Yesterday, as I prepared to take a shower – yes, I have to prepare to take showers now and I know that there are many people who can identify with this – I realized that the harder hit I am by something the longer it takes me to share it with the people in my life or write about in my journal, or here. I had to think about that for a bit. What is it that is blocking me from opening up about things, even in this anonymous setting?
The answer is nothing. The delays are cognitive.
I’ve always been a thinker, but I believe I am truly suffering from what I keep seeing referred to as ‘brain fog’. It’s taking me longer to process things emotionally and intellectually. I’m used to emotional delays because I tend to compartmentalize my feelings to deal with them when it feels safe or when I’m forced to because anxiety gets the best of me and I have to unpack some of my baggage. However, I’m usually pretty good at sifting through logical puzzles by taking information in, synthesizing it and then applying it in relevant situations.
But not now. Not since my illness arrived.
Now my concentration is spotty. I will have the intention to talk to someone about something significant that happened in my day then that conversation won’t happen. Because I don’t remember or I’m too overwhelmed by emotion not to cry. I will have the intention to write about an experience then that writing won’t happen. Because the words needed to articulate the tale don’t show up or come in such a rush they get jumbled. I will have the intention to journal to sort through the mental and emotional tangle but that detangling won’t happen. Because the effort to put pencil to paper or fingers to keyboard feels too great.
Those few moments of introspection made me see that I’ve been looking for a defect in myself where there isn’t one. My thoughts and emotions are out of whack because of my pain and the pain medications I take to manage it. Intellectually I know this, but in the moment when something goes askew I forget and I beat myself up about what I should have done and question why I didn’t when the answer is obvious. I don’t do or remember to do because my brain is submerged in a soupy fog for many hours of each day.
I read about this same experience in the lives of others daily. I have great compassion for each person who shares their struggle. Now I have to be compassionate with myself.
Train – When the Fog Rolls In (California 37)