Mental Geographic

I mentioned in a recent post that I have world class procrastination skills. If something’s a bit hard or unpleasant then why not put that fucker off for as long as you can?

But sometimes procrastinating about bigger stuff is not really fine at all.

Bills don’t go away if you ignore them (which doesn’t mean I haven’t given it a red hot go), and if you put off planning for the future indefinitely, the odds are that the future will probably reward your lack of interest by being pretty crap.

So these days when it comes to the big stuff I try to do the right thing. Take care of business. Be a grown up.

However before I could step up on to the podium and claim my adult mickey-badge there was one last big source of procrastination I had to face.

Mickey Badge small

My health.

Now before you panic and think the worst, everything is more than likely to be just FINE.

Without going into too many morbid details I get very nasty hemi-plegic migraines. The effects are similar like a stroke – I lose feeling down one side of my body and when I try to talk all I can manage is slurred nonsense.

This, combined with a family history of strokes including a member of my immediate family, meant that it was prudent for me to have a couple of tests to check out what was going on in the old noggin.

Again no cause for alarm – just a look see to make sure there wasn’t anything they should be monitoring up there.

Anyway true to form I’d been procrastinating. For a few years actually. Yes, you can all shout at me in the comments.

But then about 2 weeks ago I got a bad one.

It scared me and worst of all it scared my boys. It made me think about what it would be like if I really got sick or incapacitated.

And suddenly it all became very clear. I looked into three pairs of big worried brown eyes and I realised I owed it to them to be as healthy as possible.

So last week I bit the bullet and went and had an MRI.

Somehow I managed to fight the initial surge of claustrophobia and not freak out like a cat in a sleeping bag. As I became acclimatised to the smooth white interior of the giant donut they put you in I thought, “This could actually be quite peaceful. I could even have a little nap!”

That was before the NOISE! Thuds and whirrs and beeps and shudders of all kinds assaulted my ears. If you can imagine a dance party inside a washing machine then you’re pretty close.

Anyway,Β  I got the actual scans back straight away and because no-one told me not to I thought I’d take a peak.

Apparently this is what my brain looks like on the inside…

What my brain really looks like...

What my brain really looks like…

I have to say I found the experience of looking at my own brain deeply weird.

And also a little… creepy.

The sausage-like white masses, swirling shadows and wriggling black curlicues all looked vaguely spooky.

Like somewhere zombies would live.

So to stop myself freaking out completely I decided I’d try to create my own literal “mind-map” as a way of reclaiming the interior landscape of my brain.

I did some research and found out which sections of the brain controlled certain functions, and then added the various bits and pieces of my personality where I thought they’d fit in.

I also changed the colour scheme. I decided gelato-inspired pastels were much cheerier than misty grey and fathomless black.

Here is the final result…

What I think the inside of my brain looks like :)

What I think the inside of my brain looks like πŸ™‚

Much livelier don’t you think?

And here is some info about who’s in who in the zoo in my brain…

The Cerebrum
In charge of thinking, processing, logic, emotions and getting shit done. This is where “I” live – my personality which is represented by the sane and polite looking lady in the blue shirt. The Sensible thoughts also live in this area since they are generally behind any attempts to “get shit done”.

No I don’t know what the sparrow is doing in there but I must say I’m not really surprised.

The Cerebellum and Brain Stem
The are in charge of fine motor sills and also of the unconscious processes like breathing, heart beat etc. These are the shift-workers of the brain, doing the night shift to keep the show running after the rest of the mind has clocked off. Doing the vital things that we take for granted.

The Cerebellum is also in charge of fine motor skills, which for me means speed texting and getting tiny splinters out of chubby little feet.

The Thalamus
Receives and sends signals. Like a satellite dish only smaller. Does not pick up Foxtel which is probably for the best as I suspect I would immediately fall into suspended animation, while mentally catching up on all the Game of Thrones episodes I am yet to see.

The Pituitary Gland
Ruler of hormones which are in turn in charge of telling bits of the body to do certain things at certain times. They are the winged messengers of the brain, only occasionally becoming the “mad banshees” of the brain for women at certain times of the month.

I don’t really know what they do for you fellas except make you hairy and horny.

Maybe they are the “70’s Porn Stars” of the brain for you?

The Amygdala
This area could literally be re-named “The Ministry for Love & War”, as both love and aggression originate here.

You will also notice that Ms Bad Ass likes to hang out in this area as well, as she is usually present when I a) fly of the handle and lose my temper or b) get that loving feeling (if you know what I mean ;))

The Hippocampus
This is the main area that our memories are stored. A chest containing all my history and the events that have made me who I am. As you can see they are stored in an old style locked chest, representing that there are some things you can’t “back-up” on an external drive.

There’s only one creepy creature that I had to include – The Defeaters.

Similar to Harry Potter’s Dementors (although obviously not trademarked to JK Rowling!) The Defeaters are the doubts, the second guesses and self-defeating thoughts that hold me back and occasionally paralyse me into total inertia.

I wish they didn’t exist but unfortunately there are the odd few lurking towards the back of my mind. They are prolific breeders though, and require constant vigilance to ensure they don’t multiply out of all control.

My never-fail solutions to kick their ass when I feel them starting to gain a foothold in my thoughts?

Spend time talking with and listening to my boys. Their imagination, humour and excitement about the world and all it’s possibilities is so infectious that The Defeaters literally shrivel up and die in the bright light of their optimism.


Anyway, I’m going back to the doctor this week to get the scans decoded.

I only procrastinated about it for a few days so that’s not too bad relatively speaking. The mental image of three pairs of big brown eyes looking at me while I was prostrate on the couch is proving to be all the motivation I need.

And if he finds out what the sparrow is doing in there I’ll let you know πŸ˜‰


40 comments on “Mental Geographic

  1. Tegan says:

    Good luck with the decoding. I had an eeg and mri when I was 15. They found out I do in fact have a brain, it’s just a little damaged.

  2. mumabulous says:

    Boom! Again you dazzle with brilliance. This is why everyone must read your blog πŸ˜‰
    Anyway my brain can be represented by a crumpet- a round baked good riddled with tiny holes.

    • Rachel says:

      Thank you so much Brenda – I am blushing now πŸ™‚ Your crumpet-brain and my sparrow-infested brain are going to be very good friends x

  3. Lydia C Lee says:

    I trust all will be well – I have had to see a Neurologist for 2 different reasons over the last couple of years, only to discover it’s “All perfectly normal in a woman your age”. Aging sucks.

    • Rachel says:

      Even if that was true your doctor should have had more sense than to phrase it like that! Aging does indeed suck but glad to know that you’re all good.

  4. Jen B Hale says:

    Great post! Its amazing what helps us push past procrastination!

  5. Kevin says:

    Gold – I’m all up for a Encyclopaedia-style diagram of the brain. Hope the MRI goes well –

    • Rachel says:

      Thanks mate – should be fine I think. Better to know for sure in any case. Need to get animal control on to those sparrows if nothing else πŸ™‚

  6. Oculus Mundi says:

    Jeez, hon. You managed to make me laugh despite the horrid seriousness of the topic. I had an MRI once, it was utterly terrifying, I had no idea I would react like that, I got through but I genuinely hope I never have to have one again.

    Loved your mind map, lord only knows what you find in mine, but I suspect nothing as harmless as a sparrow πŸ˜€ Maybe a werewolf…

    I really hope there is some treatment you can get. And I am very glad you stopped procrastinating (I am the procrastination queen you will be unsurprised to hear!)

    • Rachel says:

      I did have an initial surge of panic when they slid me into the machine. Your initial reaction is to freak out and I had to focus quite hard on calming myself down. I had a really good calming technician though which I think made all the difference.

      I’m not surprised you are a fellow procrastinator as we share more than a few similarities of character ;). I don’t think you’d find any werewolves in your brain because Jodi would kick their ass!

  7. Me says:

    It’s no good that you have procrastinated over your health but I am glad that you have been for the MRI. Love your mind map – at the moment there would be more skull and crossbones in my mind map if I had to draw one !!!
    Take care of yourself and can’t wait to hear that everything is OK with you !
    Love, hugs and positive energy.

    • Rachel says:

      Thank you so much Me – you really are lovely πŸ™‚ Hope you can clear out those skull & cross bones soon with the positive changes you’ve made recently xx

  8. Miss Cinders says:

    Is it bad that I laughed out loud? Because I did.

    But ‘m guessing that was the point. if you can’t find humour in the most serious of places we’d all go crazy!

    I hope the decoding goes well, and an answer is an easy fix to the horrid headaches.

    Good Luck!

    MC x

    • Rachel says:

      You’ve got me in one Miss Cinders! Yes it was my way of trying to find some humour in a situation that was freaking me out a bit. So definitely not bad that you laughed πŸ˜‰

  9. Am I really reading this for the first time? Loved it! What a great blog. Looking forward to finding out if the sparrow is going to be nesting in there for a while πŸ˜‰

  10. Ness says:

    Hope all goes well witht the results and you can have some treatment. I’ve had MRI’s before and they are not fun

    You obviously have a very clever brain. you have so much going on up there. With me there’s just air.

  11. Holy moly those migraines sound absolutely horrific. I’ve had a couple of old school migraines in my time and I literally thought I was going to die. I don’t know how you cope with such scary regular ones! Hope the doc can decode them to your satisfaction.
    Your mind map is high-larious! You funny clever thing xxx
    MRIs sound utterly nightmarish. My aunt was telling me her sister had one recently and emerged sobbing and distraught. You done well to survive it.

    • Rachel says:

      Yes me too – I like to bravado things out but was horrible that it scared the boys. My mum or Brook would usually step in to the breach but mum was away and Brook was at work and couldn’t leave. Glad you like the mind map – it was fun to do and also helped defuse my stress about it. R xxx

  12. Kim says:

    You have an extremely hilarious brain. I want a sparrow too but suspect I have a mouse, nibbling away at the corners. Good girl getting your MRI. My last one I pretended I was in a dance party… The beat is almost hypnotic. And, verdict? Neuro says I have a beautiful looking brain. No white bits. Yay! How did you know I needed help with defeators? Shall we add psychic to your list of talents? Xx

    • Rachel says:

      Had a bit of a bad week with the defeaters last week myself. If you’re like me they’re quiet for ages and then something will set them off. I’ve got to nip that in the bud before they get out of hand or else I start getting all mopey and “aint nobody got time for that”!

  13. Stuart P says:

    When I was a med student I was paid to undergo a drug trial. They gave me $1000, a cab voucher, filled me with amphetamines and performed an MRI. To this day I’m not really sure why. The drugs really made the MRI more enjoyable; like a really small nightclub. And they really should have deposited that money somewhere safe …. speed and a cab voucher = shopping trip. What a waste.
    Hope all is well, let me know if u want me to take a sneaky look at the decoding πŸ˜‰

    • Rachel says:

      Lol can just imagine you pumped on speed and shopping up a storm! You would have been totally rocking out to the beat πŸ™‚ I thinks things will be fine – Bridget’s stroke was actually caused by an undetected heart issue but my hemiplegia means that they want to rule out brain before they look at my heart. But thanks x

  14. I watched a DVD series on the brain not too long ago, and it really is amazing how clever it is. Nothing else quite like it.

  15. Talia says:

    I’m a procrastinator too, especially with health things. We never really went to the doctors as a kid, so I guess it’s just normal for me not to go!
    Sounds like it was definitely good you went though! Hope the doctor not only decodes it so he knows what’s happening, but also so you do!

  16. Bachelormum says:

    Looks like u might be telling the go what it all means, clever lady.

  17. robomum says:

    This brain pic explains everything! I didn’t know you suffered migraines so badly. That is scary but i’m glad that you’re getting it all checked out. Love The VIB!!

  18. Zanni Arnot says:

    Great post Rachel as always. I studied psychology, but this is a far superior explanation of the workings of the brain! I hope you go OK with the MRI results and receive some useful information about it. xxx

  19. SHIT Rach – what a bloody worry girl! The Husband had one 6 weeks ago after HORRIFIC headaches for weeks, he had the works, eg scan, tests and they found nothing..thankfully. I’ve just remember he used to suffer from migraines years ago, thanks for reminding me, maybe it’s a piece of the puzzle.
    Hugs to you girl, some scary shit I bet
    Em xxx

  20. Marti says:

    Have been wondering how you’re going! Glad you got the tests done. Love your brain diagram and glad you explained the whip and leathers- makes perfect sense now. She wasn’t labelled so I would’ve had to have asked- awkward!

    • Rachel says:

      Thanks Marti. Got the results today and apparently the brain is clear – no sparrows or anything else dodgy thank goodness! I know have to go and see a cardiologist to ensure that there is nothing in my heart that could be causing blood clots. But at least stage one is over with – YAY me!!

      Ms Bad Ass appeared in my post titled Mid-life Crisis. There’s a better explanation about her there πŸ˜‰

  21. It’s scary to think there may be a lurker in the ol’ brain, but the joy of technology means we can detect any issues that may need addressing nice and early.
    I must say, your brain looked very pretty good to me. If I was a zombie, I’d probably want to nibble it.
    Is that weird?

    • Rachel says:

      No not at all weird – it’s the gelato-inspired colour scheme I think! And have just received the news that there are no physical lurkers which is great. Maybe a few psychological ones but nothing I can’t handle πŸ˜‰

  22. I hear ya on the procrastinating health thing. I had a lump growing out the top of my head for years, was pretty certain it was a cyst, but after Dave basically told me he’d be really pissed off with me if it was some kind of tumour and I went and died on him, I took the plunge and got it checked. Just as I suspected, benign cyst, got it removed (while Dave watched, he is so gross) and at least I don’t have to be wondering about it anymore. I hope the results are all a-ok, it would be a shame to lose such an awesome brain.

    I reckon your sparrow is pretty cool, if I had to guess what I had living in mine it would probably be a koala, always sleepy and slightly stoned looking!

    • Rachel says:

      Exactly Kylie! The stress of worrying and not knowing is always much worse than when you eventually take action. Yet we still procrastinate and put it off – contrary bastards aren’t we lol! Anyway like you it was the kids that got me motivated in the end. They have a way of making things really clear cut I find.

      And I definitely have my stoned-koala brain moments too πŸ™‚

  23. What a fantastic post. Your images are amazing. I really hope all goes well with the decoding. MRIs are no fun – but better to get tested and put your mind at rest. So to speak. I bet that sparrow never rests. Good luck x

  24. Grace says:

    “Speed texting and getting tiny splinters out of chubby little feet” – My cerebellum definitely needs to sharpen up. Is this where I say I’m going to take up crochet or sewing??
    Good luck for the decoding! x

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