Sometimes I Don’t Like My Brain

Sometimes when you talk to me, what my ears hear with my eyes is a small cloud of grayish white smoke with certain individual black letters poking out. These are unformed words. The words you are saying to me.

I have problems with attention. It’s not a deficit of attention. It’s an overstimulation of attention in that my brain hears things you do not hear, and it hears them all at once: cars coming down the street, cars traveling the road behind my house, the birds, refrigerator, the computer, the water dripping on the shingles, the water dripping from the downspout, the settling of a structure, a buzz from the lights above, a white hissing in my ears, a dull passage of air through my ears during intervals when the white hissing pauses.

While your brain may be able to adjust and tune the dial to one radio channel, my brain is flipping through all the channels at once, over and over, and I can’t make it stop. I can’t unhear these things any more than a dyslexic person can read letters in words in the right order by just trying harder or the nearsighted individual can see things better just by squinting harder.

i try to be a good listener, but there’s something you must understand

Sometimes when you talk to me, what my ears hear, to put it in visual terms (and there is indeed a visual component going on in the space between me and you) is a small cloud of grayish white smoke with certain individual black letters poking out. These are unformed words. The words you are saying to me.

My brain is hard at work parsing through the individual letters from where they poke out of the grayish white smoke, stringing them together into a fully formed word, into multiple words, into a sentence, all the while trying to tune the radio dial to just one channel and stay there for a single minute. Please.

I hear everything you say and I can comprehend it perfectly in real-time, even though what I stated above may make it seem otherwise; but I also hear the cars coming down the street, cars traveling the road behind my house, the birds, refrigerator, the computer, the water dripping on the shingles, the water dripping from the downspout, the settling of a structure, a buzz from the lights above, a white hissing in my ears, a dull passage of air through my ears during intervals when the white hissing pauses, at the same time as I hear every word you say.

Not all days are like this. But most days are. Noise cancelling headphones help. Ear plugs that still allow me to hear help. Most days it is a struggle for my brain to hear things the way you hear things, to do things the way you do things or want things done. Not because I have a deficit of attention.

Instead, because I have an overstimulation of attention in that any and every sound or thought does not want to be sitting on the bench, but wants to be in the game; and they are, every last one, running up and down the court, jumping up to snatch rebounds, scrapping for loose balls, game on the line — 3, 2, 1.

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2 Comments

Does your meditation help? Hopefully, it will. I feel that would have to be an annoyance, but it sounds like you have somewhat if an understanding of what it is. Hope it improves soon, son.

Meditation helps, no doubt. There’s actually one particular meditation I do for anxiety that hones in on sounds from loudest to the most quiet. But meditation can only offer a certain level of reprieve from it. Same with headphones. If I listen to ambient music or sound therapy, I can narrow my attention and it allows me to work or write. Unfortunately, I can’t wear headphones when someone is talking to me. I don’t imagine it’ll be improving but so much. I’ve always been like this and have never really known how to describe it to someone. I’m just hypersensitive to sounds, mostly that are artificial or man-made. They compete with one another for my attention at the same decibel levels. Flipping through a radio dial is about the best way I can describe it. It won’t stop at one channel. If I’m in nature, the sounds are more soothing.

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