I’ve been working with some data regarding various mental health things and trauma. (Think big data, not understanding therapy.) It seems that many people with an alternative neural structure get triggered into their various less than optimal status by external events. Something like panic attacks is the quintessential example. Most panic attacks are triggered by an external stimulus.
That may not sound out there at all, but what if many other mental states are triggered, or even partially triggered by external events? Those of us with ADHD talk about losing our focus or being distracted. These are obviously external events, but what about the ones that aren’t so obvious?
Distracted by Distraction
There have been many studies showing that depression and ADHD are common comorbid conditions. Yours truly probably falls into that bucket. Now, depression we are taught is a continuous state, possibly caused not by stimulus but by brain chemistry. It seems that our brains have a tendency to produce low amounts of serotonin or produce excessive amounts of the chemicals that clean serotonin from the body. Either one results in less serotonin than optimal. This condition may cause depression.
But the brain is nothing if not a reactive beast constantly inundated with so many signals and stimuli that it must frequently block or discard them entirely to function properly. For example, as you sit there, what does your shirt feel like on your back?
If you are like many people, it feels like nothing, and yet the fabric of your shirt is touching your back, and you know that your back can and does feel things. So, how do you explain that your shirt feels like nothing until you bring your attention to it?
Which brings me to my points. First, could ADHD periods of distraction be caused by not properly excluding outside stimuli. Do I, as an adult with ADHD, receive and react to more stimuli about, say the update icon on my WordPress editor, than I should. Should my brain be throwing that away as irrelevant as the feel of the shirt on my back, when instead it draws my eye and my attention and throws me off of my work cataloging cool day trips from Denver for a future project?
Second, if depression is an ongoing constant depleting normal levels of serotonin, could the triggering of ADHD actually be that there is too little serotonin to please the brain about external stimuli, and so, that update icon shoots through where a serotonin pool should have stopped it with a nano-sized splash and bounces instead into my brain where it demands processing?
None of this is scientifically backed. I’ve been sloshing through what may or may not be useful data that in some cases includes various mental health factors. Without math, we see what we want to see, and I see a lot in the data that is not only not causation, but not even correlation.
There. I have typed. My brain should be mine again for at least a while.
Happy Election Day to you who are fellow Americans.