mania, anxiety and paranoia

Today was my first real neurofeedback session, now that all of the personality tests and 18-point EEG readings are out of the way. We’ve identified a few brain patterns that aren’t what they should be, and we’re going to be focusing on the more emotional areas first. I think it was the ratio of gamma-to-theta waves, but I could be mistaken.

The process itself is deceptively simple: You’re hooked to an EEG, you sit at a computer, and you play with a program. In today’s session, the software we used had science-y looking realtime readouts around the sides of the screen, and in the centre a video was playing. It was a generic meditation/relaxation DVD, with babbling brooks and new age music and whatever else. On the readouts beside it, you could see each of the brainwaves that were being monitored, and how far away from the target range they are. If you’re not hitting the target, the video window gets smaller and smaller, and the sound starts cutting out. The closer you get to the target, the larger the video is, and the better you can hear everything. If you’re hitting the target perfectly, the video plays perfectly.

You have to figure out how to put your brain in the space it’s supposed to be, and then try to keep it there. If you overanalyze what you’re doing, you’ll lose it. If you trance out, you’ll lose it. There’s a very fine balance that you have to find, and it wasn’t easy at all.

It’s also a total mindfuck to participate in an exercise where you’re concentrating on thinking, and you witness an immediate reaction in the physical world; it feels a lot like you imagine telekinesis might.

The session was fairly short today, I was only able to get in 20 minutes or so before I started to become mentally exhausted, and my performance started to bomb. It’s a very odd kind of fatigue, and not one that I really have words for. I’ve been warned that when a lot of work is done on these specific brain pattens, I might become unusually emotional, or start mentally stepping through old and unpleasant memories. What fun that sounds like!

Anyway.

Wednesday is the next one, and I’m thinking about burning my own DVDs to use. Maybe Brian Eno or some Coil, with vidcaps from milkdrop or something similar.

This is a pretty spooky process, in truth. I’m not saying that so I can collect internet reassurances or show the world how spookproof Jairus is (or isn’t), but rather so I can understand it myself. I don’t scare easy; I might freak out, panic, worry, or lose my shit, but those are familiar emotions, and this one isn’t.

Let the night be too dark for me to see
into the future. Let what will be, be.

13 thoughts on “mania, anxiety and paranoia

  1. ry bringing in some really nasty porn… really nasty ‘should I be arresting you for ever hearing bout that’ level of porn.

    then see what conversations ensue…

    P.S. really cool…. i’d like to play with that

  2. It’s also a total mindfuck to participate in an exercise where you’re concentrating on thinking, and you witness an immediate reaction in the physical world; it feels a lot like you imagine telekinesis might.

    That sounds downright bizarre and awesome… and kinda creepy all at the same time.

  3. It sounds like it has a nice Philip K. Dick feel to it, where nice is defined as severe mind fuck.
    Better to face all this head on and eyes open than to hide and pretend it isn’t happening while becoming ever more fearful.

  4. I don’t scare easy; I might freak out, panic, worry, or lose my shit, but those are familiar emotions, and this one isn’t.

    That’s the kind of shit I fucking revel in. Total loss of context, total loss of any kind influence, just raw and all-enveloping EXPERIENCE.

    I gots to get me some of that neurofeedback software. Hmm… I wonder if there’s a torrent for that…

  5. You have to figure out how to put your brain in the space it’s supposed to be, and then try to keep it there. If you overanalyze what you’re doing, you’ll lose it. If you trance out, you’ll lose it. There’s a very fine balance that you have to find, and it wasn’t easy at all.

    wowie.

    did it at least get easier to find the balance the longer you did it?

  6. Your description is brilliant. I hope it helps you because it sounds rather disconcerting and maybe stressful.

    Would you think I’m strange if I said I wanted to try it?

  7. Not at all. I was fascinated by the idea of neurofeedback when I read about it a long time ago in Wired (or Nature or something), and it’s no less fascinating now that I’m part of the process.

    It’s not stressful, exactly. It is pretty disconcerting, though.

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