When Your Head Holds You Hostage

You know those days when you've watched just one too many Jimmy Fallon YouTube videos? Or spent one too many minutes researching the different types of sweat bees? No? Well then, lucky for you in escaping the dreaded brain rot, but I must confess it leaves me to wonder, is all that ambition and list crossing off really worth missing The Tonight Show Hashtags? And can you really feel good about not knowing how to identify which sweat bees are the stinging kind? Some days it's like just a little too much of the reading or the watching or the listening or the pondering happens, and suddenly, there's no snapping back to reality. I call it stuck in my own head. I tend to go around the house with a blank look while an inner voice in an annoying monotone says "You're so stuck in your own head. You're giving yourself claustrophobia. Get out of your own head." The speaker is painfully redundant, and really not helpful.

Today I fogged over by draining one too many sunny Saturday minutes into a video series. Educational as it was, I gorged and stood up feeling fat and lazy. Too much information, even good information, is like too much good food, suddenly switching from an energy source to a sluggish slow down.

Any time I over-consume and under-create, my mental muscle tone diminishes and leaves me listless. It needs a balance between intake and fuel burn. This week I mentally overate. I pounded 13 chapters in a new book, listened to as many chapters in a different audio book, and took 8 pages of notes from an online video course.

Harvest tends to drive me to over-consume in all departments. My general lack of interest in shopping is suddenly interrupted by a variety of "impossible to pass up" deals on fall tops and boots. (This is partly because my body is intuitively aware of the sinking temperatures, and being convinced that it was never meant to experience temperatures under 50*, it goes into primal survival mode. Buying sweaters and boots is simply my body's way of trying to store up warmth for winter. It's truly instinctual, Dave. It just wants to live to see another Spring, bless its heart.) Kitchen passes to the chocolate and cereal areas happen in much higher frequency. And I start pawing through all available books and reading material. The urge to pass the time, to fill the void of limited adult human contact, to drown out the loneliness, is high during harvest. But bingeing can happen in any season, with the right combination of boredom, avoidance, or lack of vision.

It seems like in all areas of life we get off kilter when we are only consumers and not creators. Really, is it any surprise to find ourselves molding around the edges when all we've been doing is taking and not giving? Still, it's not easy to counter. The last thing I feel like doing while stuck in a brain funk is to create. My thoughts are anything but fresh and coherent. I'm way too full for anything to even sound or smell good anymore. And I'm convinced that whatever I do will look like a train wreck in a tunnel and then I'll feel even more miserable, so why try?

Today I tried a variety of activities in an attempt to escape the muck. I ordered boots. (Really Dave, you'll be so impressed at the good price I found on necessary protection for frostbite-scarred toes.)  I knew going for a run would help, but the helpfulness tends to be dampened when kids accompany, and I had no current alternatives. I ate plantain chips heaped with almond butter. I laid on the sunny patch of carpet hoping for a beam of vision.



I checked my room and closet repeatedly for anything shiny to capture my attention. I decided maybe eye drops would help. (Now looking back, that may have been the turning point.  Nothing feels better to the window of the soul during soybean harvest then a cool, refreshing Opcon-A drop. It may have the power to change the course of your day, even your life! [These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA].) Then I tried curling my eye-lashes. This turned out to be more of a setback. Perhaps due in part to the significant dew still residing on lashes from recent eye drop splash, the curling was unsuccessful. After a half a dozen tries, they were far more straight than when I'd started. I can only choose to be thankful for the UV protection I now have from my sun visor-like mini eye shades. Eventually, I drug my lawn chair out to where the sun was warming the walk, sat down with my laptop, and did the only other thing I knew to do; string words together to create sentences and paragraphs. And, as is always the case, it did for my brain what a heavy rain does for a stagnant pond. It washed the scum off the top and made everything clearer.

If you're one of us that finds yourself entrapped in your own head from time to time, what do you do to clear the scum? Have you found creating to be the solution? If so, what do you like to create? And how do you convince yourself to get started when all your mind wants to do is suck it's thumb and rock?