Note: Jace decided to draft this post in dialogue with his mother, Karen.
Jace: My brain missed my house while I was on vacation. Mania made it hard to relax. Mostly I’m homesick because my brain is majorly moving a million miles a minute making sense of all the new things. When mom helps me make sense of things, I feel better. Like when she tells me what’s coming. It makes me a lot more comfortable. My guess is anxiety plays a big part. My goal is to get better handling this because I love going to new places. Mostly mom must manage my expectations.
Mom: What about other tricks for managing expectations? Do you use any memories to help set expectations—think about what a new place or new thing reminds you of to make you feel more comfortable?
Jace: No. My memories are so particular I may not be able to.
Mom: You and Dad read a lot about “event modeling”—how people sift through all of the sensory inputs around them and make the unfamiliar into something familiar. Is that something your brain does? [Here is a link to the article that we read.]
Jace: Not at all.
Mom: What did you think when you and dad read about event modeling?
Jace: I thought it was weird.
Mom: How do you make sense of or sift through all of that sensory input?
Jace: I make new memories.
Mom: How do you categorize those new memories? Or compare and contrast your new memories with your old ones?
Jace: I do it after. I’m waiting for proof.
Mom:What if instead of event modeling we thought of it as hypothesis testing—taking an educated guess about what a place might be like, but accepting that it’s OK if our experience there proves our hypothesis wrong?
Jace: Maybe if we talk it through.
Mom: Talk through not only what a new place reminds us of but also why?
Jace: Yes. Mainly mania on vacation is from my not managing to make my brain categorize memories ahead of time. I bet I’m not alone!