Moody Mondays: Flashbacks and brain patterns

The other night I had a dream…. well, maybe it was more of a nightmare. Somehow I had transported myself back to a time several years ago.

It was one of those old circumstances… some kind of social or work situation… and I briefly felt like I used to feel… surrounded by all these mean, heartless people. They were judging me and hating me… pointing their fingers at me and laughing at me. I felt stupid and inadequate… shunned and unloved… like one big gigantic failure!

And then, briefly I felt that old sharp and excruciating pain running through my head and torso… as if someone had slashed me with a knife…. deep and jagged… pain so intense it can’t be handled without something drastic happening… and then I woke up… crying!


Things are a lot different these days. I no longer have this same mentality of: “the world is against me.” That is mental illness talking, pure and simple. Narcissism maybe. Healthy adults don’t blame. They shake off the dust and move on with life. I realize I’m not being targeted or singled out. Good people are good people and assholes are assholes. “They” aren’t pointing their fingers at me or laughing at me… and if “they” are, more power to them. I can choose to reject peoples’ judgments of me. This is “healthy adult” talking.

So where did this dream/nightmare come from all of a sudden? I’m certain it was the result of being stressed out about some things lately and my fluctuating moods because of it.

There’s a concept that’s been rolling around in my brain for a while. A google search helped pin it down. It’s called brain patterning.

Once a pattern of behavior has been established, it gets imprinted on the brain and interacts with an infinite number of other thoughts and patterns. These patterns can be beneficial but they can also be extremely destructive.

I found this dense yet fascinating article published on the NIH website: “Superior pattern processing is the essence of the evolved human brain.” Here is one interesting little nugget derived from that article:

“It can be argued that although their symptoms are different, human psychiatric disorders all involve distortions of reality… In essence, the SPP [superior pattern processing] capabilities of imagination and envisioning future scenarios are dysregulated.

What does all this really mean? If we identify certain unhealthy patterns in our brain functioning, would it be easier to then break those patterns? Would it be easier to then replace those patterns with healthier thoughts? Isn’t this what mental health therapy already aims to do anyway?

Fascinating how this concept is so simplistic, yet, oddly, highly complex at the same time. Such is our human existence.

To be sure, this is an area of human psychology that is slowly evolving, especially as it applies to human behavior.


Every Monday from now until I get tired of it I will be posting on various mental health topics. That’s a joke. I never get tired of talking about mental health!


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12 comments

  1. This comes from all the “knowledge” gathered in one semester of Freshman Psych, so, you know…

    As you seem to suspect yourself, JoAnn, crying doesn’t convey, inevitably, sadness or loss. Much of the time, in fact, it reflects emotion’s overwhelming force, bad or good. “Tears of Joy,” anyone?

    Not that your dream provided much cause for joy, at least not on the surface, but I think it does reflect your realization of just how far you’ve come. So intense was the release, its power awoke you and caused a physical response, the sobbing. Far too much happening to keep bottled up in your mind.

    This, perhaps, is your catharsis.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s a lot of joy in knowing that I don’t feel the same way anymore. It’s like being let out of a trap… one that my brain mistakingly built for itself. It’s definitely cathartic to write about it and expel it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow!

    There is more wisdom in this post than most people will find in a lifetime of therapy. Humans are so primed to see patterns that we start to see them when none exist. It is a fundamental problem in science.

    Separating a signal from the noise is tricky when you don’t know what the signal is supposed to be and the noise is full of random sequences that are there by chance. Then you mix in inherent biases, where we have a signal we actively want to find rather than simply accepting whatever the data offers.

    Maybe mental health can be defined as merely keeping confirmation bias down to a dull roar.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is a very fascinating subject and demonstrates how much we know don’t know about how our brains work. I suppose we have to try and make sense of it somehow… sort the noise from the signals… I was just reading something about how the noise may mean more than we think it does… time for some rum! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well, it’s all related, I believe. Different methods of essential the same aim of changing the mind and improving the way we use it.
      For me personally, seeing the pattern or patterns of behavior that are destructive is helpful in changing those behaviors. Nothing new per se.
      Neuroscientists of course use this kind of information to aid in finding root causes of psychological conditions within the brain, which may effect treatment methods and of course new medications.

      Liked by 1 person

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