Makes ya wanna think.

Bye-Bye Brainrot!

I am healing. Last week I broke the back of my pain. I control it now and the only time I need to feel pain is when I forget that I no longer have to endure it.

I had given up hope of  healing. I wished at most for reduction in pain, but in the past weeks I’ve had hours of peace within my body. I’ve felt sensations I’d forgotten existed – warm breezes that just tickle the hairs of my arms, the relaxed feeling of tired muscles after an evening ramble. I am hearing and smelling more detail in the world. I have cried many times in the last month as I’ve experienced small pleasures that I had forbidden myself to remember.

I love where I live – my cabin, Martel Lake, the woods and bogs – even more because now I can savor its  subtle pleasures. I found an amazing haven  to help me survive brainrot. Even in the depths of my pain it was easy to smile at a Martel Lake sunset –

I clenched my body and spirit against cruel and relentless pain for 11 1/2 years. I ignored my body and deadened myself to subtle pleasures because when I opened myself to feeling, the pain surged in unchecked.

In 2003 when I lived on Capitol Hill in Seattle I joined a yoga class, thinking it might be perfect to help me relax and keep limber. I had to quit because I couldn’t tolerate the first 5 minutes of the class. When the yoga teacher told us to relax and tune into our bodies, to listen to our bodies, I couldn’t stand what I heard. My body was screaming and by listening I amplified the pain.

It’s a luxury to enjoy my body again.

I have reestablished the healthy neural pathways between my brain and my legs and feet. I reinforce the connections by doing simple exercises with my feet.

A few quick hands of 52 pickup before sleeping.

A few quick hands of 52 pickup before sleeping.

I no longer use a laptop to write Hels Bet. Toe cursive is rad!

I no longer use a laptop to write Hel's Bet. Toe cursive is rad!

I keep a box of stuff of differing sizes, textures, and shapes to manipulate with my toes.

I keep a box of stuff of differing sizes, textures, and shapes to manipulate with my toes.

For years I’ve done my best to shut out the false messages of pain coming from my thalamus and now I can do it.

I owe my return to health to my new pain doctor, Dr. Brendel, and to Dr. Norman Doidge and his book on neuroplasticity:

Strangely, I bought Doidge’s book last year to do research into neuroplasticity for self-brain-hacker Heloise Chin in my book Hel’s Bet. Dr. Brendel suggested we attempt to treat my pain with neuroplastic techniques and I was gung ho.

I’ve been taking lots of voice notes about my exercises and how they’ve changed my life. Grist for the Brainrot book, which will now have an unexpectedly happy ending.

My energy is amazing now that my body isn’t fighting pain every step it takes. I now take deer trail hikes with the dogs to relax. I bring a branch lopper along to clear obstructions (the deer love me!) Before this healing I hiked every day but it was always a huge push, hurt like hell, and left me exhausted for hours.

Brainrot interrupted my life twice – 1988-91 & 1997-2009. I have now learned simple techniques to stop it from ever destroying my life again.

Watch out world, Doug Sharp is back!

My beautiful but criminally insane daughter Margaret 47 Sharp made me this 47th birthday helmet.

My beautiful but criminally insane daughter Margaret "47" Sharp made me this 47th birthday helmet.

31 responses

  1. liz

    Doug you are amazing! You should write Dr. Doidge and show him this, I bet he would love to hear about it. -Liz

    May 14, 2009 at 1:38 am

  2. danny llinas

    Droog, that’s awesome! And this post is so beautifully written. I’m happy for you, man. And I think you can craft a great literary piece out of your experiences.

    And that’s an awesome helmet 🙂

    May 14, 2009 at 4:12 am

  3. Bluejack

    Hooray! Droog, not only is this fantastic news for you, and also fantastic news for the rest of the world, it’s also just plain interesting!

    May 14, 2009 at 6:28 am

  4. Linda

    I revel in your joy. Since knowing you, I’ve always wished you a miracle, a good outcome, a pain free existence. I too got my wish!

    Love you Droogles.


    May 14, 2009 at 8:25 am

  5. I will write to Dr. Doidge. I hope to interview him for my Brainrot book.

    The post has been simmering in my hindbrain for a week and last night it popped out. Part of me was waiting for the pain to come crashing back so I was hesitant to write too soon.

    During this whole bout I have been accumulating voice and written notes for “Brainrot: Pain and Identity”. I think people will find it interesting, but then I find everything interesting.

    I am only alive to enjoy this day because my friends and family supported me in every way.

    Thanks, everyone! I love you all and hope to make you all proud of my art.

    May 14, 2009 at 12:26 pm

  6. Lyn Aspey

    Droog, it is a great joy to read this and to share this fabulous re-emergence of you. I have always admired your spirit and courage, not to mention sheer bloody minded determination. I wish I was there to give you a hug, but better, is the happiness I feel knowing that if I did (give you a hug), it would no longer cause you pain. Go you; you rock’n rule. Lyn. xoxox

    May 14, 2009 at 7:21 pm

  7. Thanks, Lyn. Hugs back!

    I’ve had a great day reading email and blog comments and talking on the phone to people about my news.

    Love, Doug

    May 14, 2009 at 7:48 pm

  8. Kellyn Beeck

    Hey Pal, I can’t tell you how exciting it was to hear this news. The Droogman is back!!!!!!!!! Toes rule!! Bet I can beat you at toe poker, dude. Can’t wait to see Hel’s Bet on the bookshelves at Powell’s.

    Love, K

    May 15, 2009 at 9:54 am

    • Thanks for stabbing me in the back, Kellyn! You destroyed Margaret and my game company, Zilch Spacecasting Network, with your cowardly lies.

      September 25, 2013 at 9:02 pm

  9. Kris Rudin

    Doug – this is so cool! I am SO happy for you!! I can’t imagine how good you must feel now – have fun enjoying all those things you’ve missed for so long! Revel in the sensations – they are a gift from the Creator.
    Blessings & hope,

    May 18, 2009 at 9:23 am

  10. Hi Doug, you probably don’t remember me but I’m a friend of 47’s and I’ve been following your blog and Brainrot for a while. I just wanted to pingback your moment of awesomeness from somebody who has some idea of what neuroplasticity entails (my bf is a multiple and has chronic pain).

    So, 😀

    May 18, 2009 at 6:58 pm

  11. Pyraxis,

    We met at SCAD when I was picking up Magoog, of course I remember you and your art. Thanks for the kind words. Best wishes to your boyfriend and to you with your art career.

    I do intend to return to the Brainrot game after I finish this little book ;^)

    Hope you are following Margaret’s Space Explorer comic!


    May 18, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    • Hell yeah I’m following it, and waiting for the day I get to hear more stories about Jim Nightmare’s world too.

      She told me you wouldn’t remember me. 😛

      It also turns out that I follow Juliette Wade’s blog and joined in with one of her workshops, not knowing that you and she were in the same writing group. It’s a small world!

      I’m working at Tiburon at the moment, as a technical artist, and hoping and planning for the day I get to do something more creative (and hopefully also lucrative!) in the game industry. Especially if it has something to do with RPG’s and/or virtual reality.

      May 19, 2009 at 7:05 pm

      • Congrats for getting a job in the game industry!

        I can’t wait until Margaret is a fulltime artist and can work on both her comics at once. Her Jim Nightmare comic is amazing. I’m proud of how she’s updated once a week while working full time.

        WOW about your connection with Juliette. I am critiquing her YA novel (name is top secret) and it is a corker! Fun to read books before they are published.

        I hope that Hel’s Bet gives me an opportunity to do some fun games again. Channel Zilch will keep you in mind ;^)

        Stay in touch, Doug

        May 20, 2009 at 12:32 pm

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  13. Jim Mahoney

    WhooHoo!! That’s the best news I’ve heard in a long time! I’ve been hoping so hard for so long and I always figured it was just a matter of time. Makes me so happy!!! I can’t wait to see what comes out of that wild creative mind of yours NOW!!! 😀

    May 20, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    • Thankee, James! I am still savoring every painfree moment. I’m looking forward to getting productive again. We’ll collaborate on something down the road!

      May 20, 2009 at 8:02 pm

  14. myrna


    May 31, 2009 at 7:47 am

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  16. Dear Doug,
    I’m so glad you were able to benefit from neuroplastic interventions, and found The Brain That Changes Itself helpful Please drop me a line, and let’s chat.
    All the best,
    Norman Doidge

    June 29, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    • Wow, nice of you to drop by, Dr. Doidge. I’ll write up a summary of my epilepsy/pain condition and the np exercises that have been effective and send it to you. I’d love to chat.

      I really want to pick your brain to get referrals to develop np exercises to help me recover my cognitive losses.

      June 30, 2009 at 1:02 pm

  17. Pingback: Email to Dr. Norman Doidge « Walden 3.0

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  20. Judy

    Oh, how on earth did you get Dr. Doidge to answer your blog? Just kidding. He must be a very caring person. How do I get a hold of him? I have a deaf son, granddaughter, an autistic grandson, and his mom, my daughter has been diagnosed as bi-polar but what she displayed recently struck me more as bi-polar with schizophrenic delusions. My deaf son may go to jail because a judge in the custody case listened only to the audiologist say the brain would forget how to “hear” if she didn’t wear her second cochlear implant all the time. She refuses to wear it around him. She is 8 years old. It is a constant battle on my part to get her to wear it. I need to pick Dr. Doidge’s brain so to speak about all of the above. But maybe he too famous now to talk to little old me.

    April 18, 2010 at 10:42 am

  21. Judy

    I forgot to check the notify me boxes on that last comment. Hope I hear back from you.

    April 18, 2010 at 10:43 am

  22. Judy, Dr. Doidge found my blog. I emailed him and didn’t get a reply. Once I sell my book I’ll concentrate on getting his attention because I want to pick his brain on pain doctors using neuroplastic therapy and share my small success with him.

    Dr. Doidge lists his email address on his website: .

    A lot of people who read this blog entry have been searching for Dr. Doidge and want to contact him. I think someone could start a business referring people to doctors who use neuroplastic therapeutic techniques.

    Best wishes on the challenges facing your family.

    April 18, 2010 at 4:17 pm

  23. Judy

    I read his book thoroughly and found other scientist he had worked with and e-mail them. One of them gave me Dr. Merzenich’s e-mail address who is the person I really wanted to find anyway. As I was almost finished writing to Dr. Merzenich, my phone rang and it was HIM!!!! So we had a good discussion. I think you lifestyle is wonderful. YOU keep up the good work on your blogs. Judy

    April 19, 2010 at 12:10 pm

  24. myrna

    Your an inspiration for all of us Doug. You bring joy to life and to those that know you. You so deserve the best .
    I love this quote and it reminds me of you.

    “Live boldy
    Laugh Loudly
    Play as often as you can. ”

    For the short year I have known you, I find that you are the most amazing man I have ever known. You have such courage and gentle strength.

    I am so happy to be called your friend.

    This article was awesomely written;*)

    Love and Hugs

    August 9, 2010 at 5:40 pm

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  26. Really pleased for you!! Great to hear. 🙂

    September 10, 2013 at 8:53 am

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