Tag Archives: brain fog

Was that real?

I had originally started writing this blog to give myself something I could easily look back on when I found I had lost touch with various things in my life.

I’m often reading and rereading my posts in an effort to connect to them (and maybe memorize what I talked about?). There’s so much I forget from one moment to the next.

I now understand the forgetting to be a function of my most persistent and pervasive coping skill: dissociation. It’s taken me a long time to remember that understanding. Much like my continued shock and confusion around my extreme level of dissociation, I find myself “realizing” that I forget so much because I dissociate so often.

Much of the time, I find myself reading my posts as if I were reading someone else’s writing for the first time. It’s quite a surreal experience. I’ll recognize bits and pieces, but it still predominantly feels like someone else’s stories.

Its happened again this week. I found myself bopping around from post to post, taking it in as if for the first time. I recognize the people I’m referring to, but not the content of the posts. I wish I could come up with a “good enough” analogy to convey what it’s like… I’m not sure there is one. Maybe the closest I can come is comparing it to reading a creatively penned biography about yourself. The author has taken licence and added to the story you know your life to be, and has found others to corroborate their embellishments… it all feels like an aggrandized version of my life, with a lot of Hollywood “extra spice” thrown in… Maybe akin to reading the tabloid stories about yourself while at the checkout. It feels foreign.

I was telling A how my education and professional history was in mental health, but even as the words left my mouth, they felt like a lie. How in the world could I have done any of that? Sure, I have a decent understanding of basic psychology, but I also have a descent understanding of basic anatomy & phys, of animal behavior, of art techniques… most of those I picked up simply by reading because it was interesting. If I didn’t have my paperwork from school, and people who corroborate that I went to grad classes with them, I doubt I’d believe that it were possible.

I feel miles and miles away from that competant human being.

If I didn’t still have contact with the people I used to work with in the field, I would say my work history was made up… even my recent work in the kennels feels contrived (yet I have pictures to prove I was there).

Who the fuck dissociates so badly that they don’t remember so much of their life?!

It feels lately like all my memories are up in the air & uncertain like the trauma memories.

If I sit down and concentrate hard enough, I can pull together what I think is an ok narrative of a specific time in my life, but it feels like a rehearsed skit. To paraphrase an Ani Difranco song “I feel like an actor just reading my lines…” Its something I’ve practiced over and over again until I can recite it with confidence, even if I have no connection to it.

I’m going through life without actually connecting to any of it.

There are times I feel like an imposter; like a clone with implanted memories, but they forgot to include the emotion portion of it…

When I was reading posts from even last year, I found myself trying to analyze what I was reading, to figure out what parts could possibly be true, and figure out how to integrate it into the current narrative.

Part of me feels like I have written about this before, or at least talked to someone about it, but I’m not sure who or where…

There was a flicker of understanding a moment ago, but it’s gone now. My fingers weren’t fast enough to catch the thought on paper before it slid away again.

I’m slipping away again. I can feel things erasing from my awareness (like what I was writing about in the rest of this post). A fog is settling in.

Gotta love dissociation for no reason…

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 Fun with meds (<–sarcasm) 

So… that new med I started is having a strange effect. I’m not sure I know how to describe it… 6 days in, and it feels like my brain is short-circuiting itself. I’m simultaneously experiencing a brain fog/wanting to sleep, and racing thoughts/insomnia/feeling hyper. It’s a very strange combination. My brain feels like it’s buzzing, but also like it’s stuck in thick mud… it doesn’t make sense though, because the two feelings shouldn’t be able to happen at once. They’re contradictory… 

I’m not sure I’m explaining it right, but I don’t really have words for this experience. 

L sees an improvement. I’ve moved off the couch and started doing things again, only I feel like I can’t stop. A few days ago, it was that agitated depression. Today it feels almost hypomanic (but through mud)… 

My brain is running circles around itself. In one moment, I can’t shut my thoughts off as they race around with the million things I need to do; in the next, I can’t stay awake another minute, and I can’t form words or sentences that make much sense (even just in thought). 

I feel like I’ve taken a massive dose of sedative and a massive dose of an upper, and they are both working full-strength at the same time. One takes over for a bit, then the other overpowers it. They go back and forth like that all day & night. 

I’m toying with the idea of at least telling the APRN what’s going on, but then I wonder if I’m not just being anxious about it all… I’ve crashed so hard on meds in the past, but I can’t remember if it felt like this. Maybe this is just my body adjusting to the med, and things will calm down shortly… but what if things don’t calm down? What if they get worse, and I miss the warning signs? I definitely don’t want to end up hospitalized again. It’s such a horrid experience, and they just push more meds. That would be the last thing I need…

Other than the psych side-effects, two of the physiological side effects are sticking out as noticeable. The main one is that my heart rate is definitely up by about 30bpm on average (it’s high to begin with). The other is not really one I care to talk about, but it’s sufficiently annoying…

I dunno. 

Maybe I should just text her to describe the brain buzzing/brain fog thing? Even if for no other reason than to express my frustrations about it… I might not be bothering her if Dr C were not away this week, but not having that other objective set of eyes makes me nervous… maybe just schedule the text for tomorrow so it doesn’t go to her at midnight, and hopefully feel better about at least having mentioned it to her? I dunno…


Blocked

Been trying to process everything going on lately, but this past 2 weeks I’ve been blocked. It was a gradual shutting-down… art hasn’t happened, I’ve not let myself get too deep into anything in therapy, though Dr C and I figured out that I would probably benefit from trying to integrate bilingual processing into my therapy. 

For whatever reason, I never mentioned that most of my trauma happened in another language; I simply struggled to translate as best as I could, and make sense of it enough to express it in English… it doesn’t help that I’ve lost most of my ability to speak said other language. I understand it to the extent of the basics I learned as a kid. It’s the vernacular from nearly 50 years ago when my parents emigrated… when I hear it today, it takes several minutes before I can recognize it as a language I should be able to understand. Most of the time though, I can’t understand it even after it’s pointed out. 

Dr C supervised a student once who developed a method for processing traumas in a different language. She loaned me the manual to peruse while she is away at a conference next week. 

I guess the idea is to start processing the trauma in English, then go deeper into the memory in the language in which it happened, then backing off by switching back to English. The theory is that processing it in that way not only processes the trauma, but also provides a measure of safety by being able to gain distance through switching languages… 

The problem is, neither of us knows what to do when the primary language of the trauma is mostly forgotten. I experience many of the flashbacks in a language other than English, but I also translate them somewhat automatically in order to understand them at this point.

The concept of processing things in the language in which they occurred makes sense. It makes sense that a language barrier would impact the processing. It makes sense that simply translating an event might not allow the brain to put it all away properly… I’m just not sure how we will accomplish that if I can’t remember the stupid language.

I’m going to try to read the manual. Dr C says it’s written in plain enough language that I should be able to absorb it… it’s really frustrating that my brain is in such a fog. I used to be able to concentrate enough on things to read and understand scholarly papers. Lately, I have trouble reading and understanding Meme’s…

Gotta love mental health issues that debilitate your brain… it makes me feel useless and broken… worthless… there are moments I can pull really intelligent things from my head, but other times I feel like a rock could accomplish things easier. Sometimes the fog fades for a bit, but it’s not for long. Even when it does fade, I get confused and overwhelmed really easily. The slightest stress sends my few remaining brain cells running for cover. 

Will this ever get better? 

I used to look at disability benefits as a helping hand till I figured my shit out. I’m beginning to think I’ll never get out of this mess…


defenses gone awry

I had started consciously distancing myself from my self-destructive thoughts maybe 2 or 3 weeks ago? It was very much on purpose, in an effort to respond to stress differently and not land myself in the hospital. This started as a good thing. It was helpful. I kept reminding myself that I needed to change my reactions to change the outcome. Great. Makes sense.

Only somewhere along the way, I lost control of it all.

While it started as something deliberate and beneficial, it has turned frustrating. I’m not connecting to anything on an emotional level. It feels very much like watching a bad b-movie from the main character’s perspective… Only I think movie characters have a better sense of connection than I do. It feels like nothing really transfers to longer-term memory. Everything feels far away both spatially and temporally. I met with TM today. I know I was physically there, but I was watching from a dark room somewhere in the back of my head. It wasn’t even a rough session. We went over the “positives” timeline. I told her stories around the listed events. I fleshed out the positive parts of my life. It was good to have that reminder, but I felt like I was reciting someone else’s life. I don’t recognize it as my own. I don’t recognize the session as an experience I had…

I’m not sure I’m explaining this well. It’s difficult enough to grasp, let alone explain.

I know I also met up with a friend for lunch afterwards. I know we met because I have a receipt from the restaurant. I have a vague sense of having spoken to him today, but again, it’s from a great distance and with no emotional connection.

It all feels like a dream. It all fades as fast as dreams do the longer you are “awake”…

I try to ground myself. I try to be mindful of the moment, and draw in the experience – will myself to remember it. It all feels so very far away though. I try to write about it, but pretty much the instant the moment is over, I’ve lost touch with it. If I’m not writing in the moment, it’s mostly gone in an hour or less.

I had written something to TM after last week’s session. At the time I wrote it, I instructed myself to print it out and give it to her this week. I wrote that I knew I would lose the connection to it and no longer understand why it was I wanted to give it to her. I titled it “Print this out and give to TM on Tuesday”… and yet I failed to give it to her. Once in the office, I worried that I would not know how to answer any questions she may have about what I had written. I didn’t relate to any of it anymore, so I wouldn’t be able to explain it… It’s still in my bag. I never gave it to her; never even hinted at having written anything. I wrote a bit again today, and did similar instructions to myself. Maybe I will manage to give it to her next week.

I think I left her a message today asking to find a way to effectively ground from this. It too feels like a dream, but there is a call to her number later in the day, so I must have followed through on it.

This was a decent defense-mechanism in theory, but it has gotten way out of hand. I need help reigning it back in. I have started and stopped to reach out for more help around it a bunch of times lately, but I always forget why it was I tried to call someone or write a post. It doesn’t make sense to me, or I forget what I was going to ask, so I hang up, or delete the post. I feel like my trains of thought de-rail quickly and easily. I get distracted at the slightest thing. Sometimes I can recognize it as that push to keep stress at bay, but other times I don’t notice the effort. I need to be able to make it a conscious and deliberate thing again.


weird.

I’m in a weird disconnected head-space today. I napped for 30 minutes and it felt like hours should have gone by after I woke up. It wasn’t so much that I got great sleep, but it felt like a long time had gone by. It’s only quarter to 4, and feels like 8pm… I’m still really tired.

I hate this disconnected feeling. It’s like I’m floating above myself, in a jar of fluid. I’m about as mentally responsive as if my head really was in thick liquid.

Gonna watch some tv and try to muddle through the fog.


fog

yesterday’s appointment with TL was much better than the first.  There was a ton of anxiety leading up to it, but I sat it through and met with her (albeit about 30 minutes late because there was a miscommunication amongst office staff).  I was able to give her the stuff I had meant to read her that first time around, and then we talked about some more history (specifically, the brief, cliff-notes version of the stories behind the flashbacks).  She was able to make me feel a bit more comfortable in sitting with her.  I can see her being a bit intense at times, but hopefully we will fall into a balance there.  She was quick to tell me that we didn’t have to talk about what it was that was bothering me, but I found my voice enough to ask for a few more minutes to build up to talking. She seemed to take it in stride.

The hour went by too quickly again, but I let her keep the list.  I hope it helps some. We also switched up the schedule some.  I was going to ask if she had anything earlier in the day (because waiting all day builds too much anxiety), and she was hoping for something earlier also, and on a different day.  We settled on middle-of-the-day Thursday, though that will mean a week and a half between session at a time I should be asking for shorter times between session… Oh well.

I left there emotionally raw and super tired.  I came home with enough energy to fix the bed (had started washing the sheets earlier in the day) and collapse into it.  I took something to help me calm down and sleep, and I am still feeling the effects at 1:30 the next afternoon… I guess this is ok for now.  I guess being drugged-up and only partially feeling the flashbacks is better than the alternative of full-on flashbacks all day… I really need things to change though.  I really need something helpful to get me through all this because it’s exhausting in so many ways…