• Alex Sim-Wise

THE BRAIN EDIT - A

Updated: Sep 15



Can you Home Edit your brain? Asking for a friend because…


Okay no, I’m asking for myself because I feel fucked and I would much rather put all of my thoughts and memories into nice clear, rainbow-coordinated containers instead of the dark cluttered trauma boxes that dwell there at present.


It’s time for a declutter because apparently I don’t self reflect enough. I analyse, sure, but not in a way that is healthy. So I have been set a challenge: to write a blog every week for 5-8 weeks to self reflect and see how I get on. I haven’t written anything in ages. Maybe I have forgotten how to do it… but I used to do it a lot “back in the day” as it used to be my way of processing. Back in the Myspace Tumblr days when sharing on the internet was safe. Or safe-er.


Because the elephant in the room is that sharing on this hell hole that we now call the internet in 2022 doesn’t come without risks. As a naturally risk-adverse person, risks are something that I tend to avoid. Almost categorically so. I won’t eat anything pink, I don’t go on rollercoasters, and I avoid looking anyone directly in the eyes in case they glimpse my saggy broken soul. Heck, I barely leave the house. Were it not for my family I would be a solid recluse. So it makes sense that I have avoided blogging regularly for the past few years or so. Who even blogs anymore when you can use your phone to humiliate yourself and bare your soul so much more easily on TikTok? You don’t even have to know how to spell.


But there is something about the written word that I love - mostly the fact that you can go back and edit or delete it if you don’t like it. Also when you blog something you don’t leave yourself open to 5 million faceless TikTok Karens continuously calling you different variations of cunt in an endless depressing stream. Or maybe you do. Depends where you are, I guess... but in order to Marie Kondo this shit I’ve got to start somewhere. So I’m starting on my own website and it’s reach of maybe 5 super fans that actually bother to read my ramblings.


Hi Gerald!

So let’s look in the first box shall we? In an attempt to be organised I’m gonna start with boxes that begin with A.

I’m nothing without a system, me.

ADHD


When you go on TikTok you would think that everybody in the world has ADHD, but - not to gatekeep - there was a time when barely anyone had it, when it was a special treat reserved for nutcases and weirdos. I mean, it’s clear people were being severely under diagnosed with ADHD back then - especially women - but when I first received my diagnosis 20 years ago it wasn’t quite the socially acceptable behemoth that it is now. I don’t even know if it was considered a learning disorder in 2002 as I had to fight my university at tribunals to get allowances for it. It just wasn’t on anyone’s radar and was seen as something that naughty primary school kids had, not university students.

At school I had struggled miserably with social situations, time management, executive function and emotional regulation but as I was a girl and quite smart, I mostly managed to hide it, performing well at school despite various emotional outbursts and episodes of odd behaviour. However, by the time I got to university my ability to keep everything under control had started to completely disintegrate, because, well: alcohol, and boys.


I remember thinking something might be up when I lost my shit and wanted to kill myself because some twat on the golf team didn’t text me back. That’s when I went to my GP to ask if I had ADHD, because golf twat had only lasted two pumps. Totally not worth killing yourself over, didn’t even count as a shag.


Back then ADHD was this big unknown, this list of criteria that as a young woman, didn’t cover or explain everything but explained a bit, and because I didn’t quite fit all the (male) criteria and wasn’t hyperactive I was told by the specialist at Cambridge hospital that I had it “mildly”, which made it super easy for me to write it off and dismiss, because everyone else did.


I have been diagnosed with ADHD again since then and I don’t have it mildly at all. I have inattentive ADD with a hyperactive mind, and something called Pure O, which sadly isn’t anything to do with orgasms but a form of OCD.


ALEX


Yep, that’s me. My name. The name that my husband has tattooed in tiny scrawled handwriting over his heart - which would be romantic were it not for the fact that it was written by his uncle and it's the name of one of his friends who was on his Amsterdam stag do. So technically it’s a tribute to Alex Dart - but let’s not go there, it’s not important.

I remember when I was 14 I went to Greece and everyone wanked off about how my name (“Alexandra”) was Greek. That made me feel cool for about 5 minutes, but only because I was a loner that used to mentally masturbate over Usbourne books of Greek and Norse mythology. Also Clash of the Titans. What a film.


Having said that, I don’t really have any feelings about my name. It is what it is. A collection of letters and the name of a few dead princesses. In fact, I don’t even know why it has it’s own box. Maybe it can go in with something else… like Advocaat or something.


Mmm… snowballs.

ALCOHOL

Just going to put it out there but I fucking hate alcohol and have always had a weird relationship with it. I don’t think I have ever been able to drink more than two drinks without feeling intense inner anxiety, not since I was force-fed Smirnoff Ice from a washing machine at university. Nil points, would not recommend.


ALPHABEAT

Seeing as we’re on an alphabetical tip today - does anyone remember Alphabeat, the band? Is it me or did they give off incest vibes? Like I know the singers weren’t related but they just looked very incest. Sorry, just a PornHub-friendly observation. Also: is “Fascination” a porn? Should it be?


ANAL

Man, I used to love anal. Feel free to sing that a la the Shania Twain song like I just did. I discovered anal, like most, by accident. But unlike most I instantly loved it, and there is a reason for that. At the time vagina sex used to hurt a lot for me, because I was terrified of intimacy and sex. So much so that my vagina would just close up shut, you couldn’t get anything inside it, not even a Tampax or a finger. It’s called Vaginismus - look it up! It has it’s own black box, but being at the end of the alphabet you’ll have to wait a while to open it. Like my actual vagina. Do you see what I did there?

When I discovered anal - with my first boyfriend, at 22 - it was like a lightbulb moment. Finally the impersonal, non-cringe, non-committal sex I was looking for! A sex that didn’t hurt and couldn’t get you pregnant. Winner winner chicken dinner! Only downside in the early aughts was AIDS but as a heterosexual white girl I’ve only ever had one AIDS-scare - from a vertically-challenged South African asshole called Donovan, who looked like Paul Danan and whom I DIDN’T EVEN SHAG. WTF. So yeah, anal was my sex of choice for a very long time. It made me feel cool and Catholic.


THEN, in the middle of a #52ANAL challenge with my husband I decided my emetophobia (sorry guys, another box) was too great and and I couldn’t do it anymore. Thanks a lot random article I read on Shigella.

ACID RAIN


Acid Rain is a song by Lorn that I feel greatly reflects the state of my inner monologue right now.


AMYGDALA

The amygdala is a part of your brain that regulates emotions, and if you have ADHD your amygdala is a little bit smaller, like Beadle’s right arm. Yes, I had to google “which arm on Jeremy Beadle was small” to make sure that throwaway joke was factually accurate. That’s just the kind of asshole I am. Anyway, I’m not an ADHD expert or anything but this shrunken amygdala is what makes you behave like an absolute nut job, FYI.

AUTISM


Back in the day if your uncle Kevin had a special interest in trains and ants, you just called him a serial killer, not autistic. But turns out autism is this WHOLE THING that it has been 90% confirmed that I have. It would be 100% if I could be bothered - but as there is no real benefit to officially having it other than bragging rights, I have put off doing that. Honestly, it makes a lot of sense, but as I am the least autistic person in my family it is not something I expect to receive a lot of sympathy for. I wouldn’t use it as an excuse to harass customer service employees at 11pm on a Saturday, put it that way.

AVOIDANCE


Aha! Now we are getting to the good stuff! As mentioned earlier I am an avoidant person. I avoid EVERYTHING. Responsibility, confrontation, apologising, blogging, self care, people I know in the street… you name it, I WILL avoid it.

Why do I avoid? Well now, there’s a question. I guess this COULD be because of my aforementioned learning disabilities, but it could also be because I am a dickhead, the jury’s out. Mostly I will do it because said situations make me feel uncomfortable, and in my inner world comfort is key. My favourite activities are sitting down, lying down, and doing nothing after all.


Social situations are the worst. I absolutely do not know what to do in social situations at all. Not now, not ever, and everything that I DO do is a learned masking behaviour, learned from a crash course in socialisation from some posh girls I met at Camden School for Girls, who taught me to “talk normal, stop that” and hug people with 25% less awkwardness. An upgrade from my Coventry friends who would watch boys attempt to finger my closed up hole as if it were a comedy show.


Masking gets quite exhausting after a while so I will always be the one hiding in dark rooms on my own at a party trying to recharge, before people burst in and I decide to try and drink Radox or take Ketamine to impress them.

As I’ve got older it’s become this thing where I will throw a party and then go to bed at 9pm and leave everyone to it.


Ain’t nobody got time for that.


BONUS BOX: ALPHABETS


As an autist (is that a word?) I like to sort stuff. Mostly alphabetically but also by colour and PARTICULARLY in chronological order. I don't know why I do this, I guess because my ADHD makes everything jumbled and my autism hates it, so I will always try different ways to make the world more manageable.


I would say I spend a lot of my quiet time trying to sort my inner timeline. I am always trying to put everything in the right order, which is an endless task because when I leave it, my ADHD will go back and mix everything up and I also have a problem where my chimp brain will also go back and erase stuff that it doesn't like and throws them back in the black boxes. Hence the need for an audit, I guess.


Okay so far, so good. Have I self-reflected? I’m not so sure but it’s a start. You know what they say on the Home Edit - don’t start with the hard stuff first, do something easy like a sock drawer.

I guess that means A is my sock drawer.

Stay tuned for the B boxes! To include Brains, Bastards, Burping, and Bumholes - all the good stuff.


Sim xx

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