by Carla (Nelson) Berg


 copyright notice

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When it can't get enough of the stim it craves, the wannabe- racing rabbit inside turns into a turtle

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Even when the Inner Bunny is sleepy and hard to rouse, the urge to awaken it propels the mind to keep hopping around...

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1.4
DOERS AND BLOWERS

It's not my plan to link my thoughts to the Cathy comic strip every time I write*, but cartoonist Cathy Guisewhite has just done it again: nailed an aspect of bouncing- braininess that ought to hit home for just about every one of us.

In her strip on 8/27/97, (which should be displayed at her web site soon), the punch line panel has mother saying to daughter:

"No wishy-washy middle ground for us!
We're One Hundred Percent Doers and Blowers."

That sure hits home for people like us. Get a bouncing brain turned on and it might zoom from zero to sixty in two seconds flat, but ask it to hold a steady speed in between and its tires go flat.

This pull between your personal poles can be the most crazy-making part of owning a brain that is raring to race.

Unleashing the Inner Bunny: "Raring to race?" I can hear some readers wonder. How can that be when so much of what we don't get done looks like it comes from moving too slow?

For what it's worth, here's my take: Something drives a bouncing brain to race with the metaphorical wind in its face, grabbing the gusto of choice to keep psyched. But if it can't get enough of that stimulus fuel, it runs out of gas and the wannabe-racing rabbit inside turns into a tortoise instead.

One one end of the spectrum of bouncing- braininess, some people can't gear it down; their inner rabbits are Energizer Bunnies in perpetual hyperdrive. On the other end of that same spectrum are those who can't find enough of the stim they need to fuel up to cruising speed for more than brief spurts of time.

People stuck in that stalled-out place might look like turtles a great deal of the time, barely aware they  have a racing rabbit asleep inside. But even when the Inner Bunny is sleepy and hard to rouse, the urge to awaken it propels their minds to keep hopping around.

In more mechanical terms, you could say that people with bouncing brains seem to have fewer notches on their brain levers and dials that help them modulate to the speeds in between High and Low. Hence they may be amazingly competent when turned on, yet almost inert around tasks that shut them down. Thus do we get the "Doers and Blowers" that Cathy's mom mentioned.

A Relative Rabbit: What energizes this metaphorical bunny is also relative. What will take to flip it from full speed ahead to full stop will differ from person to person.

Where an unbalanced checkbook might appear extremely lax and unplugged around a person with tight boundaries about doing things "properly," a more laid-back bouncing brain might let all bank statements pile up until April 14. Where the threat of a B in school might keep a hypermental type up all night perfecting a paper, his extra- physical hyperkinetic cousin might consider it a victory to stand still long enough to earn any Bs at all in school. Thus, what seems "Extra High" or "Extra Low" (or Extra Upsetting) is relative to who you are and what you are trying to do.

But regardless of the differences in the kinds of stim they need to power their drives, the crux of the struggle shared by all bouncing brains is about how highly charged they need to be to keep their attentions where they want them to be.

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Copyright 1997, the Professional Resource Group, Carla (Nelson) Berg, and the individual authors who reserve all rights to their own works. So long as this copyright notice remains intact, permission is given to copy this article for personal use, or for viewing by members of non-profit groups if no cost is attached. Web links are encouraged, just please let us know via email as we may wish to cross-link with you. For all other uses, including reprinting for any commercial purposes, please also inquire via email to bouncingbrains@yahoo.com

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About the author:

Carla (Nelson) Berg, host of www.hyperthought.net and publisher of its ezine, HYPERTHINK/INK, is a California science and health writer, veteran newspaper columnist, and author of the forthcoming Surviving Sane With a Bouncing Brain. Online she is also leader of GO MIND, the Mind-Brain Sciences Forum on CompuServe, and co-leader of GO ADD, where she has been a "Dear Abby" style advisor to adults and parents dealing with attention differences as well as a virtual talk show host interviewing dozens of specialists. The mother of two ADD offspring, she is also, as she jokes, "clearly a source of their genes."