Note: I’m publishing this post time shifted.
I spent the last three or more afternoons in a brain fog. I didn’t get enough sleep for several of those nights, which made it worse. I was barely functional at work, managing to respond to requests and attend meetings, but not able to work on anything that takes creativity, insight, or detailed reading.
It’s upsetting when I’m not functional like that. I can remember that there are important things people are relying on me for, but I can’t do those things. I feel ashamed and guilty. I also don’t remember, and try to remind myself, that it’s not a moral failing to be physically incapable of doing my job. I can accept what I’m physically capable of right now, and give myself rest if that’s what I need.
This shift in mindset doesn’t help anyone else. I don’t have a medical diagnosis that explains that sometimes my brain doesn’t work and you’ll have to excuse me. Mostly I rely on the fact that when I’m able, I’m very good at my job. And I try not to let things lag too far behind.
On several of the days, in the late evening when my brain was finally coming back online, I got interested in working on this site, and stayed up until past my bedtime, feeling interested and productive for the first time in hours…which led to me not getting enough sleep again, which made the next days harder. Vicious cycle.
Separately or relatedly, everywhere except at work I think I’m considered unreliable. I consider myself unreliable. Even at work there are people who’ve noticed that I’m unreliable at certain things, or that I’m short-term unreliable but over the long run I’m a badass. My boyfriend has had to relax his expectations of his partner. My having physical ailments has helped him be more understanding and give me the space and support to be a fuckup with the best of intentions, and I can usually exceed that baseline. (“Why didn’t you start the dishwasher?” which he had watched me fill half an hour ago. “Uhhh… I thought I did.” He took care of it.)
I know some of this is just how my brain works. I struggle to start working on complex things unless I’m highly interested right this moment. The brain fogs make a tough situation worse. I have coping mechanisms for “this is hard I don’t want to”, but none to work around brain-is-off-now.
I think I’ve identified the culprit. I’ve been taking Hepasil DTX on and off to support my liver function (see: can’t digest fats on my own), and I keep stopping because maybe it’s causing my brain fogs or maybe not. I started again on Friday, taking just one a day instead of the recommended 3, and by Monday I was clearly reacting. I stopped taking it after Tuesday, and by Thursday (that’s today) I had a nearly functional day. 🎉 But three days straight of dysfunction takes a serious toll on my todo list1, and I don’t have the wherewithal to catch up today.
Wish me luck for tomorrow.
1 Not to mention my energy levels. Even after the brain fog passes, the next day I have a hangover, and for the next couple of days my energy is low.