On occasion the malady I refer to as “The 4 A.M. Brain Bounce Syndrome” (BBS) launches a cerebral onslaught that robs me of sound sleep, pumps up my frustration level and escalates my blood pressure.
You ask, “What is the Brain Bounce Syndrome?” I believe it to be a fairly common but medically undiagnosed phenomenon that afflicts a significant percentage of the population. It is characterized by several hours of comfortable and peaceful slumber that is interrupted by the sleeper’s brain tapping on the door of the closet containing the sleeper’s personal history. As the tapping turns to knocking, the sleeper moves into a semi-conscious state and the closet door slowly swings open revealing a vast array of foggy images and soft beckoning sounds. That’s how it starts. But then it progresses to a more dramatic level. After making a slow glide around the perimeter of the cavernous closet, the brain picks up momentum and the bounce routine begins. With no discernable pattern, the brain carroms from one memory to another. It bumps, bangs and rebounds like a steel ball in a giant pinball machine controlled by a mischievous player hammering on the flippers to keep the pinball brain in motion until exhaustion sets in. Then, finally, the closet door creaks to a close and quiet sleep returns.
The length and nature of the semi-conscious BBS period is unpredictable but it seems to be associated with the sleeper’s state of mind during his/her waking hours. An eyeball-busting level of tension during a day can propel the bouncing brain deep into the closet to explore unpleasant or even scary memories. On the other hand, an evening of binge watching The Big Bang Theory episodes is likely to generate a slow brain glide through peaceful and humorous recollections.
Those of us who are subject to the syndrome have probably been led through the gamut of BBS experiences. Following a day in the trial of a nasty lawsuit my cerebral wanderings have dredged up memories of cases involving family violence and threats from sociopathic parties involved in horrific divorce suits. At the other end of the spectrum there have been slow motion replays of my son slamming a low inside fastball over the center field fence to win a championship baseball game and lengthy treks with my father through Missouri fields watching a bird dog run figure eight patterns searching for quail. On some occasions, there have even been “aha” moments during which my spinning brain has bumped into a solution for a pesky problem – for example, a method to rewire a broken antique lamp my wife inherited from her aunt or a diagram for rebuilding the carburetor on my old Chevy.
Of course, those of us who experience BBS want their semi-conscious brains to detour around the frightening memories lingering in the murky depths of their personal closets. Instead, they hope the mischievous character operating the flippers is benevolent and skillful enough to bounce and rebound their brains back and forth between the memories that bring forth a peaceful smile. Sometimes it works well, sometimes not so good.
So, you ask, “What does this BBS stuff have to do with divorce?” The answer is rather simple -it’s a matter of attitude and mental health. Divorce is a traumatic process. The folks who maintain an optimistic attitude do much better than those who drift into negativity and depression. The oppositional rules of the litigation process create a shroud of negativity that can steal a person’s optimism and foster depression. On the other hand, the collaborative law process is focused on devising positive solutions for both parties. Positive is much better than negative.
Perhaps this well-known Scottish prayer was prompted by BBS –
From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!