Can steampunk fix scatterbrained?

Some of the health problems I’m currently struggling with are short term memory loss, brain fog, and word retrieval trouble. More often than not these days I feel like there’s a noise machine in my mind cancelling out all other sounds or thoughts. It makes following conversations difficult and nodding-and-smiling to everything isn’t a great solution when you’re not sure where the discussion currently is on the gravitas scale from “we had spaghetti at our house three times last week” to “…and the killer is still at large.”

It also makes it tough to do basic things. Like finish sentences I’ve started. Or read books. Or recall ideas. Or remember what that awesome recipe I made in that dream I had last night was. Sautéed brussel sprouts with sliced pancetta and lychee? That doesn’t sound right.

Basically, retaining information is rough. It’s like having a black hole where your cognition machine should be churning. A cog loose? Try twelve missing gears and a skipped oil change.

Coupled with focus issues is the underlying loneliness and exhaustion. I find myself unable to wake up in the mornings. And feeling like I can’t follow conversations well makes being out around other people overwhelming. Sometimes just talking is difficult. Not being able to trust my own brain makes me want to live in pajama land forever.

Perhaps this is all more than I should share, but I’m starting to think that perhaps one of the best ways to return to myself and find inspiration again is to be honest for a bit and not hold all of the conversations in my head. One of the reasons I’d felt I’d lost my ability to write for in the cactus garden was because I had written myself into a caricature of who I actually am. Someone who was removed from the words I was writing, who was trying too hard to be impartial or prevent life realities from seeping online.

So when the rain started, my cardboard self started to wilt.

Extended reading:

Akinola, Modupe, and Wendy Berry Mendes. “The Dark Side of Creativity: Biological Vulnerability and Negative Emotions Lead to Greater Artistic Creativity.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2008, 1677-686.

Andreasen, Nancy C., MD, PhD. “The Relationship between Creativity and Mood Disorders.” Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience 10, no. 2 (2008): 251-55.

Cameron, M., N. Crane, R. Ings, and K. Taylor. “Promoting Well-being through Creativity: How Arts and Public Health Can Learn from Each Other.” Perspectives in Public Health 133, no. 1 (2013): 52-59. doi:10.1177/1757913912466951.

Fitzgerald, Michael. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Creativity, Novelty Seeking and Risk. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2008.

Lauronen, Erika, Juha Veijola, Irene Isohanni, Peter B. Jones, Pentti Nieminen, and Matti Isohanni. “Links Between Creativity and Mental Disorder.” Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes 67, no. 1 (2004): 81-98. doi:10.1521/psyc.

Ulanov, Ann Belford., and David H. Rosen. Madness and Creativity. College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 2013.

Pavitra, Ks, Cr Chandrashekar, and Partha Choudhury. “Creativity and Mental Health: A Profile of Writers and Musicians.” Indian Journal of Psychiatry Indian J Psychiatry 49, no. 1 (2007): 34. doi:10.4103/0019-5545.31516.

Raab Mayo, Kelley A. Creativity, Spirituality, and Mental Health: Exploring Connections. Farnham, Surrey, England: Ashgate Pub., 2009.

Waddell, Charlotte, Mac, MD, CCFP, FRCPC. “Creativity and Mental Illness: Is There a Link?” Can J Psychiatry 43 (March 1998): 166-72.

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