‘Brain fog’ (not a clinical term!!) is one of the most overlooked, but arguably one of the hardest to fight, symptoms of mental illness. Most frequently associated with depression – though I’m sure it is symptomatic of a range of illnesses, as well as a side effect of certain medications – this seemingly inescapable mushing of the brain is distressing, disconcerting and debilitating.
Before I get sucked even further into alliteration (which brings a kind of childish geeky satisfaction), I’ll let doodle-Molly try explain visually…
Not only does mental illness attack my mood, emotions, sense of self, relationships, hope, and tone of my thoughts…it also makes the notion of being able to simply navigate my own brain seem less likely than Father Christmas visiting me on a unicorn with the gift of happiness for all living creatures. (I may have gotten carried away with that simile…)
All thoughts and ideas are hidden within a thick fog, quickly getting lost or losing their colour. It robs me of…well…’me’. Or that’s how it feels when the fog is thickest and my despair is deepest; which just goes to show how the range of symptoms connect and try to eat me alive from all angles. It kind of feels like mental illness has all of the bases covered, predicting and destroying my methods of fighting back; kicking me when I’m already at my lowest. It’s a dirty opponent.
I sometimes wonder whether the fog would lift if I just squinted and focussed hard enough; then I remember that mental illness has also drained my energy until I’m running on fumes. Yet another piece of information that would have been obvious without the fog.
Postscript: I’m suffering from a particularly hideous amount of self-doubt and self-criticism at the moment, making me have to fight hard to post anything here for fear of doing something ‘wrong’ (whatever that means); and the horrifically thick fog makes it impossible for me to concentrate and process my thoughts well enough to proofread or edit my posts, adding further to the doubt and criticism. But the irony of this when considering the content of this post has made me press ahead and publish it anyway…so please excuse me and my drivel if it makes little sense!