The brain is a big place, lots of stuff goes on in there and I’m guessing no person that is only one person has any clue about all of it- though many people have studied bits and pieces of it over the years. Enough so that brain scientists, neurologists and psychologists that is, and the related fields have mapped out what the various parts do, or at least think they have.
It seems almost odd to me, me being an ADHD person that enjoys thinking about intrapersonal group dynamics, that I would damage the specific part of my brain that controls how we shift our attention and how we process our Theory of Mind. The very concept of our own individuality, as we hold our own deepest thoughts- yet, we can also ascribe to what we know, or what we think other people think and feel. That very part of our brain that allows us to operate as an interactive species, is the part I broke.
However, I do firmly believe in the science of plasticity, so I have to wonder what that means for me. If the damaged parts have regrown, which the proliferation of glial cells implies, has perhaps this portion of my brain grown back stronger? How would I know?
I feel I’ve read a dozen scientific papers today, though I think I only made it all the way through two of them. Each one is so thick, with dozens more words for me to google and try to understand, just to go back to reading the paper I was first on. Rabbit hole after rabbit hole, from one study to the next. Gladly, all the papers have had great bibliographies, which, you guessed it, just deepens the rabbit hole.
How do I think about how I feel, if the part of my brain that thinks about how I feel doesn’t work? If that part doesn’t work, how do I feel about how I think?
By luck, I did not get to focus on myself today. A friend came to visit me and stayed for several hours and had a story to share with me. I asked, and he let me take notes so that I would not need to ask him questions. I spent just over five hours listening and have enough notes that I could retell the same story now in half an hour.
Perspective. I do have brain damage, and other previous physical and emotional damages (as do we all,) yet what is the fullness of my new personal effect? Am I more ADHD? Am I more empathetic? Or am I less of either? Or something completely different? How can I ever objectively know?
Time to rest.