Do you find that your best ideas come to you when you’re struggling to drop off to sleep? I know it’s a cliche but often true for the anxious mind. Many nights I have wished I had my boyfriend’s ability to drop off to sleep within 30 seconds (no jokes, he has a sleep gift).
Last night, I was struggling to sleep in the heat and humidity, with a million worries running rampant in my mind. I’ve been researching sociopaths for a writing project I’m working on, add that to the sheer quantity of Sherlock I have been binge watching, and I found myself back on a familiar train of thought around self-doubt and concentration.
It’s true that some people are naturally a whole lot smarter than others (academically and conceptually I mean, there are so many different types of intelligence but I was pondering the classic ‘knows lots of stuff’ kind) but really I think those with a pretty decent brain such as mine (I am no genius, I lived with a pair of near Mensa level smarties growing up – my Dad and brother – so I am aware of my place in the scheme of things) just requires concentration and the will to learn.
So, Sherlock Holmes is a genius, with a keen eye for every little detail around him but does a part of his ability spring from his apparent “high functioning psychopathic tendencies” (or sociopathic depending on your choice of terminology. Personally I don’t think he would score very high on the Hare scale as he shows frequent empathy, ability to apologize and only appears to lie for the greater good such as solving a case rather than for his own gratification and status). Is he able to concentrate and pick up every little clue because he is not distracted by flurries of emotion and social niceties?
Yes, I am going somewhere with this, not just blabbering about my latest binge topic, I’ll try to get to my point.
The question is, would I be a far smarter girl if anxiety, both social and intrinsic, didn’t get in the way of my life and learning?
I think the answer is yes. If I could find a way to quiet my self-doubt, to care a lot less about the opinions of others, of society and the general public, I think I could concentrate more adeptly on the gazzillion topics I would love to learn about, to research and to study. I am frequently disheartened by the amount of time I waste going over and over pointless conversations, interactions and catastrophisings. If I were able to find a way to shut my Bruce up for a few more hours a day, think what I could achieve!
In this day and age, a grandiose sense of self may seem like a deplorable personal characteristic, arrogance, even gluttony being anathema when managing tricky interpersonal life admin but it sure as shit helps a person get things done. Self-doubt is such a time waster, but for those of us unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with clinical disorders such as GAD, OCD, phobias and panic attacks, the road to self acceptance is a lot more complicated than the glut of inspirational Instagram post would have you believe.
My anxiety resides in my brain like a thick smog. My mind, and all it’s possibilities are a house on a hill with a beautiful view, so many wondrous avenues to mentally take and enjoy, but anxiety clouds my view with thick toxic, shitty Beijing quality smog, so I only get to enjoy my minds excellent view capabilities for a few hours a week when the smog lifts and Bruce has fucked off down the shop for a pack of ciggies (B&H gold in case you were wondering).
Management is my clean air law, letting the toxic producing shit go into the past is an important part of getting to see my view, however much of a cunt sociopath that makes me seem.