Feb 8, 2011

It’s not forgetting, it’s a detour gone awry

I recently had an epiphany…sort of an epiphany…after several pieces of knowledge fell into place in the past few weeks. To help you understand why this is so important here is the initial problem:

My downstairs is the living room and the kitchen area. I had come to call the doorway into the kitchen the portal of lost memory. Up to about a year ago, if I didn’t carry a note with me saying what I wanted in the kitchen, the thought would be lost completely. But I usually ended up with the pantry door, refrigerator, or some cabinet open with me standing there wondering what I was looking for. Going back to the living room would remind me because I’d go to reach for something that wasn’t there. Hope you can follow this.

More recently, the same thing happens but I can retrace my thoughts to what  I wanted rather than go back into the living. Here is why that is so pivotal to know.

I saw a video explanation of how neurons work in the brain provided to me by a friend. In the past, anything dealing with how the brain works was too triggering for me to watch. But I watched in fascination able to relate how a thought needs a path of neurons to act on it.

In a conversation with a friend who also has DID, I had wondered out loud why I can’t always get direct answers from inside…but sometimes I can. She replied that my inner guide has to use the same brain as me and I have big gaps in neurons so the message wouldn’t get through. Answers mostly come to me in pieces like a puzzle that then have to be assembled.

Yesterday I wanted a protein bar from a cabinet in the kitchen. The next thing I knew I was standing at the refrigerator with an ice pack in my hand. I put the ice pack back, shook my head and laughed at myself. Then I was able to recall the original thought and get my protein bar.

Ding, ding, ding! I’m NOT forgetting. The brain has a process to turn thought into action and I am missing neurons all over the place. But at least I’m getting to the right room. It’s like that old game of Gossip. By the time a message is whispered to the last person, the original message is completely mixed up.

Why is this a good thing? Because it’s proof neurons are healing. I had an integration of sorts on 1/1/11 and two new emerging fragments are beginning to heal. Studies have shown that the brains of those with DID do heal. I went from carrying a piece of paper or losing all to having a neuron path that retains the original information even if the path leads me to the wrong door. I have a path!

As I continue to heal, more neurons will fill in. No one can say if I’ll ever actually fill the path in completely but I’ve reached a much better understanding. And I’m not forgetful. I’m neuron-challenged.


Vague said...

this is cool. gives me stuff to think on.... <3

sometimes i think when i have a 'neuron-gap', it's not that those neurons are just not there, but they are attached to another parts 'neural network' and not my own. so in a way when they are starting to connect again, its a merging of the one with the other.... so maybe where we wind up (eg ice pack in hand) rather than where we were going is a piece from the other's network... y'know?

or may be part of the others learned process of diverting us from the true source of the gap... ie. why we disso at that point instead of staying present... y'know?


Louise said...

This was interesting to read as I also seem to have 'missing' neurons....I often forget what I was going to say....I 'fall' over words and sentences... and I have a tendency to walk into things....It really feels as though I've had to rewire my brain somehow. Thanks for posting this....I really admire your positivity! :)

Grace said...

@Vague I definitely know what you mean...all kinds of things connecting to each other to allow for memories and because of memories.

@Louise Am glad you found it helpful too rather than triggering. Understanding how the brain works really helps make sense of the healing of fragmented to whole. Walking into things. lol. yeah, me too!

Anonymous said...

i have some dissociation, nothing like yours.

from my experience, i like @Vague's thought. if you just 'go with the flow' when you go into the kitchen, where do you end up? what do you end up doing? is there a pattern? is going to get an ice pack a common thing to do? do you remember going into the kitchen as a child? are there any associations or patterns that come up there?

I guess my question is: if you are 'going off your current intended path', what path is 'coming up'?

What, if anything, does that tell you?

I like the analogy of 'missing neurons', but i think that is being a little TOO literal about brain/neural biology. [purely personal opinion.]

Grace said...

@Anonymous I agree my reference to neurons was very generalized and based only the one explanation I had seen. I've been doing the same thing since moving into my home. Only recently have I begun to retrace the thought without leaving the kitchen. So something has changed that was good. I do understand that to someone who really understands neurobiology (?), my explanation was probably very primitive and possibly wrong in terminology. Thanks for writing!