Brain fog

Every now and then, when you have a chronic illness and are used to its presence, you think that you know what it can throw at you and that, unpleasant as it is, you can deal with. Knowledge is power and all that. This is possibly the worst thing you can think. When it comes to religion, I’m agnostic. But I’m a firm believer in the law of sod, so I should know better than to think I really have a handle on how bad things can be.

Case in point, my fibromyalgia. There are people out there – medical professionals among them – who think that fibromyalgia is a made-up condition that doesn’t really exist, experienced only by white, middle-class females and closely linked to neurosis and hypochondria. This is not a helpful approach, but it is nonetheless shared by a substantial number of people. As imaginary illnesses go, though, it’s pretty unpleasant. It can drain all of your energy. It really, really hurts: I’ve described it before as feeling like someone has stabbed your muscles with a thousand sharp blades, then run electricity through them for fun. It causes weird things like hypothermia because your body is so lacking in energy it will prioritise doing one thing only: eating a meal can therefore lead your body to focus entirely on digestion, and ditch any thought of keeping you warm. Cue a three degree drop in body temperature and a very concerned husband.

None of this is fun. I’ve come to accept the fatigue and the pain and react accordingly, and I thought I knew what brain fog was. I was so very wrong. It’s brain fog that has kept me quiet on here for so long, because I struggle to maintain a train of thought. My train of thought is actually more like a tardy bus driving at speed past the bus stop where I’m waiting and generating a plume of puddle that soaks me on its way through, leaving me in the same place as I was but colder and more frustrated.

I can start to write things, only for them to make no sense when I try to re-read them. Or for me to re-read the lot and realise that I can’t remember where it started, still less what the middle was as I try to prepare an ending. At this point, if I can’t complete a piece of writing in one session and as no more than a first draft, it won’t be completed at all. I’d really like to have my brain back, and I’m doing what I can myself to manage my condition, but I don’t know when or if I’ll be back to normal. All I do know is that I’m not giving up. It may be that I have to fall back on posting recipes for a bit, because at least I’ve been having some fun in the kitchen. Or you’ll have to put up with me posting first drafts. But I’m still here. Please bear with me until normal service is resumed.

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