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Sunday, September 22, 2013

My Brain

WARNING: This is a LONG one, so be prepared!

I do a lot of thinking about a lot of things. Recently, I've been thinking a lot about my seizures - what causes them? How do I stop them? Will these meds work? What are they doing to me that I don't know about?

Background Information

But that's not all that I think about. Some of the people who have been closest to me recently know that there is something special about me. I study EVERYTHING. And I don't mean like studying in school. I don't pick up a book and read about things, I don't peruse the internet looking for random information. I see details that most people miss. I pay attention to things that others don't even know exist. And I think that's why I have never actually had to study in school. I see these details, and I analyze them over time.

I have told this to some people, because I can often read people better than they could ever imagine. I watch body language, I listen to voice fluctuations, I pay attention to breathing rates, I see eye movements... I notice everything. The craziest part? I don't try to do any of this, it just happens.

I don't always even realize what I've seen, heard, or felt, until later when I've had a chance to analyze the data that I've collected. And even this analysis is not usually done consciously. I will be sitting here at my computer and suddenly realize "Hey, when I said that her eyes opened slightly wider" or something similarly trivial. Or at least it would be trivial to anyone else. I collect this data, analyze it, and figure out what it means - all without any conscious effort. I realize over time that I've seen that eye movement before, and figure out that it means that she was scared, or that she was amazed, or whatever. Each small detail means something different, and I figure all of that out.

And I do the same with everything, everywhere. Some driving examples - I analyze traffic lights that I'm sitting at, I figure out the optimal speed to approach a turn, I watch the patterns of drivers on the road and know when it's safe to pass them, I can tell an unmarked cop car from the moment I see it (don't ask me how. I haven't actually figured that one out yet, I just know.)

My mind is an amazing thing, and I'm not just saying that because this is me that I'm talking about. Some people would see this behavior as over analytic, or possibly even crazy, or deranged. Personally, I see it as genius. The only problem is that I have an overwhelming knowledge of all sorts of random crap, and I can't seem to gain a mass of knowledge about 1 particular subject. As most of you know I am very into computers, but I still see myself as a novice in comparison to many others in my field. I know bits and pieces about all the different parts of a computer, but I can't even focus that one field into one specialty in the field. Part of this is because I can't focus on one thing. I'm too busy analyzing everything... but I can't stop it, it just happens.


So why am I talking about this? Well I've had many theories about my seizures, and this is one that I've held for a long time. It is widely accepted that seizures are caused by an over-activity in the brain, and I think that me pulling in all of this information is causing an overload in my brain.

I bring in so much information that I'm not always able to process it as quickly as it arrives, and that causes the over-stimulation and therefore causes a seizure.

What kind of information leads me to this conclusion? Well, as far as I can tell, the two biggest triggers of my seizures are stress and fatigue. Not fatigue like after a workout, not fatigue like I just got done with a quick sprint, fatigue that affect my body and mind so much that I can barely move or think.

And what about the stress? I seem to have seizures when I'm focused too intently on one thing, and not processing the other information that is flowing in at the same time. When I get overly stressed, I tend to stagnate on whatever it is that I'm stressed about, and can't think about anything else.

Monday when I had the partial seizure, it started while driving home from a talk with someone who means a lot to me. Someone who I am trying desperately to cling on to some semblance of a relationship with, be it friendship or whatever. I was so focused on the talk, on what I could do to make the situation better, what I had done to get the situation to its current point, where did I go wrong?... but none of that really flowed through my mind as quickly as it should have. It was like a clog in the sink, it was stuck there. Other things were flowing through, but very slowly. I think this created a build-up of sorts and created an overwhelming demand on my brain that just could be met, and the sink overflowed.

This same thing actually happened with my last tonic-clonic seizure, over 8 years ago. I had just broken up with a girlfriend a couple months earlier, and was starting something new with another girl. I had an argument with the "new" girl, and came home to an online conversation with the ex. My mind was so focused on this situation... how do I fix things with both of them? How do I keep a friendship with the ex and still have a meaningful relationship? Why is she sending me this message online? Why does it have to be right after this argument?
It was such a build-up that I couldn't think about anything else, and I started into a seizure.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming these seizures on anyone else. (At least 2 of the 3 of the people involved in these stories could potentially be reading this, and I don't want them to think any of this was their fault.) I'm just trying to make sense of my seizures, and analyze the one thing that I have failed to analyze all these years.


So what's the solution to all of this? Well, for now it's medication. I was on one medication (Tegretol) for over 20 years. It wasn't until last year, when I finally came off of it, that I realized how much it was hindering my thought process. But I think that's why it worked so well. It stopped me from pulling in these details quite as fast, and it also slowed down the process of analyzing the details. But as well as the pulling in and analyzing trivial details, it hindered all of my thoughts. It sometimes stopped me from pulling in necessary details, which is why I had a tough time grasping some concepts (like center of mass in physics.)

Now we're trying other medications which have less effect on my thought process, but so far they don't seem to work as well. I think this is because of the fact that they don't effect my thought process. My thought process needs to be manipulated in order for the flow to continue uninterrupted.

Long term, however, I think there is a better solution than medication. I need to learn how to control this process that is going on in the background. I need to learn to never stop processing the information no matter what the circumstances. I need to learn how to free my mind of the "clogs". (Get some mind Drano.) Somehow, some way, I need to learn to control my mind in a way that I can still think clearly, but also control the processing of those thoughts. I'm sure that I can do it. I just need to start by focusing on gathering more data on myself instead of my surroundings, then I need do a bit more analysis on that data.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Workout Plan

I'm about 10 lbs away from my current weight goal, so it's time to think about the second part of my fitness plan: bulking up.

I'm not done with the slimming down yet, especially since my initial goal was about 210, and my current goal is 200, but I think when I get down around 200 I'm going to want to lower it further. But still, I'm getting to the point where I need a plan for building muscle back up once I get to whatever my end goal may be.

This is not my first rodeo, I worked out constantly in high school. But unlike back then, I have knowledge about how much diet (and especially protein intake) effects your body's reaction to the workouts, I know a bit more about routines, and I'm just generally more ready to actually build some real muscle. However, I still don't really know how I want to do this.

I do know some things:
  • I want to do 5 days a week - Mon-Fri. 
  • I want to keep Tuesday and Thursday as purely cardio days. 
    • That will make sure that my cardio exercise doesn't fall by the wayside, and it will give me at least 1 day of rest between each muscle group.
  • I know how to split up my workout days by muscle group
    • Legs
    • Arms/shoulders
    • Chest/back/core
      • I don't do a whole lot of core exercise, but I figured I'd put it with chest/back
That leaves Mon/Wed/Fri as lifting days, since Tues/Thurs are cardio days. The problem I'm having is figuring out which muscle group to put on which day. Again, I know a few things about what I want, but I also have some lingering questions:
  • Arms cannot be immediately preceding chest/back
    • When I do arms before chest/back, the residual weakness/soreness in my arms affects the chest and back exercises.
  • Where do I put legs?
    • I know that legs take the longest to heal, because you are using them constantly to walk. Do I want to do Monday and be sore most of the week? Do Wednesday, and be relatively normal for the weekend? Or do Friday and be sore all weekend?
So here's a couple possible layouts:

Mon Wed Fri
Option 1 Legs Chest/back Arms
Option 2 Chest/back Legs Arms
Option 3 Arms Legs Chest/back
Option 4 Chest/back Arms Legs

Any valuable insight as to which one would be the best option and why?