Posted by: Abby Caplin, MD | November 1, 2009

Energy Sinkhole

As I was redesigning my medical practice, a teacher advised, “Abby, beware of the brain drain.”

What is brain drain?

As I journal, I become more aware of it.

Is it that form I haven’t filled out yet? The aunt I need to call?  The last time I thought I put my foot in my mouth?

Journaling for 10 minutes a day can help you identify what has been in, and on, your mind. I’ve learned that it can take only one annoying matter to create a brain drain that becomes an energy sinkhole.

Once the brain drain is identified, try to figure out the best way to stop it as easily as possible. Filling out even a single line a day eventually gets the form completed. The presence of a friend to help you can also make a difference. Where a lengthy phone call is anticipated, perhaps a card would suffice. If you need to call someone to clarify if, in fact, you did put your foot in your mouth, then pick up the phone and ask.

Think of it as taking a mental shower. Cleansed, you can move on and enjoy the fact that you have accomplished what most needed your attention. Your whole body enjoys the benefit of stopping the brain drain, with its unrelenting (and often subconscious) drain of energy on your body.

And you need that energy, because it takes a lot of energy to heal.

The other things can wait!



  1. I am new to the blog and really appreciate what you are doing, Abby. I told the person who forwarded information about you that he must be my muse as he seems to send things my way when I most need them.

    For the past few years I have struggled with a tendency to create physical chaos around me. There are projects I have been trying to get done, little jobs that would take no time to finish, but instead I procrastinate and then worry about the mess. The problem has progressed to the point where I have been embarrassed about it and haven’t wanted company to see the messes I have left here and there. Of course I beat myself up regularly about it. I feel like a failure that I can’t even keep my house in order!!! What a loser!! It became obvious I needed some help with this.

    I finally have gotten a handle on it and feel great peace knowing that a small part of my life is in order. As I finish each project I am amazed at how much energy I have spent worrying, berating myself, feeling guilty and ineffectual. The struggle drained far more energy from me than finishing the task would have. Of course, the problem is much more complex, but I am finding out my own secrets through journaling, therapy etc.

    As I walk into a clean room now I am stunned with how much better I feel having a serene place to be. I am realizing that I have been behaving in ways that do not support my healing and well being. I can use the energy I have wasted on negativity in much healthier ways. And as you said, we need a lot of it to heal.

    Thank you so much for hosting this blog. I feel I will learn many good things here. Hopefully I will be able to contribute words that will help others.
    Be Well,

    • Dear Donna,

      Thank you so much for sharing your personal story about this topic. Your doing so helps make a difference for others, so you have already contributed by adding your encouragement!

      Many thanks and healing wishes,


  2. I totally depend on my journal to keep my life on track in more than one way. Taking the time to reflect on what happened in the day. Noting the names and something about people I meet so there is a way to go back and remember who they are. Giving myself strokes for accomplishing something. Life events, bar mitzvahs, marriages, birthdays, births, deaths, etc. Venting, without making my wife or friends have to listen to this nonsense. Concerts, films, dancing, things I want to remember my impressions of. Writing or art ideas. And much more.

    I recommend trying to write about a page a day. That should be enough to cover what happens, and it is not onerous to just write a page. It should be on a totally private place on your computer, for obvious reasons. If I am upset about something or need to explore my feelings more deeply I write as long as I need to, could be 2,3, even 6 pages. When I get to 100 pages I archive it on the hard drive and a disc. That is around three months. I find it refreshing to start with a new document about four times a year, and I can always go back if I need to.

    I number them, currently I am on 53. I have learned from bitter experience that every few years you may need to copy old ones you want to save into a new format because software changes so much. I’m unable to call up some of the early ones because they are in defunct formats. I suppose I could, but I would have to pay a computer nerd to do it. Hope this is useful information. I believe strongly that everyone should keep a journal.

    I like your blog. Good idea!

    • Thanks for the great ideas, Mike!

  3. Thank you for giving us permission to look inside for the best healer of all. Though I’m licensed as an acupuncturist the fastest and most globally effective pain relief and PTSD technique I’ve ever learned is EFT ( which allows the individual to tap on acupressure points while stating the deepest truth of what is going on inside, relieving within minutes that “brain drain” you mention even if the problem has existed for decades. The EFT lingo calls the negative self-talk we suffer from “the writing on our walls” and gives us a way to erase and rewrite what drives our thoughts and behaviors. Thanks again, Abby, for sharing your truths and loving wisdom. I’m looking forward to more from you! Carolyn

    • Thank you so much, Carol!
      Yes, EFT (emotional freedom technique) is an amazingly useful tool. At first I thought it was “woo-woo,” which it can look like while you are doing it. But I’ll usually try any healing tool once, as long as it is not harmful, and I was very impressed with the results of my own experience with it. I decided to get more training, and EFT has been effective and transformational for many of my clients.
      Thank you for mentioning it!

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