Ever feel like you’re nervous system is short circuiting? My brain often does. I’m curious about what this means so I looked up “short circuit.”
“A short circuit is an abnormal condition in an electrical circuit where the electrical current flows through an unintended, shorter pathway instead of following the circuit. An electrical circuit is a circular flow of energy from a home’s electrical service panel and back again. This flow is continuous and unbroken.”
Our nervous system works like an electrical service panel. When regulated, it flows between neurons in the body without lack or super-rush.
When my brain feels short circuited, it gets compounded in one area or multiple small areas like a loop that doesn’t know how to unwind. It circles itself and rushes between certain conditioned neurons so fast, it’s hard to pause and observe it. My thoughts attached to those specific nerves goes haywire. Rumination and compulsion to shut it all down takes precedence and the rest of my nervous system goes into high alert because something is off. Very off.
“A short circuit is an abnormal connection between two nodes of an electric circuit intended to be at different voltages. This results in an electric current limited only by the Thévenin equivalent resistance of the rest of the network which can cause circuit damage, overheating, fire or explosion.”
Yes. Yes! I feel like I’m on the verge of overheating, fire, and explosion. I get this recurrent thought that if I verge into this short circuit, I will forever be lost there. Like a death sentence or lifetime of insanity. I will explode if I feel out this short circuit.
But…. By circling around it, it never heals. This energy is still there, running in the background, playing a huge part in my overall nervous system regulation. I am never fully at peace or feel happiness without fear because of this bundle of neurons running amok in my brain.
So how does one heal this? According to many trauma modalities, we have to feel it to heal it. I believe this. But how do I do so without getting trapped in there?
The other interesting awareness I’ve had involves my depression. This links to the short circuit, I promise.
“Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity. Classified medically as a mental and behavioral disorder, the experience of depression affects a person’s thoughts, behavior, motivation, feelings, and sense of well-being. The core symptom of depression is said to be anhedonia, which refers to loss of interest or a loss of feeling of pleasure in certain activities that usually bring …”
Yup. Sounds about right. Here is what I think.
Depression is the antidote to short circuits.
Where short circuits feel frantic, overwhelming fear or another emotion, trapped, and powerless because it seems never-ending, depression is the heavy weight that pushes it all down and undercover. Like a cloak or a veil that diminishes our senses to our environment, it’s an internal fog that suppresses our sensations of frantic.
Our nervous system creates depression as a coping mechanism when we can’t find the proper tool to heal the short circuit. Usually this tool is taught to us with co-regulation from our care-givers, community, and other healers. Unfortunately not accessible to many, our nervous system created its own management. How smart!
I may be wrong about this insight when it comes to making a general statement for the entire population. It is definitely right for me.
I’ve been feeling depressed a lot lately and it’s come up again just as I was about to face some of my short circuits. So now I’m wavering between three states of being: frantic short circuit, depressive numbing out of everything, and regulated flow and presence of body and mind. If I were to break it down into a percentage, would look like this:
Frantic short circuit: 5%
Regulated flow and presence: 5%
Underneath the depression, the suppressed frantic rises to 70-80%. Sometimes it feels like 99%. No wonder my depression is so big.
Underneath all of that, my regulated flow and presence still feels like 5%. On good days, it can rise up to 40%.
Life with CPTSD, folks. I was literally created in frantic short circuits as I was unwanted and abused for it. I also carry generations of trauma from women abused in a misogynistic, violent family. Then I entered a marriage to a covert abuser. In between, there was no friendship support, bullying by peers, teachers, ministers, other family members, and more. My life has been a hell site.
Where am I going with this? There are two items brought up to clarity about this:
1). I need to know how to heal short circuits safely. When I do, my depression will likely lift as there is no more need to cope.
2). I am ceasing all shaming right now and acknowledging how brave and smart my body has been to protect me in a never-ending environment of violence. I will accept my short circuits instead of denying them or fighting against them. When my depression hits to shut those circuits down so I don’t get overwhelmed, I will accept that too. I will love myself and give myself enormous compassion for all the ways I’ve coped and continue to cope as I pursue my journey of healing.
I guess there is a third and very important notice. I am doing better today than when I started therapy six years ago. Those percentages were more like 98%, 100%, and 0%. I was living full on depression and frantic at the same time with little to no regulation at all.
I’m getting there. If you’re starting out. You will too. Do you feel short circuits in your nervous system? What do they feel like? What is your coping mechanism for them?
Curious about therapies?
I have compiled a list of therapies that have been helping me heal. I’ve tried just about every one listed. Some work better than others for me. Check out the link below to see a summary of them: