Sunday 3 April 2022

Nerd Church - Brain Fog Days

Warning: this post discusses brain fog as a symptom of Depression/Anxiety

Disclaimer time: I am not any kind of medical, psychological, or neurological professional. I'm a chick with a blog and some personal experiences - nothing more, nothing less.

'Brain Fog Days' with fog-soaked countryside scene

Some days, my brain does not work.

Call it brain fog, call it fuzziness, call it extreme mental fatigue.

It's common with migraines (which I get,) and Depression and Anxiety (which I have,) as well as a whole bunch of other conditions - including Long Covid, for which it's gotten a lot of media attention.

Whatever it is, it means I can't think.

Just another way that Depression and Anxiety makes things more difficult.

Putting sentences together - whether speaking or writing - turns into a garbled mush.

I have no idea where to start with simple and straight-forward tasks.

Doing just one small thing is exhausting.

And on those days I have to find ways to get sh** done (while also pacing myself because that is a thing that I try to do now. #HealthyCopingMechanisms)

Which often means breaking tasks down.

Not just into smaller tasks - I mean breaking tasks Right. Down. 

Things that most people would think are automatic - like 'hit the power button on the laptop' - that is how much I sometimes have to break things down. 

(Though thankfully that's an extreme example from very bad days.)

Because otherwise I don't even know where to start, and I will sit there getting more and more frustrated and overwhelmed by the enormity of what most people consider a simple task.

So yes, I break it down.

If I have to write an e-mail, for example, and the only thing my brain is producing is an 'uhhhhhhhhhh' noise, I end up writing something a little like this as an outline/set of instructions first:

  • say hi + their name
  • write a greeting like 'I hope you're well'
  • say reason for e-mail/state main point of e-mail
  • sign off with 'best' or similar
  • write your name
Then I will proceed to do each of those things, adding more steps if necessary, and usually taking breaks between each thing.

Yes, I have taken breaks between saying 'hi [name]' and saying 'hope you're well.'

I have taken 20 minute breaks with a cup of coffee between those two things.

Even though I often do feel shame for that, I know that shame is unfounded. Because I keep the ball rolling the best I can - and that's all anyone can ask.

Because some days. You. Just. Can't.

Some days you can't get anything done.

And that's OK.

Frustrating af, I know, I know - I'm not a patient person and am still trying to learn not to yell at myself for every little thing - but it's still OK.

Hear that? IT'S OK!

I promise.

Sometimes I end up only doing half a task, or a quarter of a task, or even less.

...Which is also super-frustrating. I can't describe just how frustrating and dispiriting it is - you're just gonna have to trust me.

But it's still moving forward, and that's what's important.

Anyone who has never had to break tasks down in order to push through the brain fog might not understand.

But, respectfully, they don't matter a damn. If you struggle, you gotta find the little ways of keeping things going.

Some days you can't even do that - and I know, that sucks. 

But rest up. Do the bare minimum if you can, and if you can't, you can't.

It's actually counter-productive to force yourself. Watch cr*ppy TV or read or paint or whatever - maybe even take the whole day off - until the fog lifts, and you can push through just a little more.

Take care of yourself, OK? You deserve to cut yourself some slack.

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  1. I really relate to this, Cee. I get brain fog a lot with my anxiety, it's one of the first signs that I'm stressed. It's true that the simplest of tasks just feel so hard. It can be scary to not feel in control of your brain, but it's also comforting to know that it's so common.

    1. Argh, it's horrible! But yeah - something that we're not alone with <3

  2. This was such a practical post.

    I get brain fog days, too. They’re often more connected to my migraines than anxiety or depression, but the outcomes are pretty similar.

    1. Thanks :)

      It's more linked with Depression with me, but it can come a lot with migraines too - I find it's hard to tell sometimes how much is fog and how much is being distracted by pain, though.


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