Brain Wall

Updated: Sep 13



In 1884, William James, who is known as the "Father of American Psychology" wrote an article called "What Is an Emotion?" The article detailed a case of "sensory insensibility" in a woman he interviewed. She explained how each of her senses seemed as if they were separated from her and she could no longer feel them. She said it seemed like they were caused by what she called a "void" in the front of her head.


I read about this article in a book I'm reading about how trauma can affect the body and the brain. Growing up, I heard all of the stereotypical ADHD tropes of "he's so smart, but not focused" and "he has so much potential". That, combined with the fact that my doctors just told my mother that I was "highly intelligent and my brain just worked differently than other kids' brains" as well as my mother's toxic positivity of always telling me I was "special and meant for great things" caused me to grow up asking myself "then why do I keep failing at everything."


I also grew up with a VERY overactive imagination, as well as reading a lot of comic books and watching superheroes on TV. I imagined that, if I just concentrated hard enough, I would discover that I had some sort of superpower and would be able to do amazing things.


But I've always felt like there was this barrier, right at the front of my head, preventing that. It is the strangest sensation. It's like I can actually feel like something is stopping my brain from pushing past it in the front of my head.


As I read what this woman described as a void in the front of her head causing her to be disconnected from her senses, it all clicked for me that I am feeling that same void. I especially feel it during times when I'm having really bad ADHD. I also feel it when I go into my manic-depressive states and get disconnected from myself. I think what I was feeling was caused by my ADHD and in my mind, it was me trying to push past my ADHD and live up to that supposed untapped potential.



I now know, that, without my ADHD, I very likely might have actually lost much of that potential as it was the ADHD that gave me the ability to hyperfocus and learn things so quickly.


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