I got to really thinking about our brains and about the idea of mental stimulation. Now, granted, everyone needs mental stimulation because we are human beings. No one wants a life that is dull, boring or monotonous. But I think some people *cough cough – like me – cough cough* have more of an extreme need for this kind of stimulation than others. It has nothing to do with any sort of “mental illness” either. It’s just how I am. Let me dig into this a little more.
I made a video a couple of years ago, I don’t think I ever uploaded it though, about this idea. I believe I called it “over active brain.” I’ve kind of always been this way, with a constantly active mind, but I think it is increasing with age instead of decreasing. There are some times when I really feel almost like a computer and that I can just sit and have all this output spitting out from my mind through my hands or body. It’s kind of a cool yet intense feeling. I think perhaps this is why I have a tendency toward more elevated periods in recent years. I really honestly believe that the two sort of feed off each other. The more elevated you become, the more open your mind is and the more knowledge you can access. But it works the other way too. Actively working to use my mind for something somewhat strenuous causes my mind to open and then I can go on to become elevated. It’s a very interesting circle, a weird feedback loop going on.
Anyway, back to this idea of mental stimulation. I realized a few years back that I am a person that really needs it. Now, obviously, not everyone has mental stimulation all the time from outside sources. Sometimes our relationships are boring, jobs are boring, our day to day life is boring! For a long time I just accepted that. I would sit with my husband night after night in the dead of winter, bored, watching TV shows. UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH *clawing my brain* I became so mentally inactive it was terrible and my moods really suffered. I noticed I was sort of apathetic and my brain felt like it had started to atrophy and shrivel.
With day to day responsibilities, it can be hard to find time to engage in meaningful activities or interesting activities. But I finally decided I was going to. Writing has always been a really big outlet for me, and that is great, and I continue to blog, journal, write prose. But there are so many other things that I want to do/try and am starting to get into more. I find that when I get good at something, or have learned a lot about something, I become slightly bored with it and I need to move on to the next thing and attempt to master that. Obviously the more you do something the more adept you will be at it (generally, and especially if you have a passion for it. Now, if you’re repetitively doing the same thing again and again and don’t care, I dunno. Haha.) I get a weird kind of pleasure and excitement over the idea of mastering any sort of skill/concept/ability. Also it isn’t really narrowly defined in my case. It could literally apply to anything, as long as it’s challenging my thinking abilities.
In the world, there are endless possibilities. I’m naturally a pretty creative person and so I gravitate toward those expressive areas – writing, music, art, literature. But really, anything that challenges my mind is exciting to me. Maybe part of that plays into the novelty of something. Naturally, everyone gets excited by something new because it’s unknown and you don’t know what to expect. Eventually the novelty of anything wears off though and you’re left seeking the next thing. So that can leave a person feeling empty if they don’t have something else to fill that gap. But I never ever have any shortage of ideas or things to fill it with. In fact, I think I have TOO much!
Most people wind down from their day at night, but I am the opposite. It’s when I’m most alert, I cannot wait for the day to be over usually and for 9 PM to roll around so that I can start purging my brain of all the things that are whirling inside of it constantly. And it’s really a gratifying feeling to be able to take something that is a mere abstract idea and make it into a reality simply by your sheer force of will and desire. To take something completely intangible existing only within the spaces in one’s mind and form it into something physical, concrete, and easily able to share with others is darn cool. Very very cool.
But at the same time, it can be a little tough to deal with. It leaves me restless sometimes because I have so much I want to do and seemingly so little time to do it and I get thwarted by just, well, day to day life. Also I get so interested in something, either wanting to do it, or learn about it, that I become obsessively consumed by it and the urgency can be unbearable. Like reading a book and not being patient enough to get through it, but wanting to siphon the entire volume of information into my brain at once. Or trying out a new skill, like video editing software, and not wanting to learn all the ins and outs but to just sit down and DO IT. That sort of furious, urgent NEED to do it can feel good and bad at the same time. Sometimes I gorge on something so much for so long I just drop it entirely. Then a couple months later, I circle back around and go back to it incessantly. It’s kind of bad too because I sometimes become so consumed with something I sacrifice sleep and even food because I don’t want to tear myself away from it. It’s almost like mental stimulation is like a drug to me, and I can be like that lab rat that gets administered doses of heroin and will keep pressing the button to get that pleasurable reward to the detriment of its own health. (Hey that just gave me another random idea about correlation between elevated states and addiction in our reward circuitry…interesting…)
Currently I am interested in getting some software/hardware to record music and voice, I am also interested in getting back into drawing (which I did as a teen and sporadically over the years) and trying my hand at painting, I’m interested in some makeup design as well, on top of all my usual reading, research, etc. etc. So much stuff…infinite possibilities…but so little time….