It may surprise you to find out the brain is a complex organ. Contrary to the old wives’ tales it’s functions are not limited to forcing the male of the species to think about sex six times a minute or to be available in smaller, more manageable ladies’ sizes. No, it’s a busy old beaver and with all it’s spongy irons in the fire it’s understandable that sometimes things get dropped. Like that mixed metaphor, for instance. Boom!

I feel like using my faulty brain to try to learn about why my brain is faulty is like commenting online, or trying to enjoy a hen do; an exercise in futility. It doesn’t help that the myriad components of the brain all seem to have names like one of Superman’s holiday destinations. The Columns of Fornix. The Basel Ganglia. It’s so distracting to the efficacy of my autodidactism. A few fifty-cent words in there. (Don’t worry, it won’t last.)

In spite of the significant obstacles, I’ve managed to posit a few, possibly spurious, ideas as to why my head be so whack-whack sometime. (Aaaaaand there it goes.)

Docs of the Brain Box are pretty sure the organ has evolved to exist in three distinct parts, otherwise known as the triune brain. (1) The neocortex or neomammalian brain, (2) the limbic system and, my favourite, (3) the reptilian brain. Each part of this holy trinity is wedged within, or around the other, like a tasty three bird roast!

Fun fact: the three bird roast – made up of a chicken, wrapped in a duck, enveloped in a turkey – is also known as a Turducken, which never ceases to amuse me. Say it out loud. It’s an hilarious triple portmanteau.

I digress.

Props should go out to the educated sophistication of the neomammalian brain which enables us to hold down jobs and develop an app so we can share pictures of our genitals with strangers.

Plus, we should maintain a healthy respect for the primal reptilian brain which sees to all the body’s vital functions, like breathing and blinking (I think. I stopped reading about it pretty quickly. Who has the time?)

But it’s the complex structures of the middle-fella – the limbic system – that are involved with motivation, emotion, learning and memory. So, just about everything at which I’m catastrophically shite.

Methinks this requires further investigation!

Gather round. The theory goes that the ‘middle meat’ limbic system is found in all mammals and was the first higher level to evolve around the more primitive reptilian brain. It is the duck in your skull’s delicious Turducken, if you will. Your chicken-hugging duck flesh includes tasty-sounding structures like the amygdala, hippocampus, anterior thalamic nuclei and septal nuclei.

When they’ve got their socks pulled up, the amygdala are great at managing ‘episodic’ memories, like stories and memories. I’ve also heard they help to convert short-term into long-term memories. Given what I’ve experienced memory-wise, I think mine were a ‘display only’ pair.

Just down the road aways from the wee almond shaped amygdala is the hippocampus. It’s really hard not to think about little anthropormorphic hippopotami going to university at this point. Little mortar boards teetering precariously on their heads. But I was able to break through those thoughts and learn (just like those ambitious African mammals – what a positive story) that this component of the limbic system assists spatial memory, environmental memory and has a connection to sound and speech.

They say* our thoughts are recorded in terms of ‘silent speech’. We believe this speech as truth. Why wouldn’t we? We are super trustworthy people, us. I’d leave me at home with my baby while I ran to the supermarket to buy cat food. But if our internal monologue is this powerful, is it so surprising that those of us who think negatively about ourselves believe it so easily? We’ve made those negative thoughts part of our actual memory. Fucking idiots. We can’t do anything right.

How does this information assist me and my anxiety issues? I’m not exactly sure as by this stage I’ve completely forgotten what I’m writing about. Memory! To recap, the brain almonds in my turkey layer might be faulty, but that would be somewhat of a best guess. Whatever it is, the general lack of clarity is making me anxious.

•the cat’s mothers


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