge that pushes the boundaries. It makes me feel wretched and sleep a huge amount. Then, suddenly, one of the missing (but increasingly subtle and hard to describe) faculties reappears. That's how brains (re)build! The sleep and the tiredness must be the "under construction!" signs.

Isn't that wonderful? Progress keeps happening because brains are very very plastic and can rewire themselves!
And that, I think, is the lesson I shall (again) take from all this: Using your brain makes it better. The more you use it, the better it gets at whatever it is you are using it for. Simple really, isn't it? But such a powerful principle.
So, what to do with it next?

3 comments:

Librarian said...

Must have been a very powerful shower gel :-)

What confuses me a little in this post is what you have actually asked your friend to write down. His/her own experience of last year, or how he/she experienced YOU during that year? Of course, the latter makes sense in the context, but I am not sure whether you meant that.

So, for now, the "under construction" sign has been put aside. Next time you need it, you won't find that need so puzzling and disquieting.

Friko said...

What to do with it? It’ll tell you.

Perhaps you could rely on your brain’s efforts to re-wire itself and more or less fall in with the master’s (your brain’s) wishes?

Ad if sleep is asked for, then sleep. Whether it’s convenient or not.

I think what you’ve written about your brain’s functionality is fascinating. We seem to be wired for regeneration, at least while the raw materials are there.

Good luck as you go on your journey. Yes,fascinating.

PerlNumquist said...

I think what I find exciting (and yes, that is a word I don't hesitate to use here) is that if it can regenerate new circuitry to take on the function of the lost circuitry, what else might it be able to do? If "doing the thing" is what (re)makes the circuits, then if tehr is a thing we want to do, doing it, within the bounds of our innate pre-existing wiring template (i.e. "talent") might just provide us with that new skill if we are diligent in practice (and lucky with our natural disposition)