In Literature and Cinema, weather can be its own character in the story. Fog, in particular, obscures detail; the most ordinary and benign thing is suddenly enigmatic– even haunting.
Though typically associated with aging, brain fog– a term also used by the pregnant, the post-chemo and the menopausal– is a symptom shared by many different health-related situations. In my case Fibromyalgia, deteriorating spinal cartilage and severe food sensitivity are to blame.
But regardless of catalyst or biological mechanism, brain fog is not merely forgetfulness, nor is it a generic malaise or stupor; the sufferer is conscious and their inaccessible thoughts still exist… somewhere.
If you haven’t vigorously nodded by this point, any temporary delay in information retrieval you may have experienced was simply due to exhaustion, distraction, stress, or a combination thereof. Remember the last time a word was on the tip of your tongue? With brain fog it’s that feeling but with an entire phrase or complete thought.
Imagine an failure of communication, in which a valuable payload doesn’t reach its destination due to poor visibility: a ship misses its port; a train passes the station; a delivery truck misses the freeway exit.
When I say I have brain fog I’m not trying to invent an excuse; I didn’t conveniently forget; I’m not self-absorbed; I’m not careless and unwilling to get organized. When the fog rolls in I’m anxious; frustrated; embarrassed; stuck.
Some days are better than others but it’s always disconcerting to encounter misplaced items, such as a hairbrush in the refrigerator or to discover an important task left undone, such as a stamped and addressed envelope that’s been in your purse for a week.
As documents get misplaced and dishes and clothes are scattered, brain fog is Mr. Hyde, who will not be tamed. And I am Dr. Jekyll, who faces the aftermath of his own subconscious mind.