“’Mental LogJam’ is a Game Changer for Me. I’m not Crazy. I’m a CASIGY.”
I stood there tongue-tied. I wanted to say something, but four ideas competed to get out first. In my resulting confusion, nothing came out but stuttering and stammering. My supposedly great ideas got stuck inside of me and I couldn’t get any of them out; I had a mental logjam. Instead of making the significant contribution to the discussion that I wanted to make, I felt like a fool. Has that ever happened to you? Has it happened over and over again? Welcome to one aspect of being a CASIGY™! (A Creative, Acutely Aware, Super-Sensitive, Intense, and/or Gifted You)
Many highly sensitive and gifted people have told me that they have frequent LogJams in their heads. Recently as I spoke with Nancy, who describes herself as a highly sensitive, intense, gifted woman and mother, she related how difficult it often is to get her thoughts organized to communicate her insights in discussions with her friends or with her son’s teachers. As we talked about the depth of processing and complexity that often happen in CASIGYs’ heads and can result in having mental logjams, she said,
“This is a game changer for me. I’m not crazy! I’m gifted!”
She went on to say that she had often felt embarrassed and ashamed, thinking that this happens only to her, and furthermore, that it meant that there was something wrong with her.
On the contrary, I have listened to many a CASIGY’s tale of woe about the LogJams in their head. Nancy’s response reminded me how much others might have similar experiences and might be helped by this perspective too, so with her permission, here it is.
Have you had a LogJam in your head? You have several thoughts swirling around in your head at the same time. One thought invites another and then another, and soon there’s this hubbub going on inside your head. Sometimes it’s fun; sometimes it’s a hot mess. The real trouble comes when someone interrupts your stream of thought, or when you want (or need) to communicate some of it to someone else. You may go silent. You may stutter and stammer. You may blurt out something irrelevant or that others think is far-fetched. [It IS far-fetched, but you followed the fast-track trail that led to it; communicating that to others is something else again.] People may react like you are a silly idiot. If any of your “great ideas” come out at all, they are garbled and maybe nonsensical. You feel embarrassed, chagrined. How can you be smart, let alone creative, sensitive or gifted!? you ask yourself. Or you tell yourself, ‘I must be crazy to have this happen all of the time.”
As I shared with Nancy, having LogJams in your head does not make you stupid or crazy. You just have a LogJam in your head. That’s all, nothing more. Your depth of processing combined with the complexity of your HSP or Gifted mind results in this multiplicity of simultaneous thoughts. You process information on a deeper level. You see the big picture and often see the details, too. You catch connections that never occur to most other people. One idea prompts another. One fact reminds you of another. The implications of a situation stimulate one idea after ….you get the picture. Getting these thoughts to stop competing with one another and line up one-at-a-time cooperatively and at least loosely organized so they can come out in a coherent fashion can be challenging. This is a process that also takes time; time away from the conversation you’re in – which of course contributes to the sens of disconnection that often happens when you have a Log-jam in your head.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re an adult or child, this same phenomenon can happen. When this happens while doing school related homework or home school lessons, it can make doing the work take ‘forever’. Writing a paper or report can also take much longer than anyone expects it to. Each concept brings up thoughts, conversation or questions about five others, and each one of those brings up still others. And they all are interesting and seem significant. That can make sorting out what to include in the paper or report more difficult as well.
So what do you do when you have a LogJam in your head, or your child or spouse does? I’m having a LogJam in my head as I write this. I want to say three or four things at once. As I work with them to line them up, they vie for first place, then second and third. So here’s some possibilities, in random order:
- Admit/describe what has just happened in your head – that you have multiple thoughts all wanting to come out at once. This lightens the air immediately. It gives you time to gather your thoughts, and while you do that, often one of the competing thoughts will bubble to the top. You can retrieve it and put it out there. Then you can decide whether any of the others also need to see the light of day or not.
- Ask you child or teen if they are having Logjams in their head as they do school work or homework, especially if it is taking a long time to do. If they are, you can share some of this info with them.
- Put one hand or both on your belly or legs and take a deep breath, than another and another. This helps you get out of your head and connect with your body. It also sends more oxygen to the brain and slows your body, which can slow your mind and give you a chance to sort things out. As you do this, one idea will likely float to the top, and you can go from there.
- Make a silly sound or a joke out of what’s happening. Then proceed with one of the other options above. that can jog things loose in the logjam and your thoughts can organize themselves.
- You are likely thinking of other options – your own ideas may be the best ones for you, so you may want to start with those.
As Nancy and I talked more about getting and dislodging mental LogJams, she went one step further. The next step for her, and a good one for us to consider, is to think about events or situations that are coming up, and to identify ones where a mental LogJam is likely to happen. Anticipating and preparing for them can a) fend it off or b) help us get through it faster or in better shape.
I invite you to share your experiences, comments or questions in the Reply/Comment Section below. Have you had other scenarios in which you have a LogJam in your head? What helps you deal with them? Feel free to share your experiences!