What it's like in my head, most of the time

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, January 16, 2024, 4:22 PM | comments: 0

A few years ago, the play adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time came through town. It's a story about an autistic kid's interactions with others over a, well, curious incident. The author of the novel insists that it's not about autism or any specific disorder, and that it's more about being an outsider and seeing the world in a different way. Regardless, what I found great about the play was the way that they tried to represent the character's perceptions. Through lighting, video projection and sound, they did a brilliant job of simulating the intensity of sensory input. It was also another point at which I suspected that this was me, though decades of experience taught me to compensate, filter and adjust, to varying degrees of success.

I was having one of my "shower thinks" this morning, and the topic of screenwriting popped in there. I thought about various writer's comments in various interviews about how they write what they know. I've always thought that what I know isn't interesting, so I've written so little because I won't write the things I know. But what if I did? What would it look like? One of the things I know is a very busy thought stream, that rarely stops.

In trying to deal with insomnia and anxiety, mostly in the evening, I know that it is chemically possible to give my brain a break. Lorazepam, which I have a very small supply of for the infrequent and relatively mild panic attack, absolutely does the trick. I describe it as getting off the freeway and on to a slower road with no other cars and few things to look at. Experiencing that difference is yet another recent mental health discovery for me. And when I share it with others, it's another thing that is not typical, I suspect.

If I feel mentally tired a lot, most of my life, really, how would I write that for a screenplay? When I sat at my desk, I recalled how the previous few minutes went since leaving the shower. It's something like this.

[After carefully drying off with just one side of the towel] The towel goes wet side out. Leave it a little longer on the outside so it dries better and doesn't stink. I wonder if Diana sees that I do this, and if it annoys her. She wouldn't tell me if it did, I think. Someone must have studied bacteria growth in towels. Every time I search for scientific articles they're behind a paywall. There's a puddle on the floor. Stupid Remy. How would I use one of these racing mind situations in a film? Close up on the eyes? Looks like our palm tree needs trimming again. Wow, this landscaper is the longest lasting of the three that we've had since I was on the HOA board. I wonder if we'll be able to negotiate a good renewal rate since Kyle left the neighborhood. I could make the scene black-and-white, but that's so cliche. I hate this bathtub. I hope we can afford to renovate the bathroom this year. Our neighbor Nicole gashed her leg on that sharp corner in her house. I can't believe we were in Jamaica with her at the same time but on different boats. Blue! Maybe tint the scene blue. Cut-cut-cut-cut with shots matching the rapid-fire thoughts. We could game out the renovation with a spreadsheet. All of the materials are online. I bet a GC would get better pricing though. I wonder if he'd think I was a dick or high maintenance if I did that as a starting point. Couldn't do the scene red, because that would look like Hunt For Red October. I'm going to avoid the scale until I get more morning walking done. How many days have I worn those shorts? I wish I could crack the secret to cat hair landing on black shirts in the dryer. I really don't want to be on the HOA board anymore. Was it the hotel in Sanibel that had the decor we liked? It was a blue wall, big 2x1 tiles. Where would we shoot that scene? I wonder if I can network my way to local actors that would work for cheap. It should be Pei Wei for lunch, and since I'll be out there, I'll see if Staples has any good office chairs. That IKEA chair lasted a dozen years. Oh, I love that Facebook memory of Simon pushing the cart around in IKEA. I hated having to mess with furniture at CompUSA. I can't believe I did that almost for a year after college, if you don't count the radio time. Ken liked my pandemic radio show, I wonder if anyone else did. It did air in Guam. I can't think about writing a screenplay when I haven't edited my rum doc. I'm disappointed with the external drive I have, the editing isn't as smooth as it could be, but if it was Thunderbolt 4 it would be better. My work computer was my first experience with that, that's why I bought mine. I've had that almost a year. I love the dbrand skin on it. I remember that was still new when we shot in Cape Coral. Shit, that was last spring. Bonuses are coming up, I wonder if we'll get one this year, or how close it will be to the target. I think my most recent thing on my LinkedIn page is "HOA Board Member." Who even uses that? Oh, the clock on the sink that would be a great way to show the passage of time if I did the scene as internal thoughts in the shower.

This is the best I could do writing about ten minutes after this point. It was approximately between the time I turned off the water to the time I started to shave. Maybe two minutes? There was probably more, but that's all I could remember. That's more of an oral interpretation, too, because I think a lot of it is some kind of intermediate "code" that my brain uses, separate from English.

It's like that in my head. Almost all of the time.

Add in stimuli from any environment not home. It's probably why I get so anxious in airports, busy shopping locations and such. Even theme parks, which I roll with by moving quickly, can get to me.

Hyper-focus events are also effective at helping quiet all of that noise, but it's hard to predict what those are. I think it's why I've plugged into Against The Storm so much lately, because it's a reprieve from all of that. I can do it with coding, but only if I'm really into whatever it is.

So this is a topic for my doctor next month, and I know she has some approaches for this. My therapist knows this is a thing, too, and she believes that maybe the thought stream is overwhelming my coping strategies. There are some studies that suggest the pandemic changed brains, not from Covid, but from the radical changes in habit. I buy that.


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