Fearless

I don't understand why it's becoming so difficult to fight myself, why words and gestures are starting to make me feel uncomfortable. I used to be so strong about controlling my feelings and queasiness, probably because there used to be nothing so major to affect me and I was a kid. It scares me to start feeling like I'm not as strong as I thought, and the more I learn about these involuntary neurological disorders and other diseases that outnumber the voluntary, the more I feel lost. That feeling when something affects you so strongly but you can't push it away and you can't fight it. I used to be able to detach myself but now everything sticks.

A woman came into the clinic today for a follow up about tremors in her arm that she was having. She denied pain but said when the doctor pushed down on her muscles that they were "tender." Okay fine. She must have repeated at least 50 times as he put pressure and she winced that it was only tender. That was kind of annoying. But then she started describing this sort of restless feeling and aching and started to rub her arm up and down that made me strangely uncomfortable. I started feeling what she was describing too and I started getting lightheaded almost. Now, whether that was because the room was too hot or I hadn't drank enough water or because of this I have no idea. Regardless, I had to leave and go drink some water because I just couldn't control it. I begged it to stop but it wouldn't. And this is just me, I'm neurologically sound. It makes me even more uncomfortable to think of these people who can't control the headaches and the tremors and the numbness that come on without any choice of their own. I can't decide if this is a sign that I would or wouldn't be a good doctor, that I empathize with people or that I empathize with people too much. Another patient came in with restless leg syndrome and another with vertigo and again, I empathized to the point where I started to try and imagine how they felt and boy, it sure did come on. How do I keep in control an involuntary feeling that I am trying to imagine and bring upon myself?


So I suppose it's empathy for fear and suffering. This doesn't make me unique, everyone's afraid of these disorders happening to them. I have the opportunities and the resources and the drive to learn more about them, hopefully educate others, research them to find better treatments, and help the people who are suffering. It seems so simple when you think about it, right? What are simple headaches or tremors in comparison to things like cancer and autoimmune disorders? They're all difficult life styles to deal with, the recurring ones, the ones inside you, the ones you can't escape no matter what. Until I got a closer look the way that I am now by shadowing, these strong feelings have never been evoked from inside of me. I've been saying for a while that I want to study Alzheimer's disease because it's one of the things that scares me the most, but now I realize that there a lot more things about the brain that scare me. Seeing those patients, though, the way their faces light up after you tell them they will get better and they do get better, it's one of the most rewarding feelings for a doctor, I'll bet. 


Motivation and reward are a cyclic pathway. If you have one, you'll have the other. Keep it running. Find that one thing that motivates you, that activates the dopamine receptors in your reward system, and you will be successful. The truthful words of my fantastic shadowing doctor. 


I was also thinking today about a video that I mentioned waaaayy back when, one of my favorite short films by Wong Fu Productions called Shell.




It talks about creating fake memories for things that you don't have real memories for. The video is romanticized, but the idea is simple. Remembering things that didn't actually happen. I think the idea describes a lot of what we call fantasies or desires or daydreams. We create artificial worlds with artificial scenarios and imagine them as they might happen. I always thought this was an interesting idea, to have fake memories, but then the girl also says "What good is it if it didn't happen?" I always used to think his reply was valid, that it's about the feeling and the only person who needs to feel it is you. But I'm starting to realize that you can never reproduce a feeling of a real memory in a fake memory. You can remember a certain scenario from experience and place it elsewhere, that might give you half the feeling, but a fake memory or a daydream never sticks. Not in my case, anyway. There are feelings and emotions and sensory input that sticks and the brain isn't complex enough to create its own scenarios where all of these things are present but never happened in real life. I'm speaking from a purely speculative point of view, not at ALL neurological haha. Obviously, part of this is because unless you're in a situation, you will never know how it really feels to be in that situation. If there's a boy you like and you daydream about kissing him but never actually have, until you do you won't really be satisfied, will you? You create a fake memory of having a prom that blew your mind away but it won't be enough. And this is why fake memories can't exist and we only dream. From a purely speculative point of view of course. Once I learn more about neuroscience, I'll definitely sound more scientific. Maybe. Being speculative is a lot of fun.


Okay it's really late now. Peace out.

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