pop art, stressed, pulling out hair, stress, anxiety, worry, claustrophic, intellectual claustrophobia

Mental claustrophobia

Obviously things fall out of our heads; that much is clear. Can’t hold on to the thought. What was I saying? What was I doing? What was your name again? They fall out because of distraction and preoccupation and decreased brain plasticity and also because of ‘Can I please just have a minute to think this thought? Just a minute. For the thought to ignite, flower and recede?’ Hear us plead for a sliver of space.

Are you, like us, suffering from a kind of intellectual claustrophobia? Physical claustrophobia has plagued us for some time: don’t like lifts, don’t take the tube, would rather rip a dress apart and tear it seam from seam than patiently wait to be extracted when stuck with arms over head etc.

But now our brains can’t breathe. Too much, too busy, too crowded. And, well, we don’t like it. “Meditation!” you cry. But that is merely brief respite from all the thinking. So much thinking. And the thoughts are never thunk. They require more and more. Needy bastards.

And the thoughts are so differently flavoured. Like the feelings which collude to heap themselves upon us: all the feelings, all the time. The thoughts squeeze into our mental tube carriage with their rucksacks and their wheelie cases and their cumbersome addendums. We are writing one email when another pops up. Thought gone. We are having a conversation when a text comes in. Thought gone. We are thinking a thing and someone says, “Can I have a minute?” Gone, gone, gone. And apart from all the half-thoughts squished into our consciousness, this intellectual claustrophobia also puts us into a really ratty mood. Because ‘Leave me alone’ becomes the overriding need. But that feels like the one thing that is simply not possible.

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