I’m Not Losing My Mind, but It Sure Feels Like It
The scleroderma fog has struck again! My entire brain is floating inside a haze, and nothing is clear. I’ve been sitting in front of my computer for hours, writing and rewriting this column. I now have four different columns started, but as I write this, none are close to finished. No joke, I’ve written about 5,000 words, but none have formed into anything coherent.
It has been one of those weeks. Just days ago, I asked my husband what time it was. Over and over again. I really did try to stay focused each time he told me. But as soon as he finished speaking, I had absolutely no clue what time it was, and I had to ask again. After repeating himself at least three times, he firmly declared, “You have to do better!” Luckily, he’s easygoing and laughed with me as soon as I started giggling at the craziness of the situation.
Am I losing my mind?
That same day, I was at a home improvement store and asked the store clerk where I could find caulk, which I need to fix up the baseboards in my home before I paint them.
“Aisle 18,” the gentleman said. I thanked him and began walking away. I had only taken two steps when I realized I had no idea what he had just said. I spun around and apologized with a pitiful look on my face and asked the same question again. Like Groundhog Day, he repeated himself and I thanked him once more. After about five steps, I turned back to him and said, “I’m so sorry …” This time, my husband cut me off and shouted, “Aisle 18, Lisa!”
I didn’t laugh that time, but I know the busy employee was grateful I had a personal guide to save him.
My mind simply shuts down
I could go on and on with examples just like these. I playfully refer to it as being short-term crazy. I wish I could say that I’m thinking about too many things at once, but it’s the exact opposite. I’m not thinking at all! Completely blank. I hear things, but they are just sounds without meaning. It’s like I’m working on a dial-up modem from 1990 — erratic beeps and strange buzzing noises that last for minutes before a connection is made.
I go through bouts of these brain breaks. I know in time my mind will return to its usual working order. I just have to be patient and work on sorting out what’s weighing my thoughts down. Sometimes, it’s caused by excessive pain, and other times, it’s my emotional response to living with a chronic illness. I haven’t figured out what my current issue is yet. Most likely, it’s all of the above.
Rebooting the brain
To get my mind to plug back in, I’ll write down everything that’s bothering me. The list will include physical and emotional stressors, as well as everyday tasks that have stacked up on my plate. Once I am able to see how much I am trying to manage, I can more clearly identify what I have to prioritize, then determine what I can handle and what I need help with.
The brain is amazing, but it sometimes takes a personal day (or month) off without our permission. Just like the rest of the body, the mind needs time to rest and heal. That’s why we shouldn’t panic if we can’t find the cellphone that we put in the fridge. (Done that.) We’re not losing it!
When our mind starts glitching, we can’t ignore it. We must work on nurturing it back to good health. This might be as simple as prioritizing our daily tasks. Or, we might need to consult with our doctor to see if any of our medications could be causing brain fog. Our brains — and husbands and store clerks — will thank us!
In the meantime, I know I’ll finish all these columns once I can get my thoughts focused. I’ve got so many important things to write about — tricks for dealing with medical bills, what I wish people would say to me, how to save money on medications. Just give me some time to steady myself. I promise to share the valuable information I’ve gained from living my chronically sick life.
Note: Scleroderma News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Scleroderma News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to scleroderma.