On this rainy Texas Sunday I decided today’s weather is the perfect metaphor for brain fog. I am not a doctor. What I can tell you is my personal experience with brain fog.
I used to cry at times. I cried, because I was sad. I cried because it was the only thing I could do.
I, a woman of words, lost my words about four years ago. I remember saying in family therapy, “I can’t write.” My family snickered. To them I was fine. I felt like words were clouds in my head floating around, but I could not use them. I was unable to say some, but most of them, I could not write.
The therapist coughed it up to be nothing but writer’s block. I had moved back to my home state. My son was detaching. My husband was deployed. I was alone. I had some great friends, but through a slew of surgeries my friends fluttered away.
Alone, unable to use words I would waste my days watching television. I also found I did not need words. I escaped life by doing art. I drew. I painted. I used watercolors. I used oil paints. I suddenly felt liberated. I was gaining something in my life when I had lost most.
Then I lost most of my hearing. Then I began to fall. I always fell to the right. The neck tension was miserable. The pain in my ear, piercing like a dagger. The doctors treated each symptom. I would answer most of my questions with, “I don’t know.”
“I don’t know.” That sentence of three words became almost my entire vocabulary. I knew something was wrong, but like clouds in the sky I was nowhere near grasping them.
Last, the headaches got worse. The doctor coughed this up to be nothing than mere migraines. I was medicated and life got better, but not great. It was like putting baling wire around your rear bumper as it still dragged the asphalt driving down the road.
I cried to my therapist of 3 years. “Help me! I used to be smart, really smart. I read things I wrote in college and I cried. It was beautiful. I want my words back. I want to write.”
I only wanted two things in my whole life. I wanted to be a mom. Then I wanted to be a great writer. My child, now off to college, made me feel like less of a mom. I still wanted to be a writer.
My therapist suffered congestive heart failure. He laid in a bed waiting for death to take him. It changed him. He said, “I get what you have been saying. I experienced the uncertainty between life and death. It’s complicated.”
“We are going to start something new. I want you to get a few notebooks. Get all different sizes and colors. Get sticky notes. Buy pens. Put them together all over your home. Put them in the car. Always carry a notebook and pen.”
“Ok, I remember doing this in college.”
“Write. Write task list. Write accomplished task list. Write feelings. Write ideas. Write all the time.”
I did that. I also did other things too. I began taking a brain supplement recommended by a neurologist. I started puzzles. I started reading every day. I read in addition the bible reading I was already doing.
It has been three months since I started this. I am not fixed. I am improving every day. I feel like a child catching lighting-bugs in a mason jar to the delight of each word that comes back to me.
If you know someone suffering from brain fog or you are, please get help. Get notebooks, lots of them. Make task list. Make accomplishment list. Do brain teasers. Take a supplement advised by your doctor. You got this.
If you know someone that keeps saying, “I don’t know.” Listen to them. Don’t rush them. Just sit with them in the quiet. Listen to the music they listen to. I kept listening to Smashing Pumpkins song, “Feeling like a rat in a cage.”
Go to the doctors with that person. Explain your worries. Get them help. Help is love.
For your faith, remember 2 Timothy 1:7
7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
Keep up your devotions to God. Listen to Dr. Charles Stanley.
From one brain fog person to another, it get’s better. We don’t get to choose our challenges or journeys in life, but we can do it with strength and faith.