It's not easy explaining to a perfectly rational person how an irrational mind works.
I crashed hard this weekend... to the point of convulsive crying while holed up in my bedroom. I'm still physically shaking as I write this. But for the first time, I've actually had enough time after the initial crash to think about what was going on in my head... along with someone close to me who truly cared to know. So I have been doing my best to explain it to her using metaphors and visualizations.
Something usually triggers the crash, but it's not necessarily anything that would bring down a "normal" person in the least. Usually there is a build-up of things beforehand, and when I look back now I can see how various stressers piled on each other. I'm a fairly intelligent person; I can handle multiple things at once and handle stress fairly decently (better than many in my position, both professionally and mentally) as long as it's spread out a bit. I am a strong person (my best friend keeps telling me that... and keeps telling me to tell myself that). My mind can handle a lot, and when all my neuro-transmitters are firing well I can take on just about anything.
But when they start misfiring... when they start shooting randomly around in my brain... everything goes haywire. And that's what happened this weekend. Something struck me oddly (nothing that should have); a neuro-transmitter fired randomly among all the transmitters that were firing in dealing with all those stressers that had built up; all hell broke loose inside my head.
My doctor calls it "mind racing". Thoughts start and I can't stop them, no matter what I do. They could be the most irrational ideas; they could be completely opposite of what I know in my heart to be true... but I still can't stop the thoughts. I get suddenly very suspicious of people I trust completely. I'm suddenly convinced I'm a horrible mother. I suddenly believe my colleagues at school are against me. I lash out at anyone who says anything contrary to my suggestions. I take everything in the worst possible way... because that is the road down which my thoughts take me. Over the course of literally five minutes, I can go from completely trusting my best friend to fully believing she wants nothing to do with me... all from one short, completely innocent conversation.
People -- my friend, my husband, my mother -- tell me to just stop thinking the worst; to trust in them. The thing is... I do, completely. But I can't stop the thoughts. They tell me to just beat those thoughts back down; I can't. When I'm triggered and going through this, there is very little I can do to stop what's happening. I pray constantly; eventually I do come out of it, sometimes a few days later, sometimes a couple weeks later.
I have found ways to avoid it most of the time. Confront people directly and immediately if I may have misunderstood something. Talk through everything before going to sleep at night. Pray constantly, keeping my relationship with God fresh on my mind. Enjoy nature whenever possible, which also keeps God on my mind.
But it still happens.
What does it feel like? Inside my head, it feels like... like thousands of small marbles mixing around with no pattern to the colors and no consistency to the movement. The inside of my head feels like it is shaking -- literally shaking. My body trembles as every muscle tense up, trying to stop the shaking in my head. Coherant thought is extremely difficult, if not impossible. I can't line up any of the marbles.
I watched "A Beautiful Mind" the other day for the first time. Excellent movie. I could identify with John Nash. I've never been to the point of imagining people like he was, but as my friend and I discussed, I imagine problematic situations where there are none. Usually I have suffered through it without discussing my inner workings with anyone else; this time, I talked with her about it. She can't relate, but I think she's starting to understand. The best part is that she's sticking with me regardless of my intermittant insanity.
Still recovering. Hopefully the shaking in my brain will die down soon. It wears me out; I get so tired from this... which seems so odd to people because all they see is me laying in bed. But there is all this activity inside that they don't see, and when rest can finally come, I need it desperately.
Once I can slow down this marbles just a little more, I think I'll be able to rest. Sometimes I wish I'd just lose them; at least then my head wouldn't hurt so bad.