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Terrified of my Brain


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This is going to sound strange, but for most of my life I have been terrified of my brain. Not my thoughts, I mean the actual fragile, intricate blob of matter that sits at the top of my spine and allows me to experience and influence the world. I cannot stand the idea that events beyond my control can damage the structure, almost unfathomably complex even after decades of study. From my perspective, my brain is the whole world. A beautiful landscape is a pattern in the visual cortex, a hug from a friend is one in the parietal lobe. All of this could be destroyed or distorted by something as commonplace as a heavy rock to the skull or a whiff of dioxins.
It seems cruel that something so complex as to be self-aware should be so easily broken. It's like we're playing an endless egg and spoon race where dying is the only escape.

They sound like abstract concerns, but these kind of thoughts are ruining my life. I can't shake the hopeless thought that maybe this time my brain is ruined for good and I'll never do anything worthwhile again. So far the brain fog has always turned out to be depression which eventually lifts, but one day it won't be.

How do people get on with their lives with knowing about all the chaos and uncertainty going on inside them? Am I delusional to think that dioxins from an old oscilloscope will rot my brain?  (probably, but then why haven't I been able to think properly since putting it back together?)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm sure you know this but it might be helpful to remind you how strong our skull is and there is a layer of fluid between the skull and brain. It is pretty well protected and it would take a lot of force for a rock to do damage. Athletes in hockey, football, etc get multiple concussions and they still function normally. The somatosensory cortex which is responsible for sensation travels pretty deep into the brain, kind of like an iceberg. So getting hurt wouldn't stop you from feeling. It takes a lobotomy to notice personality changes. It's true when your neurons die they are gone for good but the brain trains other circuits to become more efficient and take the job of those neurons. Our bodies are built to survive from head to toe, we are incredibly resilient.

I have a similar problem. I feel like my brain has neurodegenerated and I can't think the way I used to. It's terrifying. Thankfully medication has reduced this anxiety considerably for me. Positive thinking and telling myself things like I mentioned above also really helps. I hope you overcome this.

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