Pick a Card… Of Diva Neuro-boilers and Long Metaphors

“Please try again later” – Welcome to my life. My body and mind suck from time to time.

I’m not talking in a ‘I lost every race at sports day’ kind of way, (I did) but I’m talking in a flat out, ‘forgotten how to function’ way. The most recent recording of this occurrence was in my Summer School post.

I’m not going to list fancy words here, if you want feel free to ask for the medical terms in the comments. But the way I see it; at times my mind just says “Nah-ah” to the world and walks away. *sigh*- what a diva.

This ‘diva’ situation is, of course, universally covered in medical handbooks. Short term solutions involve: talking, coaxing and cramming chemicals into the poor boggled neuro-boiler affected. My neuro-boiler isn’t just a diva, here’s a long winded metaphor to explain:

It’s like my brain is at work at its desk, it has a lot of things going on at once and many different piles of paper filled with information. Things are going on all the time in the office and the brain is chugging its way through the tasks happily. However, suddenly there is a fire alarm and the brain has to drop everything and dash out. The alarm could be a drill or a real fire, it doesn’t matter which because the brain still has to do exactly the same thing when the alarm sounds. It overrides everything else and getting out takes top importance, no matter what was going on before it started. It is no one’s fault the alarm went off and it is unpredictable as to when it will happen again. After a while, when the alarm has been turned off and the building has been given the all clear, the brain wanders back to its desk like nothing ever happened and nonchalantly begins to work again.

This is dissociation. It’s a bit of a nightmare and means I am completely cut off or ‘frozen’ for a couple of seconds or minutes at a time. It happens when my brain gets so anxious, for legitimate reasons or not, that it just shuts a part of itself off and runs away. Sometimes it can lead to my major OCD/Anxiety attacks and sometimes it just fades away as if I have shut my eyes for a few minutes. While this happens I am at a total blank, not really thinking and not moving. Although it is scary I am slowly getting used to it, though it can still be worrying for the people around me.

Enter Stickman Communications!

Under the recommendation of a professional I bought myself some of these groovy cards. They explain what’s going on in very simple terms for friends or worried members of the public. I think they are a brilliant idea, especially if you are feeling too embarrassed to explain what’s going on to someone verbally. They cover all sorts of medical problems- not just fatigue and mental illness. They also don’t lead people into asking a zillion questions, which verbal explanations of complex things often do.

On my lanyard -bought by a friend for added comfort- I have cards for all occasions: when I ‘flop’, when I lose my voice and when my ability to think just disappears. I also have a very useful one which says “I really am OK, though a glass of water would be nice, if it isn’t too much trouble?” and also one that is matter of fact, saying that I have an illness and know that my behaviour is different right now, so please be patient. I think they are fantastically discreet and I am pretty sure they will save me loads of time spent worrying over ‘they think I was being rude’ moments.

The second thing I treated myself to was a pack of cards which are ‘traffic light’ indicators.

“I can’t cope”

“This is a bit much”

and “I am ok with this”.

I think they are brilliant as the first two are the phrases I find the most difficult of all to verbalise.

The lanyard lives in my handbag and it is very reassuring as it prevents people potentially calling ambulances unnecessarily. Which is very awkward.

I also couldn’t resist one of these fantastic ‘differently normal’ wrist bands. They are too cool.

Multicoloured wristbands which say 'differently normal'

In summary- Hannah Ensor is a genius and her company will be taking a lot of my money in the future!

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