Goshdarn Neural Pathways.

by Lori Dwyer on May 2, 2011 · 25 comments

Keep in mind, while reading this post, that I have no medical training whatsoever. OK? OK.

They tell me- ‘they’ being my shrink and Google- that the brain has neural pathways.

I knew that already, obviously. I guess what I didn’t know was that the more you use them- the more you think the same thing, over and over- the ‘deeper’, I guess, they get.

Like tracks in the forest. The more they are used, the more defined they are.

And that’s a total bitch of a thing, when someone very close to you dies.

You see, your mind is so used to thinking the same thing. So, for example, your phone rings, and your brain automatically shoots itself down the particular forest track that tells you it’s probably your husband.

Or, you think, “I need someone who can drive a trailer.” And your brain careens off down the pathway of your husband.

or, you see some mark down men’s clothes, and your stupid brain, it automatically starts looking for your husband’s size.

And the problem with all these things is, your husband has been dead for three months.

And it hurts, every fucking time.

Goshdarn fucked up neural pathways.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Brenna May 4, 2011 at 2:02 pm

I know what you are talking about. It's totally cruel and wrong. I'm so sorry.


Toots May 4, 2011 at 8:06 am

Ugh, that's brutal honey. I can only sit here & will you onwards, with my own screwy neural pathways.

I know it's a totally different thing, but I was reading about ADD (like ADHD, only you get less done…) & someone called people without it 'NTs' – Neural Typicals. It stuck with me cause it's nice to think that the scary 'normal' people are some kind of separate tribe from the rest of us with not-so-typical neural happenings!

Lots of love, Sophie xxx


Kristy May 4, 2011 at 5:57 am

But, sometimes, you must think too that it will be sad when the brain does stop doing it. Argh. I'm sorry. That's all I've got. Hugs.


Melissa May 3, 2011 at 9:42 pm

I know just what you mean. I remember having a similar experience after my miscarriages.
Sale on maternity clothes?! Oh, wait, not pregnant anymore.
Plans for camping in May? Sorry, can't – I'll have a newborn! Oh wait, no I won't.
Ooh another pregnant lady – let's chat! Oh wait, no. I hate her now.
What I can tell you is that your brain does stop doing it – eventually. But I know it hurts, and I'm sorry.


Kellie May 3, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Here's hoping you can find some new and wonderful paths filled with love. Big hugs! xx


River May 3, 2011 at 1:52 pm

It all takes time Lori. But maybe MaidinAustralia can help that time get a bit shorter?

I still look at men's shirts etc. in catalogues and think "Oh that would look nice on L." Separated over a year and the divorce is final this week.


Darker Side of Pink May 3, 2011 at 11:07 am

Eventually, your mind forms new pathways and changes the old ones. It does get easier, or lighter. I dont know if you will always have that there, the memories and things of the people that we lose trick us. It sucks and it isnt fair, but it does get better. I know that probably doesnt help, but it takes time.



Darker Side of Pink May 3, 2011 at 11:06 am

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rageagainsttheblackdog May 3, 2011 at 9:11 am

Hugs Lori.


Watercolor May 3, 2011 at 8:34 am



Janet NZ May 3, 2011 at 4:17 am

It gets easier Lori. It just does. Contact MaidinOz – maybe she can provide more help than our words. xxx
PS My Mum still thinks a phone-call around 3pm will be her Mum – Nana died 23 years ago.


Hear Mum Roar May 3, 2011 at 3:17 am

Here's to laying down some new pathways:)


Trik82 May 2, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Geez that's just cruel Lori :o( ((HUGS))


Andrea May 2, 2011 at 8:27 pm

That's just Fxxxed. No other way to say it.

I hope in the short term that those pathways start to blur enough that it doesn't happen so painfully regularly and doesn't hurt so much when it does happen – and that in the future, when it happens, you are able to smile at the memory.


Kelloggsville May 2, 2011 at 8:01 pm

3 months is very short (and yet probably the longest ever for you). Your body wouldnt have healed after a serious op yet, don't expect greater things from your mind. Time is a curse and a blessing xxx


Amy xxoo May 2, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I, also, was once victim to those horrible neural pathways. Not in the context of the memory of a loved one… but thats how i fell into the black hole of depression and social anxiety disorder. The more negative thoughts i thought, the more i couldnt think of anything else… so i sympathise with you Lori, i really do. I know its not the same but i know what a bitch those neural pathways can be…


phonakins May 2, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Hard to unlearn


Diminishing Lucy May 2, 2011 at 5:40 pm

There is not a grocery shopping day goes by when I don't automatically do for my phone to call my brother. It was our "thing". We would always gossip around the aisles together, him in WA, me in SA.

its 4.5 years since he died. I shall probably ALWAYS go to call him when I grocery shop. It's one of the reasons I have flirted with online shopping. Breaking of habits.



Kimmie May 2, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Oh honey I imagine for those few brief seconds all is ok in your world and then you are jolted back to reality with the most enormous of thuds and left with your heart pounding in your chest….sigh.



Rin May 2, 2011 at 4:19 pm

I can only imagine how tough that must be for you! It would be like rubbing salt into the wound. It seems like 'MadeInAustralia' may have some really helpful advice in how to overcome or maybe accept these neural pathways.
Hugs to you Lori xxx


MaidInAustralia May 2, 2011 at 3:36 pm

PS And I know what you mean. A day of Mindfulness training just kills me. I'm so exhausted by the end of the day, but the result is worthwhile, trust me.


MaidInAustralia May 2, 2011 at 3:35 pm

No they're not. They do hurt … as we are unaccustomed to using them … but they are proof that what we think and what has happened to us and what we've done to ourselves can be changed. In the past medicos through brains couldn't change. Once damaged, they couldn't get better. Neural plasticity means we can grow the parts of our brain that work for good and not evil. For me, I've been doing that via Mindfulness training, which has saved my life. If you ever need info or encouragement let me know and I'll help. xo


Alienne May 2, 2011 at 6:58 pm

It does wear off, gradually. Well some of it does; I am only 3 1/2 years down the line so I don't know if all of it does. I have definitely stopped expecting him to call and I don't look for his size in clothes any more. I do still think it's him first when I hear the key in the door at night though.


Good Golly Miss Holly! May 2, 2011 at 4:32 pm

My Mum confessed to me that sometimes she picks up the phone after a hard day and dials my Nan's number for a chat. Then she stops and remembers it's been almost 4 years since Nan passed. The very thought shatters my heart into a thousand pieces, I can not fathom how that must feel for you. Love and light as always my sweet x


Sandy May 2, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I agree completely. Fuck those neural pathways.. they are total bitches.


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