So, how do I do a first post on my new and first blog? I guess by pointing out some information that I have put together that explains what this is all about.
I am a former research scientist who now works in public education. I left because I was not naturally cut out for the research environment, and if you want that story it’s here, as well as the entire reason I want to do this experiment.
I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and thought I got over it. It turns out that was not the case (I saw a neurologist), rather I got used to it but it still made me too inefficient to survive in today’s academic research environment. I could have earned my PhD and tried to stay in academia, but I would have ended up a miserable person. While I was getting my bad news about the ADHD the neurologist also dropped another tag on me that I had no idea I had, Tourette Syndrome.
The popular stereotype of Tourette Syndrome is the person who can not stop cussing. Those folks do exist, but they are a minority within a minority, so of course they are even more misunderstood than me.
The best way to describe what it is like to have TS is to say that you always want “to do”, just “TO DO”! It’s like when you get electrocuted and your muscles keep contracting except that it never stops no matter how tired you are. You can’t stop it unless you focus on it, but of course life won’t let you spend your attention that way, so when you are not paying attention, you twitch, or move joints, or hum, or engage in a collection of other interesting behaviors (http://tourettenowwhat.tripod.com/all_about_tics.htm#TicList). Once while sharing driving duties with my wife for 16 hours I got physically stir crazy enough that I burst a capillary in my eye 😉
I always knew that I was a twitchy kid, but that was not something that I expected, and I had no idea what that meant beyond the stereotype. Fast forward a couple years while attempting to become a teacher in a bad economy and eventually all those internalized science routines needed an outlet, bad.
More info here. You see, I had joined this community of individuals who became obsessed with a children’s cartoon and believe it or not I think it is related. About nine months ago I got caught up in one of the most creative fandoms that have ever existed (It’s my blog, argue away) and I am now am a full-blown Brony, which is the name taken by adult male fans of the modern reboot of “My Little Pony” (Friendship is Magic). There I was, this mostly antisocial person who was now surrounded by people writing, drawing, animating, and I was having all these excited emotions running through me that were, not new but in a different context and I did not know how to handle it. I was reading about ADHD and TS at the same time and I had all this science in my brain, my background and it was like I went a little crazy for a bit. I was analyzing everything, and especially things having to do with brains and it felt like some weird OCD. I actually had to work to stop being analytical! (pity my wife)
I did a lot of writing during that time in order to have an outlet from what I think might be a weird combination of the TS and the socially triggered creative impulses. There was something trying to come alive in my head and it did not have the proper tools (connections?) to properly express itself. What ended up reducing the intensity of the analytical OCD was my research about ADHD, TS, and brains. Or it was just time and I’m reading too much into it. I don’t know for sure.
So the point of all of this is that I am trying to research the brain well enough so that I can figure out what the changes in my brain mean in real cognitive experience. If I can figure out what I am, I can figure out how to live. To that end this blog will be a journal documenting the construction of a logical model of the brain that is as accurate as I can possibly make it, and visually understandable.
If I do this right I won’t be the only one benefiting so I hope that you the reader will let me know if I am doing my job!