We all have weird problems. But I have one that I’ve had since my early teens. I’ve tried to describe it to doctors, but no one seems to recognize the problem. Based on the timing of when I recall that it started, I wonder if it’s related to the fibromyalgia somehow.
Here’s the problem: Whenever I do something that is visually repetitive for a relatively long period of time, my brain keeps doing it even when I switch to another activity; it keeps running through my mind and my mind’s eye – kind of like when you look at something bright a long time, then close your eyes and still see it. It’s like being stuck in a software loop.
- In my early teens, my sister and I used to play Chinese checkers a lot. Lots of visuals and lots of planning ahead. When I did something else, whether reading, watching TV or even trying to get to sleep at night, I would realize that my mind was still planning moves on the game board. If I was trying to sleep, my mind’s eye would be visualizing moves over and over again. Not a dream – fully awake. And unable to fall asleep because of all the activity going on. Not thinking about moves consciously – but having them “happen” anyway.
- When I was in college, it happened when I had long papers to type (for any of you too young to remember typewriters, it was like working on a keyboard, but more immediate – the ink on the page without a computer in the middle). My brain would continue typing long after the paper was complete. Nasty when you’ve already stayed up too late and you don’t get enough sleep anyway (what college student does get enough sleep?).
- In college it also happened if I read too long, though not as often – perhaps because reading wasn’t total repetition the way typing is.
- It’s happening lately (and has happened previously) because I’ve been playing a word puzzle game on the computer. You know the type – they give you 6 or 7 letters and you have to make as many words out of them as you can or find specific words. You start making combinations of letters, try rhyming words and type the words in. I must have been playing this one too often or too long. Trying for a “badge” – silly self-assigned goal to keep it interesting. No goal to work for means no incentive. Well, I found myself trying to make words before falling asleep and in the shower. W-A-S, S-A-W . . .
Like I said – weird. Gratefully, more annoying than dangerous. But sometimes I wonder if annoying is worse than dangerous in some ways. If it were dangerous, there would be no temptation to continue to do the activity. I have no problem refraining from eating peanuts – I know that, with my allergy, they might kill me. Dangerous! Easy to refuse. But annoying means that you need more will power to stop.
I think I switch to another game for a while, though, because it starting to intrude into my writing. Every word I type becomes fodder for the word finding grist mill of my brain. And I like this more than I like the game.
It’s been a quiet, rainy day. Just showers off and on. I could hear my new plants praising God when I got home from church. No, my brain wasn’t experiencing another form of strangeness – I just mean that I know they were thrilled to get to enjoy the first rainfall in a while the day after being planted in the garden.
I’ve been giving thanks for all the small things today. The timing of the rain. My husband using the indoor time to hang the display cases his father made for his “pin collection.” My husband vacuuming for me so I wouldn’t cause a fibro flare. The Red Sox won. The Patriots won. Hockey season starts (pre-season, anyway) in a couple of weeks. The new TV season starts even sooner (I’m so tired of reruns as the only options available). The single Mum flower that broke off the plants when I bought them a couple of weeks ago – it’s sitting in a bud vase in front of me, still as bright and fresh as the day it broke off – a bright yellow reminder of sunshine while we enjoy the needed rain. A supper “experiment” that worked out better than I could have hoped – yummy! Not craving junk food today. Pain that’s not too bad today. The cat that looks so cute sleeping upside down on the porch. The cardinal braving the rain to have lunch at my feeder.
I think I’ll go read for a while. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Had a little commotion on our quiet, dead end street – the ambulance showed up with lights flashing at the house of my next door neighbor. She’s one of the original homeowners left on this street – I’ve known her since my grandmother owned my house when it was new. She’s had a number of health issues, including heart problems and heart surgery. I didn’t go over and get in the way, but I did sit on my front steps, praying. As I watched, instead of taking the stretcher in to bring her out, they brought the lift chair. When they got out, they transferred her to the stretcher. She waved to the kids that were standing around mesmerized by the lights. I took that as a good sign. After getting her settled, the ambulance turned around in our driveway (a whole lot easier than trying to back all the way down the hill) and left with lights and sirens. So if you have time, say a little prayer for a tiny little lady named Beulah. I know she will know if you do.
Now I’m going to go read. And I’m going to leave that word game alone for a while. There’s a fine line between eclectic and weird – that’s one line I prefer not to cross!