The fog. It’s very real and it is not much fun. It’s hard to live with, especially when you had a fantastic memory in the past. CRPS can rob you of so much, including your memory. It doesn’t matter if they are good memories or bad memories. They slip away like water through a colander.
CR[A]PS brain is literally standing alone in a fog. You know what you want to say, but the words don’t come out right, or in the right order. Sometimes you can’t remember the words at all.
I can remember things before my accident. I remember what it was like to be normal and to have dreams and aspirations. I remember studying, and trips with my family. But after my accident things become a little hazy. I have moments where I can remember things clearly, but I also have frustrating moments when I can’t remember a darn thing. I can’t remember what I just did. I can’t remember people’s names, descriptive words, just words in general. I’m often on Google typing in what I want to say and looking it up in a thesaurus while no one is looking.
Holding a conversation is sometimes tricky. I’m easily distracted, whether it be pain or anxiety kicking in. I forget what I want to say, half way through saying it.
I have found it really hard to study. I wanted to become a counsellor but I was struggling to remember what I am reading. I read it 10 times over and I still can’t remember the information. I try to make up world patterns or phrases but I can’t remember those either. I found it hard to even keep focussed on the task at hand. Before, I was a complete, well, nerd. All my assignments were done way before their due dates. I could sit down and write an essay in a couple of afternoons. I had an awesome memory and I could easily apply what I was reading. I did well at school, and in my tertiary education.
I write notes. A lot of notes and reminders. I write down things before I forget them. Working on my blog posts I jot down ideas first, and keep coming back over and over to add things I have forgotten. I am Gretel, leaving myself a trail of breadcrumbs to remember my way. But like in that story, I have pesky ‘birds’ that steal some of those crumbs and the path becomes jumbled.
My husband is getting used to my random thoughts. I have to tell him when it’s in my head, so I don’t forget to tell him. I have a feeling there are things I have forgotten to tell him. It’s frustrating. Sometimes important things go missing in my corn maze mind. It makes you feel like a complete idiot. You feel like a failure for not being able to remember something so simple.
I have social anxiety these days. I am not good with crowds and people. I meet people who say they have already met me. I’m experiencing anxiety on repeat, because I can’t remember. I fake it and say ‘oh yes I remember’ when in actual fact my head is a puzzle and your face piece is missing.
You look at people who are talking to you and inside your head you ask questions like ‘who are you?’. ‘Have we met before?’. ‘I’m not sure I remember your name?’. ‘You know me so surely I must know you?’. All of a sudden you snap back to reality ‘what were we talking about?’, ‘Am I supposed to respond here? I can’t remember!’. You hope that someone interrupts the conversation so you can distract them from looking at you, awaiting your response. Your heart rate increases and all the muscles in your body tighten. Your heart begins to race and your breathing is shallow. You feel like you can’t take in as much air as you need to be able to breathe. Your head aches. You want to cry. You start to tremble in fear. ‘Why am I pannicing?’, ‘What’s going on?,’ ‘I don’t remember!’, ‘I’m going to be sick’, ‘They must think I don’t care’. Your mouth is as dry as a desert. ‘What do they think of me?’, ‘they hate me’, ‘where is the bathroom?’, ‘where is the exit?’ You can hear the beat of your own heart ringing in your ears like a constant base drum. ‘I want out!’. All this while you are trying to appear cool calm and collected on the outside. You may think ‘wow that is an over reaction’, but my friends, this is anxiety. That little terror in your brain that all of a sudden kicks in and controls you. It takes over like a cyclone in your brain. Breathe. Just breathe. Fog. Nothing but fog.
You try to see through the fog. You squint. You search for the light to guide you out. Sometimes it’s quick, Sometimes it takes a lot of searching to find it.
It’s simple things that become so difficult. Remembering to breathe! Remembering who you were and who you are now. Trying to heed the advice of people around you to be kind to yourself. You have often given this advice, but you don’t listen to it yourself. The harder you are on yourself though, the thicker and stormier the fog.
I have had people take advantage of the fog. They are well aware that my short term memory is poor. So they use it. I get the blame for things not being done, when in reality I hadn’t been asked. I would be told that I had been asked things, or told of things, which I would have written down if I had actually been told. I have taken to notes or messaging people straight away so I don’t forget. But it is very hard to do this when you weren’t told things to begin with. It completely messes with your head. Sometimes I can pick up on it. Other times I get myself worked up into a frenzy. My depression and anxiety take hold and I feel so low and worthless. I will never understand why people would deliberately put me in this situation. I know people can be horrible, but this is just downright ugly. They may think they are being funny, or clever. But causing someone anguish is not something to be proud of.
Don’t give up fighting the fog, but don’t beat yourself up for not being able to see past it sometimes Write notes. Stick them in your phone or stick them to your fridge. Take photos. Take lots of photos. Write a journal. Do what you need to do to battle out the other side. Some things you will remember. Some things you don’t want to remember but you will. But some things you won’t.
#CRPS #Complexregionalpainsyndrome #mentalhealth #depression #anxiety #breakthestigma #brainfog #CR[A]PSbrain